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SWR Headlite vs. GK MB Fusion

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pan1k, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. pan1k


    Sep 16, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    I'm looking to make the plunge into small hybrid / class D amps. I'm mostly playing jazz but occasionally rock / pop punk stuff. I've narrowed it down to 2 contenders: SWR headlite and GK MB Fusion. Which one should I go with?

    I like the comp / aural exciter features
    hate that it only has 1 tube in the preamp.
    hate that it operates solely at 4 ohms

    GK: Has 3 tubes in the preamp.
    operates 500 watts @ 4ohms, and 350 @ 8
    doesn't have the comp / aura exciter features.

    I'm looking to get a new cab as well either 2x12s or 4x10s ( gotta go small because of transportation limitations)
  2. puremusic


    Nov 1, 2009
    Saginaw, MI
    Gk based on your likes and dislikes and flexibility. I just like the sound of GK anyways.
  3. Mostly jazz? I wouldn't even look at GK.
  4. pan1k


    Sep 16, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    ya know i needed a practice amp and got the m12. it sounds fairly good. at first i wouldntve considered it being an ampeg kinda guy but im moving away from ampeg. im starting to realize there are amps just as good if not better for half the price and back pain.
  5. G-K MB Fusion.
  6. Ampeg PF-500 is cheaper than these two and while heavier and bulkier, it's not a back breaker either at 11lbs. Just sayin' :)
  7. I say GK Fusion. The SWR aural exciter circuit is really only useful in a limited number of contexts. Plus, the circuit can never be fully bypassed. That means that you will always have somewhat of a scooped midrange. The contour control on the Fusion will accomplish pretty much the same thing as the Aural Exciter, only you can pick the freq. and keep the mids when you want them. Plus, the Fusion has the tube pre. IME/O no ohter solid state amps have the harmonic complexity in the mids like GK. Add tubes into the mix, and the Fusion is pretty untouchable, unless you want to move to Aguilar.
  8. pan1k


    Sep 16, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    see wing, i considered going Aguilar but the Tone Hammer is only SS. =[
  9. Yeah, I definitely Aguilar's tube stuff, but I have not played the AG500 or Tonehammer. You might also check out the Genz Benz Shuttlemax before you buy, they are pretty nice, but my bet is the Fusion would be a no regrets choice.
  10. Check out the Carvin BX500

    - Output Power: 8 Ohms: 300w, 4 Ohms: 500, 2 Ohms: limited at 500
    - Preamp Tube: 12AX7 switchable in/out
    - Graphic Equalizer: 9 band
    - Semi-Parametric EQ
    - Headphone jack
    - Direct out
    - Optical Compressor/Limiter: up to 3:1 compression ratio
    - Weight: 2.3 kg (5.0 lbs)
    - and only $ 379 (US dollars)

    Carvin.com :: BX500
  11. GMSweet


    Oct 12, 2007
    New Hampshire
    Out of the two you mentioned, I'd toss my vote in for the Headlite for a few reasons:

    1) I've always like the SWR sound better than the GK sound. My bias, not necessarily yours.

    2) The Headlite is a different beast than some of the other SWR units. The Aural Enhancer on this particular model has some changes that to me are most welcome. It can be completely defeated (press the knob), it can run at the traditional SWR setting where the cut occurs around 200 Hz or you can shift the cut to around 600 Hz which was designed for the Marcus Miller preamp. It finally takes away the argument of always having a scooped sound.

    3) I like the semi-parametric eq better. For the brief time I've spent with a GK2001RBP and their modeling plug-in, I just didn't care for GK's EQ frequency centers.

    Just my opinions and worth less than you paid for them.

  12. username1


    Dec 28, 2005
    alberta canada
    I own both the headlite and the mb fusion and i would recomend the mb fusion. The swr has a great sound but i always run the enhancer off. I like the punch and power so much better with the fusion and the sound is more flexable. I've never used the headlite since getting the fusion because the fusion is so much better in my opinion.
  13. fivestringdan

    fivestringdan Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    I play jazz and use a fusion. Every jazz bassist I know or have ever met owned a GK Microbass. What are you talking about?

  14. scowboy

    scowboy Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2006
    Sacramento area
    I did buy a TH500. No looking' back. I love SWR by the way and I miss my old Redhead anytime I think about it.

    TH500 does clean well and gets dirty pretty dang well. I don't miss the fact that there are no tubes inside. Great alternative to the under powered and overpriced Headlight. With that knock I'd still buy one for the right price - I like SWR stuff.

  15. goran


    Dec 17, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Bartolini

    You misinterpreted the specs. It runs at minimum of 4 ohms, but it will run just fine at 8.
  16. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    I had an MB Fusion and was grossly surprised by the loudness of the Fan that kicks on every 15 minutes or so. Maybe it was just the one I had, but GK engineer's acknowledged that "it has to be that way to cool what's inside" when I inquired about a loud fan issue.

    Depending on your sound level during jazz gigs that could be an irritation. "Personally" i'd also recommend the fantastic small and light Markbass F500, which is my preference over the MB Fusion or Headlight.
  17. farboozle


    Apr 18, 2000
    Fairfax VA
    If you need real volume for your rock/pop stuff, the headlite is going to disappoint. For me, it ran out of steam pretty quickly.
  18. Georynn


    Dec 4, 2007
    I regularly run my headlite at gig volumes... never get the "pwrclip" red light
  19. pan1k


    Sep 16, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    Thanks for all the feedback guys. Its really insightful. I'm going to definately take all your opinions into consideration and even check out the Carvin head.
  20. Barisaxman

    Barisaxman Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    +1, I loved the sound, but my current band required a little more than the headlite could deliver through my TC 2x12. I ended up going bigger overall, but I do miss it for smaller rooms/gigs. I like both of these options equally well when i was shopping...different sounds but good in their own way.

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