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Carvin BX500 vs. GK MB 500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Commreman, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. Commreman

    Commreman Faith, Family, Fitness, and Frets Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    New Jersey
    Aside from the obvious differences (2 ohm vs. 4 ohm operation, tube vs, no tube), has anyone done a direct comparison between these two heads? I'm considering both for a smaller rig, and I'm on the fence about which direction to go.

    I currently have a MarkBass SD800, which is a monster, and quite frankly, more than I need for smaller gigs. I'm considering one of the above for smaller shows.

    I've been through the mega threads on each. Anyone who can shed light who may have done a direct comparison would be helpful!
  2. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
  3. :D :) :cool: :D ;)
    WOW!! All the pages written on both those amps and you still don't have enough information? (LOL!)
  4. Keywords are important... :rolleyes:
  5. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I have compared these two heads, and I do think that this is an excellent question. There are the obvious differences of features, size, layout, etc, but of course you can get all of that by just looking at the pics/specs for each. Tone-wise, they do have some similarities (both are very articulate and very "quick"), but they each have their own personality. The GK is more aggressive and growly, and much bigger in the lows with the tone controls set flat. The Carvin is more airy and clean sounding, and IME/IMHO, it does need a slight goosing of the Bass knob to sound its best.

    Interestingly, each of these has been through some "evolution," and I do think that it's worth trying to get the very latest iteration of whichever one you go with. But I think that both of these heads are excellent, and they each can cover a good bit of ground. Comparing them both for yourself is of course the ideal way to go (and Carvin has that no questions asked return policy).

    Hope this helps, Tom.
  6. Commreman

    Commreman Faith, Family, Fitness, and Frets Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    New Jersey
    Tom - Thank you. This is what I was looking for!

    Clean, articulate and quick is what I am accustomed to after a couple of years with the SD800. I was a GK guy for years before that (original 400RB, and first generation 1001RB), and sometimes I miss the grind of "hitting the rails" with either of those amps. The thing that has intrigued me about the BX500 is perhaps dialing in a bit of actual tube grind when I need it, and of course, multiple eq options.

    It's funny - the large majority of the shows I'm involved with have full PA support, so I wind up doing the old Duck Dunn trick - dialing the lows way down on stage and letting the PA carry them out front, boosting my stage mids for the sake of clarity for me, and keeping my actual stage volume down. I love the SD800, but I never get near touching all of the power that that particular amp has to offer!
  7. I also think it depends on what speaker cab/combo u use. Some cabs will make the GK sound awesome and some the Carvin.

    I also think "your" brand is always based on bias. If 2 heads are virtually the same, and the differences are small, then the choice is bassed on price and reliability. I prefer Carvin bass amps and PA power amps over all the competition because I've used them for years with out any problems. The power to weight ratios and prices are awesome at Carvin, so why not? I know you'll have 1000 ppl tell you what they like and why. I love Carvin because it's local, I've never had problems, they cust service is awesome, prices rock, they are not a HUGE company and they put their hearts in their work, not to mention they do sound great, so there's my biased opinion, even though I have not played through all the amp brands in this catagory.

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