Is an 400RB enough?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jim C, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. Jim C

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

    Nov 29, 2008
    I've read that many here love the sound of an RB400 with a 2x12.
    A 300 watt Walkabout did not offer enough headroom.
    Are GK amps really that underrated power wise?
    I did play a small gig with my ancient MB200 metal combo amp (150 watts) with the speaker off into the 2x12 and it sounded great.

    The next obvious question would be, does the newish 700RB Mark II sound like the old 200 watt 400RB only louder?

    Application is rock/funk; 2 guitars drums and keyboards.
    100 -200 seat small clubs with no bass in the PA.
  2. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    It's been a while since I've played through an 400RB, owned one years ago, but I just played through a Walkabout combo last night (1x12). It was plenty in a very small club, but I'd agree, at its limit for 100-200 people. Somehow, though, I don't recall that the 400 is that much louder or provides much more headroom, if any. I've no experience with the 700RB but I did play bigger rooms with an 800 back in the day ...and still see them on backlines now and then. They still kick butt, though always with PA support these days. I don't know offhand how much more headroom they offer than the 400. Since I got my MBF500 I haven't thought about it much :).
  3. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    I've been using a 400 RB for over 23 years now and its been great,dependable and plenty loud,I've used it with various cabs and speaker sizes and now I run it with a Avatar 410, I use it for big rooms and outdoor gigs,but lately I've been using my MB112 II and occasionally use the powered cab too but not to often as the combo is plenty for small rooms,so yes GKs power ratings are under rated IMHO...;)
  4. 400RB is underrated.
    Would be perfect for Rock.
    The newer version of the 400RB would be better for funk.

    I'm going to be using my GK MB200 amp with my GK NEO 412 for a indoor gym high school. Plenty loud.
  5. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    The 400RB (into a Carvin 4x10) has been my main gigging amp for years. I will admit that I need to turn it up quite a bit, but it gets the job done. Lately, I've been considering checking out something with a little more headroom (such as the 700RB).

    My application is similar to OP's: funky fusion, played in small rock clubs. We usually have FOH though. But I've used it on outdoor gigs with no FOH and been fine.
  6. thejumpcat

    thejumpcat thejumpcat

    Sep 30, 2007
    I play an older GK400RB into an LDS 1x15. In fact, I have two identical setups. I use one cab for regular club gigs; two cabs for louder gigs; both cabs for festivals I book, using one head as the main and keeping one for backup just in case. That just in case has never happened.

    As much as I keep trying other heads and amps, searching for 'the' tone, there's something about the 400RB that just suits the jump blues stuff I play. They're simple to use and built like a tank. I've never -- in 18 years playing bass -- had a problem with a GK unit, and I've had 3 400RBs, a 1001, and two MB150s combos.

    I think they're plenty loud on their own, and if the gig calls for more, there is (or should be) PA support to run through.

    That said, I did have (and got rid of for financial reasons) an all-tube Morgan MP200 that blew me away. Of course, it cost 7 times as much as a 400RB, but man did it sound sweet. I'll get another one one day, but I'll ALWAYS have a 400RB ... just in case.
  7. Mad Mux

    Mad Mux

    Apr 12, 2013
    I'd say yes, if you have a lot of speaker area. I use a 400RB Gen II I've had for maybe 15-18 years, can't really remember. I play through either 1 or 2 115 cabs (homebuilt, Eminence-loaded). For recent bar gigs, I've had the Master at 12:00 and the volume at maybe 10:00 (about "4" if there were numbers on the dial), and that fills the room, PLENTY LOUD! Usu Hi and Lo mid knobs at max and Bass knob at about 12. Did a larger club gig last Sat, same settings, and the on-stage volume was good, but my wife said bass was "a little quiet" out front...I didn't run through the house, probably will next time. My amp does get HOT when running two cabs, but never a problem. I tried a GK1001RB for a while, but it was too heavy, too much power (although not that much louder, I found), and fan on top is a pain (various liquids could fall in there, and I don't use a rack...who needs 'em with a 400RB!). So, the 400RB is not just LOUD ENOUGH for most gigs, but also lightweight, very very very reliable and works by itself, no rack no BS!
  8. fishtx


    Mar 30, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses/Genz Benz - RIP/Mojo Hand FX
    It's enough for small venues and lower volume situations. I use one for Church gigs...
  9. Rusty G String

    Rusty G String

    Mar 19, 2013
    I use a 400rb with a 410 and 210 cab. That was plenty loud. The thing I noticed about the 400rb is that just when you think it's going to start losing power and distorting, it still has plenty of push left. Don't be afraid to push that amp. It will surprise you.
  10. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    It's a 200w transister amp. You're gonna need some efficient cabinets with some surface area moving.

    Which is not a dig. It is what it is. I love the RB front end. The RCB200 is an all time favorite of mine
  11. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    I ran an old 400B into a pair of 115's and never needed more. That had less power than the 400RB.
  12. will33


    May 22, 2006
    I use the 400rb and 212's for bar/club gigs of around 70-100 people and sometimes outside for the same size audiences. Mix of rock/country/funky-dancey stuff.

    In those situations it can and does handle the gig without PA support, though it is turned up pretty high. I use it specifically so I can crank it, but, if you are looking for a lot of clean headroom at those volumes, the 700rb is worth a listen. The 400rb is about the loudest 200 watts you'll ever hear, but it does still have it's limits.

    The master volume control on the 400rb is very "even", meaning it's useable through it's entire range. It is not like some of these amps that have all their volume in the first half of the dial and then distortion after that, so don't be afraid to crank it up. On those gigs I mentioned, I run the master about 3:00-3:30 (imagining it as a clock face), and it still has some more to give between there and wide open.
  13. Jim C

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

    Nov 29, 2008
    I just missed the 5th 400RB for a reasonable price today ($225) and bought a new MB500.
    A used 700RB is about $50 less than the MB.
    If it doesn't work for me I'll either return it or swap for the 700 and some cash.

    Even if I keep the MB I still want an RB!
  14. Melonthief


    Jan 25, 2013
    I use a 400 RB 115 combo with a 1x15 ext cab. Loud and clear. All it has to do is be as loud as the drummer, the direct out on the front is conveniently situated, the rig is easy to load in and out.
  15. madmarvin


    Mar 7, 2005
    Ontario, NY
    Jim - I just picked up a used 400RB III from guitar center for $139.00. Stalk their used gear section on their web page and you will get one in a couple weeks tops.
  16. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I have an old 400RB in my closet - I pulled it out for a gig a while back and, for some reason, it just didn't sound as great as I remember. It did the job (just a nightclub rock gig) but my little MB200 sounds better. I really should sell it to someone who'd love it.
  17. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    Really?? Thats hard to believe 400 RB is s great sounding amp,maybe it was your cab...:what:
  18. Jim C

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

    Nov 29, 2008
    I have been looking at GC; the two that are cheap are also broken
    The stores have been very honest about the conditions.
    Sometimes pricing from one store to the other is very inconsistent based on photos.
  19. Rusty G String

    Rusty G String

    Mar 19, 2013
    I got my 400rb from GC about a year ago for $99. I had my main head at my drummers house with one of his cabinets. I didn't want to lug the head unit back and forth, so I bought the 400rb just to use at home. I was unaware of the awesome piece of equipment I just "stole" from GC. Well my main head, an Ampeg, immediately became my backup and practice amp. I just picked up a MB500, and I think on its own it does sound a little bit better. But I haven't played it with the band yet.