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Carvin BX500/700 vs. GK 700rb

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SplinteredSkull, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. So my plan has always been to get a GK 700rb-II to pair with my Mesa 212. I tried it out, loved the tone shaping, loved the aggressive tone. I've been having trouble scraping up the money to get one though because of car trouble and the lack of steady income. Lately, I've been eyeballing carvin products, both basses and amps. They seem like good amps for the money and I've heard good things about them here on TB. Can anyone kind of compare these two amps tonally? From what I've read up so far it seems that the GK has that signature GK sound and the GK growl of course. The Carvin is more tonally versatile and has more tone shaping options, but there isn't really a driven or growling tone to be had. The Carvin is also a hybrid so I'd expect it to have a slightly warmer sound? The only other hybrid I played beside the GK was a LH1000 and I liked the sound of that as well.

    Essentially, the Carvin is only $359 new and even less used, so it'd be easier for me to acquire and get gigging than the 700rb. I just don't want to be sacrificing good tone and quality in doing so. What says you TB :bassist:? I'm going after a sound similar to Tool, RATM, Black Sabbath, and Ghost.
  2. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    I've owned them both and like them both. Carvin's DRIVE control gives me a little more of the harmonics, which thicken up the sound, then the GK did, which remained clean IMO. The great thing about the Carvin is the defeatable grapic EQ along with the semi-parametric EQ, which can be used to pinpoint the mids to add/remove. There is no sacrifice in tone with either. The BX500 is available for 329.00 I heard. Is your cab a 4 or 8 ohms cab?
  3. It is an 8 ohm. So the Carvin kind of remains clean throughout its volume increase with the drive just thickening up the sound? I loved the GK growl but the lack of amp growl doesn't bother me so much since I plan to use pedals for OD anyway. Which may give the Carvin a 1-up if I wanted a clean tone at high volumes. And I really liked the EQ section on the Carvin since you are able to pinpoint the frequencies you want to work around
  4. BassikLee

    BassikLee Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    The BX500 won't get gritty, but the drive control does add quite a bit of character to the bass. I like mine, lots.
  5. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I've only used the Carvin stuff as rehearsal studio backline, but I greatly prefer my 700RB.
  6. Is it simply tonal preference or is there another reason?
  7. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    That's pretty much the consensus. The Carvin is widely liked, widely used, and represents a nice amp for a great price. Nothing wrong with it. But it's not necessarily known for having that magic sex appeal or charisma either - like Gallien Krueger or Mesa, for example.

    Is the price savings on the Carvin sufficient to allow you to fully compensated for any lack of sex appeal or charisma? Are you sure you wouldn't feel as if you'd settled for less than you could have had?

    These are considerations that have less to do with the products themselves than they do with your decision-making process, and your decision-making criteria. Which, of course, nobody knows as well as you do.

    Personally when it comes to tone I really want, I get kind of maniacal. And not getting what I really want is kind of falling in love with the woman of my dreams...then discover that she's trying to set me up with her little sister. :rollno:

    If you love the GK, then you love the GK. Are you sure you couldn't get what you really want by going to the aftermarket? Gently-used RB700-IIs pop up all the time in the Talkbass classifieds for very good prices... :eyebrow:

  8. Hahaha, nice comparison :D And I know that the 700rb's come up for great prices, $300-400. Just having that extra $75 in my pocket would be of more use than you can imagine right now. Every time I get the money then something happens to make it disappear. I've been trying to get a hold of one for awhile. Though honestly, I really am just curious as to how Carvin stacks up as they've always intrigued me. If the current job search proves fruitful then I'll probably snatch up the next GK. But there's also the whole "new" appeal. Which doesn't mean a whole lot to me considering the products we're discussing. If a Carvin can give me what I want and sound great while saving me money though, more power to me. Just would be a gamble since I couldn't try one out
  9. And you're right MM, the GK does have that charisma about it for me. It might be a gamble to feel like I got less than I could have, for a less than $100 difference.
  10. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Tonal preference. My sonic influences are similar yours, check links in sig to hear samples of what I generally sound like.
  11. Sounds gnarly dude :smug:
  12. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Yeah. That's what I'm trying to tell ya. Learn from the experience of someone who's been there. Or not... :eyebrow:

    Right now the extra $75 or $100 feels like all the money in the world. if you don't got, then you don't got.

    But what about six months from now, or 12 months from now, when you're flush with cash and could buy a brand new 700RB-II whenever you feel like it? Are you still going to be so in love with the Carvin then? Think about it...before you act.

    Ya want to save money? Buy generic laundry detergent instead of the brand name stuff when you go to the supermarket. Start a vegetable patch in the back yard, and grow your own salad.

    But cheap out on a bass amp because you don't have the patience to wait and save for what you really want? Whatever dude... :rolleyes:

  13. Spoken like a modern day Yoda :ninja: I can deal for another few months. And after the car is taken care of then the all rest can go to an amp
  14. sxaxsx


    May 23, 2012
    Harrisburg PA
    If you don't mind used this one is $324

    This one is $359

    Or if you are looking for the GK tone but don't need the extra power of the 700rb here is an 800rb for $299

    And you can purchase a 1 or 2 year warranty to go with it!
  15. Low Class

    Low Class Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    Orange Park, Florida
    Carvin is selling the BX500 new on eBay for $329.
  16. sxaxsx


    May 23, 2012
    Harrisburg PA
    Yeah but he wants the GK tone, and he can buy a used 800rb or 700rb for the same price and get a 2 year warranty with it.
    Even brand new the Carvin only comes with a 1 year warranty.
  17. sxaxsx


    May 23, 2012
    Harrisburg PA
    Not that there is anything wrong with the BX500, I use to have one and for the most part liked it very much. But I did have it fail like two weeks after the warranty ran out.
    To Carvin's credit they fixed it for me even though it was out of warranty. Still I was out 35+ dollars to ship it to them, and then was without it for over three weeks and missed two gigs in the meantime.
    The issue with mine seems to be an isolated issue though, the Carvin seems to have a good reputation around here.

    I have an 800rb and a 700rb now and am quite happy with them, and haven't had any issues with either.
  18. Troph


    Apr 14, 2011
    Kirkland, WA
    I own both of these amps. While I like the Carvin, I love the GK. If I could only keep one, the 700RB-II would be it.

    The GK has better punch, better build quality, and it just sounds better "flat". Plus, I can plug my signal cable into it without having to hold it down with my other hand. :)
  19. Mike C.

    Mike C. Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2008
    I also have both. Enjoy them both, but find the punch and tone of the 700rbII to be the amp I want as My sound. That punch and grind to me just defines the tone of a great bass groove