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Thunderfunk vs. GK

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Trevorus, Feb 4, 2006.


  1. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Specifically the TFB420 against the GK 1001RB.

    Pros and cons of both, and which one is right for me?
     
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Both very good amps. I like the TF.
     
  3. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    +1 to the TFB.

    the GK just looks ugly compared to this badboy...

    i mean, really... look at it!

    [​IMG]
     
  4. I'm curious how the 1001RB stacks up to the TFB550B. I love my 400RB, and I hear the TF is like a GK on steroids...is this true? Does anyone have any experience ab'ing a GK with a TF?! :help: Thanks!
     
  5. zac2944

    zac2944 Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    The GK is great amp, but the TF is more in fashion currently. I own a 1001-RB II, but I have only played a TF in a store so I really can't compare the two. I remember that they were more alike than they were different. I'm interested to hear what others have to say.
     
  6. I've got the GK. Never played a TF. I'm sure they are great. It has a built in limiter and some parametric EQ, another loop, probably some more features. The GK has a bit more power.

    The GK is $600 new, the TF is $1249.

    Is it twice as good as the GK? Only you can answer that for you.
     
  7. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    The man to ask about this one is Vic, he's owned both the TF and the GK...
     
  8. JOME77

    JOME77

    Aug 18, 2002
    Georgia
    I've got a TFB-550 and recently sold a GK 1001RB II. I actually purchased a new GK 1001RB as an alternative to the TFB-420 when I couldn't find one for sale. I had never tried one and heard enough good things on TB about them that I thought that I'd check one out. I previously owned a TFB-420
    for a little over a year and regretable sold it about 8 months ago.

    I'll have to say that I was more impressed initially with the GK than I was when I sold it. Both amps have a good sound with EQ's set flat. However, I found that it took quite a bit tweaking to get varied sounds out of the GK that could easily be dialed in on the TFunk (via the Timbre and/or Enhance knobs). I did find the GK "contour" and "presence" controls were pretty helpful getting a quick slap tone but I struggled getting the sound I wanted when changing to my fretless. On the Tfunk a simple CCW tweak of the "Timbre" control and it was there.

    Power wise, I was a bit surprised that even though the GK was rated at considerably more RMS wattage, it didn't hold together (when pushed) as well as the less powered TFunk 420 (let alone the newer beefed up TFB-550).

    As far as the cost issue, I'll agree that "new" prices of the two amps are signifigantly different (GK - $600-750; TFunk - $1249). However, a patient player can pick up a used TFunk for $600-750 (TFB-420) and $800-950 (TFB-550).
     
  9. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Well Jason, thanks to you, I was quietly drinking my quadruple latte with three extra shots, and oscillating nicely at about 2Khz when xsogol grabbed me by the ear and drug me over to this forum... did I mention how hot the girl drawing the shots was? dang... ok, so anyway...

    First, I had a 1001RB-II, and LOVED it. I also like the way it looks. :D I now have a TFB550B and like it even more. Here's why...

    I play a lot of venues that just weren't designed for acoustic qualities. They're just boxes designed to maximize utilization of the lot they're on. In short, acoustically brutal. Surviving very well in these environments is really where I think the TFB has very few peers, and really shines as a premier "working bass player's amp."

    As much as I really love the native tone of the new GK stuff, and still argue it's great bang/buck, it just can't touch the TFB for "room tunability". Even if you throw out the parametric EQ, the combo of the bass/mid/treble combined with Enhance and especially that Timbre knob, holy cow, it's easy.

    Now add the parametric... ok, so yeah, it can seem complicated especially to an anti-knob kinda' guy like me (it's the reason the Eden Navigator never got my credit card). However, for some reason, it's the easiest parametric I've ever used. Not sure if it's the underlying Q's or the particular choice of center freqs or what, but it works for me, tho I often don't need to use it much with the other controls workin' for me. However, especially in the mids, it's DARN nice to have that kind of control in some of the forementioned "boxes". That was about the only real frustration I had with the GK -- I felt the EQ freqs, or Q's, or both, were not quite where I wanted them, and I couldn't change that.

    The switch is a really cool feature, but it's subtle, so I wouldn't classify that as a "you gotta' have this amp for that feature" option. Put another way, I would never order a TFB without one, but wouldn't hesitate to buy a used one just because it didn't have it (last I checked, they can not be retro-fitted, either).

    I personally don't recall feeling one was noticeably louder than the other, but didn't really side/side them either. IMHO, power levels are a wash between them.

    Regarding tone bases, here's another spot where I think they differ. IMHO, the current GK stuff is founded in a more modern tone. I prefer this to their older stuff like the 800RB, which is a bit too "thick" for my current tastes. The TFB is somewhere between, and with a deadly amount of versatility and control.

    The TFB's notable voice comes from the rich and extensive history in the TFB's lineage, as well as Dave's application of modern direction. What's really nice is, if you aren't afraid to really twist some knobs, you can get super close, if not spot-on, to anything from an Eden ultra-modern scoop tone to a thick classic Ampeg-like tone. Sometimes just by twisting the Timbre knob and then tweaking a couple other things. Here's another reason why the ultra-powerful EQ is such a nice feature. There are just some things you can't dial in or out on the GK. Period.

    On a minor note, two things genuinely annoyed me about the GK. The front patch for the DI out, and the front patch for the EFX loop. Plenty of space on the back panel, and damn ugly wiring a rack with a compressor and on stage with a mic cable hanging off the front of your rig. Never have figured GK out on that one.

