Small combos: GK or Polytone?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by appler, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. appler

    appler Guest

    Hey, everybody. I am looking for a small combo amp with an extension speaker output. I'm interested in the Gallien-Krueger MB150S/112 combo (the one without the chorus effect) and either the Polytone Sonic Bass I or Mini-Brute III/IV/V. I'm pretty familiar with the GK sound, but what are the Polytone amps like? I would like something a little less harsh and aggressive than the Gallien-Krueger. Do these amps have similar volume or will one be louder than the others? Any of them have a significantly greater low end presence? Thanks for your time, guys and girls. :cool:
  2. gk 55 pouds for the backline 210
  3. appler

    appler Guest

    Thanks, DerekTBasser, but I'm really not looking for a 2x10 and I definitely want it to be under forty pounds. I want one of the three amps that I listed: GK MB150, Polytone Mini-Brute, or Polytone Sonic Bass. If there's something similar that I don't know about, please let me know. Any experience with these that anybody could share--especially comparisons--would be great.

  4. No problem dude, and good luck with you're search, Their is a amp you might want to check out at you're local GC, its called the gk backline 112, its undedr 40 pounds and looks good, it has 120 watts, not sure if thats loud enough for you or not, but worth a check out.:hyper: :ninja: :bassist:
  5. appler

    appler Guest

    Thanks again. I played through the Backline series on a pop gig once and I was not impressed with the sound. The Backline 112 is exactly forty pounds, which is over my upper limit in order to get around easily by train with my upright and the amp. The bass guitar and amp is a much easier haul, but I want to be able to use the same amp for both and have the option of bringing my Bag End speaker when I need it.

    Also, anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but in this 80-120 watt range, the fact that one amp might be forty watts more than another doesn't always mean it's louder. I'm really looking for real-world experience with these amps as opposed to specs.
  6. Sorry I could not help you, but i wish you luck.
  7. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2001
    Gainesville, FL
    I'm only going to suggest that the MB150's tone isn't the standard GK tone. I AB'd my 200MB (older 150, basically) against my 400RB-III, and they seemed to be voiced completely differently, even when both used as heads into the same cabinet. The 200MB seems to be much more optimal for upright playing, though it works just fine with electric, too.
  8. canadian*eh


    Jan 4, 2006
    Uncompensated endorsing user: fEARful
    I my self have not used the MB150.....I ues a 700rb 210 combo.which i love......I have on the other hand herd the MB150 and it is a awsome sounding lil amp.If was going to go small i would go with that.but since i am going to be running a 610 cab with a 1001rb II head........i would definly look at it for a good practest amp.when it come to amp's you cant beat the gk stuff IMHO!So i vote for the MB 150!:D.......but all the best in your search for the "Right" amp!!!
  9. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I've tried both and like the GK 150 a lot, but I'd go with the Polytone Sonic 1. It'll play louder and cleaner than the GK. and will power an 8 ohm extension cab (as will the GK) Polytones are very reliable too. I owned one of the original MiniBrute combos and used it very hard for over 10 years for everything-recording, small jazz gigs, backstage warmup amp on road tours and home practice amp. It never let me down. The new Sonic series are even better. I plan on getting a Polytone again. They're amazing little amps.

    I too have tried the GK Backline series and don't like them. They're low end amps for beginners. The high end GK amps are very good. The GK MB150 does not sound as bright to me as the rest of the GK line, at least not the combo version.
  10. I have used a Polytone Mini-Brute for my fretless Jazz since -83. Never changed anything in it. Amazing little amp for the jazzbass. Have tried it with other basses, but it didn,t give the same feeling. In my opinion the Polytone is definately a fretless amp.
  11. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Well, I wouldn't say the Polytone is only a fretless amp. I used mine with both fretless (62 Precision)and fretted (Jazz and Precision) and it sounded equally good with both. Just required different equalization, which was easy enough even with the the limited controls on the early Polytones. The Polytone is capable of some very warm sounds with both in my experience.

    Check out Carol Kaye's website for more info and opinion on Polytone. She just finished recording 2 albums using her Sonic 2.
  12. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    Definitely the Polytone!
  13. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    I would have expected this in URB section but not here.

    I've had a late model Poly Mini V for several years and bought a GK MB150S about a year ago cuase I got it at a break even price and wanted to check one out.

    My Poly is mid heavy (surprise surprise, 15" in a box not much bigger) and puts out an interesting old school vain of tone. It is colored and it is different. You can't get a big bottom out of that amp. Probably around 60Hz would be my guess. But it's an easy amp to get good workable tone from that works to a broad range of styles. It's got bells and whistles and tone tweakers out the yang (nice reverb, preamp out too) for a little rig and they're all useful but just going into the 2 band channel (active 2 and 3 band channels w/seperate-combine switch) gets the job done fine. Doubles great for guitar too and may even be a better guitar than bass amp actually. You can get into it with a screwdriver.

