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LM II versus Genz Benz Neo Pack 3.5

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ::::BASSIST::::, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. ::::BASSIST::::

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

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Has this comparision been done already? They are both held in high regard around here. I wonder which one gets the edge?
  2. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    The Neo-Pak isn't bad sounding at all, I thought it had more girth than the LMII...the EQ is pretty decent...but the LMII is considerably smaller and much much louder. I was really clipping the input on the Neo-Pak very easily at very moderate volumes, and it just doesn't have much horsepower to spare. The LMII is hella loud. My. 02.
  3. jmain

    jmain Oo, Uhn't uh, Yes! Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    Some discussion here.
  4. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    Teehee, this is the same question that I'm asking right now. I have a Genz-Benz GBE600 that I absolutely love. I have not had any GAS for a head since getting this thing. It's THAT good. While the GBE600 isn't a large amp, the LMII (that I hear oh so many good things about) and the Neo-Pak are considerably smaller.

    The LMII is on my radar because the GC here in Cincinnati carries them. $600 is a steal for a new amp with these features. If I would so choose to sell my GBE600, it's a near-lateral move financially.

    The Neo-Pak 3.5 is well... Genz-Benz! I know what I'd get from this amp: a mini version of my GBE600. A little less "oomph," only the tube side, and only one mid control (albeit semi-parametric).

    Maybe I'll downsize, maybe not. I'm exploring my options. Downsizing is a plus, I'm just not sure if I'm willing to sacrifice the tone I have to do it.

    J, I see that you went with the Markbass. Did you end up trying a Genz? And (without me asking a million questions that you feel you should answer), how do you feel about your choice, what's your feedback, etc?
  5. The Neo-Pak does not feel like a micro head. It is built well, with solid pots, big, easy to grab metal knobs- everything is substantial. It's not that much bigger than the LMII, and only weighs a couple more pounds. Genz-Benz makes a very heavy-duty padded gig bag with shoulder strap that is a great way to carry the Neo around.

    If you get the GB upgrade to 2 ohm operation, this guy can run 4 8 ohm cabs. Plus, it has a real, live, great sounding tube preamp. Nice EQ set, too. I've been impressed with the DI sound.
  6. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    Yea Michael, the Neo-Pak is a fantastic amplifier. For "little" heads, in my experience, Neo-Pak = Mesa Walkabout > everything else.

    For me, the Neo-Pak is a better tone than the Walkabout.

    But all these folks rave about the Markbass, and I can't help but wonder...
  7. JayAmel

    JayAmel Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    I personally rave about the Markbass for a few simple reasons, which by no means imply that the GB NeoPak would not be at least as good, or even better.

    1. I preferentially wanted a full solid state amp. No tubes at all.
    2. There was no NeoPak in the store.
    3. Anyway, the NeoPak here sells (street) 40 per cent more than the LMII.
    4. I did this purchase while changing my WHOLE gear (including the bass). When I tried all this altogether (I arrived in the shop already certain about the bass), I was just blown away (tonewise, powerwise, etc.) by a setup that would fit my budget without breaking the moneybox.
    5. The only two other brands that were available in the store and could have been a solution were EBS and Eden (though both with tube preamps), but it would have been MUCH more money to spend, many more lbs to carry at each gig, and no better result according to the tone I was after (and that I now have).
  8. realdeal

    realdeal Inactive

    Dec 10, 2004
    I A/B'd both the LMII and the Neo-Pak 3.5 fairly extensively, and in the end went for the Genz-Benz for a number of reasons, which only means that's what I preferred. I certainly know I would have had a lot to like with Markbass too.
    I think part of the "uproar" about the LMII came from it's announced intro- a lightweight, powerful, NEW, well-made, very good sounding head at an exceptional price. Then, they were unavailable for many months after being announced and touted- it created a lot of salivating for them, from many players, including me!
    In the interim, Genz-Benz, always a kind of low-profile company, designed and put the Neo-Pak on the market without a lot of fanfare.
    You almost had to look out for it! There was no "Forum" tacitly sponsoring it's quality!
    Nonetheless- One of the reasons for my choice of the Neo was the tube pre-amp combined with the parametric mids. I preferred that eq over the LMII. Also one of the posts stated that it was the only mid-control; not really- There is a 3-band pre-shape that includes an excellent IMO mid-scoop as well as a very defined bass and/or treble boost. Good stuff.
    I use mine with a 4-Ohm Wizzy M-Line cab to put out the full 350 watt RMS rating.
    It's LOUD- I'm still getting bemused looks from both the drummer and guitarist (who uses a big 4-space Boogie rig) when they see this little rig sitting on the studio flor, tilted back, and laying out such defined and pronounced tone!
    I've played the rig on the job- beautiful.
    I also appreciate the seperate tube preamp gain and volume knobs, and the detents of the controls are very precise. The led's for clip, signal strength, etc. are another great feature too- very accurate, and yes, the blue "glow" from the panel can be ....hypnotic!
    Finally after some time with this rig- It has a footprint that is only minimally smaller in dimension than some standard amp heads, everytime I pick it up, it almost flies out of my hands, because at 8 lbs, looks are really deceiving here.

