Gear Review: Gallien-Krueger MB410 Bass Combo Amplifier
Gallien-Krueger’s latest line of combo amps, the MB combo series, has all the GK tone and power you’d expect from GK and some features that will really appeal to the “plug and play” musician. The 500 watt GK MB410 is relatively light weight at 49 lbs and has a streamlined black box presence. All controls are on the top and recessed at the back edge. The spring loaded, rugged handles are recessed as well. This amp cabinet comes with 4 removable heavy duty casters. The most notable difference with this combo series is in the way that you can combine additional cabinets to increase output via powered extension cabinets, plus the ability to choose different sized speakers to suit your output and sonic needs. We’ll come back to that further on. Lets go over the control panel first.
This combo is for bassists wanting to reduce both the hassle of load in/out and setup time. The control panel is classic GK in the sense that it is straight forward to dial up your sound without much knob twiddling, and has the basic on board features such as a limiter, horn on/off switch, pre/post EQ switch, boost knob, -10 db input switch, headphone jack and an 1/8 inch aux input jack for CD/MP3 player. The EQ is the also classic with an active GK 4 band set up that they are known for. It breaks down like this: Treble 7kHz cut/boost, Hi-mid 1kHz cut/boost, Low-mid 250Hz “Q optimized” shelving pass to control low end push and Bass 60 Hz cut/boost. It’s a very easy to use EQ and versatile. The Boost knob adds some growl as you turn it up. This amp sounds full even at low volume without reduction in lows or richness of tone.
One thing I wish was in this configuration is an effects loop, and the lack thereof means you’ll have to run your effects in line from your bass. There’s also a XLR direct output jack. I really like the LED power switch that both protects the amp from shorts, blown speakers and other malfunctions by reducing power output, plus it will also warn you if the power coming in is “dirty”. The LED turns red when there is a problem and blue if all is good.
The coolest labor saving feature aside from the low weight, is the ability to add cabinets using only one XLR cable to connect a GK MBP powered extension cabinet. This eliminates the reduction of output power to each speaker cabinet from the master amp as in passive set ups and/or the need to bring an additional amp to power the extension cab. If you want to use an extension cab that is not from the GK MBP series, then you’ll need to get an A/B footswitch and bring along another amp for that cab, there is no line out put jack to send signal to the other amp, thus the need for an A/B switch. Obviously going that route negates the “plug and play” design of this rig. So, to some extent you’re locked in to GK powered extension cabs to achieve efficiency and ease of this system. GK has other MB combos in different speaker/power configurations if you feel that a 500 watt 410 combo is too big. Check them out to find what suits you.
As you’d expect from GK this is an awesome rig. Powerful, expandable, portable and a killer sounding combo. The low’s are full and tight, the punch is incredible from these 410’s and the high’s are clean and brilliant. An all around great combo for a working musician that wants a pro sound and has to load his own too.
For more information, check out Gallien-Krueger’s website.