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GK MB150S for double

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Matt Ides, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    I have read the newbie links but wanted to get specifics from people who double or use the GK MB150 as their main rig.

    I currently play through a Hartke 12" 120w combo amp that I love for EB but will not use for upright.

    Also, I rarely ever have to push this amp past five volume wise since I never play in LOUD LOUD situations.

    I play mostly acoustic when I can but as many a threads have stated, sometimes you need an amp to be heard.


  2. Specifics (from the GK web-site)

    MB 150S 112

    MB 150E 112

    I have an EA iAMP-350/CXL-112, AI Contra & ext, AI Clarus & Raezer's Edge, but tend to use the little GK MB-150E for most of my gigs - it's so portable…

    Hope this helps -
    - Wil
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Played through an MB-200 (the first of the series) exclusively for about 15 years. Great little amps. They tend to sound more natural out front than they do on stage.
  4. By the way (and this applies to all speakers) - get it up off the floor. Sit it on a chair or a stand, else it will couple to the floor/stage and sound boomy…

    - Wil
  5. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    yeah I use to play one back in college. I keep hearing them around town and they always seem to fill out the bottom end in low volume situations nicely.

    Thanks for the replies.

  6. I just sat in the guy who uses mb 150 with Stat-B (Shetler) last night.
    That was in low-volume situation (Hotel lobby). That small amp is great. But, I put the amp on the floor, sound a bit boomy.

    Bangkok, Thailand
  7. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    Just used mine on a gig. Great sound with the old Fender fretless, and an easy trip up the stairs. As far as DB goes,
    if you're using a pickup and don't need much more than double the acoustic volume, it's fine. Once the volume starts going up, the tone starts going down.
  8. Aleph5


    Feb 24, 2004
    I usually tilt my MB-150S up at me so I can hear it best. To reach the audience, either it will be angled also generally outward, I'll have a DI into a P.A., or there will be a big room to produce enough far-field omni output.

    Anyway, though some tone is lost as higher volumes (probably due to negative feedback), my tone is better with this amp than others I have used. And though there are probably truer URB-only amps I've not tried (eg, AI and Schertler), the MB for me is a good all-around performer.
  9. Does anyone has experience with the less expensive amps from Gallien Kreuger, i.e. the backline amps?

    I am considering buying a Gallien-Krueger Backline 110 70W 1X10 Combo amp, but I hear rumours that the backline amps are of bad quality. Any experience anyone? Quality? Suitability for double bass?


  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I use the GK MB150E as my only amp for both upright and electric, and in fact, I do get into some loud playing situations. If you are in the "sometimes need an amp to be heard" regime, the MB150S might even be overkill. Maybe a small Peavey or Fender in the 25-50 watt range would be ample.

    What don't you like about playing upright through the Hartke? Is the problem due to the aluminum speaker cone? You might try a different driver in this cabinet -- Madisound has a reasonably priced 12 inch Eminence sound reinforcement driver that I have used for upright bass, and to my ears it sounds great.

    My MB150E has not been 100% reliable, due to flakey 1/4 inch jacks. But this type of jack is used in practically half of the bass amps on the market, so I don't think it is a problem with GK specifically.

    At higher volume levels, the MB150E breaks up due to distortion, and the built-in limiter does not seem to prevent this (confirmed with a signal generator and oscilloscope). The Backline amps have no limter. It is my personal opinion that you can get more "effective power" out of a smaller amp if you have a hard knee compressor limiter such as is part of every Peavey bass amp. I have actually switched to a homemade preamp with its own limiter in order to overcome this problem and make the most effective use of the limited power available from the MB150E.
  11. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The limiter circuit only flattens spikes on the input signal, no?
  12. scott reed

    scott reed Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2002
    That's how I understand it. The limiter works well for
    slap bass where the attack transients really tax the
    headroom of an amp.
    I've got a couple of 150m's - I prefer it to the 150s
    because of the expanded eq/boost controls and the
    added chorus effect.
    When I did the West Coast jazz festival circuit it was
    the only loud combo that would fit in the overhead
    storage compartment of jet aircraft so I used it by
    default as my main amp.
  13. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Now I will believe the stewardess when she says to be careful opening the overhead compartments :)

    I divide compressors into two categories: The "effects" type, which provide altered dynamics during normal playing, and the "limiter" type, which only acts to prevent a subsequent stage from clipping.