    I probably have several thousand hours on that amp with no problem - and I bought it used from a keyboard player.

    The GK I couldn't do anything with. Maybe cause I was so used to the Poly. Big bottom and a presence top end. Good scooped sound and that was as good as I could do. Sounded like hitting the color button on the MXR M80 DI. I couldn't get it to play to anything really. I tweaked till I was tweaked out. I'd also bought a Fender Bassman 20 (25, whatever) to check out at the same time and they were birds of feather tonewise. I figured it must be the new sound so sent them both packing to someone new.

    The GK was also deceptively heavey. Tossed over your shoulder in that carrying bag was like carrying a concrete block on a rope. Shoulder strap at the side was the way to go. To be fair, the Poly has a sidemount strap which sucks less setting stuff on top of the amp. Another thing about the GK is that for some reason they made them inpenetrable without a cutting torch so if anything ever goes astray, well, it won't be cheap. Poly did (and I assume) still does have at least regional repairs so you don't have to ship it off to them. Here in NC there is (was?) one in Ashville. Never needed it so don't know.

    The GK is also 100 watts, 150 WITH the extension speaker. The Poly is like 140 but it has an extension out so I'm guessing it's the same kind of deal so power wise they're probably on the same plain. Poly doesn't say squat about their stuff so it's basically word of mouth. Their manuals are a joke - aside from what's what one page that basically says plug and play. Regardless, volume wise coffee houses or if mic'd, whatever.

    That's my basic experience with them.
  14. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    That's a pretty accurate description. I got better results from the GK than you did, but only at lower volumes than the Polytone. The GK does have that scooped mid sound built in. The Polytone doesn't.

    My old Mini Brute was a very good guitar amp too. Mine had the 12" speaker and I think just 60 watts. But a loud little thing. i once used it for 2 weeks subbing in a bar band gig using it with a 1X15' extension cab. It ran hot but managed to cut the gig and didn't fail. Actually sounded very good. That was with a P bass I should add.
  15. kasbrey


    Aug 23, 2002
    York UK
    My suggestion

    Markbass cmd 121h. Great sound, loud and 39.5lbs

    Great for urb too:)
  16. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    There is a reason why many of the best upright bassists
    use the the GK 150 series combo amps. These amps perform
    year after year, venue after venue. You can almost always
    get a workable tone with many patching and tonal options.
    You can find (and fix) GK amps all over the world.
    I owned a Polytone for years. It worked. Never sounded
    very good, sort of a cardboard sound, but I got used to it.
    When I moved to LA, I needed work done on my amp. I
    went to the Polytone office/factory. The woman working
    there (for about 18 years) was so rude and uninterested
    that I almost left. I have never been able to get my Polytone
    fixed anywhere other than LA, because of the specialized
    parts they use. (3ohm speaker, etc) The GK 150 is a
    standard of the industry for a reason. Of these two amps
    I would not hesitate to buy the GK 150. Add an Epifani
    110UL to the GK and you'll have a small light great sounding
    rig. JMHO
  17. adept_inept


    Jan 9, 2006
    well, you could prolly get a neodymium cab and then a light head (like, 16 lbs) and round it out to about 40 lbs if you do your hw. that way, you get more power, and u can just throw the head in a shoulder bag and carry it around.
  18. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    If you go that route. Epi 110UL is 19lbs. Focus I 4.5lbs
    About 24lbs all together.
  19. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX
    If you're an upright or jazz player, the Polytone is great. Very warm and old school sounding. I have not used the MB150 myself but hear it's not quite up to the task of anything larger than a jazz trio.

    I just picked up a GK Neo 700 112 and I LOVE IT! It's flexible, has about twice the output of the MB150, HUGE sounding when it needs to be....for me it's the ultimate rehearsal/small gig/medium gig amp.
  20. appler

    appler Guest

    Thanks for the great response, everybody. For the record, I play both upright and electric, but I'm mostly interested in the tone and volume differences for electric. So, if I'm reading correctly, the Gallien-Krueger will have more bottom and less volume, but the Polytone will be louder with more of a warm, old-school sound? When I tred the GK in a store, I couldn't get what I would call a fat sound out of it. Will the Polytone come closer? 62Bass, thanks for letting me know about Carol Kaye; I never knew she used Polytone. Can you recommend any recordings that have a good example of the miked amp? Also, does anyone know if the Sonic Bass series is significantly better sounding for bass than the Mini-Brutes? I'm not sure where I could try these out. Thanks again for all the info.
    By the way, I'm more interested in a combo than a head and cabinet setup. I don't think my rather limited budget will allow me to get a very portable head and a cabinet.
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