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GK Backline 600 Head Review and Mega-Thread

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by fdeck, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Glowing review of my new GK Backline 600 head:


    I would love to hear comments from other BL600 users -- setup tips, what your settings are, etc.


    Mar 12, 2003
    USA, PNW
    Nice write up. I particularly ejoyed the part about- thermal headroom.
  3. Good rewiew, very informative. Thank you for sharing.

    OT: What kind of driver you use in your 1x15?
  4. sync00


    Nov 23, 2005
    Thanks for the review. I'm looking for my first bass amp and this one is on my short list.
  5. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Eminence 151311, sold by Madisound. It's not in their main Eminence price list, but in a little "pro audio" page at their website. Madisound is down the street from me, the price was right, and the driver seems to model well in a small cab.
  6. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Great review.
    I would love to see more reviews publish the response charts. I suspect that many amps that people love the sound of out of the box can be duplicated by tweaking the tone controls.
  7. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Give me a few weeks. I am putting the finishing touches on an easy-to-use spectrum analyzer program for Windows computers. My plan is to make it Freeware for anyone wants to analyze a preamp.
  8. Nigel


    Sep 16, 2004
    That would be awesome! Please tell when you're finished...
  9. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Nice review.

    I'm currently enjoying my BL600 quite a bit. It took me a while to find a sound that I really like, but since I have, it's been great.

    My head settings are: Channel-A, Contour-0, EQ-all dials at 12 o'clock, Boost-9 o'clock. I'm playing a Fender MIM Std J with tone at about 50%.

    My current challenge is to get some of my other effects dialed in without losing the magic of my basic tone.
  10. Crockettnj


    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ
    fdeck!!!!!!! that's so cool! you are the man if this works out.
  11. ihateusernames


    Jun 26, 2006
    I'm bumping this because, well, it's a mega-thread and only has 10 posts. And, I'd like to have some folks share their settings. Right now I'm using a slight tweak to fdecks flat settings. I'm at +1.5 on Treble, and +2 on Low Mid. Running input A at 0, boost @ 3-4 and master to set overall level.

    I use it as for stage monitoring and practice and run it through a 2x10 with Eminence S2010's - it sounds really good. One thing about the amp is I've yet to find is "The Trademark G-K Growl" anywhere on input A. I really enjoy channel B on light and heavy drive settings.

    What settings on this amp provide the mysterious G-K growl?
  12. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks for bumping this as I've always wondered about this amp. Is it a practice only, budget, bottom level amp...or a sleeper, gig worthy, diamond in the rough amp overshadowed by its more expensive siblings (at least for us gear obsessed TB'ers)? Fdeck and other people's reviews seem to suggest the latter.

    Some important questions I have that I haven't been able to find answers to is how it compares to the volume levels of the 800RB, 400RB-IV, and 700RB-II. This for me is the most important question as if it isn't gig capable for even a small to medium sized club in a rock setting, I can't consider it. Usually I wouldn't personally think about a 300w amp for my uses, but keeping in mind the 800RB and this is a GK amp we're talking about here, I'm gonna keep a very open mind.

    Also wondering if it shares any power or tone characteristics of its Artist series relatives? In that Gallien interview, he stated the Backline 600 is "basically a 400RB-IV that is made in China". This is pretty interesting. So what's the real world verdict?
  13. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Wow, have I had this amp for two years already? It is still going strong.

    Note that mine was made in Taiwan. Now, whether that is the same as China is a matter of extremely delicate diplomacy.:bag:
  14. nonfatmatt

    nonfatmatt Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Long Beach California
    My GC friend said they get a lot of them in broken (fried) so quality might be an issue (Taiwan stuff seems to be better made than the Chinese stuff lately).
  15. ElizabethC


    Aug 24, 2007
    New York City
    This is due to a "flux corrosion problem." Gallien-Krueger's lead technician address this problem (http://www.gallien.com/smf/index.php?topic=209.0) on the Gallien-Krueger forums, saying the following:

  16. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Well, in the interest in satisfying my curiosity, I stepped into my local GC and hooked up the BL600 to a BLX 410. And...

    WOW! :hyper:

    I was totally floored! Yeah, maybe it was just the store preview phenomenon where everything sounds great, but humor me for a minute here.

    I'd never heard one before. The volume sounded HUGE. As in, I was terrified to keep cranking the master louder and louder. My GF was with me and she hears my loud playing all the time. She even agreed it was crazy loud. And the kicker was, I was playing through an 8 ohm cab! What would it sound like on my 4 ohm 4x10?

    As for tone, I didn't spend much time shaping, but on Channel A, I was able to get some good sounds with EQ flat and a little flavor here and there with the input, boost, and master. From solid and warm to lightly overdriven. No EQ adjustments yet either. On Channel B, lookout! That distortion gain knob is no joke! At 12:00 it was a bit too much. But you know, it wasn't horrible sounding to me. It still had a solid enough low end, and the distortion was really smooth. I guess because there was so much going on, it was just compressing. But really nicely. I don't use that type of sound (yet) but I thought it sounded good. When turned down to about 9:00 or somewhere in that area, I got a really great light distortion and had more low end. Pretty much what I was looking for! The boost's effect on the distortion channel is interesting. The distortion was smooth while the boost turned up gave it this gritty sound. For me, there could definitely be settings where the boost starts making the distortion sound too rough. But turn it down a bit, and you get a great balance. Sorry, hard for me to describe it in words but that's the best I can do.

    I dunno. I think I have to play it again, and next time hopefully in some familiar environment to make sure I was hearing what I was hearing. Both in volume and tone.

    I did compare it to the 700RB. You can tell right away the 700RB had more headroom. The BL600 was starting to get obnoxiously loud with what I feel was about 40-45% of its power (not hard data, just by feeling of where the knobs were). The 700RB easily reached that same volume at around 20% according to the combined knob positions. I know this isn't exactly scientific but all I had were my ears during the A/B'ing.

    All in all, my first, quick, initial impression of the BL600 is that it is definitely worth seeing if I can find one used and try it out at homecourt and see what's really going on. The price is definitely right. Even buying it new wouldn't hurt too bad. I'm really hoping for the same results next time I try it, but I'm kinda skeptical of what I heard at this point. Again, maybe its just the environment overemphasizing things. But I'm really gonna root for this little guy! I'll report any further experience with it. Thanks for reading.
  17. sedan_dad

    sedan_dad Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2006
    I don't own one but have borrowed one before and was pleased with it.
    Crisp& clear.
    For what it is ,it seems to have enough volume.
  18. ihateusernames


    Jun 26, 2006
    Sat. night I sent a post eq DI signal to the board using the exact eq settings recommended in the review. The channel eq for bass were set straight up, no adjustments at all. This is impressive since until now the engineer would cut bass by about 3db on my channel whether I sent a DI signal straight from the bass or an effected signal from my ZOOM B2.1U.

    Thanks for taking the time to find the flat response curve for us!
  19. Major Havoc

    Major Havoc

    Feb 15, 2005
    fdeck,i dont see your review?

    here is a tip,some may not know about this amp.
    With most amps you set the gain and use the master to set playing volume. Not so with this amp - you set the master and boost then use the level control to set playing volume. Sounds much better that way. I have the bl600 pushing a glx410,and it sounds very tight an smooth.I used this weekend in a 200 people capacity hall,and got quite a few compliments on my tone.By the way i was playing a geddy with ernie ball hybrids.....i hope this amp serves me well,cause i really like the tone that comes out of my 410.
  20. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    In the two years since he posted that, his pages have moved.

    Scroll down for his review, among other very interesting things ...