GK 1001RB-II versus GK 800RB (I need to make a decision!)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by DinnerWithAGypsy, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. Thanks to all who gave me amp suggestions, etc.
    All things considered, I'm aiming to go for a GK head as the foundation of my new rig.
    I will definitely try out other amp heads if the opportunity presents itself, but based on suggestions and what I've read online, I feel like I should pursue a GK head primarily.

    One thing that has specifically attracted me to Gallien-Krueger gear is the fact that I've read numerous personal reviews of their heads lasting a LONG time and usually being trouble-free the better part of the time.
    Another thing is that I'm looking for a punchy amp with growl. I'm not into the huge, bassy sound. I have a Spector Euro 5-string LX and I'm ready to let its tone shine by replacing my Peavey Basic 112 (which will hopefully because my practice amp henceforth. ;) ).

    I'm looking to play all styles of music really, from blues to classic rock to metal/hardcore to funk to soft, indie-type rock.

    So it's basically down to the GK 800RB and the GK 1001RB-II.

    Now, just out of curiosity, I'm not really sure why these two heads are the same price...? The 1001RB-II has a heck of a lot more headroom (on paper anyways..never actually tried them out yet) and more features. Are these just meaningless bells and whistles that are dispensable for a better overall build and sound quality on the 800RB or what?

    I simply don't understand why they retail for the same price...

    So besides explaining that, if you want to give me your opinion as to which amp I should buy, I would highly appreciate it! :)
  2. The 800RB costs more to manufacture than the 1001RB.
  3. basscandle


    Jun 26, 2007
    Va.Beach area
    Good move with a GK head....I use an 800 RB, prior to that, a 400 RB that I bought new in '83. I just retired the 400 LAST YEAR with no problems the whole time using it. Plus the GK sound is my sound. :D
  4. I think you would be happy with either one. The GK800RB I have is 23 years old - I bought it brand new from EU Wurlitzer on Newbury Street in Boston.

    I remember going in and plugging into the demo model - playing for like 2 minutes and forking over the cash - it was the Amp to own back then and now is a classic. You might want to go somewhere and try both. My GK has been gigged, in smoky hot rehearsal spaces and even dropped of the top of my stack (don't ask). Had it in storage for a long time - took it out a few months ago and fired it up and it has not missed a beat (pun intended)

    I have a 2 Spectors and both sound good through it - I am using an Ampeg 15 and SWR 4x10. Good Luck!
  5. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    The 1001RB-II is one fanstastic amp IMO. It has HUGE amounts of power for most situations and is very flexible. It can get a really smooth clean tone or you can dial up some of that signature "GK growl". The published 700w @ 4 ohms is pretty solid. When I was gigging with one, I never had to turn up very far to get annoyingly loud.

    I've never had the opportunity to play any other GK heads but the I've owned a couple of 1001RB-II amps and honestly regret selling them! They always ran flawlessly and I never had any doubts about their performance while I was gigging, unlike some amps that I've owned.

    I don't think you can go wrong with either of these heads, but for me it would be the 1001RB-II without question.

    Just my $.02
  6. chicago_mike


    Oct 9, 2007
    Chicago - LA - Rome - Dallas
    Endorsing Artist : Genz Benz
    +1 1001. I have the 1001 rb 210 with the older version head. I blew the speakers after 3 gigs. POWER and TONE. =)
  7. i've been using the same 800rb for years and it's been pushed really hard. before me it was used by a band that at the time had a relentless touring schedule.

    i've also owned one of the old type 400rb amps which had the same bulletproof reliability. if my amp were stolen i would probably be temped by the extra stuff on the newer amps but i know that i can always get the sound that i want out of the tried and true 800. it just works.
  8. chiplexic


    Apr 21, 2004
    I also bought my 400rb (close relative to 800rb) at E.U. on Newbury St. in Boston too. In 1988 actually . I still use it today. But I think I'd opt for the newer design 1001rb if choosing 800rb or 1001rb today though. I feel it has a little broader array of tone options and just a different overall tone which I happen to like better. You have to decide the tone preference yourself but amp for amp I'd take the 1001rb.

    I do not use the bi-amp feature and personally wish that GK had a high powered model that didn't bother with the added weight of the extra bi-amp.
  9. Wow. Sounds like the 1001RB-II is the way to go!
    Thanks for all the input everyone! I really appreciate it a lot. :D

    Why's that? The 800RB seems less complicated. And the two amps are roughly the exact same size.
  10. treebranch13


    Oct 31, 2007
    the 800 is classic, but i would prefer the 1001 for all its extra stuff(plus i like the feel of the controls on the 1001)
    and remember (if you are getting GK cabs) that if you want that gk growl over thicker bass, go with the rbh instead of the RBX series
  11. I would definitely be open to buying a used GK cab if the opportunity presented itself but am leaning more towards the Avatar 4x10 with Neo speakers right now.
  12. GabeN


    Feb 27, 2006
    Chugiak, AK
    I've heard the 800rb is warmer than the 1001 and that GK amps only sound great when pushed hard and it's kind of hard to get to around 500-700 watts most of the time. I'd get a 800rb on Ebay or here. They can be found for super-cheap.
  13. Mastersonics

    Mastersonics Inactive

    May 31, 2004
    Owned both
    kept the 800.

