GK 1001rbII = Eden = EA = TF??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by B String, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    The GK 1001rbII. Lots of power. Light weight,
    popular. Is it in the same class as the iamps
    and thunder funks etc?? If not, is it because
    of tone, or reliability or what? Is it just not a
    "boutique" amp? What??
  2. xJasonSmithx


    Jun 25, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    Its a really great amp, Its the one peice of gear I have right now that i have no plans of changing. GK gear to me falls in the same league as Ampeg and SWR, not soundwise but just in terms of availibility and where they fall on the scale of good amps (great amp but not "boutique"). One spot where the 1001rb really excells is wattage. I don't know of another amp in the same price range that has that much headroom. I have to get to class but I will just say it is a great value and even though GK isnt a boutique name i think the tone can go head to head w/ amps twice the price of it.

  3. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    GK and Eden make some very good heads, and are some of the best of the commonly available heads (along with Mesa Boogie). However, it is my personal opinion that both the iAMP line and the ThunderFunk are a notch above.
  4. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Which brings me back to.... Why is the GK a notch under
    these other amps? I haven't played a 1001rbII yet, but
    i'm told they are warmer than the older heads, with much
    more headroom. Last evening i brought an iamp500 and a
    Woods ultra to the gig, with an epifani 112UL. Everything
    was flat for the most part. The iamp500 was VERY dark.
    People were asking for more upper mids and highs. The
    Woods ultra was more "old school" and sweeter on the
    top end. My old rb800 (modified preamp) didn't have the
    low end of either the iamp or woods but was a bit more
    present and punchy. I'm looking to buy a boutique amp,
    but now i'm trying to figure out why the GK is a notch
  5. 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, there are a number of reasons, which may or may not matter to you, depending upon how picky you are. But I think that one of the most difficult things for an amp (and cab) to do is to reproduce tight, clean, full low end. Second hardest, I would say, is the ability to produce natural, complex mids. It is in these two areas that I think that the iAMPs, TF's and hopefully WW's excel. Generally, I also find that "punchiness" is easier to add to an amp through EQ than it is to remove. Other hallmarks of some of the "botique" amps are the ability to yield a broad range of useable tones, and the ability to work with a wide variety of cabs.

    Please keep in mind that these are only one man's opinion. I do not think that the newer GK amps are going to be completely outclassed by an iAMP or Thunderfunk, but the subtle differences that I have heard with them are enough to elevate them slightly in my mind. Now, deciding between the iAMP 800, the Thunderfunk, and now the WW Ultra, may prove to be more difficult (to me, at least)!
  6. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I agree with the lowend booty on top end amps.
    The iamp 500 seemed to have a tighter lowend
    than the Woods. This is with half the power and
    half the price. The Woods had a bigger lowend.
    Without a lot of tweakage, it was hard to get a
    present slap sound out of the iamp. The Woods
    was a bit easier. My old GK still seemed to have
    more cut. I need to use these amps with different
    speakers in different rooms to really tell more.
  7. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Dude, I was all ready to buy a TF and then you go bringing up all dis GK business. I don't really care about the label, just give me tone!

    I dunno about electronics and what not, but the Class D amps I've heard seem to have a rolled off highs/upper mids thing. You can EQ in a ton of highs and try to compensate to some extent, but it's like EQ'ing in low end to a 1x10 speaker -- it will fool you into thinking it's got highs/upper mids until you hear an amp that ISN'T class D. (My experience with the Clarus, but also what I've heard with the EA). You guys have heard this from me before prob'ly.

    Even if I knew something specifically bad about EA, I wouldn't say it for fear that Mike Dimin would come to my house and pistol whip me. :D J/K

    Anyway, the TF and GK do seem to be the lightweight Non-Class D contenders. I dunno. How much help was that?
  8. Because I work for GK, I can't publicly give opinions about other brands, but I can tell you anything you want to know about the GK amp.

    For example A gk amp is less expensive because of a more efficient manufacturing process and buying parts in volume. A boutique company has to pay a higher price for the same components because they aren't buying at the same volume as we are. Another reason for the lower cost is that Bob Gallien has been building amps that he engineered himself since 1968 and simply has more knowledge and experience in the field than many other manufacturers. He is in fact the pioneer of the small format, solid state instrument amplifier. Many of the features that are common in the modern instrument amp were GK innovations. (DI, rackmount, bi-amp, contour, removable AC cord, overdrive channel, boost, metal chassis, high current, horn management, etc.).

