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Genz Benz GBE-600 Yea or Nay!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Hawkeye, May 4, 2006.

  1. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    After seeing the MF blowout of the GBE 600 head I called my local Genz Benz dealer who is north of Toronto and inquired as to whether I could get a similar deal. He swung a discount with the distributor on existing stock which is within spitting distance of the MF deal and a lot cheaper than what the head used to be. They have one reserved for me and I was thinking about going in and putting a deposit on an order tomorrow.

    I've read a lot of good things about this head but I'm wondering if it might be a bit too similar to my Ampeg SVT III Pro which is also a tube pre / SS power hybrid head. One good thing about the GBE600 is that it will push 2 ohms which my Ampg will not. I have two 4 ohm cabs and it's nice to have that flexibility.

    I previously had a Peavey Max preamp with switchable / combinable SS and tube pre which I thought was pretty neat. The GBE has the same set-up.

    So, should I go for it? Yea or Nay? What are the pros and cons? If the GBE600 turned out to be quite similar to my SVT III Pro I might be tempted to trade that in on an all-tube head like the Traynor YBA-200.

    Also, an important point, is the fan (set on the low setting) quiet enough so that I can record? I like to double-track with DI and mic the cab. Fan noise is the current no-go for both my Ampeg and Peavey Nitrobass heads. I demoed a GBE-750 and the fan was so quiet you could b-a-r-e-l-y hear it. One similarly powered head I tried, a Yorkville XS400 did not have a fan but had lots of electrical hiss, making it useless as a recording head unless you used a limiter which I don't want to use.
  2. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    If you haven't seen it, there's been a thread recently started about Musician's Friend's blowout pricing.

    The fan is quiet. When my (now-defunct) band recorded, we just mic'd the cab and had no problem with the fan.

    I say, "Yea." Search my username for "Genz" and you'll get my opinion. If you want the answers to any specific question (like the fan question), I'll be glad to help you out.
  3. Got mine today. Wow!!!!! See my earlier post on the other thread.
  4. Wow I've never heard of these. Especially recently with there being absolutely no Genz Benz threads at all. Tell me more!

  5. xcental34x


    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    Go for it!
  6. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    PDX / SFO / HNL
    My 2 cents are.. Dollar for Dollar :D the GB is a better value, but I feel (and why I bought the SVT-3Pro) the Ampeg has a better sound, and over all quality.. To compare apples to apples... the GB-600 should be looked at compared to an SVT-2, but the prices are going to be a lot more for the Ampeg..

    Budget minded: GB
    no Budget: SVT2
  7. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    Interesting..Why do you think the GBE600 should be compared to the SVT-2? Isn't the SVT-2 an all-tube head? Is it because you think the GBE600 sounds a lot like it?

    In construction and execution the GBE600 is, to my thinking, a lot like the SVT III Pro (tube front end with solid state power amp section) and are of "similar" output and facilities.

    It's because of their similarities that I thought there might be some overlap.
  8. RobertUI

    RobertUI Thumper Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Herndon, VA - NoVa
    I just got my GBE 600 last night, and am VERY impressed with it. It will take me a little while to get MY sound out of it, but I look forward to the "tweak" time. I AM a bit surprised though as I do an A/B with the Hartke that I have for sale here. The sounds are VERY similar, so much so, that if the Hartke doesn't sell, the GBE may go back. I realize that what I LOVE about the GBE I can do with the Hartke. I do think that I am going to have fun with the tube pre (that's the only thing the Hartke HASN'T got).

    just my ramblin thoughts...
  9. I ordered one from MF, and it's on the way back. None of the master section status lights worked, the amp emitted a pop every 30 seconds or so, and the master volume pot was noisy. I'm sure none of this is normal, and I would have exchanged it for another one, but I wasn't thrilled with the tone either. I thought even the tube section lacked warmth.
  10. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution, Ampeg distribution
    I won't argue tone preference because that is subjective but on the quality issue, I can't understand where that sentiment comes from.
  11. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution, Ampeg distribution
    Hawkeye- Ampegs and GB's are nothing alike in the tone department. Some amps have "their" sound. Ampeg is one of them. If you like it, great, it's a classic.

    GB is more towards the hi-fi tone. It is more in-your-face and immediate but it won't get that Ampeg grit and grind.
  12. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    Hasbeen, thanks very much for chiming in. I appreciate your quick and succinct analogy of tone vs. tone on the GB vs. Ampeg.

    I tend to play the Ampeg clean with tube drive all the way up and not too high on the input gain. I would characterize the SVT III Pro as more "vintage" sounding as opposed to their all-tube SVT's that definitely have that rocker grit and growl.

    What you've described is what I think I would like. As it is to be used for a lower volume jazz ensemble through a Peavey 210 I think the more "hifi" type of tone is what I would like. Also, as a recording head, I'm looking for something articulate and clean but with some roundness to it. If it's sizzly and hot with midrange emphasis, maybe it isn't for me, but if it's relatively uncolored, it will fit the bill.

