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GK 700/1000RB or Little Mark Tube 800?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by stephan17, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. stephan17


    Jun 27, 2012
    Hey Talkbass, first post here. Anyway, I’ve finally gotten the opportunity to upgrade from my little combo amp. I use a Peavey Cirrus BXP 4 string bass at the moment, and play metal. I’m trying for grindy, crispy, growly, but at the same time clean tone. Clean, but not sterile. In the future I plan on getting a 5er, so I need something that can handle a low B or a low A easily. Portability isn’t an issue.

    I’m looking at 2 options at the moment.

    GK 700RB or a 1001RB head with a 410 Neo cab


    Markbass Little Mark Tube 800 with a standard Markbass 410 cab

    I’ve tried both in store but the batteries in the bass started dying in the middle of trying the Markbass, so I never really got a good comparison.

    I understand that these 2 amps aren’t exactly in the same league but my options are limited. There are more GK, Markbass, and SWR heads and cabs in the store but I’ve pretty much narrowed it down the RB and the Tube 800. What do you think?

    Also… There’s a store out of town that has a few Ampegs. I haven’t checked them out yet, but if someone believes that an Ampeg product can satisfy my needs then I will. Please, make any recommendations you can.

    Thanks. :bassist:
  2. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Personally, I'd go for the GK.

    Markbass makes nice stuff too, but I'm not really a fan of their cabs.
    B-string likes this.
  3. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    Virginia Beach
    I've got a 1001 RB-II pushing an SWR Workingman's Tower (8x10). Loud, full, deep, rich, clean, crisp, and articulate - seems to be the tone you are looking for. Played through an SVT rig for 9 years. Can make my current rig sound like my old SVT, but couldn't make my Ampeg setup sound like my GK/SWR rig. That makes it more versatile, as well. I can get ANY tone out of that beast.
  4. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Depends on your tonal goals. The Markbass rig will be clean, but warm and tubey sounding. The GKs will punch more and be capable of getting a nice sort of grindy tone, but they won't be as fat or warm. Neither is necessarily better (I have owned both), but for my tonal goals I prefer the GKs.
  5. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I like both but if you want grindy, then I'd say go with the GK 700RB-II.
  6. stephan17


    Jun 27, 2012
    I want to believe that I can get the "grind" with the tube on the Markbass cranked up all the way and a lot of mids. Considering that it costs about twice as much as the GK rig would, I'd like to think that it's better. Who knows though. Nobody vouches for Ampeg? I have an oppurtunity to make the purchase tomorrow, but I still can't decide. I feel like if I get the Markbass, I'll feel like I over-payed and could have settled for GK, but If I get the GK, I'll feel like I could have gotten something better. Human nature I guess. If I do settle for GK, should I get the 700 or have them order a 1001? Don't think it's in stock at the moment.
  7. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    You're not going to get any sort of drive with the Markbass. They're designed to be clean sounding amps (minus their rocker series (I believe that's what they are called)).

    I'll also gladly vouch for Ampeg. I owned an SVT, 4Pro, and a 7Pro, and I've liked them all. Each was well built and had tone for days, but for my needs they simply didn't cut it. I found them to be a bit too wooly and muddy sounding, but that's just a personal thing. I'd say that, without a doubt, Ampeg is probably still the most played and respected brand in the business.

    And just so you know, I currently own a GK 700RBII and an Aguilar DB750. The Aguilar costs (well, used to cost as the DB751 has since replaced it) almost 4x as much as the GK, and yet I prefer the GK over the Aguilar as far as tone is concerned (and I prefer the Aguilar over my old SVT). When considering gear, price should only matter as much as what you can afford. If something sounds good and is reliable, then regardless of its cost it is good.
    oaklandthumb likes this.
  8. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Based on your options and goals the GK makes the most sense
  9. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    This is based only on a brief A/B with other Markbass heads in a Guitar Center -- so sprinkle it with sodium chloride -- but I didn't find the tube in the LMT 800 to do much of anything. If I were looking at a Markbass head (and I've owned two, if you count the one in my combo), it wouldn't be my first choice. Your mileage may vary, however. If you can go back to the store with a fresh battery in your bass, I'd try the heads and cabs again -- I'd also try mixing up heads and cabs. The GK heads will grind more and better than the Markbass (and the 700 should grind earlier than the 1001), and I suspect that setup will be more what you're after, but it doesn't hurt to hear them if you can.

