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TC Electronic BH550 - Markbass - GK help

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by AnotherOneBitesTheBass, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. AnotherOneBitesTheBass


    Jan 19, 2016
    Hello there

    I need some advice about the TC electronic BH550 .I can get a real deal for both the amplifier and cabinet which can be the K-210, K-212 or RS 210. In any of this configurations I’m saving around $285, and over the same buck if I go for let’s say MarkBass LMiii and Traveler 102P or GK MB500 and NEO 212 (a bit more saving here) .The thing is I don’t see much love lately for TC BH amps and I was wondering if there is a real difference between this tree configurations in overall quality and sound. I'll use it for rehearsals in the vein of rock / pop / funk and small concerts and since this representes a one-in-a- few-years investment I would like to know your opinion, should save the difference and go for one of the other two?

    I know this is all subjective but sale is finishing soon and I wanted to know if you see an exaggerated investment against what i’m saving if i don’t go for MB or GK.

    Thanks in advance for any imput.
  2. honeyiscool


    Jan 28, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    I have K210 + BH800. I really love my setup. I can't speak of the other setups, but I'll tell you that this K cab is one of the best cabinets I have ever heard, and it's light and easy to transport.

    Anybody who's used a BH head will tell you they're simply great. The 250, 550, and 800 are all great in their own way. I started out with a 550 as the goldilocks option then decided to get a 250 and an 800 as kind of a big/small dichotomy instead. The BH550 by itself with a K210 is already rocking. I have two K210 cabs, but I feel like one is enough 99% of the time. The K210 is actually the same size as the K212, just a bit shallower front to back. If you're getting only one cab and you can swing the extra, you might go with a K212 for a little more volume.
  3. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    I can only speak to the heads, not the cabs, haven't used those.

    Now, I'm the kind of guy who wants to buy American. Used to work for a high-end production guitar maker. Those jobs are important. And the GK is made here. I would really like to buy the GK.

    But I didn't. If I were to buy GK, it would be either the 1001 or 2001, but I really wanted to stay micro. And the MB heads just didn't do it for me.

    Liked the TC. REALLY nice tone. But made in China, which I try to avoid. But they're quite nice. However, I didn't buy one of them either.

    I have two Markbass heads, which kind of says it all. One Italian, one Indonesian. No difference in quality. Tone is superb. The LMIII is just a slightly lower-powered version of my LM800, same tone, and is an amp I'd be proud to own.

    I'm not a big fan of Markbass cabs, though, and if I didn't already have great cabs I'd be buying a pair of the GK 115 NEOs.

    But hey, here's the deal in the end - everything you're looking at is good. No slackers in the bunch, I'd gig any of them and be happy. So if price is a real concern, buy cheaper.
    DrParners likes this.
  4. blmeier7

    blmeier7 Supporting Member

    May 7, 2006
    Amarillo, TX
    I've owned the TC BH800, MarkBass LMII, and lots of GK's. The BH800 was my least favorite in terms of overall tone, it is relatively dark and dull sounding IMO. This might be a good thing if you like more of an Ampeg type sound, but it's not what I was looking for and it's quite a ways away from the typical GK sound. I was only able to A/B the TC and GK amps, but based on memory the LMII sat somewhere in between the two amps with regard to available tones.

    I would definitely play through a BH and GK before buying if at all possible; they sound quite a bit different.

    FWIW - the BH800 was constructed very well and had some very nice features. I really wanted to like that amp but couldn't get my "go-to" sound out of it. For reference, I was playing through a Genz Benz Focus 115 cab.
  5. I made some comparisons between the BH550 and LMIII. My ownership experience on GK is limited to the MB200.

    I think that any of the three options you outline could make the same person (who doesn’t have exacting wants in terms of a particular sound) happy; i.e., provide a good sounding rig that would allow most to find their sound within what each offers.

    That said, you might find a good path is to weigh the tangible differences between them. In terms of specs and features, there’s not a lot of differences down the middle, but there are some differences on the margins…they may matter to you or not.

    Are there any size/weight/form factor considerations that give any one a portability plus or minus?

    Does one of them offend your eye? May seem stupid, but it’s there.

