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#2167494 - 02/24/10 09:21 AM GK MB210 - quick review...
Gruuve Offline
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Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 3771
Loc: Raleigh, NC, USA
Hey folks...I hope everyone is doing well in the new year. cool

A few days ago, I acquired a very slightly used (as in 1 month used) Gallien-Krueger MB-210 combo amp at a great price. You can look up the specs, but it's the new small ultralight 210+horn combo, 350 watts into internal drivers/500 watts with an extension cab, and only 33 lbs.

I've only had it about a day (no gigs yet), but I'm pretty impressed...this combo sounds like a much bigger amp and cab. It has lots of bottom (I actually cut the lows quite a bit), and clear mids, although the highs are a little hissy. I've actually found that it's bright enough and a little more vintagey sounding with the tweeter turned off (there's a switch to turn it off). It seems to handle a 5-string just fine, and it sounds particularly good with my Steinberger Synapse basses. And did I mention it's only 33 lbs?

I compared it to my old Nemesis NC210 (older 200 watt model) side-by-side, and I like the GK quite a bit better soundwise (initial impressions without any gig time on it, of course). In terms of sheer loudness, there's not a huge difference in pure volume (the NC210 is very loud and punchy in the upper mids) between the 200 watt Nemesis and the 350 watt GK, but the MB210 is much deeper sounding (more lower-mid content), especially with the contour switch on. The old Nemesis is quite heavy for it's size, so the GK is quite a winner in portability. Did I mention it's only 33 lbs? wave

The only concern I have is reliability...I've heard rumors that GK had some reliability issues with their new ultra-light heads. I haven't seen any rumors regarding the combos yet, but it IS the same class-D head technology in the integrated amp in the combo. I guess we'll see on that one.

My Nemesis is for sale now. LOL. I never was entirely happy with it's sound (although it's a very capable combo) and considering it's about twice the weight in a similar package, the GK is a clear winner for me. (Did I mention the GK is only 33 lbs? LOL.) I'd love to hear what this GK combo sounds like with an extension cab and the full 500 watts, so I'll be keeping my eyes open for a lightweight 8-ohm cab at a good price. I think it would handle a fairly loud drummer just fine on it's own, so I'm sure it would kick nicely with an extension cab.

Cheers,
Dave


Edited by Dave Sisk (02/24/10 09:25 AM)
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#2167517 - 02/24/10 10:34 AM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: Gruuve]
saxofunk Offline
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Registered: 08/21/01
Posts: 4079
Loc: Tulsa, OK.
Originally Posted By: Dave Sisk
I compared it to my old Nemesis NC210 (older 200 watt model) side-by-side, and I like the GK quite a bit better soundwise (initial impressions without any gig time on it, of course).... Did I mention it's only 33 lbs?


Was that really necessary? Nearly 1/2 the weight and you like the sound better? You're poking the bear! Leave me alone! I don't need any bass gear. My NC210 is staying with me for a long time.

Someone buy Dave's NC210. Get a dolly or get used to toting a 65 lb combo. It's a fine amp.
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#2167545 - 02/24/10 12:04 PM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: saxofunk]
Gruuve Offline
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Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 3771
Loc: Raleigh, NC, USA
Sorry Matt, didn't mean to spend your money for ya. whistle
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Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.
- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

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#2167548 - 02/24/10 12:14 PM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: saxofunk]
groover Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 06/28/03
Posts: 701
Loc: Harrisburg, Pa
I was at GC last week with a few guys from my church looking to buy some equipment for the church, one of the things we were looking for was a new bass amp. We tried that same GK combo and I had the exact same impression, deep with lots of low mids and plenty bright with the horn turned off. It had a nice tone and was plenty loud. If the reliability is there, it is a great amp and at only $600 it's even better.

GC ended up making us a killer deal on a Markbass 2x10 (by killer I mean like $300 less than MF online price), we liked the sound of it a little better than the GK plus it seemed to be built more solid. Solid build was very important considering its going to spend most of its time on stage in our youth center.

Still the GK seemed solid enough, I am hoping to buy a new amp in near future and that GK does have my attention. Let us know how its working for you, a gig report will be nice.

Enjoy!


