1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Suggestions Appreciated....

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by musicman5string, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006
    Hello all-

    After reading through a bunch of threads, I gotta ask you guys your opinion on my current setup, as I've thought myself into a corner.....

    Currently I've got an Underwood and a Realist on my bass going into a GKmb150. I can only use one pu at a time so it depends on the room which one I'll use. Usually at very low volume (piano/ bass duo, guitar/bass duo) the setup is good; at louder volumes the sound is a little...ehhhh. Part of this I know is the speaker in the GK; it's just not that good and has an annoying top end even with the treble and high boost all the way off. However, it's been a very reliable amp (I've had it for over 10 years), sounds good at low volume with electric bass, and has a great little carrying case you put on your shoulder :)

    I think it's time for something better, but I don't know where the weak link is; should I get a mic to blend with the pu's, should I get a different amp, etc?

    Any info would be much appreciated, especially from anyone using a similar setup.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. LowNote

    LowNote Supporting Member

    Jan 31, 2002
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Like you, I used a GK MB150 for many many years as my main gigging amp, with an old Fishman BP100 pickup combined with Crown condensor mic through a Ravenlab blender. It served me very well, atlhough it was not really up to driving large and loud big bands. That got me started down the path of finding an alternative amp tha was small, dependable, sounded as good--if not better than the GK, and and able to put out more juice. Many amps, speakers and dollars later, I've found the answer. As a result, I finally sold my GK just last week. I also play in Edinburgh, Scotland, where I've been using a GK MB150 as well, and this Summer I'm selling it and replacing it with my new setup as well.

    My humble suggestion is that you buy one of the new Acoustic Image Coda amps with two channels--or buy an AI Focus amp and pair it up with an AI ContraEX speaker or another small and light speaker like a Schroeder sealed Mini12L or an Epifani UL110 or UL112. The new Coda amps now have 400 watts into their built-in, 4-ohm speaker vs. the 100 watts you've been getting from the GK with internal speaker, and with a 4-ohm extension speaker produce 500 watts vs. the max of 150 from the GK. The Contra speaker is also a three-way speaker that is dramatically more HiFi, and IMHO, does a far superior job of capturing the sound of an acoustic instrument. The new Contra's are also less than 20 pounds vs the 26 pounds of the GK, which is a lot.

    I've gone the other route, but this was because the new Contra's were not yet available when I needed a new amp. I have two of the Focus amps--a Series II that I'm taking to Scotland and a new Series III, Focus 2R that I'm keeping here in Los Angeles. I'm pairing them up with either a ContraEX speaker or a Schroeder sealed Mini12L, or both depending on whether I'm playing a huge room and need to move a lot of air. The Focus Series II puts out 600 watts into 4 ohms and 750 watts into 2 ohms. The Series III Focus puts out 800 watts into 4 ohms and 1000 watts into 2 ohms. I'm in love with this equipment, and can't recommend it highly enough. It is made for gigging bassists, is super light but built like a tank, and knowing Rick Jones, the President and founder of AI personally, I can't say enough good about him and the company.

    Amps and speakers that I tried along the way and have subsequently sold include an Eden WT500, EA iAmp 350, Walter Woods Ultra, EA VL208 and VL110 cabs, Avatar 112 cab, and an Acme B-1 cab.

    Assuming you like the sound you've gotten out of your current bass and pickup thru the GK at lower volumes, I wouldn't be in a big hurry to make any change to your bass or pickup. I'd tackle the amp/speaker combination first because this is where I think you'll get the most improvement.

    Erik Hansen
    Los Angeles
  3. I think most of us GK users have the same experience you do. It is indeed a great little amp but it has its limits, and volume is one of them.

    If you want to change the quality of the sound you get at the higher volumes, you might try using a preamp like the Fishman Platinum Plus or some others that are out there that have EQ on them -- these can give you a lot more flexibility in sound adjustment, and they're a lot cheaper than a new amp. On my rig, I go Underwood into Fishman Platinum preamp/EQ into the GK MB 150E. Surprisingly (at least to me), I also got a nicer tone with Underwood into ART Tube microphone preamp into GK amp.

    Even at that, the GK has its limits. Good luck.
  4. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    Also, and forgive me if you already know this, but for me the Underwood sounds best with only one side of it mounted in the bridge. The treble side for me ... then it gives a rich, warm bass sound. With both mounted, it's thin and very trebly. Just throwing that out there, just in case ...

  5. Well couldn't it simply be a possibility wire up your amp to the PA and just use the GK as a stage monitor? That's what I've been cindering when I am to play at larger venues with the quite little amp I might be buying - a Behringer Ultrabass BX1200.
  6. My stuff: German build upright with Realist pickup. Top: Trace RAH600SMX Cabinet: Trace 4x12"
    I couldn't get my upright tone right with this Trace stack. The build in eq. 11 band helped a bit but not enough. After some reading on the net I bought a pre-amp Fishman pro Eq. from Bob Gollihur to get the input impedance from the Realist right for the top. The difference in both sound and volume was amazing: An enormous amount of headroom and less trouble with feedback with the fase switch. As Greitzer allready mentioned I think this is the one for you to start.

    I still wasn't completely satisfied with the sound and after some reading bought the Aphex 204 Aural exciter to enhance the harmonics. So I got a much more acoustic sound.
    Finally sold the Trace and bought the Acoustic Image Focus 2r series III. Now I'm waiting for the Schroeder 1212 light cab and then going to Germany to buy the Vektor pickup.
    By that time the sound will be pretty amazing I guess.
    The main message is: Keep movin' and you'll improve.
    Good luck and a lot of fun on the way. :bassist:
  7. I use almost the same setup: Underwood + Fishman preamp (old, with bass+treble knobs only) into Return input on GK MB150E (old model).Nice tone,the rest is in my hands....
  8. For some basses it does not work well. The sound is getting too boomy. But -of course -it depends on the instrument...
  9. MM5string,
    try to add the GK MBX112 cab to your combo (recommended). Maybe you´ll be surprised how much air you´ll get from both speakers.
  10. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    Agreed, definitely. On my bass at least, I find it much easier to get rid of the boominess by cutting some bass on my amp eq than to try to thicken and deepen the thin, trebly sound I get with both sides mounted.

    But definitely, as you say: it depends on the bass.


Share This Page