GK MB800 or GB Shuttle 9.0 ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by AchtungBass, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. AchtungBass


    Mar 30, 2012
    Which way should I go? Which way would you go? Haven't run across much at all comparing these two.

    And BTW, I have a GB Streamliner 900 on the way.
  2. Both great for what they are. The GK will be bigger down low, a bit louder in an absolute sense, and more aggressive/grindy up top.

    The Shuttle 9.2 will have a more controlled, tighter low end, less upper treble extension, sizzle, and a bright but cleaner upper midrange. The 9.2 version of the shuttle has more gain capability than the original 9, which allows it to be overdriven a bit more if you like the tube grind.

    Quite frankly, they aren't as far apart as some other units are from each other. The big difference to me is at the extremes.... GK... deeper low end, sizzlier top end than the 9.2.

    I prefer the build quality and service and support of the Genz amps over GK, but both are good pieces of gear IMO. If you don't mind a bit larger box, the Genz Max 9.2 is really something, with the dual FET/TUBE pre's, and massive EQ capability. IMO, the best features in a lightweight amp on the market, and loud enough for all but the craziest 'metal' gigs, or whatever.

    IMO. Either of the amps you are considering would be a good 'modern voiced' partner for the fat, tubey Streamliner.
  3. PS If you do have a chance to directly compare these, remember that the gain and master volume pots of each amp are very different. The GK goes from 'off to screaming' very early in the master volume taper. The Genz amps use a more non-linear pot design that allows more subtle volume adjustment (especially the Streamliner, which doesn't start to cook, depending on the level of the input gain and volume, until the master is past noon), and will not really start to cook until you get that master turned up a bit.
  4. AchtungBass


    Mar 30, 2012
    Sounds like the MB800 offers a slight bit more contrast to the Streamliner 900? Sure they're both excellent from the tons of reviews (just not in direct comparison, & thanks a lot for your direct comparison insights).

    Maybe I should just go with the unit I can get the better deal on :bassist: . One very popular method methinks.
  5. packhowitzer

    packhowitzer 155mm of pure destruction

    Apr 20, 2011
    My new MB800 is the amp i've been waiting for for 20 years. I love it. It's hard to go wrong with GB, but for my money- the GK is the superior value.
  6. +1 The GK stuff is a pretty darn good deal, and even though the Streamliner is quite different from both of them, you are right that the GK would be 'more different'.
  7. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    I tried the MB500 here in London last week, and enjoyed it enough to make it worth driving out to LA Music in Brantford yesterday. I took my Genz Streamliner 900 and AudioKinesis Thunderchild TC112AF, and spent a few hours with the 200, 500 and 800.

    The 200 and 500 both sounded good in a modern way, with even more of the same the grind and bite that I like in the Shuttle 9.0. Unfortunately, they also had the hard-to-dial-out edginess that drove me to the Streamliner in the first place.

    I could smooth both G-K's out to some extent by backing off the treble and upper mids, but they still sounded a bit clanky. Darkening the tone any further, just put a blanket on it. This is where the Streamliner excels IMO- it can get so sweet and open in the treble, without ever getting clanky or annoying.

    It must be partly in the power stage, because when I connected the MB200 line out to the Genz' effects return, the Streamliner power amp lent the G-K some of the Streamliner's "tubey" give. It wasn't a night-and-day difference, but I definitely liked the combination better than either the Genz or the G-K alone.

    I personally can't see the point of the MB500 for anyone who has a Streamliner 900. Apart from having a mute switch, it doesn't offer anything useful over the MB200. The overdrive tones are transistorized and nasty, and if you really need the punch of a kilowatt-class amp, the limiter engages far too soon. OTOH,I could easily see using the MB200 to give the SL900 or SL600 an interesting second voice. The low end is wider than the Genz in a good way, it's cheap, smaller than some OD pedals, and can also stand on it's own as a backup amp for quieter gigs.

    But the really big deal came when I plugged in the MB800. I guess the fuss G-K makes about having ditched the op amps for discrete FET's isn't just marketing hype. It's every bit as punchy as the Streamliner, and has a more open, detailed top end than the other MB's or either Genz, almost like switching from nickel rounds to stainless. I haven't heard them back-to-back, but the upper register had me thinking Mesa Walkabout...

    Best of all, my B string suddenly picked up some extra growl with the 800. It actually made the mighty Streamliner sound a bit flabby in comparison.

    When it comes to ease of use, the MB800's EQ setpoints are perfect. I didn't mind it with the tone controls at noon, and it only took few seconds of tweaking to find pretty much the same smoothness and heft that I enjoy in the Streamliner. That heft is something that I was unable to achieve with the Shuttle 9.0.

    I love the Streamliner, and I like the Shuttle as well. I also like the Mesa Walkabout, but IMO, the controls on all those amps are a bit tricky to tweak, and there's not quite enough tonal overlap to make any of them my "desert island amp".

    I think the MB800 just might be able to fill that slot, covering everything from modern to Motown. Like the other sold-state MB's, the 800 can't match the Streamliner when you want to put a little "hair" on the notes. But if you're a clean freak like me, the MB800 has a LOT going for it.

    IMO, the only reason for buying a Shuttle 9.0 or 9.2 over the MB800, is Genz' superior build quality and customer service. The G-K seems a bit toylike in comparison. Soundwise, in under-$1,000 amps, the MB800 is my new favourite.
    Soundchaser11460 likes this.
  8. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood

    Jan 22, 2004
    Really great comparison. Thank you!
  9. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood

    Jan 22, 2004
    I got to play through an MB800 for a couple of hours at Willies Guitars in St Paul, MN last week. I was using a roadworn Jazz and a stingray through every Berg HD cab available. Really impressive tones...
  10. BigEarl

    BigEarl Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2003
    Austin, TX
    I have an MB200, two MB500's, and an MB800 (so you could say I'm a true believer) and right out of the box - set to noon - they all get the sound I've been hearing in my brain. But the MB800 put that sound on steriods, at least for me!
  11. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I've tried both. but not side by side, so I can't really make a direct audio comparison. They are both definitely more "modern" sounding, as most people have pointed out. The Benz Benz equipment puts a little less of their own sound on your playing, where has GK or even Ampeg tend to have a "sound" that is noticeably their own. I wouldn't say that there was a huge night and day difference between them, like there was between either of those two and an Aguilar Tone Hammer.
    The MB800 has an interesting feature of having back-lit controls which makes them easy to make out on a dark stage. That's a pretty nice feature. Even in good light the indicators on the knobs that come on the GB 9.0 are a little hard to make out at a glance. Some players also like the fact that the MB800 doesn't have a tube in it. You lose the "tube tone" but you also take that out as something that can go wrong.
    Eventually I went with the GB 9.0 (got it last week) for a few reasons beyond a smoking deal on a store demo. First, I like that it has a frequency selector on the mids. The GK has separate controls for hi-mids and lo-mids, but the frequencies are locked in. Being able to pick exactly where the mids are is pretty important to me. Also, the Shuttle just felt more rugged in my hand. For a light little box, it at least feels relatively sturdy, where as the GK just felt a little cheap and plastic. This is totally subjective, but its how I felt. Finally, three tone buttons for low boost, mid cut, and high boost are a nice plus. The manual says that the Low eq is around 80hz, and the low boost gives you some gain in the 40-60 range; if I'm looking for some beef out of the amp, that's where I'm going to get it.

    I have nothing against the GK and would have probably purchased one if the right deal came along.