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Thinking about my first bass head. Hartke LH500/1000, GK 800RB, or 700RBII

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SpasticTastic, Oct 13, 2013.


  1. SpasticTastic

    SpasticTastic

    Dec 22, 2012
    Louisiana
    Pretty much what I'm wondering. The Hartkes are really, really affordable, but the GK RBs are known for being built like tanks. Would it be worth it to go straight to the Hartke, or should I save up and get a GK?

    Speaking of which, is there any major differences between the 800RB and the 700RB II besides the wattage?
     
  2. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Quebec
    800rb has bi-amp with an electronic crossover (300W for the bass side and 100 watt for the high side, when in biamp); it is not voiced for a lot of low end like modern amps are, but it has that sweet low mid punch and grind.

    The 700rb is not a true bi-amp capable amp and is voiced with more low end. You can still get very close to the 800rb voicing though and it has a lot more tonal options available.

    I personnaly prefer the 800rb more, but don't use the biamp capabilities, but it is very close to the 700rb, less so to the 1001 and 2001 which have ton more headroom.

    The Hartke I have not used, but I think it uses the fender tone stack, so it will be voiced completly differently than the gk heads.
     
  3. The_Janitor

    The_Janitor

    Jun 30, 2012
    Madison, Wi
    They're both great brands, Hartke's customer service is top notch, Larry Hartke lurks talkbass and other forums and will personally oversee any service issues.

    One thing to consider is dirt/drive. The GK heads have a great grit/OD built in, Hartke amps are pretty much clean all the way up. Even the models with tube preamps, like the Kilo or LH series are clean all the way up. So, if you want powerful, clean headroom then Hartke would be a good choice. If you want dirt, but have pedals for that, then Hartke is also a good choice. If you don't like using pedals but wouldn't mind having some OD/Dirt, GK would be the better choice.
     
  4. metlman72

    metlman72

    Jun 29, 2011
    Long Island NY
    I have never used the LH line of Hartke heads, but used a HA3500 for many years and loved it. I think you should try both the Hartke and GK if you can and some others as well. I have used Hartke, Ampeg and SWR in the past. All were solid heads but right now I am using an Acoustic B800H and it gives me exactly the tone I am looking for. Play as many different model heads as you can. You will know which one is right for you when you hear it.
     
  5. The_Janitor

    The_Janitor

    Jun 30, 2012
    Madison, Wi
    I should mention that I use a LH1000 and I love it. The Fender tone stack is a little weird but it doesn't take long to figure it out.
     
  6. SpasticTastic

    SpasticTastic

    Dec 22, 2012
    Louisiana
    Yeah, I do like a bit of grit to my sound, which is why I did plan on getting something like a VT Bass if necessary. If the GKs can be tweaked to be clean and gritty, I'd lean more towards it.

    Trust me, I'd love to try out some amps and cabs, but the nearest music stores near me only stock low end stuff like Behringer and Bugera and high end stuff like Mesa.
     
  7. AdamR

    AdamR

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Been using a GK 800RB for 2 years. Just picked up a 1001RB and have been gigging that. They sound more similar then not but the 1001RB pushes way more low end. That being said Ive been very interested in the Hartke LH1000 lately.
     
  8. SpasticTastic

    SpasticTastic

    Dec 22, 2012
    Louisiana
    I was also looking into the 1001RB, but it would most likely be a lot more than I need. Then again, a little more wattage never killed anyone. :smug:
     
  9. Kmonk

    Kmonk

    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    I have owned a 800 RB, 1001 RB-II and a Hartke. If I had to choose I would pick one of the GK heads over Hartke. I liked the tone better and both GK heads were very reliable.
     
  10. JellinWellen

    JellinWellen

    Oct 18, 2012
    Texas
    Lh500 can be had used for 200$ all over the place. They sound great too! If you are tight on cash or need a reliable backup the lh500 is practically my go to for good clean power. (I no longer own a lh500, but I would certainly get one again if I was given the choice)
     
  11. Bassdirty

    Bassdirty

    Jul 23, 2010
    CT
    Nice amp..I owned one for a few years. Plenty of power and tone.. cant go wrong imo.
     