Edited by groover (02/24/10 12:16 PM)

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#2167557 - 02/24/10 12:50 PM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: groover]
Gruuve Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 3771
Loc: Raleigh, NC, USA
Presumably part of the weight loss comes from using a very lightweight wood as well as the NEO drivers and the lightweight class-D amp section. (If you pick it up by the top handle, it twirls easily...low polar moment of inertia would mean very lightweight wood in the cabinet. wink )I checked by shining a flashlight into the port...it appears to be 3/4" plywood (I can see the grain), although I don't know what kind of plywood (very low-density birch maybe?). The grill is quite thin sheetmetal, so that cuts down on weight also. I don't know how they managed to get it down to 33 lbs, but I like it. smile

The other comparison note I forgot...the extension jack on the GK is wired in parallel so you get 500 watts out of the amp spread across the internal drivers and the extension cabinet. One other drawback on the Nemesis by comparison is that the extension cabinet jack on it is wired in series rather than parallel...you get 200 watts into the internal drivers, but if you plug in an extension cabinet you only get 120 watts or so spread across the internal drivers plus the extension cabinet. (I wonder why on earth they did that? LOL. I guess more drivers offsets the power loss somewhat.)

I just had a crazy thought...on the GK, there's a headphone jack that presumably disconnects the drivers from the power amp. There's an extension speaker jack on the back that is wired in parallel with internal drivers. Here's what I'm wondering: could you link two of these combos together such that you are using one as an unpowered cabinet-only by 1)connecting two of them together via the extension speaker jack and 2) plugging a headphone plug into the headphone jack of one of them to disconnect it's internal drivers from it's internal amp. IF reliability was an issue, you'd then have two combo's with two power amps...if one died, power it off, move the headphone plug to the failed amp, power the other on, and you're back in business in about 30 seconds. (If you forgot to plug the headphone into one of them, the amps would see each other as zero impedance and let the magic smoke out pretty quick though. LOL.) Hmmm...

Dave


Edited by Dave Sisk (02/24/10 12:56 PM)
_________________________
Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.
- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

http://www.reverbnation.com/gruuve/

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#2167563 - 02/24/10 01:41 PM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: Gruuve]
Bottom End Online   content
Platinum Member

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 1967
Loc: VA
Thanks for the review. Please let us know if you have roblems down the road.

I've had a G-K 200 MB combo amp for over 20 ears and it's held up very well and still delivers.
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#2167585 - 02/24/10 02:25 PM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: Bottom End]
Davo-London Offline
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Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 2992
Loc: London, England
Dave who?

Oh Dave Sisk, i remember you!!!

Nice review. I've tried that nemesis and found it OK for fretted but a bit lacking with the fruitless. What do you think of it with your fretli?

Davo
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#2167596 - 02/24/10 03:22 PM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: Davo-London]
jeremy c Offline
10k Club

Registered: 02/01/01
Posts: 16126
Loc: Berkeley,CA,UNITED STATES
Welcome back.

Nice review. I don't think you're idea of connecting the amps and using the headphone jack is going to work out.

I'm a little leery (or maybe Leary) of relying on rumors such as "I heard they had reliability issues." I'd rather hear that firsthand.

The music school where I taught for 15 years had a GK head which was used for 6 hours a day all that time and it never had any problems.
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#2167607 - 02/24/10 03:51 PM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: jeremy c]
Michele C. Offline
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Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 909
Loc: Milano
Hmmm, 33 pounds, I like that.
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#2167635 - 02/24/10 06:56 PM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: Michele C.]
Gruuve Offline
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Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 3771
Loc: Raleigh, NC, USA
Hey Davo...I haven't tried the fretless with the GK combo yet, but will soon. I actually liked the fretless through the Nemesis better than a fretted...it's punchiness was an asset in that particular case. (IMO...we all like different things, of course.) The Steinberger fretless has a pretty gnarly gritty tone...I thought the Nemesis reproduced that quite well.

Thanks Jeremy and agreed...the safest way to use two combos would be to use the XLR output on one to feed the input on the other. wink I don't put too much weight into rumored reliability issues either...if a couple or three folks have an issue, then the rumor grows larger than life and spreads. If I do have any issues, I have no doubt GK will repair or replace what's needed...they have a good rep for that. GK is certainly making a fan out of me.

As far as extension cabs, I pondering whether the current GK NEO cabs might be a good choice (they haven't released the matching ultralight NEO extension cabs yet, but the current NEO's are probably light enough). There's a few GK NEO112's available used at good prices (and several NEO212's, but those are almost as big as a 410)...I think I'd prefer a NEO210 or NEO115 though...anyone played through the NEO112's? I have the admit the NEO 212 is appealing...at about 2'x 2' and 50 lbs, it's manageable. I just want to make sure both the combo and an extension cab will fit in my trunk (I dont' have an SUV anymore, I've got a sedan now).

