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GK 400RB-IV or Hartke HA4000

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Slayer bass, Jan 31, 2006.

  1. Hello,

    I own a SVP-BSP preamplifier, and use it with a Power-Amplifier and two Trace Elliot cabinets, 1X15 and 2X10 with a horn, 200W 8Ohms each cabinet.
    I also play in a studio through a Gallien-Krueger 400RB-IV and only a 1X15 cabinet, I love the punch of this head, I also like to use my preamp with the GK head to get some distortion, the result is very good.

    But, there are some bad points about the GK Head:
    1- The ventilation is on the top, I will have to leave one rack space between GK head and SVP-BSP. I have a 4 rack space, so I will have to leave my compressor out.
    2- The effects loop is in the front panel of the unit… (Who was the idiot that had this idea?)

    So I considered a Hartke HA4000, that is an all solid state head also, this head has a lot of features and would fit better:
    1- Send/Return pre and post, (Allows to use the equalizer only on the clean channel of the SVP-BSP using the clean effects loop)
    2- Two complete parametric equalizers.
    3- The shape circuit allows you to control Frequency and intensity (In GK head the central frequency is fixed in 500Hz, it’s called contour circuit)
    4- More power 400W 4ohms against 280W 4ohms of GK
    5- And…. The Hartke is cheaper than the GK Head!!! 22% cheaper

    But I’m still in doubt, because I think that the clear, defined and punch tone of GK comes from the power amp section because I can’t get the same punch tone from my current set-up (SVP-BSP + Power Amp head), so, it is possible that the HA4000 would not be a good choice too.
    Maybe the equalizer of HA4000 is not a good quality EQ also...

    Well, somebody can help me in this matter… how is the tone of a HA4000 compared to a 400RB-IV?

    PS: Of course I will go to a store and try the HA4000 head, just want some opinions before.
  2. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I owned and used the GK 400 RB for many years. In my experience it beat out any Hartke amp I tried. Way more versatile and loud for its rated power. Very reliable too.

    I know there are some shortcomings if you rackmount it in a tight space. Do you really need a compressor though?
  3. didier


    Aug 4, 2005
    are you going to continue using the preamp? If so I'd just look for a power amp and skip the heads.

    I love GK. The bad points that you mention are bothersome to me, too, but I still prefer the GKs. One of the big plus for me is the GK preamp section, and if you're already using the SVP that might not be so important. They reccomend 1 space above the head for vent, but I have a shallow tuner directly above it, that blocks about 1/3 of the vent, and have never had a problem. Maybe I'm just lucky, or don't push it that hard, but you might be able to keep the compressor if it doesn't cover the whole vent.

    The effects loop, yeah, I wish they had it routed to the back, too. I have snaked a couple of George L's through some space in the front of the rack so I don't have to unplug anything to trasport it, but they're pinched and I suspect that is trouble waiting to happen.

    try both heads, the Hartke may be perfect for you. Or spend the money on a better power amp, and maybe you'll be set. Good luck!

  4. Thank you 62bass,

    I really like the tone of the 400RB-IV! and heard a lot of people saying that the 280W of this head sounds louder when compared to competidors in the same "Watts" range.
    Is there anyone who tried both heads? some HA4000 owners?

    Thanks again.
  5. Didier,

    Yes, If I purchase the 400RB-IV I plan to run the pre-amp in the effects loop of the GK head, match the leves just pressing the -6dp pad of the BSP.
    This way I would be able tho switch between clean and overdrive via the foot-switch of the BSP.
    In the past I hated the overdrive of the BSP, but after a lot of sessions playing through the BSP I found a very good distortion and I really use it in many songs or parts of songs.

    The only thing that I want to improve in my current rig is the punch and clarity of the clean tones, I want to have the same sound that I get from the GK head when I play it on the studio...