  12. Troph

    Troph

    Apr 14, 2011
    Kirkland, WA
    If you use a 4-pole Speakon cable and a GK Neo series cab, the 700RB-II is absolutely a biamp amp, with a separate 50 watt HF amp that doesn't carry the distortion from the boost channel.

    The 700RB-II has really amazing headroom for its rated power. So much so that unless you play large or outdoor gigs with no PA support, or unless you have incredibly inefficient cabs, it's all you will need.

    The preamp and EQ on the GK RB series amp also makes it pretty darn versatile.

    I like the Hartke LH series; you can get some really nice warm, pleasing tones out of it. But they are more of a one-trick pony, IMO. The tonal range is a bit limited by the simplicity of the preamp and EQ controls. For example, they have a single volume control (no separate gain and master), so you can't dial in more drive/tube growl separate from the master volume. For the money, the LH500 is a great deal, but there's really no comparison to the GK RB series. The GK is more of everything: more power and more flexibility.

    Honestly, the 700RB-II makes just about every cab I've tried it with sound better. Really hard to go wrong with the 700RB-II or the 1001RB-II.

    If you buy used, as always try before you buy. I've purchased a used GK head from Guitar Center's website before, and it had a blown preamp. Back to the store. Later I got a LH500 for a good deal, but it had a bad microphonic 12AX7 preamp tube, but that was a quick fix at least.
     
  13. gpx1200

    gpx1200

    Apr 24, 2013
    spencer mass
    talking my two favorite brands right there I own a ha3500,rb700II and have an mb800 on the way and I plan to keep using all of them. but if I had to pick one it would be the rb700 hands down
    like troph said the rb700 is definetly a true biampable head except for the fact that all the woofers still run fulrange(unless the 5K cut button is pressed on the woofer side) and the high signal is split to the horns and does not go threw the boost circuit so you can drive the speakers more without the horns geting raspy(or damaged) from the distortion, their is also a 10k cut button for the tweeters for those who don't like the very high peaks that a tweeter can bring out. the rb's can do the grity tone very well but they can also do clean tones as well, their are plenty of pop and r&b players using rb's and they don't want grit at all.
     
  14. aproud1

    aproud1 Don't surround yourself with yourself. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Cincy, OH
    All good amps. Of those I would go for the 700. I've owned the 700, 1001 and the LH500. Played through the rest. Something very right about the 700 and I like the growl you get from it the best. Also has plenty of power on tap. Most GK's do.

    The LH500 was a decent sounding head, amazing for the price. If I were buying the Hartke I'd go for the LH1000 for the extra headroom. As long as weight isn't an issue for you.

    I think any of those would be a great first amp though.
     
  15. SpasticTastic

    SpasticTastic

    Dec 22, 2012
    Louisiana
    By the looks of things, I'm leaning more towards one of the RB heads. Seems like they can get a bit more versatile.

    And I'll also ask this here; how good are Carvin cabs? They seem like a good deal for the price, $320 for one if their 4x10s. Or would it be better for me to spend a bit extra and look into a GK Neo 410 since it would let me bi amp with the RB?
     
  16. aproud1

    aproud1 Don't surround yourself with yourself. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Cincy, OH
    Carvin stuff is good. Not xtraordinary but solid especially for the price.

    Unless you're dead set on a 4X10, I would do the GK 2x12. Sweet cab.
     
  17. SpasticTastic

    SpasticTastic

    Dec 22, 2012
    Louisiana
    Any advantage of the 2x12, or is it just personal preference?
     
  18. AdamR

    AdamR

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    The 2X12 isnt tuned as low as the GK410. It also weighs in at 54lbs, Get 2, you can fit them in the back seat of a small sedan no problem.
     
  19. aproud1

    aproud1 Don't surround yourself with yourself. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Cincy, OH
    Personal preference. More manageable and just as loud as most 4X10's I've used. I'm not crazy about 4X10's though.
     
  20. aproud1

    aproud1 Don't surround yourself with yourself. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Cincy, OH
    And if you go with GK gear and can't buy local be sure to check out http://www.rmcaudiodirect.com/.

    I'm not affiliated, they just have great deals and ship fast.
     

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