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Are All GK 700RB-IIs this Unforgiving?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by chaunceytoben, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. chaunceytoben


    May 29, 2007
    Detroit, MI
    Hey all,

    I recently purchased a GK 700RB-II off CL, my first high-end (somewhat) amp, along with a GK 210RBH. Previously, I had been playing through a Ashdown EB180 combo, which was a little too warm and vintagey for my tastes. My bass is a EBMM Sterling HS.

    Ive noticed my new GK setup seems to amplify fret buzz, movement of my up and down the strings, and worst of all, the act of me fretting a note is amplifyed before i pluck the string with my right hand (kind of like tapping). The initial note is extremely loud, which makes it sound as if im playing the note twice. I played the amp at my local GC before i bought it, and didnt recall this problem. Theyve since sold the 700RB-II, so i have not been able to play another one. However I played thru some Markbass combos and they sounded great (i.e. none of the problems listed above.) This led me to believe that it is not my playing , but perhaps GK amps are just a little unforgiving and I need to work on my technique.

    Ive tried to EQ it out, which can be somewhat accomplished thru cutting the treble, but even so the problem persists, with a less satisfying tone. So i just wanted to hear the general preception on these amps, and any tips to solve the problem.

    thanks, Adam
  2. Not sure how to answer this because i have never experienced anything as extreme as you are. I have used GK 700s to 2001s so I have tried all of GKs bigger heads. GKs do have a punchy in-your-face-tone. So maybe it is amplifying your technique more than you are used to.
  3. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    Where is your Contour and Presence?

    Those are knobs of death on that amp.

    Shouldn't be more than halfway up at any given time.
  4. Gtrslngr


    Jul 10, 2007
    I don't know much about your previous amp and I don't own a GK yet, but I'm pretty sure your new speaker cab has a tweeter that you can adjust on the back. You may need to cut back the tweeter a bit. The 700rb also has bi-amp and normal operation mode. You need to have the correct GK speaker cable to run it in bi[amp mode. Was the amp connected to this same speaker cab in the store? I'm just making an observation involving my limited experience with this amp. I also thank its a great amp that should allow you to get about any sound you want.
  5. gmarcus

    gmarcus Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2003
    The GKs are really sensitive to the gain setting too. If you turn it up too much they get really harsh. Better to turn down the gain and get your overdrive from the Boost knob.
  6. toniwonkanobi

    toniwonkanobi Supporting Member

    May 23, 2008
    Northern California
    Endorsing: 1964 Ears, LLC.
    check your presence knob. it's basically a
    "bright" switch (except it's variable). Anything more than like 1-2 o'clock will probably be a little TOO much high end sizzle. I've experienced the same problems. you SHOULD be able to EQ it out, but who knows...good luck!
  7. chaunceytoben


    May 29, 2007
    Detroit, MI
    thanks for all the replies, yes i do have the biamp cable so ill try cutting the tweeter a bit. Ill also try the bit about the contour/presence knobs.
  8. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    Yes, cut the tweeter to almost off. I found I hated the bi-amp and just ran it full range.

    That 50watts to the tweeter was half worthless.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I agree with everyone...run full range and cut the tweeter down.

    But don't lose a lot of sleep over those noises. They aren't noticeable in a band context, and they're just part of playing. Bass is a little noisy. That's the way it is.
  10. rag


    Mar 24, 2003
    Robert A. Gallien, President Gallien-Krueger
    I have thought about this question all afternoon. Basically you have stepped from a land yacht into a nitro fueled dragster. These amplifiers (700RB, 1001RB and 2001RB) are designed to give the articulate player tremendous response and control in order to enable them to cut through the mix. The typical GK player has an incredible touch and truly understands his instrument. These amplifiers aren’t street legal, by that I mean they aren’t designed to sound good in your living room, they are designed to sound good on stage with big guitar stacks, big drum kits, loud keys and big time vocals. The basic voicing is the result of input from many of the worlds most articulate players who want to put their sound up front on stage. If you want to make this amp work for you I recommend the following:

    Your Guitar (Extremely Important)
    Select a string gauge and manufacturer you like then have a qualified tech set the instrument up for them and always use those strings. If you change brands or gauge then have the instrument set up again.