    I can consider a new Power Amp also.
    If you read the manual of the HA4000 you will see that this head seems to be a PA with an equalizer... There is no Master Volume control.
    The volume control in the front panel is just after the bass signal and before the shape/equalizer section, the volume is not before the power amp, (all the send/retur jacks are post volume), in this case the bass will be connected to the BSP, and the BSP will be connected on the send/return jacks of HA4000, the volume of HA4000 will be set to zero.

    So, this is my doubt, can I get that GK punch tone from this configuration? or maybe just changing my Power Amp for another good quality PA?
  6. UP :D
  7. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I owned the HA4000.

    TONS of tonal control. Yes, there is a Master volume control...it's called...are you ready?...the volume control. :D

    It isn't a PA amp...it's a bass amp. Don't let the lack of a graphic EQ sway you...it is a very versatile head.

    It is a nice head for what it is. I ended up trading it on an Eden WT400...but only because that Eden head showed up at my local shop and I'd been drooling for one for a long time.
    Otherwise I would have kept the HA4000.
  8. herndonbassist

    herndonbassist Low Down Thumper Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Herndon, VA - NoVa
    I had an 800RB and now play through an HA4000 as my main amp. I simply prefer the tone of the HA4000, and power-wise it seems to have about the same power range that the 800RB did, so I can't imagine that the 400RB would be as loud, but your results may vary.

  9. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I've been a loyal GK abuser for four years and recommend 400RB's wholeheartedly over Hartkes. Looked at Hartkes when it was time to get a serious stack, and ended up falling far too in love my my 400RB-III to imagine playing with anything else.

    As far as your percieved shortcomings:
    1. Yes, the fan is top mounted. Fans are top mounted on many amps and this should be addressed. How deep is your compressor? If it leaves part of the fan open, it may not cause a problem.
    2. Yes, the effects loop is located on the front. It's a problem for some, a minor inconvenience for others, and yet couldn't make a difference to me. For those who use pedalboards, frontmounted effects loops are great. For those who rackmount, rearmounted effects loops are better. Why not run a few cables around the front? It's not that hard. I did this with my wireless unit back in the day.

    I recommend GK very much, have been abusing my 400RB-III and RBS series cabs for four years, and wouldn't play anything else. Maybe a 1001RB-II with Neo cabs, but I'm loyal to GK for a darn good reason.
  10. THB_bassman


    Oct 11, 2005
    Like tplyons, I've used/abused GKs for many years, and I agree with his thoughts on this.

    On the other hand, I once knew a guy who got a killer sound out of a Hartke amp, though I'm not sure the model, but it's several years old.
  11. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I prefer all of the connectivity on the front panel, but I am using my GK head stand-alone. Having just the speaker jacks in the back, and everything else in the front, prevents me from doing anything stupid when setting up quickly on a dark stage.

    Also, having peeked inside, having all the good stuff on one panel makes for a clean and rugged design. There are very few wires running around in that chassis.
  12. I've found that the Hartke amps (although their cabs are great value) tend to really deaden the sound in the same way that digital recording deadens the sound of analog recording. I think this is because of the effect of ultra high/low frequency and how it changes the sound of frequency we can hear. I'd go GK.
  13. As I said, the Volume Control is before the equalizer section in the HA4000, if you use any of the send/return of the unit the volume has no effect.
    The volume control of HA4000 is only used if you plug your bass in the HA4000, if you use a preamp going direct to the return jack (any jack return jack pre or post) the volume has no effect, believe me, you can, and must turn the volume of HA4000 to zero in this case.
    So, the HA4000 has no Master Volume, the Volume in this unit is more like a "Gain", just in the preamplifier section.
    Thanks anyway.
  14. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    what's your price range? have you thought of a 700RB-II? 480W@4 ohms; and has the HMS if you use a GK cab(which isn't too big of a deal, since the amp is so awesome anyway).
  15. The 700RB-II would be great, but it's out of my budget, one of the reasons that I'm considering the HA4000 over the 400RB-IV is the price, The hartke is 22% cheaper around here.
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