    EQ -

    MB has 4-band and two additional EQ controls, VLE (Vintage Loudspeaker Emulator) and VPF (Variable Preshape Filter), that can put some tone shaping at your finger tips.

    GK has 4-band plus contour and boost (I have next to no idea what the boost control is all about)

    BH has 4-band with dynamic midpoints.

    Other -

    BH has a built-in tuner and the Toneprint feature. Personally, I find having a tuner on the head to be a very nice convenience, but this may or may not matter at all to some. For me, the TonePrint functionality has two sides to it. One side is more of a base utility, where Toneprints that aren’t FX (i.e., tube emulation/drive and compressors) can be used to shape the basic sound. The other is the FX side. I only see the FX side as being practically useful where there is some very limited use of FX…I don’t see it as truly replacing pedals.

    I spent a good part of an afternoon comparing several heads, including the BH550 (mine) and LMIII. There were truly no runaway favorites. Any one could be preferred at different times in different regards, but I found some details in the LMIII, especially in combination with my 212PL, that left me wanting one. I ended up getting a LM250 and used F1 for my MB GAS.
    honeyiscool likes this.
  6. honeyiscool


    Jan 28, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    This is a very good point. For a basic rock show, my BH head allows me to go completely pedal free, just bass and cable, very minimal set up. I can use the built-in tuner to tune, and then I can dial in a sound I like using EQ and TonePrints. At my last show, I felt like a little overdrive would help me sit in the mix a bit better. I loaded in a TonePrint, and two seconds later, I dialed in a tone that I was ecstatic with. I just added a little bit of The Grind into my tone, and I left it there all day. I could get a similar sound from my full pedal board by stepping on my beloved TC Spark Booster, but then that's another thing to carry, another thing to add into the power strip, another cable to bring.

    I love the TonePrint as a way of building my basic tone with the various drives and such. I wouldn't really use it as a replacement for FX that I use sporadically.

    I know I'm sounding lazy, but the BH800 allows me to get a huge variety of sounds with the least amount of gear. I can still bring more gear for more options, but I also have the option of going minimal without losing anything super essential. But the days of me having to break out my PedalTrain just to use one pedal on it are over.

    And like other people said, I think the BH series has a very classic tone. If you like Fender and Ampeg, you're gonna love the TC tone with all the knobs straight down the middle.
  7. AnotherOneBitesTheBass


    Jan 19, 2016
    Thankyou guys for all the replies. I'm almost conviced that i will catch the BH550. Now I'm trying to decide if I go for the K210, K212 or RS210 that are available in the sale...
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  8. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

    I tried a TCE product and returned in two weeks. Just could not get around the "power management" routines messing up my sound and dynamics. Might be good for some folks. I need an amp that does what I tell it, not what it wants to do. MarkBass heads can be okay, cabs not so much. I've played a lot of equipment over 45+ years, I can get anything I need out of G-K and NEO 12" cabs. I play just about any genre and not one have they failed to exceed at.
  9. arai

    arai Inactive

    Jul 16, 2007
    I've never had a problem with dynamics using the rh 450 . What tce product did you use for two weeks before you wrote them off?
    I can totally see you not digging the 450 if you are into the gk sound. Those gk heads and the 450 are voiced completely opposite to each other so I wonder how much of a part that may have played in you not liking the tce head.
    I have used gk heads quite a few times and have never been able to get a sound I liked. Something is just missing in the mids that I can't get back no matter what I do with the tone controls.

    Different strokes
  10. honeyiscool


    Jan 28, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    Hopefully you mean 550, not 500. I don't know anything about the 500.

    Doesn't apply to BH550.
  11. AnotherOneBitesTheBass


    Jan 19, 2016
    don't konw anything about the 500 me neither... Post edited... thanks honeyiscool
  12. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

    The one I bought was a BG250 combo, then tried a local's RH750 with different cabs. They reminded me of a Line 6 for guitar amps. Modeling and cute features that just don't make it while playing in group setting, almost there but not all the way. Seemed "better" solo than performing.

