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Mesa Subway 800 or GK MB fusion 800?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Paulabass, Mar 13, 2018.


  1. Paulabass

    Paulabass

    Sep 18, 2017
    I know the proof is in the playing, and a dealer 30 miles away has both, but anyone know of reliability issues, pertinent pros and cons, that won't be immediately apperent during the test drive?
    Pretty sure I will walk out with one or the other tomorrow.
    I want a swiss army amp. Single GK neo 12 for jazz, and grab and go gigs, and two of them, or an Eden 4x10 outdoors, and loud rock.
    I already own the cabs, and they fit in my car, so they are a done deal.
     
  2. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    I have both amps. Both are terrific!

    Just my two cents-

    MB800
    Pros- a bit more headroom and low end than the D800. Slightly smaller and probably lighter, if that matters. Either one is small and light enough for me

    Subway D800
    Pros- more ‘organic’ sounding than the GK. More versatile to me.

    I prefer the D800, but you really can’t go wrong either way. Good luck!
     
  3. D800 ‘cos Agedhorse designed it! :)
     
    moe.moe, Mvilmany, mbelue and 2 others like this.
  4. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Mesa.
     
    Al Kraft likes this.
  5. Mesa more versatile tone shaping, great low mids. + model is less dark
    GK louder, more bottom end, brighter trebles. Some reliability issues mentioned on TB. I tried one which had been back to GK 3 times and still has issues.

    I returned the GK and kept the D800+ but would be happy with either. Both cost so much more in UK so hard to justify owning one of each. The other deciding factor for me was knowing a new version of the mb800 is due in the coming months so I thought I would hang on. So while I wait I bought a 2nd hand rb700 ii as an alternative.
     
  6. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I own a GK MB 800 and Mesa D-800. Dukeorock summed it up pretty well.

    I will add that the Mesa has more voicing flexibility IMO and while my GK has been trouble free, I honestly believe the Mesa is a higher quality build which is reinforced by it carrying the best warranty on the business.

    The Mesa voicing control is fairly sophisticated and although it does a little of the mid scoop type thing, there is more going on with frequency shifting/boosts/cuts as you rotate the knob. It's more musical sounding to my ear than the GK contour control which seems like a more straight forward mid scoop/high-low boost voicing circuit.

    Both deliver great sound and enough power that you won't be wondering "if some of the Watts fell out during shipping". The pot tapers on the Mesa are very nice and 100% usable from 0-10 - this is especially nice on high power rigs like this. The Mesa EQ set points are oriented more towards the bass and lower/mid mids compared to the GK, and the GK tends to be a tad more open/brighter sounding to me.

    Both are nice, but the Mesa gets my vote for feeling a bit more sophisticated and higher quality. As for voicing, you'll need to make that call for yourself, because while they're different, there isn't a good or bad there. EDIT: I will add that both heads are true to their company's signature bass head voice/tonal roots - the Mesa simply covers a broader selection of those legacy heads than the GK does (it's kind of close to an RB). Hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
    mexicant and dukeorock like this.
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I have had both, well a D800+ - I sold my D800 to get the D800+. Even though I prefer the D800+ over the D800, I'd still go with the D800 over the MBF800.

    Don't get me wrong, the MBF800 is an excellent sounding amp, but I believe the reliability of the D800 gives it that little extra push over the cliff. I ultimately sold the MBF800, partially over reliability issues.
     
    Al Kraft likes this.
  8. joel406

    joel406

    Dec 27, 2013
    Florida
    This is starting to get weird.

    I’ve been playing the D-800+ for the last year.

    I just got my MBF-800 like 3 weeks ago.

    Now today these amps keep popping up as topics like they are the hottest thing around.

    Well they probably are the best thing out there in class D.

    I love my Mesa. Tone and reliability.

    But I think I give an edge to the MBF-800 for ease of getting an incredible tone.