    I'm not a big fan of "X vs Z" threads- It's good for inputting opinions
    and hearing what others say. But there should never be a "winner" between two smilar and very fine products.
    I am totally pleased with teh Neo-Pak 3.5 as the many LMII users are happy with their fine rigs.
    Great time to be a bassist! We really have the GOODS!
  9. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    realdeal - While I certainly understand (and agree with!) your high touting of Genz-Benz, I personally would be interested in hearing what your ears perceived the differences between these two amps were. Thanks! :bassist:
  10. realdeal

    realdeal Inactive

    Dec 10, 2004
    Wow, that's a tough one for several reasons!
    It's hard to describe sound in text too-
    I liked the LMII very much. I could be real happy as an owner/operator.
    And another factor is the basses you play, the strings, the approach and attack, style(s) of music...all of that.
    But to TRY and answer-
    The LM sounded a bit- a bit- on the sterile side to me, the way it's designed I'm thinking. Maybe "uncolored" is a good choice. And everyone's perception of that is different too.
    I first played the MarkBass- and had played thru their heads in Europe as well, before they "invaded" the USA,
    so I was familiar with how they're voiced.
    When I got to try the Neo-Pak, I was happier with the intrinsic tone right from the start, with
    everything set fairly flat, including my bass. I know that the 12AX7 was doing it's work; a tube pre-amp definitely "co;ors" the signal.
    I REALLY liked the tube gain/volume feature. it allows you to dial in color, crunch and O/D from the preamp, and has a very sensitive led that lets you know when you're clipping.
    GenzBenz goes to great lengths in the manual as to how to adjust
    your signal using this and the master, and adjusting for eq, etc, but it all is very intuitive, at least to me.
    I've got "go-to" settings I use, and IMO, the results I got were far more defined for what I like than I was able to dial in with the LM. By comparison, the LM was limited and the VLE/VLF dials did not offer the range or definition I like- remember that's just me, using only words, and of course YMMV, etc.
    I also felt that the genz-Benz amps are voiced with a nice punch and attack- It seemd to have more bite and breath than the uncolored LMII. I've also heard from many happy users of the big 750's and 1200
    models; that they are PUNCH/ATTACK animals, really solid performers.

    I know the LMII is rated higher power-wise, it may well be louder. I haven't come near pushing the Neo to it's limits thru my M-Line, and I hooked it to my two "big" Ampeg cabs, an SVT-15E and a SVT 4x8 and wow wow WOW! That featherweight head just rattled the room!
    It was amazing to get so much headroom and tone, then pick up the unit and carry it with my little finger. Still trips me out, like being
    weightless in space!:D
    I'm digging having and using the Neo; as I say, many many players are ecstatic with the LMII. I can understand why.
    I went with the Genz, tho. (Even with those wild blue lights!!:cool: )
  11. Mikefish07


    Apr 6, 2003
    I have to agree with you RealDeal. I've been using the Neo-Pak with a EA Wizzy for more than 6 months and have also tried a LMII. The Neo has a little more warmth to it than the LMII but I think the LMII has more power. I'm happy with the Neo and was very happy when GB updated my Neo to 2ohms for free. Wow. I had to pay shipping one way but they picked it up coming back. Great customer service which I don't think Markbass can match. The Neo is way more tweakable than the LMII and has those Bright LED lights that you could probably use as a flashlight. LOL I don't care for EA customer support but the pairing of the Wizzy with the Neo is almost the perfect mini rig.
  12. realdeal

    realdeal Inactive

    Dec 10, 2004
    I wasn't able to get dimensions on the M-Line, and was concerned that their might be overhang-
    Very pleasantly surprised, and it's almost eerie, that the Neo-Pak fits EXACTLY between the corner pieces of an M-Line Wizzy! They abut perfectly.
    Besides that useless fact:D
    they match up in sound incredibly. Probably would be the case with almost any head given the M-Line specs and EA speakers in general, but these 2 are a Pair.

