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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bikeplate, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Been reading about GK amps. Sound interesting. Considering buying one but there are too many and need some advice. This is what I like. Had a walkabout. Loved it but a bit underpowered. Sounded killer. Have a TF 550B Love it. Had a TH500. Liked it but wasn't to keen on its upper end tone.

    Don't need 800 watts but want it to have enough power to be backup amp. I'll he using this amp w a Bergantino AE210 for small room gigs w no drummer(cajon)

    Advice opinions from GK people?

  2. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Are you looking for something that sounds similar to the Walkabout? I'd think only the Fusion series could even compete with it and I'm not sure how well anyways. FWIW, my Prodigy has become my louder Walkabout.

    Do you want a micro head or a rack head?
    -If micro, you're looking at the MB or MBF
    -If rack, you're looking at the RB series (or an MB/MBF with rack ears)

    The RB series has the ability to get the GK grind. If you like some hair in your tone they sound fantastic. From there you really just decide how much clean headroom you want. The lower the wattage the less headroom you have. Make no mistake though, they are all loud amps.
    The MB series (MB500/MB800) can somewhat emulate the GK grind with their Boost channel. It's not exact but it's close enough for live work IMO. They can't emulate it exactly because the power supplies differ between the RB and MB series. I left out the MB200 because it doesn't have a boost feature. I do have an MB200 with me at all times as a backup amp. Despite it "only" being 200w, it will carry it's own just fine.

    I have no experience with the Fusion or MBF's. I understand they have a bit of a warmer sound than the other heads.

    I have RB and MB series heads. I prefer the RB series tone, but I prefer carrying the MB series. I have tons of gigs on my 800RB and MB500, both of which have been completely rock solid for everything I've thrown at them. I will never get rid of my 800RB and 400RB no matter what other amps I play.
  3. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Looking for micro. I also have a prodigy and love it. Again, a micro w some booty
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    So you're basically looking at:


    Personally, I'd narrow it down to the 800's. The 500's are more than plenty, but I've heard that the 800's have more heft to the notes than the 500's. If you find the GK megathread there is a ton of information in them.
  5. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Ok. Just seem like a ton of power. Thanks!
  6. Can't think of anything better with an AE210 than the TH500. Perfect power matchup, big low end that opens that cab up, and nice upper midrange/lower treble presence, which warms up the aggressive top end of that cab (assuming you have the first version).

    The GK MB800 is killer... sizzly up top, very aggressive in the upper mids, more deep bass extended. If you are playing a 70's J and dig freshsteel roundwounds, the MB800/AE210 is be killer for small gigs. With a 60's J with nickels, or a P Bass, TH500 all the way (assuming you can come to terms with the highly interactive pre... it is an amp you can make sound bad (dull and bloomy) if you don't spend a bit of time with it).

    The MB 'F' amps with the tubes are similar sounding enough to the all SS models that I wouldn't bother (more expensive, a bit larger).

    Good stuff if you like it 'bright and big' sounding. More similar (but much better) to the AG500 than the TH500 to my ear.
  7. The 400 watts at 8ohms matches pretty nicely with the AE210. You need to be a touch careful due to the big low end, but the MB800 is very nice, again if you dig the tone profile I describe above.

    The GK MB500 series amps use the same power module as the Aguilar TH350. Nice, but for the relatively little extra cost, the 800 series wump better, especially into 8ohms.

    That being said, the TH500 into 8ohms is one of the more impressive amps I've run across. Sound WAY more full, less compressed, and open than its wattage at 8ohms would suggest. VERY conservatively rated IMO.

    I use the TH350 and the AE210V for my 'small gig amp' and it just kills!
  8. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Thanks for the reply. I had a TH500. Liked it Just wondering if an MB800 would suit me more. I use Sadowsky basses w SS round wounds. The gigs I want the amp for are low volume through the Berg cab. I do want the amp to be powerful enough in case I need it for a higher volume gig. The TH500 was great but didn't love the upper end of it. Loved my walkabout but was a bit underpowered
  9. The TH500 is much closer to the Walkabout than are the GK heads, but with a Sadowsky and SS rounds, I think you would dig the GK MB800. LOTS of snap on that one up top (compared to either the Walkabout or the TH500), and a very open low end.

