Lightweight Combo Amp: GK or Carvin?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dhagler, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. Greetings!

    I play bass for my church and have been asked to recommend some new equipment for the church to purchase. I'm thinking lightweight combo amp because we occasionally travel to other churches and most don't have their own rig. The sanctuary is medium-sized (seats approximately 600) and I do not go through the house system. I play along with a drummer, a guitarist who also does not go through the house, and a pianist who does go through the house.

    Based on budget, I have narrowed my choices to these:

    1. Gallien-Krueger MB210-ii. 500 watts through 2 10" woofers. Weighs only 33 lbs. $699.99.

    2. Gallien-Krueger MB115-ii. 200 watts through a 15" woofer. Weighs only 35 lbs. $499.99

    Both of the Gallien-Krueger models can be ordered through a variety of online retailers (Guitar Center, musiciansfriend, Sweetwater).

    3. Carvin MB12. 250 watts through a 12" woofer and a 6.5" midrange. Weighs only 31 lbs. $399 direct from

    4. Carvin MB15. 250 watts through a 15" woofer. Weighs only 33 lbs. $329 direct from

    I would appreciate any feedback, comments, recommendations. Thanks!
  2. If we were talking simply heads...I would say Carvin

    However I am not a Fan of their Drivers at all...they are sorta bland...

    so for a combo my vote Is GK

    but does it have to be a Combo?

    why not a small lightweight head and a 2x10 enclosure?

    For $700.00 you could do really well on the used market
  3. Snakeman, thanks for your responses. To your question, I am not sure we can find a lightweight head and a 2x10 for the amount of money these folks are willing to spend. That $700 is on the high end. :-/
  4. sunbrother


    May 3, 2013
    Carvin has a BX500-115 an BX500-210 combo for 500. That's some serious amp in a combo.

    You can take the amp out of the combo too. Look into it!
  5. The MB115 II will be plenty for what you need and sound better doing it. The MB210 is overkill and on the boomy side without cutting back the bass control. Not a fan of the Carvin's sound.
  6. Thanks, sunbrother! I will look into those. You don't know offhand how much they weigh, do you? (I can look it up)
  7. Thanks, B-string!
  8. I had the Carvin MB210 and, while I am a huge fan of Carvin heads and cabs, the 210 by itself left me feeling like I needed more. When I A/B'd it at a rehearsal with a similarly powered 210 head/cab rig, the difference was immediate. The MB15 with another 15 extension cab sounded pretty dang good at the store, though. The MB112 was my least favorite.

    I've not played through either of the GK's listed, but I'm not a GK tone guy...

    While not on your list, perhaps you might consider a TC Electronic BG250 in either a 1x12, 1x15 or 2x10 config ($399-$549). I have the 1x15 and it is crazy loud and sounds great, even with my 5 string.
  9. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    FInd a Genz-Benz Shuttle 6.0 combo docked on a 12" cab. Get a second 12T cab and you have 600W peak and only 36 pounds for the combo and 32 in the second cab. It's incredibly powerful and can fill a church. Frankly, you will seldom need the second cab.
  10. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Personally, I'd go for GK. Better reliability.
  11. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    Really? Do you have data to support that? I've personally seen two GK MB combos (owned by friends) fail onstage. I've never seen a Carvin fail and that includes the 3 amps and PA I have owned personally.

    Regardless, I'd go the head+cab route if you have 700 bucks to spend on a GK combo. For around that you can get the BX500 head with an Avatar B212 and kick the tar outa the combos.
  12. Well not a combo but I had a frantic call on NYE from one of the venues here in town, bass players rig was down at the main street party. Out of towner so he only got to borrow the G-K 800RB. It was his second failed BX500, first one was just at a practice. Took about 30 seconds to put a smile on his face that didn't leave all night/morning.

    No manufacturer is "safe" from failures.
  13. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    Not a new model class D micro-amp. It's the old workhorse that's a lot more expensive when purchased new. Heck want to bring in a Glock to compare to the 350 dollar head while you're at it? We are comparing GK 200w and GK 500w class D micro heads to the Carvin BX500. I have a BX250 in my little MB10 and it's been a killer rehearsal/party amp for two years now. My gigging amp is a Carvin BX1200 which slays my old GK700RBII in power and features.
  14. AS you said, so???? It's just gear dude. :)
  15. [​IMG]


    that pairing can be had for $700.00 New


    that pairing can be had for $600.00 new



    that pairing around $550.00 new



    that pairing for about $500 new

    even cheaper used

    I think Combos are just to limiting in most live situations and are best used for home practice, but that's just my opinion :D

    though if you put a gun to my head and said you must play a combo i would give this one a try


    $500 New and i see the used all the time for about $350.00
  16. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada

    And I said 'better' reliability... not infallible. Think of it this way there are MANY guys out there still using GK amps from the 80s. The same cannot be said for Carvin. And hey, I like Carvin but GK does have a better track record. Just ask Chef who had to return 3 amps from Carvin due to various issues. Or the guys whos bx500s failed or the guys who had ribbon cable issues etc etc. Sure GK had issues with their mb amps when they first came out... so as the quote above indicates no amp maker is safe from failures.

    Its no secret I am a fanboi of certain bass gear products and it seems you are that way with Carvin. Aint no big deal... just the way it is. :)
  17. kikstand454

    kikstand454 Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2012

    I tried out the gkmb15, 210 and a TC bg112 at guitar center a few weeks back and the TC destroyed the gk's. It was embarrassing. It was better in every single way....including price.
  18. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    No it isn't the way it is. I've done statistical analysis reporting for marketing execs for the better part of the last 6 years. Until you show me the numbers that the rate of failure for the current Carvin class D micro-amps in higher than the current crop of GK's class D micro-amps, then what you say can be used against you. Your conclusion is OPINION and nothing more.
    As for the Carvin hatin Bass Gear guy, HIS BOSS uses his Carvin B1500 for shows where he expects "ugly" conditions because he feels the amp is built "very reliably" with "durable and high quality parts". His super-tech reviewer said the B1500 tested out as the "most powerful amp they ever reviewed" and is "well made and ROBUST". The fact that an amp that tested out at 1699 watts (2 ohms) can be had for the cost of a GK 700RBIV is beyond remarkable IMO.
    Once again I have personally seen the GK MB500 failed twice in live performances and there have been a ton of posts here about the problems they've had with their micro-amps. This goes for AMPEG as well as other brands. Class D micro-amps are relatively new for the working bassplayers of the world. That's a way it is.
  19. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    By the way I owned and played GK's for over 20 years so I'm not knocking them at all. If Carvin didn't exist, I would likely buy another GK. MY GK 400B and 700RBII were both extremely reliable and sounded great, but these weren't new micro-heads. My BX1200 is not a class D micro-head but the BX250 in my MB10 is and it's been flawless.
    By the way OP, if you buy an Avatar cab, you can order it in 4 ohms so don't discount the little Carvin BX250, which is 50 watts better than the GK MB200 and has more features for less money.
  20. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    All the more reason to go out and try stuff out for yourself!

    I'm the polar opposite. I absolutely love GK's sound and their price isn't bad at all. TCE OTOH are just not my thing amps wise, right now at least :)