    I'm getting maximum output from the Genz at 4 ohms, and the inherent voicing from the Neo is defined precisely by the Wizzer Cone and transmission line box design.
    Clear, PUNCHY!, articulate, defined solid, and very thick tone- from a 34-lb midget enclosure and a head unit so light it feels like an empty shell.
    Bought this solely for a rehearsal studio with poor backline. It takes care of that and more. Small and mid size clubs are a perfect fit for the combo, and the sound fills the room. I'm waiting for opportunity to DI the rig- I hear the Genz has an excellent DI, really clean.
    Plus watching my Guitarist carry in his 4-space Boogie head and large cab, and seeing him look down at the rig as pictured below, as I hang with him....Priceless!

    And yes, their Customer Service- Way cool. They called me, gave me an RA when and if I'm ready for the 2-ohm conversion, very simple I understand, a few resistors etc. you got it.
    That's a plus too, although I don't foresee any problems with the unit.
    They're solid and well-made.
    Genz-Benz is coming out of the shadows, and they deserve a lot of credit for the gear they provide for the bassist, including the Neo-Pak 3.5.
  13. Mikefish07


    Apr 6, 2003
    Yep. I was really surprised when I put the Neo on the Wizzy and found that the they almost lock in place because of the feet between the corners. Also, at 350watts it's been able to be loud enough to keep up with a really loud drummer.
  14. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    Thanks for the thoughts..

    I own the LMII and I'm well pleased with it. It powers my Bergie HT-112 + EX-112 really well. I agree with others that the tone is more "transparent" than anything else. Not tubey, not gritty, not sterile...just loud.

    I've been curious about the Neo-Pak for a long time and, in particular, whether or not it could match the LMII in powering the Bergie stack. If the LMII is "much much louder" than the NeoPak, I need not consider the grass over the fence any more. The Bergies are thirsty, I play rock...and I need the juice. It sounds like the NeoPak is great stuff if your volume needs aren't of the uber sort, but I can't give up any substantial volume.

    Any second opinions?
  15. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    My LMII is pretty darn loud. A single 112 is enough to do most lower volume gigs, and it is fairly transparent. I find the EQ section is limiting for MAJOR tone changes, however if you just need a low bump or something to mellow out the tone, then you have it at your fingertips.

    I can't help but think now that I own one that 500w is all I need for any gig. YMMV.
  16. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    Nice little rig! Probably handles everything up to loud gigs, and w/ the 2 ohm conversion and another Wizzy...you're good to go for anything! :hyper:
  17. Eublet


    Jul 28, 2006
    I can't really speak to which is louder, but the Neo-Pak is loud enough for most anything I do. Still, I don't necessarily think "uber power" when I use it however. It really is more of a tone monster IMO, but you have to like that hybrid sound. While it will fit in most any medium venue, I really think it's the best thing going for acoustic and or jazz gigs where warm and articulate is the name of the game. The tube channel can get very gritty if you want, so that means there is a nice medium setting where the notes blossom and have lots of harmonics going on. Great for the melodic fingerstyle players and soloists. But it also gets a nice warm bottom. If you want it to be less tubey sounding, I've found that turning down the gain and pumping the channel volume removes lots of that hybrid feel, and seems to make it sound more hi-fi.

    I really use it more than I do the GBE 1200 because it's light. I've never felt under-powered with it at all.

    The only experience I have with a LMII was in a Guitar Center. It's always hard to tell how things are sounding there to me, but what I heard was nice, very punchy. I didn't think it sounded hi-fi. It's almost like it didn't have a distinctive sound. It just "was". I can't explain it, so I'm probably not making sense. And I dont want it to sound like I'm downing it because I'm not. But based on that little bit of exposure I'd much rather have the Neo-pak personally. It just has a vibe going on. Perhaps that LMII would as well if I didn't have to listen to it over 5 other guitar players working on their metal chops.
  18. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    I totally agree. The LMII just "is"...very transparent (loud) tone.

    I probably would enjoy the character of the Neo-Pak, but I don't want to give up much volume to get there.

    I still haven't heard a report on the NeoPak w/ the Bergie stack.

  19. Your description of the LMII's tone is spot on, IMO...it just "was" is the perfect way to describe it.

    I've tried this amp twice, at GC of course, and I really wanted to find a reason to plunk down $600+ to give it a 1 month trial, but I just couldn't warm up to it for whatever reason.

    I'm really curious thought to see how these two amps compare volume wise now that the NP 3.5 can go 500 watts @ 2ohm.
  20. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    Buy it on Friday from GC and get 20% off (from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. only).

    I'll sell you my Neo-Pak 3.5 for $475. I'm just over the Oakland Hills.
  21. Primary

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