Dave


Edited by Dave Sisk (02/24/10 07:33 PM)
_________________________
Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.
- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

http://www.reverbnation.com/gruuve/

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#2167670 - 02/24/10 09:18 PM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: Gruuve]
Groove Mama Offline
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Registered: 01/06/10
Posts: 2198
Loc: St. Louis, MO
(So I'm reading through this thread and trying mightily to grasp the concepts but, sadly, understanding very little. And I'm wondering: How/where, short of getting an EE and/or playing for another 20 years, am I ever gonna learn about this stuff?)
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#2167729 - 02/25/10 07:23 AM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: Groove Mama]
jeremy c Offline
10k Club

Registered: 02/01/01
Posts: 16126
Loc: Berkeley,CA,UNITED STATES
There is no concept to grasp. An amplifier makes a bass louder and speakers let you hear the sound.

You buy one, preferably a known brand, and you play.

Use the simple formula: add up all the watts of the other musicians' amps, double that figure and that's how big an amp you need.
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#2167763 - 02/25/10 09:49 AM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: Gruuve]
b5pilot Offline
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Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 3851
Loc: Sterling Heights, Michigan
Twice the weight? I have an old NC-200 and it weighs about 43 lbs. they must have gotten heavier somewhere along the way.

Anyway, congrats on the new amp! thu


Edited by b5pilot (02/25/10 09:49 AM)
Edit Reason: dang typos!
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#2167765 - 02/25/10 10:06 AM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: b5pilot]
Gruuve Offline
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Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 3771
Loc: Raleigh, NC, USA
Hmmm...you made me curious, so I just weighed mine on a bathroom scale...if the scale is accurate (and I'm sure it's pretty close), it weighs 56 lbs. The awkward handles don't help much on the older models...LOL (but those can be replaced of course).

Dave
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Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.
- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

http://www.reverbnation.com/gruuve/

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#2167767 - 02/25/10 10:08 AM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: jeremy c]
Gruuve Offline
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Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 3771
Loc: Raleigh, NC, USA
Originally Posted By: jeremy c
Use the simple formula: add up all the watts of the other musicians' amps, double that figure and that's how big an amp you need.


AND add a zero. cool (Joking aside, Jeremy's formula is pretty accurate. LOL.)

Dave
_________________________
Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.
- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

http://www.reverbnation.com/gruuve/

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#2168347 - 02/27/10 05:28 PM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: Gruuve]
Tom Capasso Offline
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Registered: 04/30/01
Posts: 8768
Loc: Wantagh ,NY,UNITED STATES
I played an GK MB210 at GC today. I was surprised how light it was given the physical size and the sound. It sounded pretty good, but I didn't buy it.

Tom
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#2169501 - 03/03/10 07:20 PM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: Tom Capasso]
Gruuve Offline
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Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 3771
Loc: Raleigh, NC, USA
OK, I wandered into GC today and tried out a GK MB-210 they have there with an extension cab attached. The extension cab was a GK BLX-15...not very impressed. The first one I tried had high-pitched distortion coming from the driver...it just "whizzed" away on every note...LOL...apparently the driver was damaged. I tried a different BLX-15 cab...still not too impressed. No distortion, but not much difference in amplitude either. I tried holding a note while plugging and unplugging the extension cab...there was a noticeable volume difference, but not VERY noticeable.

I think the issue was that the extension cab itself just sucked...I'm definitely not at all impressed with the GK BLX-15 cab. It was fairly small and not too heavy, but soundwise didn't cut the mustard. I have a feeling the MB-210 would rock with a good extension cab (perhaps the GK NEO212 would def be worth a try? They didn't have one of those however.). It sure would be nice if GK would release a 210 extension cab that's just like the MB-210 minus the amp, but no idea if they intend to do that.

Dave
_________________________
Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.
- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

http://www.reverbnation.com/gruuve/

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#2170090 - 03/05/10 10:30 PM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: Gruuve]
Gruuve Offline
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Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 3771
Loc: Raleigh, NC, USA
Gassity-gas-gas...I just realized that GK has already released the MBE ultalight cabs. There are 112's, 115's, 210's, and 212's. There's absolutely no mention of them on GK's website, but they are available from MF and a few other sites. (I also didn't realize there was an MB212 combo available as well, just stumbled across that too...same amp and 39 lbs.)

