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carvin BX 250 vs GK MB 200

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Billy K, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. Billy K

    Billy K

    Nov 5, 2009
    North Bay Marin
    Anyone have info or feedback on these 2 amp heads they both are small in size and that is what I am looking for. The Carvin is 50 bucks more, Not a deal breaker if it is all that and more next to the GK.So I need help picking one or the other.Pro or con??
  2. Bump i am interested!
  3. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    The form factor of the GK is so much smaller it really wins this one hands down.

    Also, it is widely respected here as sounding incredible.
  4. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I own both.

    The MB200 is heavy and thick-sounding unless you flatten the response curve per fdeck's info (in the MB200 thread if I recall correctly). Even flattened, though, there's still a veil over the sound -- a murkiness, if you will -- something that the BX250 won't give you unless you ask for it with the drive control.

    You can come close to an MB200's sound with a BX250. You can't come close to a BX250's sound with an MB200. If you slap and you like a nice clear hi-fi sound, then the BX250 is what you want.

    Both amps work great with external power amps. Either one would make a great preamp.

    The BX250 has features the MB200 doesn't: the mids are semi-parametric, there's a capable soft-knee on-board compressor, there's a mute switch, there's a drive control, and there are two speaker outputs. The speaker outputs are phone jacks.

    The MB200 has one speaker output but it's a dual-purpose one, i.e. Speakon+phone.

    The MB200 uses a fan to keep cool. The BX250 uses no fan. My experience beating the crap out of an MB15 with an extension cab in hot weather is proof enough for me that a fan isn't needed in the BX250. (The MB15 head and the BX250 are essentially the same platform.)

    Full disclosure: My MB200 is not running, due to fan-circuit problems. However, this is a sample size of only one in a population of what's probably thousands by this point, and so is statistically insignificant. I am still a huge supporter of GK, the MB200, and, by the way, the Backline.

    I may have missed a difference or two, but you can compare the feature sets from the promo material.

    Hope this helps.
    AstroSonic and hufe like this.
  5. bassMG

    bassMG Guest

    Jun 19, 2010
    Go GK,
    I tried the GK 500 watt micro at GC. I liked it. I liked the markbass littlemark III better so thats what I bought. I Ordered a Carvin BX500 because it had more features than the MB and alegedlly the same watts. I A/B them. The Carvin sounded weak compared to the MB and the MB's sound was tube like. Slam dunk for me, markbass.
    I have heard that Carvin has some good stuff but imo the GK would be my choice between those two. Also I tried the Ampeg micro 500 watt and its not as loud as the GK or the Markbass (loud & fat). The Ampeg and the Carvin say there output is 500 watts, imo they seem more like 200 or 300 watts.
  6. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    The Carvin over the GK in a heartbeat. More features, more power, less coloration. The Carvin actually sounds more like my old GK700rb than the new GK micros, which are too woolly, IMO.
    As for the Markbass, it's a different sound than the BX500 but not sure why you came away thinking the Carvin sounded like only 200 or 300 watts. At 4 ohms the amp will burn your ears off. At 2 ohms (2, 4 ohm cabs) you'll register at the earthquake center. At 8 ohms, it is only 300 watts.
  7. SwitchGear

    SwitchGear Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    Carvin is made in the USA while the GK is imported from China, if that matters. It does to me.
  8. Old Joe

    Old Joe Guest

    Apr 22, 2011
    This is why I love my Carvin amp. Even without effects, if you put some time into working the controls, you can make it sound like anything you want.
  9. Anyone with any new thoughts on this?
  10. Sure, zombie thread and thanks for keeping away the "Do a search" people :D
    Other than that, no opinion here.
  11. LOL

    Did a search just finding very little on it. So i pumped the electricity into this and brought it back to life.;)
  12. gerryjazzman

    gerryjazzman Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2006
    New Jersey
    Well, I can't provide a direct comparison to the BX250 since I don't have one. However I do have a BX500 which I expect would be very similar tonally to the BX250 if you ignore the graphic eq which the BX250 does not have. For reference, besides the BX500 I also have an Eden WT-300, an Ampeg V4, an old Carvin preamp with single band semi-parametric EQ and just sold a Navigator preamp.

