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New Amp Time: Hartke vs. GK

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by lijazz, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. So, I have been entertaining the thought of replacing my Ampeg BA115 with something more "modern sounding". I have tried a few amps at my local Sam Ash but cannot really decide. I know there are many threads on these two brands, but I would like to know anyone's opinion/experience on these 3 models:

    Hartke HyDrive 115

    GK MB115

    GK MB210

    I like how my MIA Jazz sounds through all of them, but still a bit indifferent. I really like the Hartke, but have some concerns over reliability. Also, I have always played through 15s, but the MB210 sounded quite good and with the option of adding an extension cab, this has my attention also.

    Comment as you see fit, please.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    Can't comment on the reliability of the Hartke.

    Whether you could get by with the Hartke or the MB115 volume-wise, is something that only you would know. The difference in loudness between 200 and 250 watts is insignificant, and I would be more concerned about differences in how the two amps are voiced.

    The MB210 sounds nice, but I found that it farted out earlier than I was expecting. It definitely needs an extension cab if you want to keep up with a louder drummer.

    If you're already looking at those two brands, you would like a one-trip load-in, and maximum volume is a concern, I would recommend that you take a long, hard look at the G-K MB212.

    The MB212 makes excellent use of the available 500 watts, sounds bigger and better than the MB210, and is still shockingly easy to transport. Only $100 more than the MB210 or the Hartke, which is insignificant over the life of an amp...
  3. fivestringgecko

    fivestringgecko Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    Denver, CO
    I've never owned any of the Hydrive stuff, but I owned a Hartke HA4000/Pro4200 rig for quite a while and still own/use my Kickback 12... The first amp I ever bought nearly and it's been a champ for nearly 15 years. The 4200 was a beast, the only reason I got rid of it was because at the time I was living in a 3rd floor walkup apartment and the cab weighed 127lbs. (Switched to modular Avatar Neo cabs. ;)) I wouldn't have any hesitation about buying the new Hydrive stuff, I actually want a 1x12 to go with my Shuttle!

    Hartke stuff is underrated, IMO.

    I can't really speak to the GK stuff, only know that I've liked what I heard when I tried a couple out at GC...

  4. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    They're all decent for what they are. If you're feeling "indifferent", you might want to wait and snag a head and cab later when you can save a little more. I really like the GK 700RBII with the Neo cabs, but you should try as much stuff as you can while you save some more money, then when you find something that your not "indifferent" to, you'll keep it longer, what's that phrase, buy once, cry once?
  5. My favorite amp heads are GK700RBII's by far, paired with a GK NEO cab is my favorite tonal combination. I also own a couple of HX112 Hartke cabs and love them too, lots of warm punch tone, and light weight. If you could save a few bucks and find a used GK700RbII on the classifieds here for around $300 and then pick up a HyDrive cab you would have a winning combination.

    I played through one of the GK MB212 combo amps, and for as much as I love GK stuff, I didn't really like this combo amp for some reason...
  6. Update:

    Went back today to try these amps again as well as the GK MB212 advised in an earlier post. Regarding the GK MB212:


    The Hartke and the MB115 sounded good, but the MB212 was very impressive. Tons of bottom end. Now, my dilemma is this: Even tough I really could easily make do with a 115 combo (either GK or Hartke), do I forego both and spend the extra $200-300 on the MB212 or, at that price range ($800) could I do better with a head/cab setup. Mind you, I initially was trying to keep thinks under $600, but the 212 combo has thrown a wrench in things. I know there is another thread going on here regarding the MB212, but wanted to further things along with this thread also.

    Opinions anyone?
  7. fivestringgecko

    fivestringgecko Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    Denver, CO
    I say go for the MB212 if you can swing it. I'm fortunate to have a few different amps/cabs for various needs, but if you're only going to have one amp, I'm a fan of buying more than what you need for your current situation. Better to have the headroom/volume of a bigger amp and turn down, rather than get into a situation later where you need the juice and don't have it. You'll just have to end up buying something else later.

    Plus, it sounds like it really impressed you, so why not go for it? Better to have gear that you're happy with than buy "settle" and wish for the gear you really wanted.

    Just my $.02

  8. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    How much extra power does the Hartke have to drive an extension cab?

    Same question for the GK MB212?
  9. I'd recommend you try to find a used amp head and used cab instead of buying the GK212.
  10. mystic38


    Dec 4, 2012
    Mystic CT
    at $800??...



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