Gallien-Krueger 400 RB Original Style Bass Amp Reviews 4

Professional musician since my late teens, a keyboard player. All rock,pop, original R&B styles. Also a vocalist. 40 years gigging experience. I like all styles of music except Rap and Opera.

I had to scale back from my "roadied" keyboard rig, using a Yamaha 2200 power amp and a mixer and speakers. I swapped the 2200 and a Tapco keyboard mixer (the blue one!) for the GK 400 RB in 1987. I had to start transporting my own gear and needed something much more portable.

I have used the 400 RB for a KEYBOARD amp anywhere from 30 - 50 weekend gigs a year for what is now 19 YEARS. It has NEVER failed me. I have driven a variety of speakers; 15's, 12's, and now 10's (the new 2005 Peavey Impulse 100's) and it is the finest KEYBOARD amp I have ever used. The tone-control setup is absolutely ideal for keyboards; what a shame that this is a best-kept secret. A word about power: The output of VOLUME depends critically on the efficiency of your speakers, not just the power delivery of the amp. Some speakers will take huge amounts of power and still barf, because they are inefficient. Other speakers will take small amounts of power, use it very efficiently and produce huge amounts of volume. I find that 10"'s are a nice match for the 400 RB, they accelerate quicky and are very punchy. The new designs are extremely efficient. Lately, for the last year, I have been using the 400 RB as my main amp for my duo setup, amplifying the keyboards and vocals through the Impulse 100's. The sound is hard to believe. Having the tone controls allows me to effortlessly shape the tone to the room, faster than using an EQ! It's awesome. When I remove the top & bottom plates ocassionally to dust it out, I just marvel at the discrete-component wiring and the brilliance of the design, and wonder why all amps couldn't be like this.

It does not have a clip LED or a limiter. GK products are a little expensive here in North East Canada, and I can't find another one. (I want to have two!)

One of the most brilliant ideas about how the 400 RB is made is the concept of simple screw-on covers over a rigid frame. It's so simple even a DJ could take it apart to clean it. The knobs are fat and flush, not spindly, and are VERY unlikely to break off. Inside, the combination of sturdy pc boards and hand wiring are a work of art and extremely reliable. The words "military-grade" come to mind.

I don't know about the current quality, etc., but I definitely want another one of these original 400 RB's. If you're a keyboard player, here's your amp. Can you believe it: GK doesn't have a section on their own site for testimonials!

rated this unit 4 on 2006-03-19.

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