    Another minor annoyance is the plastic output jacks. I've had those break on me before, and being soldered integral components, a PIA to replace. Another "go figure" for an otherwise heavy duty built and very solid amp.

    My final annoyance on the GK is the top vent for the fan. Another indicator they really weren't thinking about rack applications. My compressor was half rack, so that worked out great, but that won't be everybody's experience. The rest will have to mount this bad boy at the top of the rack to avoid obstruction. Most folks prefer to put the power conditioner with lights up there.

    They both fit nicely in a shallow rack, are comparable weights (the TFB is noticeably lighter, but I wouldn't call the GK heavy either), come with rack ears, and take two rack spaces. A wash on all that.

    Finally, the pre/post dual DI (admittedly a new feature, so only applies to the 550B, not the 420 originally asked about) is super nice. Tons of cool ways those can be used. The switchable fan is really cool, but not a deal maker/breaker.

    So really, IMHO, it all comes down to this, if you wanna blow off all my details and skip to the conclusion (like I do) :) ...

    In short...

    The GK is a GREAT value with awesome tone that will serve those with less to spend fantastically. Solid amp with a solid tone foundation. A few niggles, but none worth discounting what I just said. Can't go wrong here.

    The TFB is all that, plus more, for those with more to spend. More complex tone base, with more adjustment in more directions, more versatility based features (meaningful features, not just pretty bells and whistles that look good on paper), and in a better thought out package.
     
  10. Hi Vic,

    Thanks a TON for all the info...that was great and EXACTLY what I (and I'm assuming everyone else on the thread) was looking for!!!!!! You're the man! :hyper: And I apologize profusely for drawing you away from your coffee and eye candy ;) It is greatly appreciated, however!! :bassist:
     
  11. Mr_Dave

    Mr_Dave

    Mar 11, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Employee - Basscentre Melbourne
    yes, thanks very much for all that info. really helps a guy who has a gk and thinks he wants a thunderfunk :)

    and those things on the gk annoy me too...

    + Not having knobs with notchs for 12 o clock!
     
  12. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    lol!!!
     
  13. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Vic: well spoken. I've had both, and own the TFB420. I haven't found the move the a 550 worth the $ vs small amount of headroom gained. The TFB420 (and I'm sure 550) carry some of the "most powerful watts" out there. For me, it's absolutely the bast amp there is, and Vic, you quantified why very well. I have nothing more to really add there.
    Except: the other two rigs I use are an Eden Navigator/QSC pair, and an Eden wt800B. I don't find them terribly dis-similar to use from the TFB line, so it sorta confuses me that you mention the Eden stuff being "too many knobs." To each his own;) Aside from the differences in their native tone, I find the Nav and 800B pretty dang similar to the TFB, the TFB's Timbre knob being the thing that really seperates it from them, and most everything else. As been previously noted, the TFB can tame dang near any acoustically crappy venue set flat, and simply tweaking timbre and enhance.
    Thunderfunk: don't go to work without one!!
     
  14. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    "THINKS" he wants one? Oh... you want one... you totally do... stop denying it...

    Ok, seriously tho I hope the main point I conveyed was that the GK is a great and worthy amp, but the TFB is definitely nicer, so it's not like you don't get significant benefits for the extra cost, instead of just marketing hype or community buzz.
     
  15. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Then I wasn't as clear on that as I meant to be. We really agree.

    What I was trying to say is, even tho I'm normally an anti-knob guy, I somehow find the TFB's controls not to be so "bothersome" (if I can put it that way). Last time I tried the Navigator, and maybe here is where we might disagree, I found myself playing with the EQ too much. Somehow, the TFB doesn't hit me that way, even tho it would normally classify as "too many knobs" for me.

    Yeah, definitely. Powerful tool. It really is the "magic" control. In practice environments tho, it might seem superfluous. Initially, I was kinda' let down by it at home, but a great acoustic environment is where it's least useful. At a gig, especially in heavier mixes and/or more "brutal" environments, it's a fantastically useful control.
     
  16. +1 to all of the above (Vic and Chef)
     
  17. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
     
  18. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    You wanna' hear something odd (and hard for me to rationalize)? I actually love the tone of Eden flat. In fact, not to derail, but the Eden I have right now is the Time Traveler... the primary two reasons I have it is becase it has a simpler EQ, and (like the Navigator, and only the Navigator, which is why I looked at them), it has an adjustable compressor. Why Eden doesn't do that on all their amps is beyond me. I love that control.

    Maybe part of it stems from (IMHO!!) every time I tried to use the more complicated EQ on the Eden, it only sounded worse to my ears compared to its flat tone. Somehow, with the TFB, I don't feel that way. To me, it's more of a chameleon... like my MTD basses... I'm still getting used to the fact that you can really use the EQ's on those without going into tone-suck-land. Maybe the TFB's "chameleon-like" nature does come from it's having a different native tone (as you said, and I definitely agree with).
     
  19. Mr_Dave

    Mr_Dave

    Mar 11, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Employee - Basscentre Melbourne
    :D I totally want one, but i say thinks because i haven't actually tried one. i only have the baby GK400rbIII - pretty loud for the watts but not enought headroom. has served me very well as a first amp. 5 years no breakdowns!

    tried the eden 550 but it is a bit round for me from the gk so i've been think the TF is perfect... i've finally got some more money coming in from a recording so i will finally be able to order one on the 2 week trial soon!
     
  20. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    C'mon, dude, use a current picture for cryin' out loud... :D

    [​IMG]