    Like you said, different strokes.
  13. arai

    arai Inactive

    Jul 16, 2007
    What does that mean "tried a local's" Did you gig the 750? I'm also not sure what you mean by cute features.
    Compressor. You won't find any engineers using that gimmick.
    Tuner and a mute. The real pro's just use there ears to tune between songs.
    Pre sets so you don't have to change settings on the amp if you want to swap basses or want different tones for different song? No thanks, I'd rather make everyone wait while I mess around.
    Distortion. Please, give me a break!
    Anyway, so you owned the tc's bottom of the line amp for two weeks and that's what you are judging what they are like on?
    If I didn't know you better I'd assume you were attempting a troll ;)

    You know what sounds better solo then it does in a group setting? Mid scoop
  14. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

    I did gig the RH750, 2 sets and the band had me switch it out. If I Didn't know you better I would think you are trolling me and that your opinions seem to be the only valid ones? Glad you hear something different than I do. I will not "defend" my position any further. Do these product require more defense than they can muster on their own? [Rhetorical question]
  15. Perhaps you don’t recognize it, but your approach is one that (in this context; where people often become “fans” of their chosen gear) tends to be a goad in and of itself.

    Generally, rather than simply recognizing the subjectivity of sound and validity of personal preference (i.e., “what’s good to you may not be what’s good to me, and that’s fine”), you typically setup a dichotomy where, by pejorative slant, what you prefer is good, and it’s fine by you if someone else is feeble minded enough to prefer something that’s bad…that’s not “different strokes.”

    Here, as many times before, you mention that you bought and returned a BG250, in large part, because of what APM does to the sound, which makes it unfit for anything other than bedroom use. THE BG250 DOESN’T HAVE APM! Your personal preference of something else over the BG250 is valid in that it's your personal preference. Your "dislike" of the sound is valid in that you will like or dislike what you will like or dislike. The basis you give for it is completely INVALID.

    You disparage various features as though they detract from the amps, when the fact of the matter is that for someone who otherwise prefers the amp, various features can be completely inert. But there’s that slant of yours again, “I like features that are good. If you like features that a bad…to each his own. (and then you like to throw in the GK tagline). I like tools, not toys.” The fact is that some like and find practical use for the features and some don't.

    You continuously try to create a negative association to “amp modeling,” when there is really no such association to be made.

    An analogy to what you do, that you might be able to appreciate as someone who is clearly a GK fan, would be a poster who routinely criticized any and all GK amps (as if on a mission to diminish or prevent anyone else’s interest in them) in a way so as to dismiss the opinions and experiences/input of owners of various GK amps by repeating over and over “I had an MB200 and couldn’t get rid of it fast enough! The gimmicky G.I.V.E. technology that GK uses is an absolute tonesuck. All it does is rob feel, accuracy and clarity.”

    My guess is that you’d have something to say about that based on your knowledge and experience…and your personal preferences.
    honeyiscool and arai like this.
  16. honeyiscool


    Jan 28, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    I don't even know how any talk about APM and modeling is relevant for the BH550. As far as I know, it's a full 550 watts, and there is zero modeling going on. In fact, it's a very classic sounding amplifier, very powerful. If you had it or played it for 15 minutes, you would know that.
  17. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

    I guess those "Tone Print" knobs are......
    just for kicks on the amp then? TCE "fudged" about power output before and is now owned by someone known to "follow his own power rating rules". I will remain sceptical about the claimed output power til proven by an independent credible organization.

  18. honeyiscool


    Jan 28, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    Tone Prints are digital effects, which you can turn on or off. Modeling means something entirely different in the amp world. Surely you know that. The actual amp circuit in the BH550 is very straightforward, there's no modeling about it. Modeling is like if there were a switch that made the amp sound like an Ampeg, a GK, etc., you know, like a modeling amp tends to have.

    As for the claimed output power, you can believe whatever you want to believe, but Active Power Management isn't part of the BH550 and BH800 specs sheets and all those who have used it seem to believe that they're truly 550 and 800 watts. So whatever. Believe whatever you want to believe, but why spread unfounded claims about products you've never used?
    arai and drpepper like this.
  19. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

    Oh I so hope you feel better now ;).
  20. I used a BH250 and RS210 to test a few basses recently, it sounds really good.

    A friend has a Markbass combo, which I think is the LMii with the 210, it sounds really good.

    No experience with GK, but people who use them say it sounds really good.

    You can’t really lose here. I don’t like Markbass yellow speakers.
    DrParners and B-string like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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