    Yes the Mesa has HPF, voicing control and crazy eq options. It’s a bottomless pit of tone options.

    But that MB-800 fusion.

    Punch.... Damn...

    Contour control.

    And that puppy has a bass boost that’s just sick.

    Gotta tell ya. The MBF is not shy with warranty or reliability. 2 year warranty and plenty of people have been using them for years.

    I would vote GK.
     
    geowis and Daniel Piper like this.
  9. Tim1

    Tim1

    Sep 9, 2005
    New Zealand
    Mesa Subway. Versatility. Reliability. Tone.
     
    Al Kraft likes this.
  10. Of the two in question, Mesa Subway+ 100%. From, IMHO, one of the most talented and stand up bass amp designers around, Not to mention accessible. , “Take it from the horses mouth”





    Love my Shuttle 6 and Shuttlemax 12.
     
    agedhorse and Al Kraft like this.
  11. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    Regarding reliability, the only sample set I have is me. My MB800 had a full meltdown after maybe 100 gigs (probably) while the Mesa D800 has well over 500 gigs without a hiccup so far
     
    Kro and agedhorse like this.
  12. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    It does seem (anecdotally) that GK reliability, and perhaps design margins and/or QA, are not what they once were back when the RB's were their bread and butter, mainstream product. I've had good luck with my MB's, but they are not used nearly as frequently as my Mesa and Aguilar heads.
     
    dukeorock likes this.
  13. Paulabass

    Paulabass

    Sep 18, 2017
    Thank you all for testifying! It seems that it's about a 50/50, and of course, I will let my ears decide. I'm a platinum customer at that store, so if I change my mind in any kind of reasonable time they'll gladly let me swap it out, or return it. I'm also buying new, so I get full warranty.
    I'm on my way now....
     
    dukeorock likes this.
  14. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Those are two great choices. Hard to go wrong with either. But if you are going all the way to the store to check them out, see if they have a D-800+ and an MB800 to try, as well. For my pesonal needs/preferences, I really prefer the D-800+ to the D-800, though YMMV. Likewise, with most cabs, I slightly prefer the more focused tone of the MB800, but the more "harmonically exciting" tone of the MB Fusion 800 works better for certain styles and with certain cabs. So try all that you can, and let your own ears/preferences decide. :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: :thumbsup:
     
  15. Agreed, the Subway PLUS is IMHO, the pick of the litter in this pair. Tone control far exceeds the original. For me the Mesa is far less colored sounding or has less of a baked in tone. I did play GK for years.
    I’d also wager the fact there are tens thousands more GKs in owners hands that the Mesa that it is skewing your “50/50” observation.
     
  16. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    Right?! If this thread is any indication, the Mesa is more like 90/10
     
  17. Paulabass

    Paulabass

    Sep 18, 2017
    Back from the store.
    Tried the subway, carbine, a few GK class d’s.
    Then I plugged into the GK rb1001. The ground shook, and the dogs howled.
    To my ears, and some people in the store, it was the hands down winner.
    With a flight case style rack, 2x sp-4 cables to run bi amp, it was a bit over budget but hey, you only live once. It also seems more roadworthy than the others.
    A celebratory lunch, then home to spark it up!
     
    dukeorock, Kro and geowis like this.
  18. joel406

    joel406

    Dec 27, 2013
    Florida
    Like I said I have both. Weirdly enough I like both for different reasons.

    Potential owners of either should try both with a cab that resembles something the buyer uses on a day to day...

    Then the one that makes you go....

    WOW!!

    Is the one you take home. Unless you're me who has both..
     
    dukeorock likes this.
  19. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Hard to go wrong with a 1001RB-II! Enjoy! :bassist:
     
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  20. joel406

    joel406

    Dec 27, 2013
    Florida
    Wonderful choice.

    Welcome to the wonderful world that is Gallien Krueger.

    The 1001 ii Is a beast and will serve you well..

    You choose wisely.
     
    Al Kraft likes this.

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