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What's better for tubey grind/distortion... GK MB FUSION 500 or Genz Benz STREAMLINER

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by michinho, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. michinho


    Oct 11, 2013
    London, UK
    Hi There,

    Want to know what is better for natural tubey overdrive?

    I know both have the same amount of tubes in the pre amp so i'm just curious what people's results are?

    I know the GK comes with a footswitch to change the gain. Was thinking if I get the Genz Benz I could use a boost pedal going into it to "push" the tubes.

    What you think...
  2. michinho


    Oct 11, 2013
    London, UK
    I'm refering to the Streamliner 600 mainly, but eiter the 600 or 900 is fine...
  3. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I've not played the GK Fusion yet. I was not a fan of GB's distorted tones.

    What tone are you trying to get?
  4. michinho


    Oct 11, 2013
    London, UK
    A punchy natural tubey overdrive with solid lows and crisp highs. Something that is articulate.

    I choose these two amps because they are small and lightweight, plus are both in my price range.
  5. michinho


    Oct 11, 2013
    London, UK
    I play an Fender American Standard Jazz 4 String
  6. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    You're describing the Aguilar Tonehammer. If the 500 is too much $, the 350 can get quite loud too.

    It will do what you want to a T!
  7. GretschBassist


    Nov 11, 2012
    The Aguilar TH350 actually has a 500w power section (by bang&olufsen) which happens to be the same (so I heard) built into the MBF500. So the power is the same but them three 12AX7 tubes really make a big difference. The Aguilar sounds very good, yes. But it does not sound "tubey" to my ears. Not even close.
  8. LakeEffect


    Feb 21, 2013
    Yeah, I don't know if I would consider the TH tubey... at all. Might depend on the definition though.

    But, I have a Streamliner and I like the tube vibes it has going on a lot when its just on the verge/a little past the breakup point. Its a very good tube overdrive sound in a small doses, but you may be disappointed with it if you want some serious overdrive tones, it can loose its articulation very quick - which seems to be important to you.

    All in all, I think it is a fantastic head and I haven't found and amp I liked that is quite as versatile. Sounds like it might be out of your price range but a Terror Bass has some very clear and articulate overdrive to it as well.
  9. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    FWIW I haven't found any hybrid amps that give as good an overdriven tone as either a tube amp or a quality OD pedal.

    YMMV but IMO preamp tube distortion is just not on the same level as power tube distortion. I don't even care for overdrive pedals that use 12AX7s. Too buzzy sounding for me.

    That said, if you are looking for the class D amp with the best overdriven sound I'd also nominate the Orange Terror Bass.
  10. GretschBassist


    Nov 11, 2012
    You've never gonna go all SVT without an SVT. Period. You want the sound, you get the SVT and done.

    I find most of the times people are not actually looking for the power tube breakup sound today, they are talking crispy organic tube warmth or growl and that is more 2014-ish paired with a good SS power amp because it is millions of times more practical. It's Hifi-Tube Sound and I don't see a problem with that at all. Subjective opinion though...
  11. ale29


    May 25, 2008
    FWIW, while I'm not that impressed by GB's overdrive, I actually hated the one i got from a GK Fusion 550 I had before (same preamp section as the MB fusion).
    Here you can hear the Streamliner through post-eq DI, can't remember EQ settings, gain was pretty much cranked up but that's with a EHX gold pin 5751 in V1 (it has 30% less gain compared to a 12AX7)
  12. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Mesa's Big Block 750 has an excellent OD sound - one of the best I've heard, short of going all tube...

    - georgestrings
  13. jonnybass1


    Dec 9, 2011
    Brampton, On
    I have the Mb Fusion and to be honest it does have nice overdrive but it is limited it will get fuzzy fast over 12 o'clock on the gain. But for both my active and passive basses from 9 - 12 o'clock on the gain has a good grindy overdrive. But you have two channels so you can set one clean and one with grind.

    However I tried the Orange TB and I think that it has a much smoother more organic overdrive much like an SVT. But that is just my opinion. Oh and the Orange can go full on distortion if you choose as well.
  14. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    Gotta jump on the Orange bandwagon. I've not played the Fusion. I hated the GB, before I could even get into finding out how it overdrives. TH was not to my liking and far from what I would consider tube like. The Orange Terror surprised me with nice warm overdrive, very much aligned with "tube" sound to my ears and expectations.

    Also agreeing that a pedal is probably a good option for fine tuning the sound if you already have a good clean sounding amp you like.
  15. I would start my exploration earlier in the signal chain. Acquire assertive technique with explosive attack. Get a LOUD plank. Get LOUD strings. A LOUD pickup (slightly overwound). A LOUD V1. After that, you may find that pretty much ANY amp will do.
  16. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    Looking back at a later post of the OP, I wouldn't consider the GB punchy and articulate. It was more on the side of soft and pillowy. Regarding my orange suggestion, the overdrive is there but perhaps more than you want and maybe a bit lacking in articulation. I was a Mesa M6 user and had the GK heads suggested as being in the similar tonal ballpark regarding punch and attack. As I said above, I never played one.
  17. The Streamliner is a nice warm aggressive overdrive. It's much smoother than the Shuttle/Shuttlemax overdrive.

    I would personally opt for the Streamliner, or the Orange TB500. The Orange overdrive is beautiful.
  18. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    Is there such a thing as crisp highs when talking tube distortion? Compression and high end roll off are the natural byproducts. I couldn't get crispness from the GB streamliner 600 or the TH500. I actually have an MBFusion on the way, but I don't necessarily plan on overdriving its tubes for that kind of effect. The Orange TB i tried sounded like a tube amp, bu again, not exactly an example of crisp highs.

    I does indeed sound like you're describing an SVT/810.
  19. TrevorOfDoom

    TrevorOfDoom Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I have to agree with the folks suggesting the Orange.

    as a bonus, I changed the first tube in the signal with a JJ, which slightly lowered the gain and added a touch more articulation. It really opened up the sound and made it a bit more versatile.

    (however, some days i do wish I'd kept the tubes the same. it was warm, almost wooly. me likey!)
  20. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003

    I have a Streamliner 600. They sound great.