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Best micro head? (10/2013 edition)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by driftingupward, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. Hi all. I'm coming into a little bit of money and was thinking of going micro just to make as few trips to the car as possible. I'm looking to pair with my new Zoom B3 and come up with something I can throw in the gig bag and be done with it.

    Right now I have a LDS 15/6 that works well with my Peavey IPR3000 but I want to go even lighter and smaller. I'm thinking the MB800 might be a little overkill but you never know when you're going to have to play with no PA support.

    So anyone have one that they believe is the best out there right now? Are they all about the same as far as reliability and your basically just getting a certain sound depending on which one you choose?

    Thanks, Rob
  2. The tone hammer 500 is making many people happy, on a budget the TH-350 is killer into 4 ohms ;)

    Edit: buckets of tone for tube and warm amp lovers, otherwise GB shuttle deals are crazy if you want super tight and modern with grind.
  3. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    It's largely a matter of taste, but I can tell you a GK MB800 or even the 500 is thing of beauty on top of an LDS 15/6......massive, heavy, thick and clear :)
  4. RedLeg

    RedLeg Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Kaiserslautern, Germany
    Nov Shmoz Ka Pop?
    still love my shuttle 6
  5. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    My vote goes here. :bassist:
  6. Answering this question in general is impossible... IMO there are very few 'bad' heads out on the market these days.

    However, answering the question specific to a 15/6 cab with the powerful 3015LF driver in 8ohm configuration is easier. That driver in an appropriately tuned cab has moderate sensitivity combined with lots of power handling capability (both mechanically and thermally.... around 500 real watts or so).

    So, that really limits things regarding micro's that have the following general specifications:

    1) Good, open, honest 400 watts+ at 8ohms
    2) Full, open, low end to take advantage of the LF capability
    3) Good control of both upper midrange and treble to smooth and voice the mid driver

    The two heads that come to mind and that are truly 'micro' are the GKMB800 and the TecAmp Puma900. A bit larger, and the GKMBFusion800 and the Genz Benz Shuttle Max 9.2 are also great.

    All have good power at 8ohms, good control of the low end but with some nice deep bass extension (with the Shuttle Max being a touch tighter), and all have great control of the top end.

    Price/size/tone/wump/weight combination winner.... GKMB800 with that cab.

    IMO and IME.
  7. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Is there a particular tone that you prefer?

    As mentioned there are lots of good options these days, so that may help narrow down the search a little. Me, I'm partial to the GK offerings.
  8. I love the tone of my Streamliner. Despite being designed as a tube amp alternative I've found it to be pretty versatile, has a nice overdrive (I tend to just dial in a little hair and leave it at that, to avoid too much mid-gig knob fiddling), and is nicely responsive to preamp tube changes.

    I've had some issues of running out of volume with it, but I don't know if that's the head's fault, or me just having obscene volume needs.
  9. Quite a few guys dig the Streamliner with the 15/6 cabs. I didn't like that combination at all (although I'm a big fan of the Streamliner in general). Too much flubby bass in the low end, limited ability to punch up the low mids, and limited control of the top end, which can be key with certain mid drivers IMO. Genz power management does provide pretty impressive performance at 8ohms, and if the OP is looking for a big, fat pillow like tone, the Streamliner is pretty cool with the 15/6 cabs (like the fEARfuls).

    That combination is not my thing, and even if the OP wants some tubey grit or fatness, a pedal in front of the MB800 is probably the best way to go with that particular 8ohm cab.
  10. In light of your comments, I may be overpraising the Streamliner. I haven't owned that many amps, and none of the things you describe as its negatives when paired with a 15/6 all sound like things I would like to avoid.

    So for tameable lows, thick low mids, articulate high mids and controllable treble, you'd recommend a Fusion or Puma? What about rack or pedal preamps to pair with a power amp? If this is too off-topic, I withdraw the question, but it seems apropos to me.
  11. Scottkarch


    Sep 11, 2012
    I have a TCE BG250 and the BH250 is pretty much the same thing. Depending on how much power you need, it could do. I love the tone. I usually just load the toneprint with their spectracomp and leave it on... nice compressor.

    If 250 watts would work, that could be in the running and can be found for real reasonable prices. If I had the money, I'd probably get the BH250 and 2x210 cabs. Use one for small places, and two stacked vertically for bigger places.

    my 2 cents
  12. I was strictly talking about the 15/6 cabs with the LF woofers. The Streamliner is a GREAT head in general.

    Again, strictly speaking of the unique combination of the 8 ohm 15/6 'fEARful' type cabs and the OP's goal of getting a micro to bring the best of that cab out, I would say that the GKMB800 is probably the best bang for the buck with that cab in the micro format. The Puma900 is great and literally twice the price... a bit smoother, cleaner and more transparent. The GKMBFusion800 is a bit larger, but will give you just a touch more smoothness and a bit more relaxed top end. All good stuff, and all with plenty of '8ohm power' to drive the mighty 15/6 to full volume and more (careful with the 'more':p).

    My favorite small head is the Aguilar TH500, but not optimal voicing, EQ, and power IMO for the 15/6.

    The fEARful threads and Greenboys forum are great places to get amp pairing rec's from current owners.
  13. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    Mostly agree with this based on my similar gig / equipment experiences.

    This year I've been gigging the Tecamp Puma 900 and it's been the best amp I've ever used tone wise and volume wise. Also enjoying the older Tecamp Puma 500 with Powersoft unit esp. w/acoustic bass.
  14. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    +1 GK MB800 would probably be the ticket with that cab. Although with that 3015LF I'd be tempted by the Shuttlemax 9.2 again since it's tighter in the low end than the GK. Both would be excellent.

  15. +1 That was my personal favorite when I had my fEARful 15/6 for that short time. The only reason I am favoring the GKMB800 so much is that the OP specifically said micro, and the GK is TINY. The Shuttle Max 9.2 is super lightweight, but more 'full amp' size, as you know.
  16. 4-string


    Jul 23, 2006
    I too really like the MB800, and I think it works very well with that type of cabs. Plenty of punch and volume, open and uncompressed low end, and that great GK eq that lets you tame the hi mids/treble without losing clarity and definition.
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    GK MB800 or MB Fusion 800 if you like it clean and mean. If you don't mind going to 11 pounds and a lot more $$$, the Glockenklang Blue Soul may be right for you. It really depends on your personal taste. If you're not into the clean modern sound, Aguilar's Tone Hammer 500 would be worth considering.
  18. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I use a Streamliner900 with an LDS 15/6 and it works well provided you're okay with dialing the bass control down a bit to tighten up the low end. I usually find myself dropping the bass, and adding low mids set to 220hz. That gets me back to a good working tone. It's not super punchy like it was when I was running an older Tecamp Puma1000 (Powersoft version), but it definitely gets the job done.

    My one complaint is that the 8ohm power rating feels a little optimistic. I would love it if the head had a little more juice.
  19. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    Oops I forgot how big the SMX is. Hardly "micro" ! Lol.
    I prefer the MB800 over the Fusion based on size alone.
  20. I think my Gallien Krueger MB Fusion 500 is amazing. It really surprised the hell out of me, because I originally bought it just to use in rehearsal rooms (their varied selection of crap, blown, terrible sounding amps was driving me insane). I had tried lugging my Walkabout head... but I'm in the city, and I travel on the subway—and it was too much with all my other gear—so, enter the MB Fusion 500. It sounds INCREDIBLE! I'd have absolutely no problem using the GK in place of my Walkabout on gigs, and that's saying a lot, because I really, really, like my Walkabout.

    Do yourself a favour, and check it out.


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