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GK MB200 Hiss

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by drpepper, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. I received a new GK MB200 from MF last night and need to decide whether to try to exchange it for another unit, return it or accept the way it is.

    (Edit - Video from post below)

    GK MB200 Hiss - YouTube

    I did a search in the 1000+ post MB200 thread, and obviously turned up a number of posts regarding hiss, but the subjects in the thread are broad and it started getting a bit dizzying. I got the impression that hissing was more common earlier on and had been eliminated or at least reduced in occurrence.

    I unpacked my MB200, connected it to a TCE RS212, centered the tone controls, and powered it up with the gain on 0. I immediately noticed a hiss. I was surprised because there was no volume and no bass plugged in. The hiss seems to remain present regardless of the state...cab/no cab, instrument cable/no cable, headphones or not, and all various switch positions. It is reduced by lowering the treble.

    So, the main question I have is are some people getting units that are completely quiet? Is this the norm?

    Are there people who are accepting some amount of hiss as an artifact of the relatively bright tone of the amp?

    I have to spend more time with it over the weekend, but my initial impression is that it's not acceptable.
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I have not played the 200, but the three MB500's I spent time with had the highest 'noise floor' of almost any amp I've ever played. Per your point, I do believe part of this is due to the goosed top end of those amps.

    For guys rocking at loud volumes, or those who play using one way cabs, not much of a deal. Way beyond my personal threshold though, since I do use two way cabs, and often play in moderate and even low volume situations.
  3. sanderic


    Jun 3, 2011
    I bought my MB200 about three months ago, (November 2011), and have no hiss whatsoever. I have now added a GK 410 ultralight cab w horn, and still have no hiss.
  4. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    It does seem like there is wide variation in units regarding noise. Maybe moving back to US production will tighten all this up a bit.
  5. Interesting points. Thanks for the input.

    The "noise floor" comment kind of makes me wonder if "completely quiet" could be different for me versus someone else, based on their experience and expectations..."Oh, you're calling THAT a hiss? That's normal."

    I've been running with nothing in the way of backup, and I've also just wanted to experience some different voicing. I've been using an RH450 that I'm about to replace with an RH750.

    At $235, it just seemed like a good idea all around...add a backup, sample a different sound, leave a practice amp completely set up at home.

    As a practice amp, being used to the complete quiet of the RH, I think I'd find it an annoyance. I might like to try it at gigs too - small bars/classic rock covers. It's hard to say how noticeable it'd be.
  6. Thanks for commenting.

    I guess I can try for an exchange and it'll just be a crap-shoot.
  7. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    Make sure you’re not getting interference racket from something in your room. The new energy saving light bulbs cause big time hiss in both my guitar player’s amp and mine, both of which are new class D amps. My dvd player + TV has produced noticeable hiss with my practice amp. I’m not sure if more expensive and/or non-class D amps have some type of built in noise buffers (or not) but these new amps seem sensitive to outside interference, not unlike an un-shielded bass guitar cavity. Tombowlus would be a big help here (expert).
  8. Thanks. It's something to try, but the fact is that if it's that sensitive, then it has to go.

    I really don't think that it's interference though.
  9. froghat

    froghat Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2009
    Rhinebeck, NY
    Mine has no more hiss noise than my Shuttle. I guess I got lucky. I bought it used for a good price just to keep in my gig bag as a backup.
  10. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I have an MB200, MB500, and MB Fusion, and none of them make any audible noise in situations where all of my other amps wouldn't also make noise (some basses in some rooms - typically with fluorescent lighting - seem to always have a certain noise floor with any amp I use).

    We've also had numerous iterations of the MB series heads on the bench (Audio Precision system) and have not found them to be any noisier than the competition.

    I do know that QA/QC was one of the reasons that Bob Gallien decided to bring production back to the USA, though.
  11. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Hissing almost suggests a problem with the power module's output stage filtering. Off-spec component, wrong component, bad solder joint somewhere in the filter network for any number of reasons, cracked solder joint because a tray of completed units was dropped onto a hard floor -- something like that. To find out for sure, a signal from the DI out jack, with the switch set to post eq, could be run to a power amp, and speakers connected to the power amp. If noise-free, then that would in fact point to the power module as the source of trouble. Maybe GK received a bad run of power modules and didn't find out soon enough, if all these noisy units are clean at the post-eq DI. One of dozens of possibilities, all conjecture..........
  12. If anyone is interested, I made a quick video just now.

    GK MB200 Hiss - YouTube

    To the degree that this type of thing can be captured (hardly a noiseless environment or noiseless capture) it does show something.

    If you listen on headphones at moderate volume, I think it's pretty clear.
  13. This unit was made in China.
  14. I've decided I can't accept this one. I'd really like to have one of these, but my pessimistic expectation is that I'll get another one that hisses.

    MF will take the one back and just grab another box and send it to me.
  15. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house

    That's loud. I didn't notice anything like that with an MB500 I had for a few months. Hope your new one is OK.
  16. Hey, thanks a lot. But what I'm rolling around right now is whether it's worth the time and effort to basically gamble on getting one that doesn't hiss.

    What I'm gathering is that some hiss, some don't, some people accept it, some don't, some don't notice or realize, etc.
  17. 76Dub

    76Dub Guest

    Jul 9, 2008
    I took one in last week brand new and I had the same issue.... It went right back and is totally unacceptable. I went with a different manufacturer all together. It would of been nice to have a tiny head at 200 watts but too many problems with this little guy.
  18. Interesting. Did you get the MB200 from Musician's Friend?

    What did you end up going with?
  19. miiitch


    Nov 27, 2011
    yeah, that seems to be about the same noise level my unit produces at home and in rehearsal room
  20. 76Dub

    76Dub Guest

    Jul 9, 2008
    Nope Guitar Center. I went with ampeg

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