    I can get MY sound better with the 800.
    The Magic knob is the secret.

    hope that helps
  14. I don't know exactly why but it was a GK representative that mentioned this in another thread, I assume that because it is an older design it is more expensive to get parts specially made for it today.
  15. b_carville


    Jun 26, 2008

    I've owned a lot of Gallien Kruger stuff.
    Had an 800RB,400RB,200RB head & 200RB self contained combo(older black metal grill one. I still wish I had it)
    Loved the sound of all of them but the 800RB was a real problem!
    The 800RB every now & then would "go thermal"as some local repair wit called it.About once every year and a half it would do some weird stuff.Like....
    When biamping it would suck the low speaker in & push the high one out . It was driving direct D.C. into the speakers.
    Not a good thing.After I got it fixed a year later it stopped working with a 2 by 10 cabinet & melted the speaker cable(thick one too!) Got it fixed again a year and a half later more D.C.trouble this time ripping the cones of a 4 by 10.At least the XLR out never crapped out. Oh,by the way it was racked & fanned. Got it fixed a 3rd time & dumped it. I knew a lot of guys who had these problems with the 800's.Got to be a bit of a joke on my local circut if you had one that was over 6 years old.(Dude,that still works?)

    Now my 800RB was the 1st of a new production run(different looking ,cheaper by $200 list,bigger GK logo on head& maybe they skimped on the heat sinks,had to do something to make them cheaper) My memory fails me when I bought it but it was probably late 80's,early90's.Some other "new line" GK heads(whose numbers I've forgotten)had problems too.It seems like it took a while to get the newer ones stable.(like their early"digital"powered ones).

    Don't let my bias cloud your thinking.I've got a love/hate thing going on with GK.I'm crazy about the tone! Their "contour"has been, many times over,imitated but NEVER duplicated! The 400RB I had sounded great & was probably the best preamp into a big power amp I ever had.(that includes the sansamp I'm using now & a boat load of others). They are the 1st light weight heads that sounded great into almost any thing.I'm seeking out an older 400RB for a pre amp purpose.The 200RB, I'm still kicking myself about that.It was the swiss army knife of bass amps!
    You might wanna call your local tech & ask him how many GK amps he/she sees & what models.
    Just my opinion & we all know opinions are like buttholes,everybody's got one.
  16. The Diaper Geni

    The Diaper Geni Submissive. And loving it. Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2005
    Central Ohio
    Cough cough...(1001RB II)....Cough cough :bag:

    Seriously, you can't go wrong with either head. I had an 800RB back in the day. It saw (literally) 1,500 (+/-) gigs and never didn't deliver. Great head.

    The 1001RB (II) sounds very similar to me. It can get that 800RB tone, but has more options. So I think that the 1001RB is the way to go, IMO.

    BUT, if you wnat to biamp, go with the 800. Has a built in crossover. And is waaayyyy underrated.
  17. topcat2069

    topcat2069 Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2007
    Cathedral City Ca.
    I play through a 1001RB II, I like the headroom... I don't use the "growl" feature but the clean tone if fantastic ! I run the amp flat, no tone shaping and I leave my active Bass (Fender Am. Deluxe P-Bass) tone controls flat. I can hear my right hand technique up front, which is how I like it..... I use GK NEO cabs.

    the 800 is a different bi-amp system, 300 lows and 100 highs (for, say a 2X10 or 4X10 cab) @ 1k so you can push speakers... the 1001RB II is 700 lows and 50 highs @ 5K (just for the horn).
  18. Mastersonics

    Mastersonics Inactive

    May 31, 2004
    I don't use the Biamp feature on the 800.

    I always used it full range (300 watts) and it never failed me.

    I used 800's for the past 23 years without a problem.

    hope that helps,
  19. :spit:

    lol No, I'm just kidding.
    But all things considered, minus your review, I've heard mostly good things about GK products, so I think I'm still gonna trust them. :rolleyes:
  20. NOLA Bass

    NOLA Bass Mr. Worst Case Scenario Man Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Orleans LA
    Endorsing artist: Bergantino Audio Systems and GHS Strings
    Owned an 800RB for about 15 years and it served me quite well. I now have a 1001RBII. I would base your decision on the following:

    What type of cab setup are you aiming for?????

    If you want to biamp a 15 and 210 type setup, then the 800 is the way to go. If you are powering a 410, 610, or 810, you'll want the 1001.

    800RB - I ran this with a Peavey 210/118 cab for years biamped. I also used a homemade 212 for a bit, then an Eden D410T. Worked great with all of them.

    1001RBII - I first got this head when I got some Bergantino cabs. Although a stack, Bergs are power hungry and the 800 just was not going to cut it. I'm currently running my 1001 into an Epifani PS410 with a Spector and it is tone to die for!

    Both are great amps, but the right one for you will really be based on your cabinet setup. Some people love the biamp thing but I don't care for it that much, thus the 1001 makes more sense for me.