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Down to 2 choices: Aggie vs GB

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by gustobassman, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. gustobassman

    gustobassman I'm only here for the after party.. Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2011
    Sandy Eggo
    OK, so for the last few months i've been researching info on a new amp. After mulling the idea of an RBI + power amp setup vs. lighter Class D stuff, I'm down to the Aguilar TH500 and the GB Shuttlemax 9.2. Unfortunately no dealers around me have the SM 9.2 in stock. I like the Aguilar tone, but after reading pages upon pages of praise for the SM 9.2 (and seeing Ed Freidland's review) i think i'm leaning more towards the SM 9.2.

    My reasoning is down to this... more tone shaping capability with the Shuttlemax 9.2, and the power section (500 8ohm/900 4ohm) really seems like it will work pretty good with my cabs.

    Anyone that has owned both amps, maybe you can give me some pros/cons of one vs the other. I did read through pages of stuff on here, but i'm looking for a more direct comparison of the 2 amps.

    Thanks TB!
  2. gkbass13

    gkbass13 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    I personally am making the switch from a Genz Shuttle 9.0 to having an Aguilar DB 750 and a TH 350 or 500 as my small gig backup.
    I just found for my personal taste and other gear choices, Aguilar works for me.

    Regarding tone shaping options though, you really cant do better than the Genz shuttlemax 9.2 for a single amp solution.
  3. +1 for tone shaping & versatility, very hard to beat the GB. For a "vintage cab with no tweeter- P bass w/ flats" vibe ;) VERY hard to beat the Aggy
  4. akdmx


    May 15, 2009
    I'm using a SM9.2 and really like it. That being said, I run the EQ mostly flat with a slight scoop. I leave all of the shaping options off and hardly ever leave the tube channel.

    My point is that there is a lot to like about the inherent sound of the SM its self aside from the shaping and features it has (of which there are plenty).
  5. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    IIRC, the TH500 thread had some comments comparing it to GB heads.
  6. gustobassman

    gustobassman I'm only here for the after party.. Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2011
    Sandy Eggo
    See, that's where i'm torn. I've been a passive Fender player for years. I'm all about that type of sound, but from what i've been reading here i can get the best of both worlds with the SM 9.2. Since i haven't played through one, i can't verify that...
  7. AaronHuff


    Oct 31, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    This isn't exactly the same thing, but for what it's worth: I had the GB STM-600 for a while and loved it, then I picked up the TH500 on a whim because I've loved other Aguilar gear I've owned in the past. Next to each other there was no contest, and the rest of my band agreed. I'm a P-bass guy, and the TH500 tone was definitely more natural and vintage sounding. The GB had a bit of sterility to it that I couldn't dial out, so I ended up keeping the Aguilar.
  8. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Cant go wrong IMO.
  9. I recently sold my GB Shuttle 6.0 to pick up an Aguilar TH350. The best way I can put it is that I have few if any criticisms of the Shuttle, but the TH350 is the best amp I've ever played through by far. The TH seems to have a built in perfect warmth, and it is also telepathically responsive whenever I dig in, giving a satisfying growl that I was never able to coax out of the Shuttle. I actually don't think I have a need for overdrive pedals anymore - the TH just knows what to do, when I want it.
  10. The GB's will reproduce the sound of yr bass more authentically imo.
    The TH500 has more of a "baked in" tone built into it.
    If I wanted a "reference" amp, then the Shuttle is it.
    Hard choice, if I had to pick one! But for that vintage style-can't beat the Aggy.
    You may get the best of both with the GB, but I don't think they really do a "vintage" tone. It'll do a lot, but not that old school tubey fudge like the Aggy does so well (for a micro-especially with no tubes at all).
  11. AMp'D.2play

    AMp'D.2play Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    For what you're used to with your Fender - warm, vintage tone - the TH500 is probably the 'safe' bet. Plus, you know you like the tone (I'm assuming you've either played through one or heard enough audio/video clips.) The TH500 is the known; the GB is the unknown.

    Here's a suggestion, then. Buy a SM9.2 from an online retailer like MF that carries both. If you like the GB after getting to play through one, keep it. If you decide the SM9.2 is not your cup o' tea, you still have the TH500 as your fallback. Return the GB w/in the return period & exchange it for the TH.