Strangely enough, the 210MBE is the only cab that is 8-ohm (all the others are 4-ohm), so that's the only one suitable as an extension cab to the MB210 combo (extension must be 8-ohm minimum). I just tossed the combo into my trunk and measured the remaining space...the MB210 cab would fit with about 1" of space left over. I was looking for something used, but at $299 it seems like a steal (it's hard to find a good used cab at $300, not to mention one that's only 30 lbs). Plus, I already know what the cab sounds like (and like it) since it's the same gear that's in the combo. As large as the MB210 sounds by itself, methinks the MB210 combo + 210MBE extension cab would a pretty darned potent combination, and ridiculously portable at 63 lbs total.

I think I'm gonna need some Beano.

Dave


Edited by Dave Sisk (03/05/10 10:34 PM)
_________________________
Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.
- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

http://www.reverbnation.com/gruuve/

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#2170109 - 03/06/10 04:24 AM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: Gruuve]
Davo-London Offline
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Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 2992
Loc: London, England
Beano?

That's a comic this side of the pond! What's Beano?

Davo
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#2170120 - 03/06/10 06:35 AM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: Davo-London]
Gruuve Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 3771
Loc: Raleigh, NC, USA
LOL. Here in the states, it's an over-the-counter medication for reducing flattulence. wink

Dave


Edited by Dave Sisk (03/06/10 01:21 PM)
_________________________
Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.
- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

http://www.reverbnation.com/gruuve/

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#2170463 - 03/07/10 07:54 PM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: Gruuve]
EZ Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/18/05
Posts: 417
Loc: Ga
Originally Posted By: Dave Sisk
Gassity-gas-gas...I just realized that GK has already released the MBE ultalight cabs. There are 112's, 115's, 210's, and 212's. There's absolutely no mention of them on GK's website, but they are available from MF and a few other sites. (I also didn't realize there was an MB212 combo available as well, just stumbled across that too...same amp and 39 lbs.)
Strangely enough, the 210MBE is the only cab that is 8-ohm (all the others are 4-ohm), so that's the only one suitable as an extension cab to the MB210 combo (extension must be 8-ohm minimum). I just tossed the combo into my trunk and measured the remaining space...the MB210 cab would fit with about 1" of space left over. I was looking for something used, but at $299 it seems like a steal (it's hard to find a good used cab at $300, not to mention one that's only 30 lbs). Plus, I already know what the cab sounds like (and like it) since it's the same gear that's in the combo. As large as the MB210 sounds by itself, methinks the MB210 combo + 210MBE extension cab would a pretty darned potent combination, and ridiculously portable at 63 lbs total.

I think I'm gonna need some Beano.

Dave

I've been looking at getting the MBE212 to use as a stand alone. Do you feel that you are missing something ion your sound with the MB210, I mean compared to a regular size 210.


Edited by EZ (03/07/10 07:56 PM)
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#2170477 - 03/07/10 08:39 PM Re: GK MB210 - quick review... [Re: EZ]
Gruuve Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 3771
Loc: Raleigh, NC, USA
Originally Posted By: EZ
I've been looking at getting the MBE212 to use as a stand alone. Do you feel that you are missing something in your sound with the MB210, I mean compared to a regular size 210.


Nope, don't feel like I'm missing anything compared to a regular size 210. The MB210 combo has plenty of bottom...with the contour switch on, I definitely cut the lows back to about 9am.

The 210MBE is exactly the same size as the MB210 combo (and 30 lbs), so I'd expect that cab to sound exactly the same as the combo. The 212MBE is only 3" taller and 34 lbs, so that's ridiculously small and light for a 212 cab. I would imagine that's a pretty killer cab, despite the size, weight, and price (all ridiculously small for what you're getting). No idea how it actually sounds, but I would expect it to be pretty impressive, given what I've seen so far. cool

The fact that the 212MBE is listed as 4-ohm though doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Presumably, the MB212 combo allows you to connect an extensionn speaker just like the MB210 (right? Does anyone have one?), so that means the two 12's in it are an 8-ohm load. Actually, it strikes me as odd that out of the bunch (112, 115, 210, and 212) the the 210 is the only 8-ohm cab. Since these cabs match the form-factor of the MB210/212 combos, it just strikes me as really odd that only one of them is 8-ohm and the rest are 4-ohm.

Next GK just needs to design a 1500-watt combo that will dislodge concrete pilings but weighs only 10 lbs and is the size of a briefcase. wink

Dave
_________________________
Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.
- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

http://www.reverbnation.com/gruuve/

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