    You could probably get away with the GK MB500 (actually, I do like the GK MBF500 with the tubes a bit better than the original MB500. That might be a nice way to dip your toe in the water with GK. Order one from Musician's Friend, and you have a month to try it out and return with no questions asked.

    Let us know where you end up. The GK MB800 and the Aguilar TH500 are the heads I recommend most highly these days, depending on the tone profile, instrument, etc.
  10. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Cool. Probably try one soon. Keep you posted
  11. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Definitely check out prices with RMC Audio. They used to have the best prices on GK gear. You need to email them but it's worth the hassle.
  12. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine

    I personally find the MB heads to be a bit sterile compared to the MBFusion heads.
    Normally, I'd tell you get the MBF500 with a 210 cab; but, I find that the GK heads get gritty, early, in a way I don't like when run at 8 ohms.
    So: I'd agree that the 800 watt head, used prudently, is the right choice.

    Personally, I think about any GK head, paired with a Sadowsky JJ with SS rounds is gonna sound reallly, really good. At least, I find that to be a really great pairing :D

    Nothing GK is really gonna cop the same thing as the Walkabout.
  13. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Cool Chef. Just don't want a sterile hifi head
  14. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Then you don't want the MB
    And, sending what you call sterile, maybe not the MBF either

    They're none of them as harmonically rich, creamy, tubey as the walkabout is

    Having said that, I never use my walkabout anymore
    And I used to be a big fan
    Just not enough power.......
  15. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note.

    Aug 8, 2010
    Peoria, IL
    Perhaps adding a tube-accelerator pedal in front of the GK might help. I have one in my Zoom B9.1ut and use it exclusively instead of the SS blend into my GK.

    Just a thought.
  16. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Yea sold mine also. Maybe another TH500
  17. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    And for my 2 cents:

    I had an LMII; it was bland and was sold.
    I had a Walkabout; loved it, not enough power; sold.
    Tried a TH500, PLENTY of power but did not like the tone that much (I think I may be in the minority on this)
    Have a 7-Pro; plenty of power, sounds close enough to the WA but not a small amp.
    Just bought a GK 400RB and a MB500 in the same week.

    My thing has always been clean and warm; my reference amp is an SVT.
    The 400 sounds very nice at low volume and is amazingly loud for 200 watts.
    The first gig with the MB500 is tomorrow, BTW, they are a bargain price wise.
    They also sell used here for more than new at RMC.
    I like the clarity, power, and grind if you want it.
    I do not hear that much difference between the 400 and MB500 in regards to grind.
    I find neither of them sterile.
    Historically, 90% of the amps I've owned in my life were either tubes or at least a tube in the front end.
    I'm very happy with the MB and actually thought that I might return it for a Fusion or for an MB800. Tomorrow night will be the final decision but I think I'm good.
    Been playing through a Berg HT322, a 2x12 w/ tweeter cab, or an EV15 sounds great with all of them and I'm able to get solid low bass without stupid low freqs with the Berg which is not always easy to do.
  18. Bob C

    Bob C

    Mar 26, 2000
    Duluth, MN
    Lots of good info here. I too, am aiming to jump into the micro rig world. On a recent trip to Guitar Center, I was disappointed that they didn't have much of the right stuff for me to audition.

    I did get to play an MB200 that was hooked up to a NEO 410 (using a $700 P bass off the rack). While it wasn't warm, I didn't find it sterile at all.

    GK really has the "watts per buck" going for them. And RMC and Pro Audio Land both have them at super prices.

    I've about talked myself into an MB800 with one or two NEO 212's. But I'd like to get a chance to hear some other stuff that's light, loud, warm and clean. Oh, and affordable. EA is nice, but simply out of my price range.

    GC had TC Electronics and Markbass, which didn't do it for me and Ampeg which I've done in the old days. No Genz; no Mesa.

    I'd love to hear what you come up with, bikeplate.
  19. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Cool guys. Keep ya posted. Used to have an EA artist deal. Good stuff but not quite right for me
  20. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Nobody is going to have GB and Mesa dropped GC as a dealer last year.