    I can also promise you we don't skimp on components. We use a more expensive double sided circuit board to save space and then have it blue coated, which also costs money, because it's easier on the eyes than the standard green color. All components on the board are labeled and layed out meticulously so that they are easier to identify. We use a more expensive pot with a ridge on it which transfers the energy from a front impact to the chassis and protects the pot and the circuit board from damage. The preamp board is also reinforced with bracing to prevent damage due to vibration during transport. The front plate is made up of layered components including a chrome logo, which is more expensive than a silkscreened single sheet of metal. Removable rack ears are also more expensive. speaking of attention to detail, Bob Gallien also added a dimple to the spring of the input jack to prevent it from wearing out. You might also be interested to know that Bob has been working with Eminence on the design of Neodymium speakers for close to three years.

    For opinions on tone, Ask Norm Stockton or Todd Johnson why they chose the GK amplifier. http://www.normstockton.com/ http://www.toddjohnsonmusic.com/

    anyway, I'll shut up now.
  9. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Another happy 1001 RB-II owner here. It replaced my WT-400, and is better for me on all fronts (volume/tone/portability).

    I can't compare it directly to EA or TF, but I will say that Mike Dimin's Iamp 500 sounded very good at the NYC GTG -- of course his monster chops had something to do with that as well I'm sure. That said, it didn't seem like it was doing anything my GK couldn't in terms of tone and volume. Then again, it wasn't in a gig setting, nor was it a side-by-side comparison so this is just speculation.

    Right now I am using my GK through my Acme B-1 and it sounds great. I also plan to take it to my next two big gigs as a backup for my preamp/power amp/Bergantino rig.
  10. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    Totally disagree about the rolled of highs from class D amps, at least with my iAmp 500. I usually end up rolling of some of the highs because it is so bright and clean.
    IME the main difference in boutique amps that I have played could best be described as a "pleasing character" that the less expensive ones lacked. I've used Ampeg, GK, SWR, Hartke, Eden, EA, & Aguilar enough to know what to expect. With the less expensive amps I always seem to be compensating for some kind of deficiency in the sound -muddy lows, harsh mids, and/ or annoyingly zingy highs. The more expensive amps tend to just "sound better". That being said, if all I could play for the rest of my life was GK I wouldn't be unhappy.
  11. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    I haven't played through the iAmp yet but I recently purchased a Thunderfunk and I've owned Eden and GK amps. I've got to tell you that I've just never played through an amp that sounded as good as the TF! I'm still on the honeymoon (5 gigs) but I'm usually coming down by now on a new purchase. Everything is just so well thought out on the amp. All of my basses sound great through the TK and I can get the most awesome sound out of my fretless by simply tweaking the "Timbre" control with everything else set flat.

    I've owned several of the older GK's (400RB and 700RB), an Eden WT800, several SWR's (SM400, SM400S, SM500, Studio 220), several component racks (Alembic F1-X, Demeter HBP-1, Furman PQ-3, Yamaha PB-1/Stewart/BGW/Crest/QSC), Ampeg SVT and a Mesa M-Pulse 600. While they all are capable of producing some great sounds, you typically have to work a great deal with the EQ's to find them or they only have one great sound.
    I will say that GK amps are fairly plug and play but the highs are fairly harsh to my ear and the TF just blows it away for a full sound.
    Maybe "jeflepard" will chime in and voice his opinion on the GK 1001 as compared to the TF. I think that was the amp he replaced with his Thunderfunk.
  12. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    Reading this old thread got me thinking. If we were to define several groups for amp manufacturers, where would each one fit in your opinion? Here's what I'm hearing based on opinions from this thread (plus a few others that I've read here on TB):

    Low End: Ibanez, Behringer, MAG Electric Blue Series, SWR LA Series

    Mid Level: Ashdown MAG Series, Hartke, Ampeg "B" Series, SWR Workingman Series, GK Backline Series, Fender, Yorkville/Traynor, Eden Nemesis Series, Laney, Carvin, Peavey (I'm sure many would put both Carvin and Peavey in the next category)

    High End (Not Boutique): Ashdown ABM Series, Ampeg SVT Series, SWR, GK, Eden, Mesa, Trace

    Boutique: AI, EA, Thunderfunk, WW, Phil Jones, Aguilar, Epifani, Glockenklang

    Anyone care to add their own opinions?