    For build quality & after-market service, you can't go wrong with either.
  12. Highfox


    Mar 10, 2010
    Sounds like out of the GB heads the Streamliner would suit you more than the Shuttle?

    Might be an idea to order from a place that has both amps and you are coved on a 30 day return policy.. that way you can swap one out if your not entirely happy.

    Streamliner for me, simple controls and great warm sound.
  13. I've owned and gigged both. Both fantastic, both quite different.

    Put VERY simply, if you like 'tight and bright', the Shuttlemax 9.2 is awesome. Of course, you can fatten it up a bit and smooth the top end with the very powerful EQ, but it always stays very punchy down low, and very articulate/bright up top.

    The TH500 is much darker, fatter, chewier sounding to me. Not particularly 'articulate' in the sense of really hearing the upper frequency character of the lower notes. It is all about 'supportive bass' down low. That doesn't mean it doesn't extend up into the treble region, but the upper mid response is a bit blurry, versus the very present up front top end of the Shuttle Max.

    Of course, the TH500 is smaller and lighter, but the Max is still very lightweight.

    So different, and knob turning doesn't really ever get those two to sound the same.

    Put another way, the TH500 kind of has an inherent tone of a bass plucked close to the neck with the neck pickup favored. The Genz Max has an inherent tone of a bass plucked closer to the bridge, with the bridge pickup favored.

    If you are really unsure, the Max is probably the safer choice, since there is SO much EQ power, and you can dial in the Max to get a little closer to the TH500 versus the other way around.

    Both great heads, both very loud at 4ohms. At 8ohms, the Max seems to have a bit more going on power-wise.

    Quality and service are great with both companies.
  14. One more point. The Max 9.2, to me, can be made to work well with any cab, from the very wide tonal footprint of the fEARful type cabs to the very punchy, tight Genz Neox cabs or whatever.

    The TH500 has MUCH in common with the DB750/51. It is fat and big and a bit bloomy and super warm. If you have a 'widely voiced, hi fi type cab', you might get into trouble with articulation and what I call 'space between the notes'. The TH500 (just like the DB750) can get a bit blurry with those sort of 'hi fi' cabs (as we use that term on Talkbass... deep lows, polite mids, crystal clear extended top end).

    If you are using Aguilar DB cabs, the TH500 is just magnificent. With some other cabs, not so much.

    So, again, I totally dig the TH500, but like the DB750 (IMO) it is a bit of a 'specialty head' that takes a bit of thought in cab matching, and also is targeted to a more specific tone profile (fat and supportive) than the 'Swiss Army Knife' capabilities of the Max 9.2

    IMO and IME!
  15. "If you are using Aguilar DB cabs, the TH500 is just magnificent. With some other cabs, not so much." - KJung.

    I am still working on getting the sound I like with my TH500 and my Accugroove Tri 1-15. as much as I like the sound at home on the gig at high volume there is a lack of clarity. I also feel that this amp is not ideal for my 5 string basses, my Eden head seems to have more presence in the B string.

    I was able to A-B the TH500 with a GB shuttle 6.2 through a single STL 12 inch cab. The TH500 sounded really nice and punchy, the GB was clearer and more transparent in the lower mids. The pre-shape buttons on the GB allowed me to boost bass that fattened up the B string on my bass. I find that boosting bass on the TH500 seems to boost the E string more than than the B string, therefore I end up running the TH500 flat on the gig. I beginning to think that the TH500 is aimed at a four string bassist.

    I'm wondering if a GB 9.2 might have been a better choice for me at this point. I suppose I could always try different cabs with the TH500 but I'm reluctant to get rid of the Accugroove Tri-115. I had a GK MB Fusion which sounded great through that Tri 1-15 but it had a problem and I switched it out for the TH500.

    I did hear a long time ago that a Thunderfunk amp was nice with Accugroove cabinets, I was hoping to stick with lightweight gear though. Perhaps I need a head recommendation for that Tri-115.