    As for the Ampeg, not my cup of tea as a player, but I've heard people get killer, snarly sounds in what I'd describe as very aggressive rock, prog, and punk settings. Can't recall hearing an Ampeg rig in a metal band per se, but it's worth a listen if you can manage it.

    One more thing, if the store you're dealing with has the Neo 115 cabs, I'd be curious to compare two of those against the 410.
  10. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    The tube in the MB really doesn't do much.
  11. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    You're really not going to get much, if any grind out of the MB. In this case, price has nothing to do with quality. GK makes killer amps at a great price. They could easily change more and people would still buy them. I owned an MB LMII a few years ago. It was nice, but kinda bland tone IMO. GK has character.

    I like Ampeg, but you asked about MB and GK specifically. Ampeg makes a lot of amps. What models were you looking at?

    Go and try them all out at the store and buy whatever amp sounds the best to you, not the one that is the most expensive.

    If you decide to get the GK, what type of environment are you going to be playing it in? The 700 is more than enough for most people, and will allow you do dial in the GK grind at a lower volume. The 1001 is a beast. You can still get the GK grind but due to it's higher headroom, that happens at a higher volume.

    If it were me, I'd go for the 700. But then again I play an 800RB and would like to get a 700 RB-II to use instead. My 800RB is from 1984, and looks/works brand new. Hows that for a good amp? I'd just rather gig something that could be easily replaced.
  12. bbh

    bbh Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    I have a Little Mark 800 Bass Amp Head that i would sell if you are interested. It has a wide range of sounds and is fine w/ all of my basses except my mainstay. My pre-amp is just to hot for this head and it goes to protection mode once in a while on this axe. This is the only reason I want to sell it. My SWR 750X has no problems with this heavy input and i might get another one of those.
  13. having one tube in a parallel arrangement with the solidstate front end does not get you a warmer tone. It's really not much more than a gimmick. I am kind of surprised manufacturers still make amps with that arrangement. It simply does almost nothing to make an amp sound like a tube amp at all. It's only one gain stage, so it's kind of hard to get that multiple gain stage tube sound.
    GK Fusion amps and the Mesa hybrid amps are better.
    If you are simply going for a grindy tone (not a tube tone). The GK's you mention are great. I know a few metal bassists that dumped their tube SVT's for GK 700RB or 1001RB heads.
    Not that they sound like SVTs. But they do excel at a certain grindy low mid that fills a similar hole in the band's sound.
  14. jjmf

    jjmf Supporting Member

    Oct 28, 2012
    Edmonton AB Canada
    I have used a MB T 800 quite a bit and find the tube pre has more treble presence vs the Solid state setting,

    - its really clear and crisp - but at louder volumes you can get it to bite a quite a bit with the right eq settings
    - I find using both the Tube and Solid state Pre amp gives you the most volume (of course) and gets you the treble and slight distortion of the tube while keeping the punch of the solid state.

