on March 28, 2013
WHAT I USED:
I play classic and southern rock, country, and blues through an Ibanez SRX series active bass and Fender 60th anniversary Precision bass through a Line-6 X3L pedal board (with programmed tones to stomp and go) to an Ampeg SVT450 on top of an Ampeg 4x10HLF Classic cab (and a Peavey TKO 115 combo when needed) for years and really enjoyed the tone. Basically my back couldn't take the weight of it altogether and I didn't think I would find another rig to compete with the tone I got out of my Ampeg rig in particular. But after hauling the back-breaking head and cab around for some years I was forced to find another rig/solution.
WHAT I TRIED:
I narrowed down my search to the MARK Bass 2x10 @ 600 rms combo over a MARK 4x10 cab, or, the Ampeg Portaflex 500 class D head (11 lbs.) through my Ampeg 4x10HLF Classic cab. I was astonished at the power and tone of the Ampeg PF500. I was pleased with the power and lightweight (but the not tone) of the MARK. But in the end bought the Ampeg PF500 and kept the Ampeg 4x10HLF. I nearly kept it, but returned it because after asking my amp tech/repairman about servicing it he told me he could not fix class D circuitry and that finding someone to service a class D head might be "extremely" difficult (with he being one of them--and there is really nothing he hasn't fixed or can't modify or repair). He said it would be difficult to impossible to fix due to the intricacy of the class D circuitry. He's one the best amp tech/repairman in my state and I've always gone to him for fixes, advise, modifications, and have referred many bandmates and musicians to him.
WHAT I BOUGHT:
In the end I was caught of guard with a solid state used GK RB1001-II in mint, unscratched, out-of-the-box condition and nabbed it at $400 after playing it through a Hartke VX410 (400 rms) together with a Hartke VX115 (300 rms) stack straight out as 700 watts rms at 4 ohms out to both cabs. I also play it though (and bought) an SWR Goliath Jr. III 2x10 (350 rms) for smaller gigs. I still use my same bass guitars and Line-6 X3L pedal board.
SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS:
Having been a diehard Ampeg user and continued proponent, I have to say the GK head really surprised me and I'm "extremely" pleased with the tone and power of the GK head through the 2 Hartke cabs and/or 1 SWR cabs. By the way, all cabs are 8 ohms and so I can play a combination of any 2 cabs (i.e., 4x10 with a 1x15, or 2x10 with a 4x10, or 2x10 with 1x15, or any 8 ohm cab individually at 400 watts rms). The only thing that makes me nervous is the side mounted rubber strap and plastic jacks. Why they went with plastic on the jacks instead of metal is beyond me, but I've read they have a replacement "upgrade face plate" with metal jacks at an additional cost. But this is Internet hearsay and I haven't called GK about it. The post EQ boost is clean, nice and can really kick out ABUNDANT clean power and sound when needing more without turning up the pre EQ gain and before adjusting the master volume... sort of like a post EQ pre-master gain option.
The amp is 19"x3.5"x8" rack mountable @ 22lbs and also strap-carrying (strap located on its side that fits nicely into my computer backpack (unlike the SVT of course). The Bi-amp crossover option is nice but ONLY becomes available when using the Neutron ports. This is a perfect rig for me and I would argue placing it up against an Ampeg rig or other (and depending on your choice of cabs and tone your seeking) things would turn out 6's or better. If you have a chance to get a hold of one of these amps seriously check it out and play it through your cabs. If you want to get into a class D amp, you may be attracted to the affordability, lightweight, and power of these, but may end up comparing it to a throwaway item with the price and all after trying to find somebody to service it other than the manufacture or having to run out in an emergency to replace with it another "affordable" class D amp. By the way, as I was walking out with my new toy, a guy came in with an Ampeg SVT-7 Pro for servicing... an amp I thought long and hard about for some time. Good hunting and have excellent gigs!
on February 26, 2013
I have owned this basshead for about 4yrs. now. In this review, I'm going to try to tell you the most I can about this head, but understand I'm not a real 'tech guy.' I'm more the plug in and go musician.