    I'm debating trying my old Eden d210t and d115t with the TH500 on this weekend's gig just to see what that sounds like, too bad they are so heavy!
  16. Yeah, that Accugroove cab is relatively big down low, and very polite up top.... not the best combination with the TH500, and I would guess the tone could get a bit blurry when pushed. I guess one thing that is 'interesting' with the TH500 is that just a slight, slight, slight boost or cut of the bass control changes the whole nature or that amp. I think that is why some describe the amp as 'all midrange' and others describe it as 'bottom heavy and dark'.

    I'm talking a 64th of an inch turn (or I guess in 'circle terms', a degree or two). Amazing how that amp gets HUGE quickly, but also how the midrange becomes present and uncovered quickly also.

    One of the issues I have with the TH500 is that if you have a cab that can benefit from a low mid bump, the TH500 semi-parametric does that wonderfully. However, there is nothing left to brighten the upper midrange with a cab like the Accugroove.

    I LOVE my P Bass and Thunderchild115 (somewhat similar to the Accugroove Tri112... bigger, more even up top, but still relatively similar). With the P, the low mid bump is 'built into the bass' and the upper mid presence is not key with a P anyway. With my J, it sounds too dark, and boosting the treble results in too my 'clack' for me.

    Also +1 that the warm, mid present tone of the Thunderfunk550 series is magnificent with the Tri112/Tri115 if you want a sort of 'vintage meets modern' sort of thing... punchy, warm, and lots of 'space between the notes'.

    If messing with the slight bass boost and cut doesn't solve your issue, the Genz Shuttle Max 9.2 would most likely be GREAT with that cab.
  17. Thanks, what do you think of the GB Streamliner with the Accugroove cabs, since we are amp rolling?
  18. I personally found that the Streamliner was even more sensitive to cab pairing, and really sounded and behaved like an all tube amp... definitely to my ear the closest thing to an all tube amp in a hybrid that I've heard (with the Walkabout and MPulse 600 close on its heels... I guess the Orange Terror also, but I never heard that one).

    So, I always recommend pairing the Streamliner with a cab you would be comfortable pairing an SVT or whatever with... sealed 10 cab, or a tightly voiced ported 410 like the AE410 (or, as another example, those little Bag End 15 cubes, which are mostly midrange, and vibe a sealed 10 vintage sort of thing nicely).

    That was my typically long winded way of saying you would run into a similar issue you are running into with the TH500 and that cab. IMO there! I'm sure for some tone goals, all these combinations would sound good, but I need definition, articulation and punch myself.
  19. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    I owned Shuttle 9.0, TH500 (and 350), and Streamliner. It really comes down to what sound you're looking for. I loved a P bass with a Streamliner (into Berg AE210s). I frankly did not like any of my other basses with that amp as I could never dial out enough mids/low mids for my taste. Not that I like a scooped sound - I don't. But the Streamliner has a ton of low mid in the sound.

    Between the Shuttle 9.0 and TH500, different voices. The GB is more "even", the TH500 has some hair in the mids even with no drive. I found the TH500 to be somewhere in between the Streamliner (and TC RH450) and Shuttle series. The GB is "hi fi" compared to the TH500. I could never really get the Shuttle to give me that mid punch that I tend to favor. The TH500 does that out of the box. The TH500 isn't as open up high (but is more open than the RH450), and the other thing that bugged me about the TH500 is that I had to run the input pad, and even with that I found that the front end didn't have a ton of headroom. The GB otoh took whatever I threw at it without clipping.

    I'm using Puma 500 or 900 now which I find a bit more open than the TH500, but punchier than the GB. Not to muddy the waters :D
  20. +1 Interestingly, in my search for a bit more traditional, vintage tone platform for my P Bass, I went from an RH450 to a Streamliner to a TH500. Those heads, while they all sound different, really are designed to vibe a more 'classic' sort of old school tone for me.

    Like you, with a P Bass, I thought the Streamliner with the AE10 cabs (in my case, the AE410) was simply magnificent... punchy, warm, big, tubey. The only reason I no longer own the Streamliner is that I got tired of carrying the AE410 around. The TH500, to me, is a 'better' RH450/750. Less compressed down low, more extension up top (I guess the RH750 fixed to muted top end of the RH450), simpler, lighter, louder.

    I found all three of these amps a little fussy with cab pairings. My Markbass F500, the Max 9.2, the LMII, always sounded good to me with literally any cab I tried them with.