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Gallien Krueger MB Series & "Riding the Rails"

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jim C, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Sunday is my birthday and it's time for a present that I actually want and absolutely don't need.

    Have never owned a GK and have been enjoying playing my OLD 200MB metal combo amp (not the new MB200)thorough a 2x12 cabinet with internal speaker turned off.

    I get this riding the rails thing.
    Have been using a 7-Pro and had a TH500; both have plenty of power for a 2x12 with my rock / funk band application. My SVT-CL and former Walkabout did not offer enough clean headroom.

    I do believe that having extra power that was unused never hurt and can sometimes help deepen the low end content.

    Do the MB500 / 800 series have the same characteristic as the old RB / MB series in that they sound different when pushed? Also, can I assume that the MB500 does offer a lot of womp compared to the above mentioned TH500?
  2. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    I was hoping for some guidance regarding if there is difference in tone of the MB series when pushed (i.e. MB500 vs.800) and hoped a bump might find someone with first hand knowledge.
  3. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    The MB series by design aren't capable of hitting the rails. It's a different power supply.

    The boost channel on the MB's does a somewhat convincing version of it. It's good enough for live use to me, but it's not the same.
  4. I have the GK MB200.
    It's an awesome unit to have. This amp only has a gain knob. No boost.

    It also doesn't hit the rails but I can say it does has some bite to it.
    I recorded some songs and it stands out much more than live.

    My RB amps are gold in the growl/hitting the rails department.
  5. Flatbass


    Mar 13, 2004
    Can the 200MB even hit/ride the rails? I thought it was a completely different design altogether, without the G.I.V.E./Boost technology.
    It's wasn't even meant as a bass amp. It's an all-purpose monitor.
  6. will33


    May 22, 2006
    The micro's have completely different power supply & output amp (smps + class D) and I don't know if they'd even be able to do it. If any of them have the Boost control or some other type of overdrive or high gain setup, they might be able to give you some approximation of it.

    The older RB series are made more like old school lead sleds and the "riding the rails" thing comes from pushing the poweramp toward its limits.....basically running the amp for all it's worth with a strong signal coming in the front and going through the Boost section.

    I use a 400RB for that...so I can do it without blowing my speakers (also 212's).

    I think a lot of the micro's have some sort of limiting built in so they can't really do that. Would need to get that sound from the preamp and/or pedals.

    That's not saying they'll only do clean. I think they have some stuff in the preamp to get "gk sound"....except for maybe the 200 ( simpler layout, less knobs).
  7. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    I have read that the MB series sounds more similar than different when compared to the RB line. It looks like that thinking is based on the baked in sound and maybe EQ points rather than the different tonalities when pushing the RB series.
  8. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    One last thought.
    I noticed that only the MB500 has the GIVE technology that is used in the RB series.
    Wonder if this Gate Induced Valve Effect is much of a part of the grind tonality that the RB's are known for..
  9. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I've said that more than a few times.

    When comparing the two amps, if an RB series head is set for a clean tone and the MB series amp is set on the A channel they sound very similar. If an RB series head is set for a grindy sound (pushed as you say) and the MB series amp is set on the B channel they can sound very similar in a live context. Their baked in EQ does make them sound very much GK, but the boost section is what brings them together in terms of the pushed sound you're referring to.
  10. elkkid2

    elkkid2 Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2012
    Rio Vista, Ca
    I recently played my Fender Amer. Deluxe 5 String through MB 500 410 , and the Mb 500 212 Combo amps, I was at the Factory getting a 2001Rb looked at. These amps were awesome! The 2 x !2; was lighter in weight, but seriously kicked ass, the 4 X 10 equally kicked but was heavier. I didn't need the tweeter, (I never do!), they had LOTS of low end. I intend to buy the 212.
  11. The MB amps definitely don't do the 'riding the rails' thing-that was a property exclusive to the original RB line with it's deliberately undersized power supply. Having said that I've not tried a new RB head. Not sure about those but the manual talks about 'oversized power supply capacitors' etc. which leads me to believe it's a clean headroom machine as opposed to the originals.
    I've got an old 800RB and a new MB500. They're quite different. The MB is much cleaner and wider where the old RB is dirtier and mid-focused. The MB doesn't hit the rails, it simply limits itself like other micros when pushed too hard(but it's very loud) where the old RB starts to sound pissed-off.
    However, the baked-in sound of them is similar in the upper mid/lower treble areas. The shared DNA is obvious.