    Your technique
    You will have to modify your technique. My advise is to take a few lessons from a very good player and work on your touch. Also there are some very good DVDs out there that could be helpful, both Flea and Norm Stockton come to mind. If you check these out pay special attention to their hands and their approach to the string. Of course there are some heavy rockers that can hit the string very hard and still come out true. Duff comes to mind, but then check out his GUNS!

    Your 700RB
    There are some things you can do to tame your new monster.
    1. Set the 5 string switch in. You are not ready for the big stage in your face four string sound yet.
    2. Set the presence to zero. Again you have got to have a great touch to use this control.
    3. Run the contour low or off, for the same reasons as number 2.
    4. Run the amp in bi-amp mode with the horn less than 12:00.
    5. Set the High Cut switch in.
    6. There is nothing that can be done about the power amp, it is designed to bark and respond promptly to your every command, but the above tips will tame the preamp a bit.

    The GK thing is not for every one, but if you put in a little effort you can become a much better player and in return get a lot more out of your playing.

    Welcome to the big’s!
  11. Jimmy - I've been thinking about that same amp too mainly because I love the sound of my BL600, but also because the bi-amp setup sounded good. The manual says (about the boost) "that sounds great through a woofer, but horrible through a horn". One other TB'er said that was exaggerated. Whats your thoughts on the bi-amp, and clean sound to the tweeter vs fullrange?
  12. Another thing you may want to check into is your strings. Are they stainless steel or nickel? I know stainless steels are very bright and will be a little more unforgiving that nickels. Using SS strings made me correct my technique, especially using a brighter head like the 700 rbII.

    Do you own a compressor? I run a compressor and a BBE Sonic Maximizer through my loop and I can really control a lot of the subtle things like brightness and boomy low end with a good compressor. Also, like others have mentioned, turn down your tweeter on your cab. You may want to get a 15" cab with no horn if you don't like the high end presence in your face.
  13. RedCoatMonster


    Aug 14, 2007
    Thomas, OK
    I love the GK stuff, but I have yet to hear a good sounding tweeter...turn it all the way down and run full range.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm not big on OD sounds going through a tweeter, that's for sure. And I tend to turn tweeters pretty far down these days, so to me it wouldn't make a difference. But if you think biamping improves your tone over fullrange, rock it.
  15. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    I guess I'm not typical. ;)

    I play my 700RB-II with an Avatar 112 Delta, so the tweeter amp on the head is disabled anyway, but I keep the 5-string button on (provides more low end support), and all EQ is set flat with a slight bump (12:30-1:00) to the low mids, Contour and Presence off all the way, and boost anywhere from 12:00 to 3:00 depending on how gnarly my mood is. Input is set to anywhere between 9:00 to 11:00 typically. I play a P bass with flats, but had the head set the same way when I played rounds. For flats, I turned up the tweeter on my cab to about 10:00-12:00; with rounds it was turned down all the way.

    I don't get any noise from fingers on the strings, and everything sounds like pure thundery awesomeness.
  16. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I also have a 700RB-II, and can't add much to all the useful comments above, except to add that you can cut the treble EQ as well. I frequently play a G&L SB-2, which has no tone control, and the treble knob is a workable substitute.

