For some reason, this is software that I just don’t see mentioned enough. It’s a pretty useful and solid quality plugin that can really help bass players of all styles reach for good tones and achieve them.
Gallien Krueger Amplifikation 2 Pro includes three amps (MB150, 800RB and 2001 RB), a cabinet section with a small but reliable selection and a few other tools. The amps included in the suite have been used extensively by Flea, Dave Ellefson, Duff McKagan, Krist Novoselic, Colin Greenwood, Justin Chancellor, Jeff Hughell and many other accomplished bass players.
I have been reviewing plugins both new and old. The older plugins can look really dated next to the newer plugins at times which makes it easy to notice things for the review. Even after reviewing some really nice looking plugins, GK Amplification 2 pro or GKA as we will call it, still looks pretty good. The amps still look crisp, the GUI is detailed but still easy to navigate and overall, the cosmetics of the plugin have held up well. On a subtle note, I really like the grill logo on the bottom left of the GUI, it’s a nice touch.
From the discussions I have been a part of that concerned GKA, I gather the authenticity is pretty well in-check. While I can’t speak to the authenticity of the plugin’s featured amps, I can say the attack and response sound and feel nice. This plugin has always had a nice punch to it and Gallien Krueger amps really do have a signature tone that seems to take shape in one way or another in the majority of their products.
Each amp in GKA has a different set of controls as well as a different set of capabilities so I will go over them separately. I ran through them all with nothing else in the chain and then again with just a little compression and EQ.
The 800RB is a solid state amp head has been around for a good while. It’s smooth while having a natural sounding presence to it. I fell in love with this amp’s jazz and funk tones from day one. I used GKA for a number of jazz and jazz/fusion type demos that I still listen to with admiration for the bass tones I used on them.
You can set one tone with this amp and if you have a pickup blend, watch the tone go from fat and round to tight and focused without even needing to touch the amp sim’s controls. I also love the mid cut button in the controls, I use it every time I use the plugin.
I tried driving the 800RB and it just seemed to push things in the wrong direction though it really responded well to a tightly compressed signal. With two amps in this suite better suited for more driven bass tones, it makes no sense to push it.
This one is actually a combo amp but don’t let that fool you because it’s got a giant tone. The plugin version however obviously doesn’t have a hardwired, built in speaker so you can either use the onboard matched impulse, the other onboard impulses or any number of your own.
The MB150 amp sim is punchy and more driven than the 800RB. It has always been my favorite of the three when it comes to the plugin versions. If you are playing on your bridge pickup, watch the highs and high mids on the amp. Things can tend to get a little shrill on this amp if you push it too hard.
The semi-driven tones you get with the MB150 are warm and full. I managed to get a ton of great results without putting in too much work. The MB150 had tones for punk, thrash, hard rock, indie, funk and a long list of playing styles readily available.
The most popular amp of the bunch in hardware form as far as accomplished players go. The 2001RB is one of Gallien Krueger’s finest and most versatile products. I have seen bass players use the real deal for so many genres in both live and studio settings. Every user that I have talked to about the 2001RB had nothing but constant and detailed praise for it so when this suite came out, it was a big selling feature for me.
This amp sounds really good. It does a lot of things convincing with realism and authenticity in mind. Personally, I don’t care for the driven channel because the gain just seems to thin out the tone. With the gain up, the tone starts to sound like a plugin rather than a real amp but that’s really the only fault for this plugin.
Watch the voicing filter on this channel because it can make things harsh and seems to just boost things in the wrong way for me. Every amp features a whole
The impulse section features a matched cabinet impulse for each amp plus versions of the same cabinets that isolate the woofer or tweeter. You also have a nice selection of mics and other tools to shape things further. The cabs included are pretty nice but they are older impulses so when I bypassed for my impulses, there was a noticeable jump in quality. Not a huge bump but you notice it for sure.
The BI-Amp / Crossover section in a couple of the amps is really handy and it can really help you enhance and utilize the right frequencies to sit in a mix without overpowering anything. It’s a useful and nicely modeled feature for sure.
UPS / DOWNS:
GK Amplification 2 Pro is a really good bass amp suite. You get three amps that cover a lot of ground and create the potential for a huge variety of high quality bass tones.
With the age of the plugin, I think GKA could benefit from a slight drop in price but even at it’s current MSRP, it’s probably worth it. You really do get your money’s worth and then some.
I am not sure what the plans are for GKA with Audified upping their game but I hope they keep it around. It’s a pretty decent plugin that has some shelf life and effectiveness left to offer the bass community.
See more – Audified demo video