Issues force purchase of new head

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ilovenofrets, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. Gallien Krueger 400 RB MKIV

    47 vote(s)
  2. TC Electronic BH500

    21 vote(s)
  3. Hartke HA5500

    7 vote(s)
  4. Hartke LH500

    13 vote(s)
  1. ilovenofrets


    Dec 25, 2010
    My beloved Trace Elliot AH300 is out of commission :crying:
    I am hoping to get it repaired, but a super busy gig schedule puts me in need to have something now. Fortunately, I have a great relationship & excellent credit with a local music shop. This does somewhat limit my choices, but I will have a few great amps to choose from. I will be test driving the following-
    GK 400RB MK IV
    Hartke HA5500
    Hartke LH500
    TC Electronic BH500
    I am using a Hartke 410XL cab for most gigs, and also have a 115XL to add for the bigger stages. Of course, I know it will be a matter of what I feel sounds best, but I would like to hear from the TB court of opinion about these 4 amp choices.
  2. BigRedBassPlayer

    BigRedBassPlayer Supporting Member

    I have a Trace AH300-7 I've been debating about selling. I loved it when I was pushing Peavey cabs.

    And ironically, by reading your post, I replaced it with a Hartke LH500.
  3. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    I have owned a few Hartke and GK heads. I currently use AMPEG but given your choices I prefer GK.
  4. will33


    May 22, 2006
    I clicked the 400rb for ample power combined with versatility and reliability...although, the LH500 would also be a good choice for a more "vintage/warm" sort of tone.....basically a nice tone, simple, but probably not as much versatility/eq capability....or growl if desired.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Out of those choices, LH500 or 400RB. Wouldn't even consider the TC for half a second as I find low-cost digital amps to not sound so hot.
  6. Tbone76


    Aug 24, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    I owned the TC BH500 head, and I currently own the LH500. I prefer the tone of the LH500. Warm and modern at the same time. The Fender style tone controls are simple, and may not be your cup of tea, but I like how it sounds. It also has limiter and bright switches to help shape your sound. Pick style playing with flatwound strings sounds awesome with this head, imo. I currently am using this head paired with an AK115 cab, and couldn't be happier.

    The TC head, however, has a lot of nice features built in. The memory function is nice, because it allows you to switch between 3 different user presets on the fly. The compressor is very good, and the Tubetone circuit sounds very nice, too. You literally spin a dial to go from slight grit to full fuzz. There is a built in tuner, too.
  7. ilovenofrets


    Dec 25, 2010
    Lots of great input thus far. And I trully value all of your opinions. As a long time GK fan, I am sort of leaning toward the 400 RB MK IV. However, I have tried a Hartke LH500 and was really impressed with it's great tone and super ease of use. I also owned the HA3500 years ago, and feel the HA5500 would be a top choice. I have zero experience with the TC, and have heard mixed reviews. I guess what I am hoping for is that one of these amps will give me the nice clean headroom and sheer volume that my Trace Elliot head produces, and have a good sound. Keep those opinions coming!
  8. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Pretty much this. ^

    The Hartke and the GK are more straight-forward, "regular" amps that have proven themselves over and over.

    The TC seems like one of those multi-effect gizmo's that does a whole bunch of things....none of them very well.

    I suspect in a live band situation, the GK's and Hartkes, while different from each other, would both have quite useful, professional, solid sounds containing that thing called "balls".

    The TC would seem like some cheap, magic box-o-tricks that would all be varying degrees of not-so-good.
  9. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Man. if you are digging the TE, there is some real culture shock and tone change headed your way.

    Having said that, the Hartke / GK combination is maybe the second most used backline rig behind an SVT. It works very well for quite a few.
  10. mrb327


    Mar 6, 2013
    Nobody Knows

    Test drove all of these recently and purchased a Hartke.
  11. ilovenofrets


    Dec 25, 2010
    Which Hartke did you choose?
  12. BigRedBassPlayer

    BigRedBassPlayer Supporting Member

    Owning the Trace and LH500 as I stated, this statement couldn't be more true.
  13. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I have been using an LH1000 since about 2007.

    What I like: This amp just pounds & pounds. It NEVER quits*. I drive it through one of 2 LDS 2 X 10 cabs. With both, it's HUGE! Most club gigs and PA's these days however, I just need one cab. This thing delivers a great tone with my Precision or MM BA5.

    If you go with an LH500 or 1000, and you work & rehearse regularly, replace the tube every 6 months. It does make a difference and it's easy to do. It keeps your tone solid & reliable. I am a happy customer.

    * I bought this the 1st year they came out. I did have it sent out to repair once under warranty & Hartke paid for everything: work & shipping to & fro.

    My backup during the drought? An HA4000.
  14. ilovenofrets


    Dec 25, 2010
    Yes, I do love the classic TE sound, but I have owned/played GK and Hartke, and I do love the tone they produce. And my last GK was an 800RB which I ran on the 410XL, so I am very familiar with that 'classic' back line. I was quite pleased with it.
  15. Jim C

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

    Nov 29, 2008
    Having owned a Trace similar to yours, I'd have to suggest that you find another TE or an SWR. I have a 400RB; it sounds great; it does not sound like the Trace Elliot signature sound. My SWR SM400 sounds closer, you can buy them for nothing, and are built like tanks. MY UK made Trace (with the black light) was sold with some burnt power transistors which the tech said was not uncommon. My 80'a SWR has never missed a beat although you MUST buy a HPF or be very careful with the EQ.
  16. mrb327


    Mar 6, 2013
    Nobody Knows
    I actually uped to the LH1000 and also an AK410 cab. Couldn't be happier.
    I would suggest either Hartke
  17. ilovenofrets


    Dec 25, 2010
    While I highly respect your thoughts, as I stated in the OP, I am limited on funds and time. I don't necessarily need to replace that TE sound; I just need a solid and reliable head that will be powerful enough to rock my 410XL cab, and when I need the full stack, it can do that too. I do like the GK and the Hartke sound, so again, it's not about getting a certain tone.
  18. Signs

    Signs Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Muskegon, MI
    I have two LH500 heads. I really like the clean sound. I bought a Visual Sounds Open Road pedal where I can add overdrive (dirt, grit whatever you want to call it) on certain songs and it has a nice amp-esque feature that can make you sound more like an all tube head if you want. I like this setup. The Open Road must do a certain amount of compressing as well, since at a low volume, it makes my amp louder with the amp setting. A fellow TBer recommended this. Great pedal.

    That said, if you like the GK 400RB that amp is supposed to be as reliable as an anvil, so I don't think you could go wrong with it either.
  19. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    What I always want to know in this type of thread is, on what basis did the OP select this particular group of makes/models to compare and contrast? What, if anything, was the logic of that choice?

    Surprisingly, those reasons are almost never volunteered, and frequently not shared at all. And yet, the answer(s) to those questions can often uncover unspoken, or even subconscious perceptions, assumptions and expectations that do more to support the OP's evaluation process than any number of "I like this one more than that one" responses.

  20. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I would imagine it's because he has a local music store that carries them. I figured that because he said he has a local music store that carries them.