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How are the old GK 800RBs?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by xcental34x, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. xcental34x


    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    I've been looking into GK heads for awhile and I noticed how cheaper older model 800RB's are selling on eBay. Like 300-350. If I was informed right, the 800RB has been made the exact same way since it was first produced. So am I right when I say a recent 800RB would sound like an 800RB that was made 20 years ago, and the only difference would be the obvious blemishes and scratches an earlier 800RB would have?

  2. Mental Octopus

    Mental Octopus

    May 24, 2003
    yeah i have the same question as you, so a bump up for ya.

    i'm also curious as to how different those 800RB's sound from the 1001RBII or any of the newer GK heads and why GK doesn't add more juice to the new ones (300 watts doesnt sound like that much...).

    sorry patrick i dont mean to be a thread hijacker.
  3. marklinca


    Nov 11, 2003
    So Cal
    Here is what I know, having recently purchased a new 700RB:

    The 700RB and 1001RB, when in 4-string mode (5-string button not engaged) are supposed to be voiced like the 800RB. They will not be identical, since the bi-amp architecture is different - the 800RB high amp (100w into 8 ohms) is full-range, whereas the hi-amp on the 700RB has a low-cut at 500 Hz (I think). The 800RB has passive cooling, with big heat sinks out the back, versus the regulated fan on the 700RB and 1001RB.

    The 800RB is legendary for its reliability and durability (probably in part due to the simple heat management), whereas the 700RB and 1001RB have had some issues. There are more than a few pros who have used the 800RB for 20 years. Their popularity is also evident by the fact that G-K still sees sufficient demand to keep producing them - the list of other amps that have been unchanged and continually produced for over twenty years is quite short.

    I was looking for a used 800RBs locally (as opposed to the ebay crapshoot), and noticed that every decent condition one seems to get snapped up in a hurry in the $400-450 range.

    Plenty of stacks have been capably powered by the "mere" 300 watts of the 800RB. If you want more, get a 700RB or 1001RB, or a pair of 800RBs. I like the 800RB (over the 700/100) because the full-range high-amp could be used to power a monitor.
  4. duncbass


    Dec 28, 2003
    I had an 800RB for all the years I was playing in the 80's. The only problem I ever had was when someone set it on a barstool in a warehouse and knocked it off onto the concrete floor. The fuse holder broke (or something stupid like that). Fixed the fuse and it continued to work perfectly. As for volume I ran it with a 215 and never could turn it up even half way. Sometimes I plugged a 210 just to point at the drummer. So all these threads on power have puzzled me. And I liked the sound although I never did much comparing, just liked what I had.

  5. sam winks

    sam winks

    Mar 2, 2004
    I like the 800rb alot i think its a great head for the money, and it is build like a tank. It has a great tone for punk and hardcore(thats all ive really played on it). :hyper:
  6. The 800RB has pretty much remained unchanged, Occasionaly a particular part will be discontinued and we have to find an alternative, but it's still pretty much the same as it ever was. Originally, the 700Rb was to replace the 800RB, but there was so much demand for the 800 that we could not discontinue it. People also fuss if we make any effort to change it which is why we have never increased the power etc.

    The 700 and 1001 did have some problems with the early version, but the Mark II series heads have been rock solid.

    The newer heads are fatter with much more low end and have much more flexible tone controls. Lighter, smaller, a lot more powerful. It also has higher damping than the 800 so it responds quicker.

    The 1001 and 700 biamp between the tweeter and the woofer. The tweeter amp is 50 watts and controls 5k and above. The woofer is full range unless you press in the woofer high cut. Then it's everything below 5k.
  7. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I too used an 800RB throughout the 80's and early 90's. Those things were built like tanks. One time, a friend dropped my rack and it bounced down a full flight of concrete stairs. 800RB took the licking and kept on ticking. Also toppled over onstage one night, was on top of two bass cabs, covers were off of the racks, and it fell flat on its face with the guitar cord plugged in the front, right on the knobs. I little bent up at the rack ears, but it fired right up without a problem.

    I wish GK's new gear was built half as well.
  8. Here's a quote from the last issue of Bass Player Magazine.

    "The 1001RB's components and contruction reveal diligent attention to design detail. The pots' metal-shaft design is resistant to pressure damage. I accidentally dropped the 1001RB directly on its front panel from the top of my speaker cabinet at a club gig-an almost three-foot plunge-and the head suffered no functional damage, just a slightly dinged woofer knob."

    As rugged as the 800RB.
  9. HooBass


    May 27, 2003
    I think these comments go outside of the specific questions the original poster asked, but I wanted to share...

    I still have my 800RB (obtained, I think, in 1989). When I last turned it on circa spring 2001 (when I sold my cab) it sounded just like it did when brand new. So a testimony to its stability after years of age and some periodic but heavy use (it got rather hot). I gather the original poster's question was how do new 800RBs sounds versus the old ones, but again...

    Love that tone -- albeit now I've changed to want more growl, and to be frank I'm not clear how to obtain it with the 800RB. I effectively scooped the mids when I was using it, and my tastes have since changed on so I wonder if it would still be versatile enough for my thirst for growl. Maybe replace those mids?

    Another note -- This one has been great, but it in fact was a replacement for one I bought in 87 or so, which mysteriously pooped out on me. Just stopped functioning, and the local amp techs could not figure it out. The vast majority of feedback from others has been they're reliable as heck.