    I'd also be interested in what "Low End", "Mid Level", "High End" and "Boutique" means to you and why.
  13. The above summary is dead accurate to me.

    I think GK's tone is not for everyone. To me, it simply sounds like glorified peavey on steroids. But the stuff does have brand name recognition and probably is built very tought. I think of the steel chassis microbass amp. very cool piece, and the first real alternative to those polytone minibrutes.

    I don't think using double-sided epoxy boards or having a more service-friendly circuit topography is a GK-only thing and warrants a medal. That is just decent production.

    To me, an amp with good tone should not require various tweaks, boosts and eq'ing to sound good. And it should not sound harsh when played loud. But this is so subjective. One kind of flavor is not better than another.

    But the good news is that if harshness doesn't bother your ears, you can save a lot of money finding your sound.

    And if your ears want smooth, wet tube sound or hi fi sound, then be prepared to shell out more funds.
  14. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    Dave Funk made this statement in one of the other threads...

    I have little doubt that many of the large "name-brand" manufacturers make a trade-off on certain components in the interest of increasing the bottom line, keeping people employed while still being able to offer a product that's affordable to the mainstream buyer. I also believe that there are a number of name-brand companies who offer products made with top shelf components and offer first rate support. QSC immediately comes to mind, Eden is another. Knowing that Daniel Elliott from GK frequents this group and continues to offer his valuable advice and support only helps assure me that I made a wise decision in purchasing my 1001RB-II. I think others on this board who have purchased TFB420's and PLX's would say the same thing about Dave Funk and Bob Lee.

    Regarding angelobp's statement that GK's tone is not for everyone, I think you can say that of just about every manufacturer/product mentioned in this thread. For example, I don't happen to find the "GK sound" harsh at all, in fact it was the sound I was after when I assembled my latest rig. I started a thread earlier this month in Miscellaneous entitled Songs that exemplify the tone to die for and I was amazed at the many different responses. To me it really underscores the old adage that one man's trash is another man's treasure.

    - Frank.
  15. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    I am a peace loving guy.

    The iAmps have a class D amplifier but a more typical power transformer. This gives the iAmp the headroom that amps with a class D power section lack. Some of the older Class D designs sounded a bit brittle because of this. That was one of the issues with my older WW. It is one of the reasons that the older WW's are such great amps for upright. I hear the newer WW's are amazing. I have not had the pleasure of playing one, however.

    One of the advantages of a small company like EA is their abilty to react to player/customer input. Since they build amps by the 100's, they can make upgrades faster. The amps evolve at a faster rate.

    The iAmp 800 is not that much more expensive than the GK. The label "boutique" often means $$$$. While the iAmp is not necessarily inexpensive (compared to some brands), it's pricing is competitive with some of the companies that mass produce.

    Finally, at the Detroit Bass Fest, Norm Stockton played his MTD through the GK rig and I played my MTD through an EA rig, the concensus was that we had the two best sounds on the stage that night. Both of us had quality rigs and both had the best basses out there.

  16. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Thanks for the kind words and the NYC GTG was a great time. I wish only more TB'ers came. What I really loved about the iAMP at that workshop, was how great it sounded at a really low volume. Sometimes it is easier to get a good sound with lots of volume, but getting great sound at low volume is much more difficult. I think my rig handled it with ease

  17. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio

    i am trying to decide between a 1001rb-II or iAmp 800

  18. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    I'm sure this quote didn't help make your decision any easier ;) :D

    P.S. Mike, no offense to EA but let's face it, you'd sound great playing through a Pignose Hog 30 :D


  19. ApeIsHigh81


    Aug 24, 2004
    My thoughts.
  20. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    Not that I'd disagree with you, but considering a 1001RB-II sells for anywhere from $600 to $750, "twice the price" pretty much includes just about every other head on the market with the exception of WW.