I once owned the Peavey Nitrobass head, and the Peavey 410 & 115 for that line. I wasn't playing as much as I would've liked at the time, and plus I was getting older. Meaning, I'm starting to get the lazy bass player gut with the musician's chicken arms. I looked around, did alot of research and went with my childhood dream. I got a GK rig. This head is the foundation of that rig.
Everything you need, is right on the front of the head. Some people will complain about this, but I really like that. All the soundmen I've worked with like that too. They can plug me right into the board, and then fine tune me from there. Easy set up for them, which while on stage is great for them, and excellent for you! Compared to what I had owned previously, the EQ took alittle time to get use to. The slightest turn changed the sound to my ears by leaps and bounds. I use a Warwick Thumb BO 6, so the 2 mid knobs for me are PERFECT!!! Really help bring out the sound of the wood. They also let me cut right through the mix like a stampeding horse. NICE!!! The effects loop is right on the front, and that is sweet. Since I use a 6-string, the push button 4/5 string switch is just right. Really helps define the low B and brings out it's balls. The low ..... well it's makes your bass tone so heavy, it should be weighted periodically on a truck scale! If you like to slap/pop, the high will be your friend. You really don't need much, but it will just kick people in the gut when you pop. Oh that's good!!! I use GK to play metal. I use the GK NEO412 cab, and I get such an amazing 'metal' sound. The 'GK Growl' you read about .... this head has it in spades. The Bi-Amp system, is just genius! What it does is, when you are hooked up to a GK cab, and you use distortion, it cuts the signal to the tweeter on the cab. Which is great because tweeters and horns really shouldn't be having the a distored signal going through them. They don't like them much. Bob Gallien ..... thank-you!
The only downer I have, is the opening on the top for the fan. That kinda gets to me. BUT ..... I have NEVER had any heating problem with my 1001RB-II! So that little annoyance, is far outweighed by the huge plus. When I say no heating issue, I've played the musty bar, 3hr gigs with this too. NO HEATING ISSUE!! The fan, if you listened closely, after about 2hrs. of straight playing, you might hear it. Other than that .... no sound. Oh, it's turning, but it doesn't sound like a jet engine like other heads. So if your going to rack it, (I don't,) make sure you leave a space for that top fan.
I've owned Peavey, I've owned Ampeg (my B4R head died after plugging it in for the 1st time and only 10min. of use ..... yea, 10 MINUTES!!,) played through Carvin, SWR, and a Marshall bass stack. NONE of them compare to the sound quality of this head. This is GK's middle of the road head. They're "pro" head being the 2001RB. For a solid state head, in this price range, I'm saying it's the BEST head on the market. Don't take my word for it though ..... Justin Chancellor of Tool uses the GK 2001RB w/Mesa Boogie stacks. For the longest time, Flea was using GK, (I think he's using Acoustic now.) When I 1st saw Flea on MTV live when I was 14, (now 36,) I saw him with GK's then, and the dream began. Duff McKagen uses GK with the NEO412. Those are some names there! If you go to the GK site, you'll see all the different jazz and funk players that use these amazing heads and cabs. I love my GK head. The only reason I may part with it, is because my heart has really started to become set on the GK Fusion 550 Hybrid tube head. Tube preamp, and solid state circuitry that's based on what? The 1001RB-II!! (although I will probably just keep my 1001RB-II for a backup)
on June 15, 2015
I've owned many amps, from Ampeg Hartke, Sunn and most recently SVT3-Pro and the Mesa Strategy 888... all great in their own right, but until I tried and (now bought) this GK 1001RB-II, I've never been 100% satisfied. The others all didn't fall very short of great, but for one reason or another they lacked something... in the cast of my most recent ones, the Ampeg didn't have the power, and the Mesa was just too much "tube" in it's tone... very slow response, and a bit too "warm".. the GK has that great, snappy, Solid State sound (I call it the Marcus Miller tone), and I love it...makes my Alembic, Spector and Fender basses sound better (to my ear) than any other amp.
As a bonus, it is still Made in the USA! Yeah!
I do use it with a dbx160A compression and that's it.