    From my understanding of the GK circuit, and oscilloscope testing, I put the MB150E compressor into the "effects" type. It does not prevent power amp clipping. Also, it is noisy. Unfortunately, it required some effort to diagnose this part of the MB150E after I had owned it for a while, and there are other things I like about it, particularly portability and volume.

    An example of the "limiter" type is found on Peavey amps. Details are in patent # US4318053 (www.uspto.gov), which I consider to be one of the classics of audio electronics design.

    My playing does not really need the "effects" type, but I consider the "limiter" type to be a must-have feature on smaller amps. As a compromise, I built my own preamp with a compressor-limiter built in. Right now it has a fixed voltage threshold, set to activate when the power amp output voltage reaches 40 Volts peak. The circuit is capable of being set up to work as described in the Peavey patent, but I have not done this yet.
  14. Aleph5


    Feb 24, 2004
    I don't use the limiter. It IS noisy and I generally fear effects. I do wish I had found a 150E instead of my S-model, so I could have some parametric control of piezo bite, etc.

    G-Ks aren't known for being bullet proof. The first amp I had died about 5 min. after I got it home. It took an act of congress to get the factory to replace the amp with a new one, but they did finally and it has been reliable since (about 5 yrs now). Still, the portability is hard to beat and the sound works. I don't know if there's any competition in the price range, save for Acoustic Image.
  15. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Yeah, it's like buying a Ford -- either you get a really great car that lasts forever, or a complete lemon. In the case of my GK, it was the contacts in the "switching" type 1/4 inch jacks. I was able to bypass or diable most of the offending connectors, including the FX loop and footswitch jack. Mine has been reliable ever since I re-engineered it.

    But there is nothing else like the MB150 on the market. The problem is that you can get the same amount of sound with less amplifier power by using a larger cabinet, and there are a bezillion inexpensive combo amps in the 50 W range. Therefore, the market for the MB150 is limited to people who really care about portability.
  16. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Yep, I hated my little GK until I got it up off the floor. I used it for both electric and EUB and it was great. NOt the warmest sound but mine was very reliable.
  17. fred pratt

    fred pratt

    Jun 20, 2004
    New York City
    I'm trying to decide between a GK MB150 and an Acoustic Image Contra Combo.

    Both seem portable but the GK seems more portable. On the other hand, I heard an Acoustic Image in the next room at David Gage's shop last week, and at first I thought it was a really loud unamplified bass, the sound was so true. I somehow doubt the GK can rival that.

    Any suggestions? Comments?
  18. I have both (as well as an extension Contra cab), although my Contra is one of the older models. The Contra sounds really good if you get it off the floor, either by standing it on a chair, or using an AI "Magic Triangle" under the front of the cab (a thick book will do just as well…). At the moment I'm using the GK-150 slightly more - it is lighter, and thus more portable - also the GK is built like a tank! One of the complaints I have about the Contra is the grille on the down-firing 10" speaker - it's rather flimsy, and wouldn't stand up well to real abuse. The newer Contras might be better made. BTW - I've seen used Contras (older model) on eBay.

    Hope this helps -
    - Wil
  19. Is price a consideration? What about the New Yorker? Seems like that would give you the sound and the portability. The only thing about the AI combos is the sound will vary from room to room, more than with front-firing cabs. I'd say overall I liked the sound of the AI better, even though different floor surfaces changed the sound drastically. The AI disperses, the GK projects. When you try the AI by yourself, you might really like it. Then try it with a band, in a noisy room, and you might find it unusable. The problem is, the only way to know for sure is to get one and use it on some gigs.

    I have the original GK 200mb, 16 years and still working. I'm going to keep it as a backup, and sell my Coda. I'm now using a Schertler Pub.
  20. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    Tried out a small tilted Backline at a Guitar Center once with a EB. Don't waste your money.