G-K RB800 or Carvin R-600? Pros Cons

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Mrbowtieguy, May 16, 2005.

  1. Mrbowtieguy


    May 16, 2005
    Which would be a better Bass amp,
    A Gallien Krueger RB800 or a Carvin r600, Both have simlar power, Bi Amp features, and price. The GK may be more reliable and easier to dial in a tone, Carvin ?
  2. Rat


    Mar 15, 2005
    Boston Sewers
    +1 for the GK!!
  3. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    That GK is a gem. Its been around since the mid 80's, VERY reliable, good sounding, and used to be one of the top two amps (along with the SVT) for standard backline bass rigs on production shows.

    It may be an old design, but I think its MUCH better than the Carvin.
  4. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    IMO, the Carvin can't be beat. In terms of versatility and quality of usable tones, the GK doesn't even come close. I've been playing Carvin amps for years without the least bit of reliability issues and mine has even taken a solo flight down a large staircase. It may take a little longer to dial in, but the extra time spent can be priceless. Just my opinion.......
  5. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    I've owned two Carvins, including a R600, and both of them were reliability nightmares. I don't own them any more; I couldn't even sell them in good faith, so I gave them away.

    GK all the way.
  6. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    Okay, and how much did Carvin pay you to state this? :eyebrow: :rolleyes: :p

    Just kidding, but honestly you are the first person i've heard of who hasn't had problems with their Redline head.

    The 800RB is an amazing solid state amp. Built really tough, and a great tone (for some reason I think it sounds "Greasy" in a good way). I'd take one over an SVT-CL or AV (not sure about a vintage one, but definately over a modern day one)
  7. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I've owned the Redline, and played more 800RBs on festival gigs than I care to remember ... and my suggestion is, go with choice C. I think the newer Carvin B1500 is a better amp than either of those. Sounds great, lots of power, and quite well built as far as I can see. It doesn't biamp, but honestly, I think biamping in bass amps is overrated.

    (BTW, between the original two amps you mentioned, I preferred the R600 tonally. But it did not like being bridged into my 4 ohm Acme.)
  8. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    I think biamping is only cool when you need a TON of clank, or if you like overdriven mids & highs but still have clean lows.
  9. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    The GK all the way. But for the same money, you can get the 1001rb-II. Same tone but more power!
  10. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    I actually always thought the 1001RB was a bit more hi-fi/transparent and not quite as greasy sounding as the 800RB. Maybe it's just me? :eyebrow:
  11. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.

    +1 yeah baby! you can get a gritty tone if you want, but the flexibility is there for any style probably. $600 at Riksmusic.com

    GO GK! 1001RB II

    Carvin=boat anchor, door stop, object for throwing, etc. did I mention they suck? (R600 that is. The new 1500 sounds GOOD, but I wouldnt trust the reliability for another year) ;)
  12. My cover band made a promo video and I used the provided rig at the studio which was a no name 4x10 and an 800rb. We played punk, alternative rock, metal, funk rock, and rap and the 800rb sounded great on all of them. I was really impressed with the warmth and low sound from the 800rb and a 4x10 when we played the rap songs. I've never played the Carvin but the GK is hard to beat.
  13. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    Yeah but it comes with eq settings in the manual that gives you the 800RB sounds.

    It does both.


  14. 73jbass


    Apr 17, 2004
    I have owned,in the past, a Carvin R600,R1000,and their 1000 watt power amp. I had been experimenting with those amps for about 6 months, and never quite happy with the results. Just out of curiosity, I dug out my first year production RB800 to compare it to the Carvins. It wasn't even close. The RB was the clear winner. The Carvins may have more tone versatility,but it doesn't matter it the amp isn't reliable,and doesn't put out the wattage that it's supposed to. The RB was louder,cleaner,and 100% reliable. The Carvins started breaking up way too soon,as compared to the RB that just got louder and maintained a clean tone. The Carvins are grossly underpowered imho. I wouldn't rate them ay 1/2 of their advertised output. Get yourself an old RB800 and be done with it,you'll like the results.
  15. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    I'm not sure if mine would be a fair comparison because I've owned an R600 and i currently own an RB700-II.

    For my purposes, the R600 had too many bells and whistles, mainly because many of the bells and whistles it possessed were not very good in my opinion. I'm speaking about the onboard compressor (NEVER got any use out of it), the gate and some of the shaping features. The overall tone of the amp was bland to my ears and it just didn;t suit me. This may speak more of my tastes than of the Carvin's tone, because the tone may have been too transparent for me.

    The main problem I had with the 600 was due to the fact that it was woefully underpowered. the 600-watt rating was quite liberal, in my mind, and the TE 200-watt head I had blew it away in terms of actual power.

    Reliability-wise, other than the occasional loosening of screws and nuts, it never really gave me any problems. I owned it for about 3-4 years, I'd say and performed and practiced with it exclusively during that time. I never dropped it, so I can't say how it will fare in a fall, but it held up well during practice and gigs.

    I've only had my G-K for a couple of months, so i cannot speak to its reliability. Tone-wise and power-wise, i love the thing to death. It has a COMPLETELY different tone than that of the Carvin - it possesses a much more modern tone. I actually describe the head as the "Stingray of bass amps" because of its tonal characteristics and because I find myself having to actually dial down the treble in much the same way i have to dial it down on my 'Ray.

    I hope this helped - it was purely subjective.
  16. Mrbowtieguy


    May 16, 2005
    I believe I'll go with the GK after all. I am a guitar player starting on bass, and need a basic solid tight bass sound, I'm looking at a 4-10 cab to go with it, anyone like carvin cabs?, or would something else be a better compliment to the amp. Mainly intrested in tight low end. I have had bad expierence with carvin amps 15 yrs ago, But I do like their cabinets made from real Plywood, I've had good luck with Carvins sound reinforcement (mixers, PWR Amps, PA Speakers)
    and I own several of their guitars which I love, I don't care for their pickups which is the first thing I replace. I may try and find a used Carvin 5 string.
    Thanks to everyones opinion, I was leaning torward the GK just because it has a proven track record and seems to be a workhorse, and the defacto standard for many studios, and touring bands.
    The carvin on the other hand seems to be underpowered, to many useless features like compressor, limiter, althought the EQing may be more flexible. I 'm thinking simpler is better.
  17. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Just curious: why are you limiting yourself to just these two amps? Another one you might consider, besides the B1500, is the Kustom Groove 1200. I haven't played it, but several folks here have, and they love it. I think Quadzilla has one.
  18. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I've had mine for over a year now. Not one problem. Still think it's better than either of the choices above. Just my $0.02 worth, or possibly less than that.
  19. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    If it's the Red Line series cabs, stay far FAR away. No bottom end whatsoever. Hell, some guitar cabs have more bottom end than them! The BRX series cabs are supposed to be a huge improvement, but they're also HEAVY.

    If you're on a budget, go with Avatar Speakers. You simply cannot go wrong with them if you're on a budget. I think the NEO410 would suit you fine, but if you're gonna use a 5-string, I think you'd be better off with the B212. If you've got money to burn, look at Schroeder Cabinets. There's a megathread on them somewhere, and having played James Hart's 1210, I have to honestly say it's a true marvel in bass cabinetry. Such a small cabinet that's so freakin LOUD with killer tight (yet deep) lows, and a lower midrange that just sings with a P-bass! Sooo portable as well... They also cut through the mix like crazy.
  20. NOLA Bass

    NOLA Bass Mr. Worst Case Scenario Man Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Orleans LA
    +1 on the GK. I've had my 800RB since 1989 and it is still going strong.