Mesa 400+ Genz Benz GBE 1200 Carvin B200

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TBWRENCH, Apr 10, 2012.



    Nov 23, 2009
    Hi everyone,
    I have a delimma and would like some input.

    Currently I am using a Mesa 400+ and have had it for 5 years. Just re tubed it with Mesa tubes and I just have not bonded with it. It is used in studio and with the possibility of playing out looming, Weight is an issue so I am planning on offering it up for sale.

    I am looking at the Genz Benz GBE 1200 and the Carvin B2000 to replace it. I have a mesa 15-16 cab, the one with a 15, a 10 and two 6's in it. I play a Fender American deluxe Jazz bass (2011)

    Any input suggestions would be appreciated!
  2. slapagroov


    Apr 24, 2007
    Fort Myers, FL
    Don't have any experience with the carvin, but the GBE is really sweet. I used a friend's for a bigger live show about 5 years ago, and I went and got the 750 within a few weeks. I still have it as my main amp. It's gonna be more hifi than the mesa, but it's very versatile. 2 channels that can be made to sound very different, 3 voicing filters, combine the channels for a lead boost, and all foot switchable. That's sweet. I set the FET for a slap tone and the tube channel for a mildly gritty finger style tone.

    Compared to an SVT, it's not nearly as warm, but you may like that. I do most of the time. I play on an old 80's SVT regularly too, so the differences are very obvious and noticeable to my ears, but overall, I'd take the GBE if I had to pick. But that's IMO obviously
  3. Horny Toad

    Horny Toad Guest

    Mar 4, 2005
    I believe they are within about 5 lbs of each other. No appreciable weight benefit with the Genz.

    It's heavy, but I love my GBE1200. :bassist:
  4. slapagroov


    Apr 24, 2007
    Fort Myers, FL
    Right. I didn't mention that. It's no lightweight! My 750 is a little more manageable, but I'm not sure how much power you need. If its really an issue, check out the streamliner or shuttle max series
  5. Boomer777


    Feb 17, 2011
    Pleased as punch with my carvin b2000 - I can dial in anything I want and then some - got it kicking through an SWR Goliath 610 - thunderous! Low B crystal clear - a real kick in the chest this thing.
  6. The Mesa has some of the best straight-ahead rock tone you'll ever find. The Genz will get you more clean power, stronger low end response, and flexibility, but it will NOT get you the tone the Mesa has. It won't be light though.

    I'm risking a lynching for thinking this, but it's always seemed to me that as long as you're moving a cabinet that is larger and heavier than your amp, the size and weight of the head aren't a problem.

    Speaking of cabs, IME those older Mesa cabs sound great with a 400+ but aren't a great match for a big, clean SS head with tons of lows. I've owned a 400+, assorted Mesa cabs, and after switching to the 750 sold the cabs to get something more modern.

    If weight is a big deal, you might put the whole rig for sale and look into a micro head and cab, like the rest of Talkbass.
  7. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    If you are considering the GBE, you might like other high powered solid state heads. Mesa M-Pulse or Carbine might be right up your alley if you are going for a rock tone.
  8. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    Have you tried any other cabs with your 400+, while playing with your band?

    I bought my 400+ with a Mesa 1516be cab, I never 'bonded' with that pairing either. I really wanted to like it, but for me that particular cab just seemed to magnify the worst attributes of the 400+.

    I'm assuming you've already researched/tried all the 400+ knob-setting threads here on T/B, (right?)

    Something that really helped me come to terms with my 400+ tone-knobs was that they work more like (frequency-specific) volume knobs, than the more conventional type of tone knobs that most other brands of bass amps have. They dont really change the tone, they just alter the volume-level of that tones frequency. As a test, try turning all 3 of your tone knobs to 0, (you get no sound right?) Now try turning each of your 3 tone-knobs all the way up and down, one at a time. You see what I mean? The basic tone doesnt change, just the volume-level of that frequency. After I discovered this, It really helped me to get a better understanding of my 400+, and be open to trying all kinds of completely different tone-knob settings to get the sounds I wanted with my bands...

    A couple other things you could try before giving up on your 400+/1516 pairing is:

    To make sure your amps effects-blend knob is set to 0.