    The GBE's flexibility and ability to go to 2 ohms is also a big plus. It makes it a very versatile amp. I think you'd agree!
  13. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis

    Dec 11, 1999
    I bought my GBE1200 from that same dealer and got a great deal on it. Having always been a tube guy, I was concerned when I bought it just how it would sound in live situations. So much so, that I contacted Jeff Genzler to ask him a number of questions and express my concerns. Jeff quickly put me at ease by immediately answering all my questions in detail.

    After having used my GBE1200 (with my GB610T-XB2 cab) a few times to gig with, I very quickly realized that my reservations toward the amp were unfounded and everything Jeff Genzler had said was very true.

    Needless to say, I love the tone and power of this amp!

  14. dangnewt

    dangnewt Veteran Dispenser

    Jun 6, 2003
    MetroWest Boston
    This is a great deal. Buy it. I have the GBE 400 and am very happy with it. I probably paid more than $500 but more power to anyone who can pick up its big brother for less.
  15. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    I'll chime in and offer my help if you don't mind.

    The GBE600 is definately articulate and clean. And the tube pre-amp rounds the sound up nicely.

    It is not about sizzly and hot with midrange emphasis. If you want that, the EQ's there for that.

    I would say it is relatively uncolored (or I should say, the coloration is very natural and neutral sounding), and it's flexibility is unparalleled in my experience.
  16. I got to play with my new GBE600 for about an hour before heading to dinner and a friend's gig. I was using my 17th Street / Carruthers 5 string with EMGs (single coil) and an Ashdown 15 in my living room. So far, I definitely prefer either the tube pre or the blend of the tube and SS. I played with the eq a little bit, but primarily with the contour. I could find the warm round articulate tones that I love. Definitely warmer, rounder and more articulate than my Ashdown Mag. The GB sounds alive and the Ashdown sounds dead by comparison. I had the Genz Benz sitting on top of the Ashdown when my wife got in from the week from hell. After about a half an hour she commented on how much better my playing sounded and then noticed the new amp.

    BTW the fan is definitely noticeable when I'm not playing, There is a huge hole in the side for sucking in air and it gets distributed everywhere including coming forcefully out unused input sockets. If I am playing quietly (accompanying my wife on piano) it is noticeable at about 5 feet, otherwise it is only noticeable when I'm not playing. The power of the fan along with the massive transformers give me some confidence that it actually can do 2 ohms for an extended period of time without meltdown. As an amp tech friend mentioned, Genzler seems to over-engineer and over-spec everything which gives the products great reliability.
  17. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I finally got to try out a Genz Benz amp for the first time today. My local dealer became a dealer of them since I have been there last, without me knowing about it. I had been at another store in town today to try out some Eden stuff, so I had my bass along with me.

    They had a GBE750 and a 410XB-2 sitting there among their other amps, as well as the smaller 350 watt head on top of a smaller 410 (Live series?).

    After playing through it for awhile in the store, I can honestly say that I have found my next amp. And I will second what Roger said about GB vs. Ampeg--they are not alike at all, to my ears. The Genz Benz rig was more articulate, punchier, and had cleaner lows (not boomy at all) than my current Ampeg rig (SVT4 Pro/SVT410HLF). I will be owning one, soon.:)
  18. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004

    Did you play through the smaller (yes, Live series) 4x10? I own an LiveSound 2x10 and love it, but the XB-2 series is definately appealing. I'd be interested in hearing your impression between the two Genz cabs.

    As far as how Ryan described the GBE750, I couldn't agree more. It's definately a different (not higher or lower, but different) class altogether.
  19. Well if Ryan likes what he heard, I'm in good company. I continue to be amazed at the tonal possibilities. I haven't heard an Ampeg, Ashdown, GK or Eden sound. I have heard a lot of Genz Benz sounds and I like them a lot.
  20. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    No, I wanted to check it out, along with the Neo Pak 350 head that was sitting on it, but I didn't have enough time today. I will be going back in there at the end of the week, and will definitely try to plugging into it.

    I thought the same thing. The GB stuff definitely seems to have it's own thing going on, which is a good thing, to me. And I love the 2 seperate channels--that is one of the features that had my interest peaked in the first place. The eq seemed to be quite powerful as well. I didn't get time to mess with blending the two channels, but since I really liked what I heard on each channel, that ability should be just an added bonus, should I decide I need it (I am talking like I own it already:rolleyes: ;) ). And the cabinet, to my ears, sounded great. It had much more punchy, well-defined lows than my Ampeg cab, which is a huge thing that I was looking for. Hopefully I will be able to pick it up in the next couple of weeks (or buy the cab, and have him order me in the 1200, if I am feeling saucey when the time comes:D ).

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