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Best portable bass heads for rock!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TCobb, Mar 21, 2019.


  1. TCobb

    TCobb

    Aug 16, 2018
    I’m playing in a pop punk band that gigs pretty often and want to downsize my gear starting with my bass head, currently a GK800rb. I’m looking for recommendations for compact and lightweight bass heads that can handle the job. 300w or more. There’s a lot out there on the web, but I’d like some real opinions. Something sturdy, loud, and easy to carry. A switchable gain channel or two would be nice but isn’t necessary. I’d say $800 is my limit. Suggestions???
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
  2. 4stringmf

    4stringmf

    Mar 2, 2008
    San Francisco
    Kevnn4, 707GK, gepettus and 3 others like this.
  3. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    The gk mb 500 / 800 is also very nice but has extended treble that I'm not sure the RB does or that you would like. Certainly it makes good sounds for pop punk, and has a foot switchable drive channel with separate master volume for a little extra grind without making you 5x louder.

    @4stringmf, where did you see GK say the Legacy sound was modeled on the RB? I mean it makes sense, but nothing I've seen from them mentions anything about the tone profile.
     
    TCobb likes this.
  4. 4stringmf

    4stringmf

    Mar 2, 2008
    San Francisco
    Discovered it on here..... New GK 800 Legacy!

    The Legacy Series represents 50 years of design, innovation and industry experience at Gallien-Krueger. Bob Gallien remains at the helm of the company, still working in the lab daily, as he did in the beginning, to create the best sounding, most versatile, and reliable professional bass gear available. Because the Legacy Series shares the same designer as the 800RB, it shares the same DNA and the same level of innovation, with a more evolved feature set and construction concept.

    The introduction of the 800RB, in 1980, cemented Gallien-Krueger as a leader in solid-state bass amplification, with its signature growl, clarity, power and features that were ahead of its time. The Legacy Series of heads captures that same aesthetic while adding something all its own. From clean, clear, biting tones, to saturated overdrive, the Legacy series has it all. Coming in 500, 800 and 1,200W Class D models, the Legacy heads are ready for the biggest stages, the smallest living rooms, and everything in between.

    To improve performance and reliability, the Legacy Series uses a unique interconnection system that eliminates problems that can develop over time from constant vibration and temperature extremes that gear is subjected to with heavy use. Using circuit boards with gold-plated connectors, rather than cables with standard tin connectors, this type of construction delivers a more pure, reliable sound. Features include GK's classic 4-band EQ, overdrive complete with tone shaping, additional voicing filters such as "Bump," "Contour" and "Presence", balanced DI with pre- and post-EQ, an effects loop, aux. and headphone connections, and Load capacity selection, to deliver optimum power into 2-, 2.7-, 4- and 8-ohm cabinet configurations.
     
  5. TCobb

    TCobb

    Aug 16, 2018
    Thanks 4stringmf! I was unaware of this model GK coming out. I was aware of their MB500/800 and they are on my list to check out.
     
  6. jthisdell

    jthisdell

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    The ToneHammers are pretty much the tonal opposite of the GK MB series. If you get a chance to try one you definitely should. The TH500 is a great amp, I've loved mine for several years and since there are a lot of them out there you can find them used readily.
     
    TCobb likes this.
  7. TCobb

    TCobb

    Aug 16, 2018
     
  8. TCobb

    TCobb

    Aug 16, 2018
    They've also been on my short list to check out. I have Aguilar, GK, Ashdown, and Orange that I want to check out. Unfortunately, I have no place near me where I could find them all and plug in and play. So all the input is great! How would the TH500 sound with a P-bass playing some punk rock compared to the same setup with a GK MB series?
     
  9. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    Seems there is no LPF or it's at a very high frequency if there is one. The GK MB amp sounds brighter than most other amps I've played through. I haven't played through lots and lots of amps, but in my relatively small sample size this has been my experience.
     
    TCobb likes this.
  10. Alexander

    Alexander

    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I just got a TH700 this week and haven’t gigged with it yet - sounds absolutely huge though with my PBass. Has clarity like a GK, but a much warmer, vintage sound that is closer to Ampeg.
     
  11. jthisdell

    jthisdell

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    The GK MB series are much brighter. The TH has a useful and interesting Drive control that is not an OD but rolls off the very lows and highs.

    Demoing bass amps can be hard, the local shops here have very little bass gear, I drove an hour a couple times to one shop and then four hours another time (although it was part of a planned trip to family, nut just an eight hour drive to test an amp). IMHO it is well worth it to bring your bass, cab if possible, etc to try out.
     
    TCobb likes this.
  12. TCobb

    TCobb

    Aug 16, 2018
    So far the Tone Hammer and GK MB models have gotten all the attention in this thread, which is good. Any opinions on other lightweight bass heads out there? Ampeg, Orange, Darkglass, Mesa Boogie, Fender, Genzler, Traynor, Ashdown, etc?
     
  13. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
  14. Alexander

    Alexander

    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I hated Darkglass - as far away from the warm/fat/clear tone as you can get. The Ampeg stuff sounds okay, as does the Mesa (Walkabout) - they are closer to what I like, but a very distant second to the Aguilar. I’d never leave my SVT behind in favor of either of those heads - the Aguilar doesn’t feel like a compromise. The Fender Rumble series sounds good to me, but I find their inherent tone to be muddy and have to EQ that out. I like the Genzler head I tried out and their cabs seem super cool too. Haven’t tried any of the others on your list.
     
  15. TCobb

    TCobb

    Aug 16, 2018
    Alexander sounds like you definitely know what you like. May I ask what style of music you play most?
     
  16. 707GK

    707GK

    Jun 13, 2013
    California
    I use an Ashdown for rock music. I think it is a great compromise between fat/thumpy and bright/growly. I love GK gear, the Ashdown amps I’ve used are very similar (to my ear) but with less of the brittle, crystal clear top end that GK amps have and they are a bit smoother and more musical in the midrange. The growl you want in rock music, though...it’s hard to beat GK for that.
     
  17. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    TCobb likes this.
  18. TCobb

    TCobb

    Aug 16, 2018
    Which model Ashdown do you use, if I may ask?
     
  19. jthisdell

    jthisdell

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    The Fender Rumble heads are really good for the price
     
    TCobb likes this.
  20. TCobb

    TCobb

    Aug 16, 2018
    I'd really love to hear a demo of the new GK legacy models. If anyone comes across one, please post! I wonder how close they'll sound to the RB series and how different they'll sound from the MB series.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Feb 27, 2021

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