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GK 700RB-II vs Hartke LH500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TravTrav, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. GK 700RB-II

    132 vote(s)
  2. Hartke LH500

    48 vote(s)
  1. TravTrav


    Jun 6, 2010
    I was curious to know what you guys thought of either head. I've always liked the GK sound, but was thinking of switching it up. Especially since the Hartke is so cheap.
  2. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I've have the urge to switch up my rig a few times, but it never took me long to go back to my 700rbII. I spent alot of money trying to replace that amp, but I have never found anything that works as well for me. I think I finally learned my lesson.
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  3. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    Meh. I don't see the purpose in buying a LH500 honestly. They're a damn good and very reliable amp for the price but they're still (IMHO) less useable and more expensive than a 2nd hand HA3500.

    If I were in the market for a backup the HA3500 would be up there and the LH500 wouldn't even make it into the top 10.
  4. TravTrav


    Jun 6, 2010
    VS. the 3500, my reason would be because I like simplified controls and I would assume the LH500 has more headroom.
  5. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    I seem to be in the minority here going by the poll results, but I really like the LH500. Did a decent amount of gigging and recording with one. Love the tone, and it had plenty of power. I also really like the 700RBII. Can you keep both? Gives you decent options to switch things up based on the gig or your mood. One of my main amps is a 700RB series I. I prefer the tone of the LH500, but the size and weight of the 700RB.

    If you do get an LH500, remember that it's a Fender tone stack, so flat is eq at around 2-10-2 on bass-mid-treble. Not that you should play it flat, that's up to your ears and taste, just know that if you set everything at noon, you're starting with a significant mid scoop.

  6. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    I own a hartke lh500 and I like the amp just fine. I do dig this amp for it's warm beefy sounds. the gk 700rb-II bass head is a good amp too. the only minor drawback with the bass head is that the control knobs can get rusty, but contact cleaner can fix that. if you like a bass head that can deliver clear punchy sounds, the gk 700rb-II would be a good choice for that. If you want a bass head that has warm lows and smooth highs, check out the hartke lh500.
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  7. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    This is totally valid on the control front. I like the fact that the controls are simple on the LH, but I still think that the HA is just objectively the better amp. Run at 8 ohm it has everything that the LH has, plus a compressor, fully by-passable graphic, and low and high pass filters. The LH only has the tube volume whereas the HA has the option to blend the solid state and the tube. Considering that the HA goes for $200-300 s/h I still think it's a no-brainer.

    You could be quite right about the headroom at 4 ohm, but there's wouldn't be many clean db in it.

    I'd still take the GK any day though, but that's because I like spankier tones.
  8. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    I have to differ on the HA. I never played an HA head that I really dug, whereas I totally dig the LH series. HOWEVER: different strokes for different folks. Plenty of folks like the HA amps. Let your ears decide.

    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  9. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I have no doubt that the LH500 sounds great. Main problem I would have with it, however, is its lack of Speakon outputs.

    I can understand the amp having a pair of phone jacks plus a pair of Speakons. I can understand the amp having a pair of combination jacks. But to have only phone jack outputs? For an amp of this degree of power? In 2013? Not good enough.

    C'mon, Uncle Larry. Let's get with the times! :ninja:

    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  10. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    I agree speakons would be preferable. However, I never had a problem with the 1/4" outs. Didn't get shocked, the world didn't end, nada. But yeah, speakons would be nice.

    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  11. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Pasco, WA
    I've owned both and still have the Hartke.

    The GK (which I was in love with for several years) was just too harsh. I would even choose the Hartke over my Thunderfunk...well...wait...let me think about that some more.

    If I had to choose between the GK and the Harke on a backline I would take the Hartke.

    Go with the Hartke.


    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  12. I have owned both of those exact amps, and I would take the Hartke over the GK myself. I had the GK first, for many years, but there was always something missing tonally for me. With the Hartke my tone just opened up, and I sold the GK. I eventually got a MarkBass later, but largely because of size and weight - if the LH500 wasn't so big and bulky, I'm sure I'd still be using it.
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  13. orangejulius3

    orangejulius3 Supporting Member

    May 6, 2013
    La Habra CA
    I voted for the 400RB.

    I have the 400RBII and it sounds great especially when it gets pushed/driven.
    I've only tried the LH Hartke amps at GC, and I was stunned how good they sound, but the GK amp is more my tone.

    FWIW, I've been through quite a few amps and preamps.

    I would try both and see what fits your personal tone.
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  14. The Thinker

    The Thinker

    Sep 17, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    I've owned both also. I still have the LH500. I sometimes miss the RB700, but I A/B'd extensively and I preferred the Hartke. But it's not necessarily "a better amp"--just has the sound I prefer. (I have a GK micro as a backup. Still love GK!)

    My LH500 actually did replace a boutique amp in my stable--an EA I-Amp 500 (old school version). GREAT amp. But the Hartke's simplicity and thick but defined sound won in the end.

    Another vote for Hartke, but a close one.
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  15. JellinWellen


    Oct 18, 2012
    The hartke is a great value. The only thing is it only does clean tones, if you want some dirt you had better get a pedal. I had an lh500 and that thing was a beast. I mean 200$ for 500 watts of clean power? How can you lose!
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  16. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member


    My 700RBII so far is the amp to end all amps for me. It actually replaced my Hartke.
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  17. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    I would have to vote for the GK. But since I haven't played the LH500 I didn't vote. (I wouldn't feel right telling you not to buy an amp I never played) I just can't get along with the Fender tone stack. Tried it on a few amps but never was able to fully get my sound. I have owned the 700RB-II and it's a great amp. Now I play an SVP-Pro but am in the process of picking up another 700RB-II for a different flavor.
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  18. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    My vote was for the 700 RB. When I was amp shopping I ran into the Hartke. I was returning an SWR 750x at the time, just didnt think that amp was for me. So I walked into the store and plugged into some of the Hartke amps they had and was about set on going with the Hartke because of the sound, power and price point. Well, I just happened to walk by a GK rig they had set up in the store, a 1001 RB and an older 410 SBX cab. I said what the hey and plugged in. Im VERY happy I did. It only took about 10 notes and I was sold on the GK. I had played the Hartke for about an hour wondering if I should go with it or the SWR. Well, playing the GK for 10 notes is all it took for me so that tells ME something, I LOVE GK. It won me over much quicker than the Hartke did by the way it sounded and the way it was controlled. My 1001 RB is my go to and probably will be for quite some time to come. Btw, the 700 is the same exact amp as the 1001. The 1001 just has more amps and clean headroom. You can push the rails on a 700 much easier and get it to sound raunchy in a good way. The 700 is still a powerhouse though. When it came down to it, the GK was a superior amp IMO to the Hartke when compared to sound, controls, options, volume and tone. That is why I went with it. Of course, this is all opinion.

    I hope this helped. In the end it going to come down to what sounds good to YOUR ears. I would take GK over Hartke any day. But that is just me.
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  19. TravTrav


    Jun 6, 2010
    Thanks for all the opinions, guys. Sounds like either amp is a good choice, which is what I wanted to hear.

    I used to own a 1001RB-II a while back, and loved it. However, I still went ahead and ordered an LH500 just to see how I dig it. Plus, the price point is pretty good. Worse case scenario I'll just return it. I'll post my thoughts when it shows up.
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  20. Troph


    Apr 14, 2011
    Kirkland, WA
    I own both, and I ended up donating the LH500. It's a good amp for the money, no question. But the 700RB-II is much more flexible tonally, and appears to deliver significantly more power. I'd go with the GK without a second thought.
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.

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