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GK RB800

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by nathan, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. nathan


    Jul 16, 2004
    Does anybody know how good the old GK amps are?

    I've been told to look into an RB 800 and I would be running it out of a GK 410 Backline cab.

  2. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Flossin'? I thought your name was Munson! Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    64 Audio · DR Strings · Source Audio · Hipshot
    I had a 1984 800RB for a while last year, and I ran it into a 410 RBH. It was cool... good tone. I slightly prefer the newer stuff when it comes to tone, but it was right there with every GK head I've owned. Not sure what the power rating on a Backline cab is, but if it's above 300 watts, you should be golden.
  3. Depends on how well it was cared for - Mine is over 20 years old - making some noise but at Volume you can't hear it.

    It is a Classic Amp - when they came out back in the day it was one of the Amps to have. I remember first trying one and it sounded so punchy and clean - I bought it. Still have it today - it has been gigged, used in smoky rehearsal rooms with poor ventilation, stored in the attic, stored in the basement. Last time I put it away it stayed away for about 12years or so - took it out and plugged it in and it keeps on delivering.

    I have used it with 15's and an 18 and a 15 - never failed to sound good - DI out to the PA - always got me a great sound FOH. Shop around there are some fairly new ones to be had for good prices. Good luck!
  4. My favorite bass head from forty years of bass playing!!
    There are many brands and models that I haven't played, but once I tried the 800RB in 1987, I haven't had much need to.

    As "Honk'n_down-low" said, it was the amp to have in the late eighties and into the nineties. I did a good bit of concert work with some name artists then, and almost every time, the backline bass rig was an 800RB. It has more volume than you would think, judging by it's published specs, an excellent variable crossover system for those who wish to bi-amp, and a great EQ section.

    There are only two niggles I have. One is the tone controls are set up backwards from most other amp makes (from left to right; [treble] [low mids] [high mids] [bass] ). Takes a little getting used to. The other is the fact that older ones seem to have a tad more hiss than some other makes. It's really not a problem though at gig volume, and I've recorded with mine many times as well.

    As far as durability, here is an excerpt from a post I made in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.
  5. seedokebass


    Mar 21, 2009
    I bought an older one last summer that echoes what every one else is saying: it is a classic amplifier. Great tone, plenty of output. They are a little hissy, but its manageable. What's even better is you can get used ones dirt cheap! I got mine with a 4U road case for $300!

    lbwdog, your story is simply amazing!
  6. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    I used one exclusively for almost a decade. it was in perfect mint shape when I "upgraded". I miss that ol GK tone sometimes. A truly classic amp for sure.
  7. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    I have its little brother, the GK400RB, and what they say about the durability and power rating is true.

    It's a classic. If the SVt was the 70's amp, the 800RB is probably the 80's amp. Pretty much everyone owned one at one time and another.
  8. Still own mine, replaced the opamps in the preamp to get rid of the hiss after it started to annoy me. G-K sells the whole preamp board for $90 plug and play for those soldering challenged.
  9. gregwatts2008

    gregwatts2008 Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Jupiter, Florida
    I kave owned the 400RB and the 800RB and I currently own a 1001RB and a 2001RB. I swear by GK.
  10. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Never heard of doing that. What opamps did you switch to?

    I have never owned an RB800, but have rented/used one a few times. I have to roll off the treble a lot for my personal sound, but once I do that, a great amp! And, like others have said, loud for it's official rating.
  11. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007
    Bought mine new in 1984, it's been in constant use since.
    It saw 12 years of over the road touring.
    It was used last Fri. and Sat. nights.
    It was used last night at rehearsal.
    It'll be used this weekend.
    It's never went down....never been in a repair shop.
  12. I have one. It's very tough, for sure. I used it for maybe ten years before discovering SWR, which, it turns out, I prefer. But a good amp, if you like the sound. Simple, loud, tough.
  13. I used OPA2134PA's there are closer matches to the originals than the OPA2134PA's.
    Note: The hiss only showed up after the input volume was set way to high for active pickups. Being a tech I couldn't leave it alone.:rollno: :)
  14. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Ah, ok. I only have used passive basses with the RB800. Thanks for the info.... I will save it away "just in case" ;)
  15. I great friend of mine who is in his late 40's has played one for over 20 years. He has spilled beer in it, had smoke coming from it and it still as good as day one!!!!! He uses it with 2 Eden 210XLT cabs and sometimes a 15 inch cab aswell. I have a 1001RB and love it. I wouldn't mind a semi-parametric EQ though.
  16. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    The 800 RB and the 400 RB are wonderful amps. I've used the 800RB a lot over the years. It's one of the favourite amps supplied as a backline for touring groups.

    I owned a 400 RB and used it constantly for almost 20 years. It never let me down and always sounded great. I use a small GK MB150S now. I love it.

    The Backline cabinets are GK's budget line of cabinets. You won't get the best out of those amps with them although their 4x10 will do if you don't push it too hard.

    If money is important, look at the Backline 600 head though. It's essentially a GK 400 RB and available at a very good price.
  17. GreaserMatt


    Sep 4, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I have 2 friends that have those old 800rb's & they love 'em. I have an old 400rb & it rocks. I like their older stuff alot more than their new stuff...
  18. Mr_Dave


    Mar 11, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Employee - Basscentre Melbourne
    My first amp was a GK 400RBIII and i recently just bought an older 800RB. Love it. Very loud for its rated 300watts... run the master high and the gain and boost low and you get a clean tone - crank the boost and the gain and it howls!!! Tough amp and easy to get worked on...
  19. my rb 800 i owned 1988 to 1997 was an old model that had the red LEDs and a 2 peace front panel.....
    not the flat faced green LED model which afaik is the later model ....fantastic amplifier very versatile
    for cab configurations ....i would run 2x15s accoustic cab @4ohms and a laney 4x10 @8ohms
    full range ...somtimes bi amped ....I liked full range better
  20. Love my gk rb 800..not the hiss,but still really nice

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