    I recently A'B'd it against a Berg B Amp, SVT CL, SVT 2 Pro, and Hartke LH 1000 (as well as Mark Bass SA450) all with Berg AE cabs - 210's and 410's

    - and while the B amp had greater clarity and a tight punch, it sounded a bit thin & middy in the mix
    - where as the Mark bass with the extra shaping features (Variable preset filter) was able to create what seemed like a better Clanky sound (I could get the B Amp to sound similar without the band - by cutting the low mids @ 350-400hz to -9db, and boosting bass at 60-75hz to +9db, and running Hi mids -4db at around 800hz - 1.2khz and treble in the 4.5-8.5khz ranges boosted to +6 - + 9 dbs but with the band it seemed not to cut thru without adding mid presences that took away the clank I wanted)

    Overall the MB's were both much more middy, but using the Variable PReset filter and some eq'ing - I could get sounds that were very close to the natural occurring tones of the AMpegs and Hartke. I was quite surprised by how they sounded (key was cranking up the Variable Preset Filter "VPF" but then boosting some of the mids via the low and high mid dials - including an especially good result on the old SA450 (same as the SD series) by picking low mid HZ around 100 and Hi Mid HZ around 3-4k and boosting both - it kinda gave back the punchy mid frequencies needed to cut thru the mix while still maxing the scoop from the VPF)

    For the weight and ease of use - I use them to gig/rehearse almost every time vs trying to lug around the SVT's - if only they went to 2 ohms

    The BERG B AMP is a fantastic, clear, tight, articulate amp that really is amazing - the technology of the Speaker profiles is absolutely killer - makes the amp very punchy, a real game changer - but for me using AE cabs, and Dingwall basses, I found it sounded I can't say for sure

    I did work with SWR heads, as well as GK's and found they are great rock heads - killer tone, and more of an aggressive style - if GK made a 4 ohm 800 w head ...or a 2 ohm head rather than the separations of 50w tweater/500w main heads etc I think they would be the best choice for me (again wanting the tone I do - and wanting modern full range sound - lots of highs/lows/presence etc)

    The hartke LH1000 for the price is a fantastic head lots of power, and just a great clear sound even when close to flat....but GK has it beat for treble / presence and crunchy goodness tone wise

    all IMHO of course
  15. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I prefer GK over MB because to my ear the GK has a lot more going on with sound/tone and an excellent EQ. MB just seems solid but not real interesting to me, however, I do like their tone filter controls, but I can get those tones other ways (e.g. pedals) . I believe both are fine quality.

    As for Ampeg, the vintage stuff is wonderful and the newer stuff is great as well. There were a few years where I think the company wasn't living up to its reputation, but I feel those days are behind it. For me, Ampeg and GK both have a signature type of sound, whereas MB seems to have a less distinct character.

    When I read what you were looking for and saw the GK RB on your short list, my sense was that you were looking in the right place. Good luck in your search!
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
    jjmf likes this.
  16. jjmf

    jjmf Supporting Member

    Oct 28, 2012
    Edmonton AB Canada
    Well put re "GK has a lot going on tonally"
    Al Kraft likes this.
  17. cfsporn


    Aug 20, 2011
    New York City
    This isn't a fair comparison. The GK by at least two light years.
  18. I've never used a MB in a band situation, only for trying out basses and cabs at GuitMart. I've found them to have kind of a dark sound. Like there is an excess of low mids and not a very open high end. I tried the same amps on numerous cabs, and that sound remained a constant.
    I could see that sound working very well on something like a Fender bass.
    OTOH I never had a problem getting a good sound out of a GK. The 4 knob EQ and voicing switches are really easy to use.
    You can get warm pillowy sounds and sharp aggresive sounds with a couple quick knobs twists and button pushes.
    Back in the day I wished that GK would make a 2 channel version with identical channels of the 400rb so I could jump from one sound to the other. Mid song.
  19. AdamR


    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    700rb. The 1001 will be stupid loud before you get thst growl. You may even consider a 400rb.
  20. blubass


    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    I'd choose the 700 over the 1001, and either over markbass. I've had both, and currently own the 1001rbII. The 700rbII is still ridiculously loud, but allows you to get the signature GK growl at lower volumes than the 1001. The 700 is also lighter slightly, by 2.5lbs. Either would provide adequate headroom for even the loudest gigs. You can't go wrong with either, though. Best of luck with your decision.
    Al Kraft and AdamR like this.

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