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Gallien-Krueger MB 800 or MB Fusion 800?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Killens84, Oct 30, 2013.


  1. Killens84

    Killens84 Supporting Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    Mississippi
    I know there have been threads talking about each of these amps, but I haven't found much info directly comparing the Gallien-Krueger MB 800 to the MB Fusion 800, since the Fusion 800 is relatively new. I'm just looking for a direct comparison in tone between these two specific amps, not the 500 models.

    Just to give you a reference of what I'm looking for, I currently use a Genz-Benz ShuttleMax 9.2 with a GB Uber 410 cab. My two basses are a passive Jazz and a passive P bass. I'm wondering which GK MB head will provide a tone that's more aggressive and punchy than the ShutteMax, but not quite as bright and edgy as Gallien-Krueger's RB series. I'm very interested in GK's MB 800 heads, but I'm not sure if the MB 800 or MB Fusion 800 will get me more in the ballpark of what I'm looking for. I want to cut through a band mix really well, but with just a little bit less brightness and edge than the GK RB series has. Thoughts, please?
     
  2. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I haven't done the comparison, but I suspect that either the MB 800 or the MB Fusion 800 would do the trick - with the Fusion version probably just a little rounder and smoother. It'll be interesting to hear from those who have done the comparison.

    MM
     
  3. Loving my MB800 through my Barefaced Super Twin.
    Such a range of sounds with 2 channels available.
    Tried the Fusion 500 and wasn't impressed.
    This set up is really focused and brings out tones in my passive jazz that I didn't know were there.
    Can't see the need to spend the extra on a Fusion 800, this amp does it all :)
     
    Soundchaser11460 likes this.
  4. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Actually, I think this has been discussed several times in some other threads, but admittedly, things can get a bit lost.

    I have both, and much like the difference between the MB500 and the MB Fusion, the MB Fusion 800 has more "harmonic excitement" and a bit more "texture," whereas the MB800 is a bit more focused and solid. There's certainly more peaks and valleys to the response from the MB Fusion 800, but they are not dramatic. It's somewhat akin to the differences you often hear between high-end tube and solid state home audio gear. The preamp layout and functions are darned near identical, just one is done with valve stages and one is done with solid state devices.

    FWIW, I don't have an overall preference between the two, but I definitely find that one will work slightly better than the other with certain bass and cab combinations.
     
  5. Killens84

    Killens84 Supporting Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    Mississippi
    Thank you, Tom. Would you say that the MB 800 has the same "sheen" as the RB series?
    I'm wondering which MB head would be a good medium between the brighter RB heads and a smooth, "wooly" head. My guess is that would be the Fusion 800. Unfortunately, there's nowhere close to me where I can go try these amps out in person.
     
    matt11 likes this.
  6. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Well, I'd say that the MB800 is slightly closer to the tone of the RB series than the MB Fusion 800. On the flip side, though, I'd say that the MB Fusion 800 is closer to the mark of a good medium between the RB heads and a "wooly" head (though the Fusion heads are by no means "wooly" - they just have more harmonic excitement).
     
    bass nitro likes this.
  7. Killens84

    Killens84 Supporting Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    Mississippi

    Thank you! That's pretty much exactly the info I was looking for.
     
  8. Killens84

    Killens84 Supporting Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    Mississippi
    Do you think either one of them would pair better than the other with a GK Neo 410 cab?
     
  9. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Well, the Neo410 has a big low end, and perhaps a bit of a dip in the mids, so while either one would work well, the MB Fusion 800 might result in a bit more going on in the mids, which I think may be helpful with that cab.
     
  10. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass

    Apr 9, 2009
    I'm thinking the MB 800 Fusion with the Uber 410 would be a wild combination. Wouldn't be so quick to get a GK 410 to replace it. Not that the GK isn't capable, I just think the Uber could handle a bit more of what the MB Fusion 800 can dish out.

    :bassist:
     
  11. hsech

    hsech Work hard. My Social Security needs a raise.

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    Do you want three preamp tubes or all sold state?
     
    SLBasshead likes this.
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I concur with your remarks, Tom. I have both, and they clearly are from the same tone family. I was going to say the MB Fusion 800 is a little "creamier" than the MB800. If the Fusion were "woolly," I wouldn't own it. I played the Fusion through my CN212 at last weekend's gig, and it's a great pairing - nice, thick lows while maintaining a crisp high end. The MB800 would be a little cleaner through that cab.
     
    bass nitro likes this.
  13. Crystalman85

    Crystalman85

    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    You know...I've been thinking about the gk mb amps lately. even though I own a hartke lh500 and do like the amp, I was thinking of purchasing either the mb500 or the mb500 fusion as a back-up. I'm kinda leaning towards the mb500 fusion because I've taken a real shine to hybrid amps. even though I still like solid-state amps.
     
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I think your Hartke may end up being your backup amp if you buy a Fusion.
     
    TheDominoKid and bass nitro like this.
  15. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    I have the same dilemma as the OP. In my case, I have and really like an MB200 and want to add a second MB ... to Fusion, or not to Fusion. Everything sounds great (and pretty similar to me) in YouTube demos.

    I owned both a Streamliner 900 and Shuttle 9 and preferred the Shuttle over the too-wooly-for-me Streamliner. Hearing that the GK Fusion is not of the wooly ilk is a good thing, and perhaps the all-FET preamp of the MB800 may be a good compromise - though I might be too enamored with the technology.
     
  16. Killens84

    Killens84 Supporting Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    Mississippi
    I'm very familiar with the RB series tone... So how close would you say the MB800 is to the RB1001 in tone? More/less lows, mids, highs?
     
  17. Crystalman85

    Crystalman85

    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    Yeah true. the mb500 fusion has more controls than the hartke lh500. however I was thinking about buying a gk mb500 fusion because I still like gk amp even tough I've taken a real shine to hybrid amps. I mean I still like solid-state amps, it just that I was impressed with the sound quality of hybrid bass heads.
     
  18. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    MB has a bit more lows, a bit less mids, and similar highs (though no HMS). If you dial back the lows and highs just a tad, and then boost both mids just a tad, the MB800 is very close to "flat," which is not far off from the RB sound (though it doesn't quite have that RB-series growl).

    If you haven't seen it before, here's a link to Chef's MB800 (and Neo212-II) review from BGM #8. And here's the page where Tom Lees explains the "optimally flat" setting.
     
  19. svtb15

    svtb15 Banned

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig. Q+
    BGM is the best Gear mag out there..
    Only thing that might be handy to include in the real world testing , would be torture tests.. Since that will happen on a small percentage of gigs, as when you hear people talking about running their Walkabout at 2 ohms at loud volumes ect...even though they are rated at 4 ohms..
    An spike tests that i experienced when i had a 1000 rb on a EU date that went to limit for 3 seconds,,,, I only found out that the GK RB dont have a Limiter after reading your Magazine.. and that it will disconnected the power amp for up to 3 seconds... Its a suprize on a gig... Then report on failure rates .. if any.. I know you do the 1/2 power tests... which are brutal...
     
    bass nitro likes this.
  20. FYI, that was a big issue with the 1001RB. It was fixed with the current 1001RBII a number of years ago, from what I remember from the posts at that time.
     
    bass nitro likes this.

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