    But I also wonder how you run your bass, i.e., which pickup(s) and how you set your EQ. I suspect you'll cure lots of the noise -- some of which is inevitable as JimmyM said -- by just turning down the treble on your Sterling. You're running a bright bass through a seriously full-range rig, so the treble needs to be harnessed. I have similar issues running my G&L L-1500 through my rig. I have to keep the treble in check, especially in active mode, and even cut the high mids sometimes.
  17. JFace


    Apr 17, 2008
    Columbus, OH
    I would guess it's something to do with your gain being too high. Perhaps you're used to those volume levels, so your gain is higher than need be. The gain range on GK's are pretty broad. 12 o'clock for my ric through my 2001 RB is smokin'. Perhaps you don't have the headroom to produce the volume levels you are used to, so you are using gain to compensate. Just a thought.
  18. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    I experienced what you are experiencing the first time (years ago) I started gigging and rehearsing with loud amps. At practice levels, a lot of noises associated with incorrect or non-optimal technique aren't amplified, especially if you have a combo that sounds muddy, boomy or that lacks clarity and punch.

    My advice would be to take a good look at your technique, play old rounds for a while and turn the tweeter down. I'm more and more a believer of the "tweeter are good for slapping and hi-fi sound, period". Your basic meat and potatoes rock doesn't need it or only needs it in small doses to add some sparkle.

    Also, your 2x10 enclosure might have a bump in the high-mids (1.5k-3k) that is associated with clankiness, fret noise and harsh sounds.
  19. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    RAG - Thanks for taking the time to be here at TB.

    As a long time GK fan and acknowledged gear - slut ... I find my 1001 RB II to be very flexible. I can generally find 'me' in just a couple of knob turn's.

    My approach is to start with the tone controls at noon, presence off, 4 string setting, tweeter amp off, hi-cut on. That give's you a slight scoop. I generally want a bit more of that scoop.

    I find my basic tone with the contour. Usually between 9 and noon, room and bass depending.
    . If I need to reduce fret noise, I pull back the upper mids.
    . If I need to adjust to a room, its usually the bass or low mids.
    . If it's a brand new set of rounds on my somewhat aggressive 75 RI J - I pull back the treble...

    Guy's from Rick Danko and Chris Hillman to Tommy Shannon, Conrad Lozano (and whoever he is with the Dap Kings) are pretty much the ball park I'm after ... It's the traditonal room filling, round but defined bass tone that sit's under the band and maybe (or maybe not) over the kick.

    I've used maybe 10 different cab's with the GK 1001 RB II over the last few years and I've been able to find 'me' in each. The GK is just really easy to live with.
  20. KPAX

    KPAX Banned

    Mar 22, 2005
    I had similar difficulty getting a sound I truly liked from my 700RBII and 1001RBII (I had both). They tended to be very bright but when I backed off the brightness I never really liked the midrange. I came to the conclusion that all the bells and whistles (contour, pre and post volumes, boost, biamps ...) aren't really the problem or the solution. There's a basic harsh midrange character to them that I find unappealing and I couldn't dial it out with the two mid controls.
    It's hard to describe but the midrange characteristic sounds dark, dense and congested to me. I used them every which-way: bi-amped using the amp crossover and GK cable, full range using the cab crossover, no horn, yes horn ... I decided ithe issue isn't the biamp or crossover - the problem is in the midrange. I couldn't really get the clear, breathing sound I wanted - it always sounded kind of constipated.
    I ended up buying an Ampeg SVT Classic and a Peavey VB-2. I could get a much better tone with those amps in 2 minutes than I could with the GKs in 2 years. The SVT and VB-2 have what I call a clear, open, transparent punch to them. It's funny because people associate tubes with distortion but either way (clean or with some grit), many tube amps (at least the powerful ones) sound clearer and more open to me than the transistor GKs.
    I still own my 1001RBII - it's lightweight and reliable and I haven't totally rejected it. Those GK amps are probably capable of sounding really good with certain basses that have midrange characteristics that counter the GK's, but I was never totally satisfied with them using my Jazz, Modulus Flea or Spectors. They're tricky, difficult amps.
    I'm an electronic design engineer and have a few theories as to what's going on with these amps (tube amp output transformer and signal chain simplicity, GK signal chain complexity and phase effects, amount of power amp feedback) but I can't say for certain. I don't work designing music amps.


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