    I recently picked up a used MB200 on the cheap to put together a micro rig of doom of sorts with a 1x10 that I want to build. I'm used to the very flexible EQ of the Carvin and Eden amps and wouldn't want to give that up for the IMO limited EQ capability of the GK. For what it is, the MB200 is a great little amp and they seem to be relatively plentiful on the used market for considerably less than $200.

    From some critical listening, looking at the schematics of other GK heads that appear to have the same EQ, and fdeck's RTA to determine flat settings, I can understand why some would find this (and probably the other MB heads as well) "thick" sounding. GK's design of the EQ controls is asymmetric and they apparently skew the bass and treble response towards more boost than cut and the mid controls towards more cut than boost. The specs also indicate the mid control asymmetry. It's almost as if GK decided to tailor their amps more towards slappers (I'm sure that's not really the case). I find that it doesn't provide enough boost / control in the mids to my taste to get the best out of a fretless bass that I can with the Carvin.

    To me the MB200 doesn't sound overly thick if you don't boost the bass much past 1'oclock or so. I actually find it pretty articulate, but all my cabs are kind of mid forward. I would say it would probably not pair up as well with cabs that are somewhat scooped already.

    I also really like my BX500, actually more so than my Eden. Bottom line is that size not being an issue, I would choose the BX250 over the MB200 because of it's mid flexiblity. Since I already have flexibility in my Carvin and Eden amps, I chose the MB200 for extreme portability and besides, it's so gosh darn cute. :D
  13. Well this is no longer true of GK if that matters.
  14. ^ very true as of 01/01/2012.
  15. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Play guitar.
    I have not tried the Carvin, but I have owned the GK MB200 for awhile, now, and I have pretty much relegated it to a headphone/practise amp for home use only. It saved my butt once on a gig, but I was'nt really concerned about how it sounded then; I just wanted to get through the gig. Subsequently, after trying it on some gigs, I could not get comfortable with the tone I was getting, and found myself constantly fiddling with the controls. I even tried it with a 1500 watt power amp, and it definitely can push a power amp , but, I just could'nt dial in a tone I liked. It serves excellently as a small headphone amp to learn new tunes hooked up to my computers, or just a stay at home, noodling around amp. Definitely the form factor is excellent; fits into any gig bag, but you get the GK MB tone, for better or for worse. I bought a Carvin BX 1500 in the meantime, and instantly fell in love with it, especially the EQ and compressor. If the 250 is anything like it, I would jump on it as a backup head. Although, I don't see the advantage over a BX500, which has the excellent ( imho ) graphic EQ, and twice the wattage. I was toying with the idea of actually getting a BX 500 to rack with the BX1500, in case either one went down, I would'nt have to change anything but a speaker cable. Still, that little BX 250 is tempting.
  16. tubenutq5


    Mar 27, 2013
    Corvallis, OR
    I own a MB210 that uses the Carvin BX250. This is a stunningly excellent amp. Everything actually works. Compressor (one knob), parametric, contour everything.
    Sold a GX Fusion MB 800 recently. An excellent amp also but not my taste. I realize that "tone" is relative to the user but Carvin's little box has the best pre-amp that they have ever produced and it certainly exceeds the GK IMO. I am thinking of buying one of the BX250 heads to complete my mini-rig.
  17. matthewbrown

    matthewbrown Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Harwich, MA, USA
    After awhile of using the GK MB200, I am opting for the MB 250 from Carvin, because my BX500 has worked out so well. The controls are the same on each amp (minus the graphic eq, which I rarely use), and they are excellent. The GK is REALLY SMALL AND LIGHT. It sounds good. But I think there may be issues with reliability (one of mine went bad after a year and half), so I would consider it a backup/practice amp only.
  18. I love my Carvin MB15! It has the BX250 amp and one 15" speaker and it kills. Its such a flexible amp, and with the ext 15" cab I can't imagine many gigs where this wouldn't work. Just the simple act of rolling back the contour control makes it go from nice tame sound to reaching out and slapping you! Its such a versatile amp, I can't imagine needing anything else really IMHO.
  19. David Raichel

    David Raichel

    Apr 24, 2017
    Hi I've been a Carvin user for years and own both the micro 250 head as well as the mb15 combo with 1x15 extension micro cab both have been reliable and sound great with plenty of power at an excellent price and being that i live in san diego its convenient because thats where the warehouse is so if i ever have problem its taken care of quickly.
  20. alembic76407


    Apr 29, 2004
    my Carvin's have never let me down