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GK MB 150S vs MarkBass CMD 121P

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MichiBass, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. Get the GK, it's a classic for jazz music

    5 vote(s)
  2. Get the MarkBass, it's not going to sound like Star Trek

    8 vote(s)
  3. Get another one. Please specify!

    1 vote(s)
  1. I don't know what to choose between those two amps. Please help me out. I'm looking for a warm jazz tone, and I play a Fender Jazz Bass.

    Arguments for the GK:
    - small
    - light
    - cheaper
    - only 100/150 W

    Arguments for the MarkBass
    - more power
    - a little bit bigger and heavier
    - more expensive
    - too modern tone? I don't like it bright

    If anyone of you played both, could you please explain the tone in words? I cannot try them locally :(

    Thanks a lot!

    P.S. My old thread is here: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=636116
  2. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    The Markbass is tonally versatile, with the VLE control it can definitely sound old school if that is what you are looking for, or modern with judicious use of the VPF control.
  3. Yeah, but doesn't it sound more modern?
  4. BUMP
  5. FromTheBassMent

    FromTheBassMent Those who can, play bass. Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2010
    Providence, RI
    No. They're both modern sounding amps (compared to, say, an Ampeg), but the Markbass is a vastly more versatile tool. You can turn up the VLE filter to emulate a vintage cabinet, and the tweeter horn is effectively disabled, giving you a very old-school sound. Alternatively, you can shut the VLE off and crank the mid-scoop VPF and sound just like Marcus Miller. There are a huge variety of tones in that little box.

    I play EBMM Stingrays, which are considered very "modern" sounding active basses. But I occasionally play with a dub/reggae outfit, and I can totally dial in that vibe (treble and mid cut plus bass boost on the bass, VLE maxed on the amp) and sound just like freakin Robbie Shakespeare. For my main gig with my alt-country folkadelic vocal group, I play my Ray fretless w/ piezo and go for an ersatz upright sound. Again, the MB performs flawlessly.

    The eq section is also very musical without being overly tweaky. I've found the eq secitons on GK amps I've owned in the past to be a little fussy.

    I'm surprised to hear the MB is heavier... that GK must be really tiny. I have set my CMD121P on top of an 8ohm 4x10 extension cabinet and thrown down with two guitarists running 100w heads and a drummer who thinks he's the reincarnation of John Bonham, and I had no problem holding my own. So the great thing is, for small venues it's one trip from car to stage. But if I need to get crazy loud, the MB can do it.

    If you'v egot the coin, buy the MB. In 30+ years of bass playing and all of the requisite equipment swapping and upgrading, it's my most favorite amp that I've ever owned (I've had Ampeg SVT, SWR, GK, Peavy, David Eden, Fender).
  6. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I just haven't heard a Mark bass amp that I liked. To my ear there was always something plastic and cheap to it)
    The GK is reliable, sounds alright (well, it is what it is) and has served me well for a long time.

    There are many other alternatives out there however - maybe have a look around a bit.
    I would most certainly have a look at the Hevos "midget" combo though.
    I like it a lot and will get it when I have the money to do so.
    Doesn't mean that the GK is going into retirement.
  7. machinehead_1


    Mar 27, 2007
    N. Ireland
    I have owned a CMD121P for a few years now. I've played a few times thru a friends MB150.

    It's like night and day. The 121P is several times as useful as the MB150. The MB150 was boomy and not that loud and only good for quiet or acoustic gigs IMO. In this quiet context it's fine though.

    The CMD121P is versatile (and loud) on it's own. Add another cab and I use it in a loud rock band when it's easily enough.

    On its own, playing rock in a small pub, it's amazing. People are always surprised when they see the size!!

    Wonderful piece of equipment and worth the money. It's only 29lbs and an easy carry.
  8. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    ...and one could of course argue that no one will really hear the bass amp anyways with all that a room does to the sound,and the PA.
    I have however not had any problems with the GK being boomy. with and without the MBX.
  9. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    I have owned both and I think they're both terrific combos, so a lot has to do with personal preference of GK versus Markbass tone. I'd give the edge to Markbass on volume, especially with an extension cab. Having tried and owned a ton of amps the Markbass LMII/III is my all time favorite - warm, smooth, and clear. Again, IMHO.

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