    One last edit?!? -- RE power -- I was using only the 300w power amp (not biamping) to push an SVT 810, and I still felt it very much powerful enough. I remember wathching the hairs on my legs shake as I stood before it. Was playing four strings so cannot comment on how it would have handled a low B.

  10. I had one for a short while. The most noticeable thing to me was the control that it seemed to have over my speaker. sounds weird, but my little 150W cab that farts out with everything I've owned seemed to go louder and and cleaner with this amp. I'm told it's the quality of the power supply design (right Dan?). I wasn't happy with the sound though, definitely clean solid state - it did that very well, but I thought it was pretty one dimensional tone-wise.

    just my $0.03CD


    **edit** The B was great, real solid.
  11. Pete


    Jan 3, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I have one now. I bought it used in 95 for 375 which was a steal then. I have two bass rigs right now, that GK800rb and a Line6/Mackie setup. The Mackie 1200 I s use in stereo w/ about 400w into 4ohms which is close to the 300 I get out of the 800rb. I used to have a problem keeping up when using the 800rb (with a pair of homebuilt 2x10's and a 1x15). Then I bought an Eden 410xlt and I burned those boxes and never looked back. I don't need all the power but I won't gig with out it.

    It's in the shop now, the 300w power section is starting to go. I blew the 100w section by plugging in my active bass while having the cord in the amp with the volume up. This time it failed slowly, but the amp was built in 84. kudos to GK on theses.

    Only improvements I could see would be a ground lift on the XLR out and nuetriks for output (on ther 800rb).

  12. hands5


    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    I still have mine and will keep it regardless if I own anything else.These things are damn'er "bullet Proof,I've yet to replace so much as a knob let alone anything else on this amp.I've not gig with it for quite sometime (9 yrs) but if my Aggie goes south,then I know that I have a prooven backup.
  13. I've owned two, one was new and the other was a beat to hell second hand store rental unit. Both worked great and I never had a problem with either of them.
  14. ojthesimpson


    Jul 21, 2003
    Draper, UT
    Gks are the best bang for the buck I've ever seen.

    I've never played on a 800rb but I've seen several touring acts use em. Opening for Engine Down last week (who's bass player used an 800rb on a SVT810 with a really weird fender P-Bass) almost got me to buy one, even though I already own a 1001rb. Plugged straight into the amp it sounded amazing. Nothing fancy at all but it mixed with the whole band so so perfectly. He had his tone all set at about 12 o'clock and the volume was at 50%.
  15. As I've Mentioned in lots of previous threads my 800 I bought brand new in '83 never a prob. Very reliable and plenty loud enough ocassionally I just run through the board on large venues. I really dug it with the SVT 810 setup
  16. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Alright....true story here.

    In the mid 90's I had a house gig at the beach in Jacksonville FL. I was using my GK 800 RB on my gig and I loaned my other to a buddy who was playing in the club across the street. The band stand of that club was right in front of a huge picture window on the street and cars parked right in front of the window. So little miss "too drunk to drive" comes out and gets in here new BMW and puts in in "D" instead of "R" and proceeds to drive right into the club and over my GK amp (and cabs). She just missd the drummer and my buddy! The GK went flying onto the dance floor with the cabs but all stayed plugged in and my buddy kept playing un aware of what had happened.

    Next day the amp was checked out and just the input jack was cracked (but still worked) and the BMW lady payed for the repair along with lots of other stuff I suppose.

    I have a GK 1001RB 210 Combo today and an Eden Metro and the GK 800RB's are still my favorite amps. :p
  17. tat2d_13


    Feb 4, 2004
    Minnesota USA
    Mines not necessarily "old" but I bought mine in 97(floor model from GC) and its the only amp Ive owned since and not one single problem with it yet"knock,Knock". :)
  18. Mental Octopus

    Mental Octopus

    May 24, 2003
    wow it seems that the 800RB has quite a following. i just bought one of the older 1001RB's off the bay and I just recieved it. low and behold it doesn't work. i might send it into GK for them to fix it but to me the reliability of the amp will always be questionable. all that I really ask for in an amp is reliability and decent power. since i'm pretty much set on GK tone, maybe i should give the 800RB a shot? the only thing that irks me is the power rating but if people say it can power stacks without a problem than it shouldnt be an issue hopefully.
  19. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I used an 800rb for nearly 10 years, and I used a 1001rb (the original, not the 1001rb II) for about three years. I used these heads with Eden 2-10XLTs and actually owned both heads at the same time for a few months.

    This is what I noticed during a brief A/B test with similar settings as far as volume, 4 band tone controls, and contour.

    the 1001 has a slight hi-fi like tone (but not at all like EA, or a demeter pre with a good power amp) when compared to the 800. The 1001 had more ultra lows, slightly warmer mids, and a more refined extended high-end.

    the 1001's superior damping was also noticable. The response of the amp was very quick, not that the 800 was slow. The lows were fat, articulate, and had a quick punch.

    Now, all that said, I talked to guys who actually prefer the tone of the 800 over the 1001. Anyway, that's my two cents. I've never tried one of the new 1001rb IIs, but the specs look real good and I've heard good things from people who played through them.

  20. Mental Octopus

    Mental Octopus

    May 24, 2003
    thanks for the input gfab.

    so if i wanted to take advantage of the 800RB's biamp thing, I would want to get a 4 ohm 1x15 for lows and an 8 ohm 2x10 for highs? do yout think this setup could hold it's own with a Marshall halfstack? fullstack?

    edit: does this work with all cabs?...not just GK ones...

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