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Backline 600 vs Mag 300

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Secondhandloser, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. Secondhandloser


    Mar 28, 2005
    I know you guys are gonna hate me for another "cheap heads" thread, but meh...

    I'm looking to get a head and some sort of cab, and am unsure which head is better, and have no chance t otry the Ashdown. I've heard good and bad things about it, thoug the same goes for the GK. I would assume the Ashdown has a more round tone, and the GK has the GK sound ( or a cheap version thereof) but would like others opinions...
  2. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    Daniel Elliot (spelling?) may be able to help you out on the Backline's sound to the other GK heads. In the past, he's said it's a bit meatier.

    I've got the Backline 600 and couldn't try out the Ashdown. I tried out the Backline and felt it was great, and GK's service has been first-rate to me so far. My unit didn't come with rack ears, but were shipped to me free of charge (they even paid shipping) - the same rack ears they sell for $30 plus and shipping from their store, I believe.

    Try the GK. Flat, it's great. With the boost knob, it's great. With any knob twiddling (any combination you can think of), it's great. It's a great amp that has tons of EQ possibilities, but I leave mine flat most of the time.

    Since I've already requested for Daniel to chime in, I've got a some-what related question about the Boost knob. Is this a boost-only control or is it cut/boost? I originally thought it was boost only, but below the knob there is the minus ( - ) sign on the left and the plus ( + ) sign on the right, making me wonder. Also, if I crank the boost knob, how does this affect the pre-amp volume exactly? If my pre-amp volume is set correctly (to where it will just barely clip on a hard slap of the E string, and then a little backed off), will cranking the Boost knob have any detrimental affects (i.e. clip) if I leave my pre-amp volume the same?

    Thanks Daniel. Secondhandloser, sorry for hi-jacking your thread a little - let me know if I can help you out with the Backline.
  3. Secondhandloser


    Mar 28, 2005
    Well, since you own one, how's the distortion channel? Is it a feature worth using, or does it sound like poo? cuz that is what drew me away from the Ashdown in the first place.
  4. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    I've tried both and I like both, but for the money, I think the Backline 600 is pretty hard to beat, especially considering tone options, build and overall power. Not a bad head at all.

    In fact, I A/Bed it with a 700RBII head (which I own and love to death) at the local Mullet Center and it compared rather nicely. I will agree that it is "meatier" and it does not possess the relative crystal clear highs of the 700, but it does possess a nice, versatile tone.

    I would SERIOUSLY consider buying the 600 as a backup to my 700RBII and I may eventually get one for practice anyway. I've become a G-Kaholic and I've found that even their backline stuff (heads and cabs) are solid.

    As for the Ashdown Mag, it doesn't seem to be as tonally versatile or as powerful as the 600, but I'm going by impressions gleaned from testing in seperate environments (not side-by-side or through the same cabs), so YMMV.

    At $299.00, though, it's hard to beat the 600 for value.
  5. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    Distortion channel. I think it's mostly poo if cranked. With a lower gain, I found it to be good to add a little crunch to my sound if I would want it.

    With that said though, I'm not a guy who likes all the crunch in his sound. I look for a clean, punchy signal. So I haven't played with it much at all, but I did use the setting in the manual and found them to be nice for what they were.

    Planet Boulder, I agree with you one hundred percent. My local "Mullet Center" had an old 700RB (Mark I) for $400 (it had been in the shop several times, and would not come down with the price at all). Comparing the two, the 700RB had a more sizzle-ey high end that wasn't my thing - but could be toned down the my Tone control. I have solved this problem by using Stainless Steel strings for when I want the sizzling top end, but usually my Tone control is about at twenty percent. The thing that did it for me was the Backline's Boost control. As many others have attested to, the Boost control is much better on the Mark II heads, and the guys at GK included the newer Boost control to the Backline. Ultimately, the thing that did it for me was the price - the old 700RB was a hundred dollars more and had had many repairs, or the new Backline with a full warranty.
  6. Secondhandloser


    Mar 28, 2005
    mmmm... I thought I'd get more replies...

    SO nobody has used the Ashdown?- I see a lot of people commenting on them here, but nothing in-depth....
  7. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    Quite a few people have the Ashdown and even more are fans of it's price to quality ratio. Most of those people haven't tried GK's Backline 600 because they either already have the Ashdown and the Backline probably isn't so much of an upgrade for them to swap, or they are more experienced players who don't have much of a reason to try out the Backline but know about the much older Ashdown MAG.

    Surprised Daniel hasn't came in here yet. I'll send him a PM and hopefully he'll get it by tomorrow evening.
  8. The boost is a post eq gain. At a certain point (depends on your input signal) it saturates a FET circuit which adds even order harmonics (good distortion). It's a subtle affect but essentially fattens up the tone kind of like saturating a tube.

    While I know both heads very well (I used to work with Ashdown) I cannot get into an opinion based discussion. If you have specific questions about GK features, I can answer those.
  9. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    Daniel, Thanks for getting into this thread.

    About the boost, that's exactly what I found in the manual, and while I appreciate you typing it out, it doesn't answer what I was asking.

    I had a couple questions about the boost:
    1. Is it a boost only (flat when off, ala Contour knob), or is it boost/cut (flat at twelve o' clock like the EQ)?
    2. Am I in danger of clipping the input signal to my power amp by cranking it, while having my Pre-amp set to right before it clips?"

    What the original poster was wondering about also, was how the Backline compares to the Artist Mark II series. In the past, you've said it's meatier but haven't said much else (maybe there's nothing else to say?).

    Thanks again Daniel.
  10. It's not a tone control. It's a gain control. but to simplify, it's all boost. You can crank it all the way up, just use the master to compensate to keep the output level the same.

    Tonewise, the 600 is less power than the 700 or 1001 so it's not going to be as clean (have as much headroom). The 400RB-IV and the 600 have exactly the same power amp board. The 600 has a slightly larger transformer. I've played both back to back and just find that the backline sounds meatier. I don't know what else I can say about it.
  11. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    Thanks again.

    Boost = Gain makes sense, why didn't I think of that first? :rollno:

    The less-headroom-less-clean makes sense. Secondhandloser can try the Backline with just a "more meaty" description. I haven't played them back to back, but that would be the way I would describe it as well.