    And also, I'd suggest you just demo/try-out a sansamp VT-pedal into the either input channel (or both simultaneously) of your 400+. That pedal will give your 400+ a brand new voice you might just prefer over any other amp. You might find it'll also help tame what I consider to be the overly-brite/shrill-sounding response of that 1516 cab.


    Nov 23, 2009
    Thanks, what a great reply. What is a sansamp VT pedal?
    I originally had an ampeg hlf 410 and a classic 18" bottom with it. they sounded horrible. I also had a mesa powerhouse Jr. cab, it was ok but too small.
    Thanks for the help.
  10. RedMoses


    Jul 4, 2012
    Ive had a GBE 750 for a couple months now, i bought it having never played it but going off my impression playing a Shuttle Max head, I must say im very impressed with the quality and tone, clean, clear power, tons of tone shaping options (almost too much)...

    +1 for Genz-Benz
  11. svp


    Mar 12, 2007
    I suggest you check out a Mesa M9, I think you would be very happy. I know I am:bassist:
  12. Onebass

    Onebass Guest

    Nov 6, 2005
    Not a big fan of Mesa Tubes they often sound sterile, I use JJ's in my 400+ and they run a little bit hotter and sound much better than Stock Mesa's.
  13. Chef

    Chef In Memoriam

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    "400+/gigging out/weight concerns/Mesa1516"

    You want to get rid of the 400+ to save weight, but keep the 1516????

    If you want lightweight, there are better options all the way around.
    (not a Carvin ampllification fan, but that's just me, many like them)
  14. babebambi


    Jan 7, 2008
    IMO, that 1516 is the problem.
    I recommend checking out a pair of Baer ML112
  15. Chef

    Chef In Memoriam

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    A Mesa 400+ with two Baer ML112's -would rock hard!-
  16. I had a Mesa 400 non-plus with a 1516b for years. I thought it sounded great. Then I tried a straight up 2x15 mesa cab and changed my mind.
    The 1516b is great for fretless or keyboards or anything where you want a lot of upper mid definition. If you just want to get loud a 2x15, 4x10 or eevn a pair of really good 12" cabs will blow the 1516 out of the water.
    Also, the 400+ eq is tricky. Try starting out with the graphic off and the rotary eq at 3-10-3 (bass mid treble). Then experiment with the different channels small eq changes and using the pull deep and pull bright switches.
    It took me a while to get the hang of this amp so I am always encouraging folks to "try, try again".
  17. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    Yer welcome,
    You'll find tons of info by entering the term 'VT-pedal' into our talkbass search window, but heres a link to a current thread to get ya started:

    My bud tried gigging my 400+ into his HLF410, neither one of us were very impressed... Although we both thought his cab sounded pretty darn good with his Ampeg amp. I dont think the 400+/410HLF is a very good combination. If that Classic 18" you had was the deep/500-watt variant, Its basically just a subwoofer, and your HLF already produced super-deep lows on its own, so I'd imagine that cab-pairing would of resulted in way too much deep/low-bass and be very mid-scooped with the 400+ or any other amp for that matter.

    I've never even tried the powerhouse Jr. model, but I know for a fact that my Mesa Powerhouse 15 (mines the earlier model w/o tweeter) sounds/feels and works awesome with my bands. Its pretty loud too, but a pair of these cabs would cover most any gig I'll prolly ever play...


    Nov 23, 2009
    The 410 HLF sounded great with an ampeg amp. The 400+ not so much. I recently got a GK 1000RB and neo 2/12 combo for a steal and I have been using it alot. I like it and even though it's heavy it is working out. My 400+ is in a rack/shock case and it is a deep case so it is huge and heavy. I am strongly considering selling it and the cab due to not using it much if at all.


    Nov 23, 2009
    The Baer ML112 look pretty nice but way out of my price range. I play Christian music and usually concerts are no compensation and recording sessions the same. My GK gets all the attention lately, might look into an extension cab for it for larger venues. Anyone looking for a mint 400+ in a SKB shock case and 1516 cab? I live in WI and would let it go for a great deal. I had another rig I used for gigs, this head has rarely left the studio, the cab has been around.