Backline 600 review by Gallien-Krueger

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 6
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.7 (10 votes)
Gallien-Krueger: Backline 600

Price paid: $ 250

Sound — 6
The tone of the amp itself is pretty poor. There is little control or shaping. I suggest an eq pedal if you are concerned about tone. I use a Fender P bass, and Rogue fretless and 5 string fretted. The Rogue basses have surprisingly good tone after placing dimarzios in each. The amp does not provide a great sound. When at home, just like the average UGer I play a bunch of random songs that come up in my media player. The amp is great for practicing alone and playing songs in this fashion. When I'm with my band, however, I often wish I could get a better sound out of the head. The power is extremely nice, no worries about it being too weak and quiet. My band is a mix of grind and -core influences. I often switch between a clanky tone like that of cannibal corpse, necrophagist, job for a cowboy, etc and a much darker tone that resonates through the low end spectrum. My tone is contingent upon the particular amount of double bass used in the song though, obviously it would change between different band's sound.

Overall Impression — 9
The amp is suitable for most any style of music, the tone comes mainly from the player and the guitar itself. For fast paced thrashing gore and death songs, the amp tends to be a little poppy and distorts slightly. for 300$ though, the power it provides is an equal trade for the poorer tone quality. This amp is the first head/cab setup, I've been playing through a series of progressively larger Fender combos. After my 115 combo crapped out, I decided to get this so I wouldn't have to push it as hard at practice or at a show, which wided up killing my last amp. Compared to other gk products, this is a good buy for the price. The goldline series is more expensive but isn't as good of a deal. The higher end series are out of my reach financially, so this Backline series is the best way to go. If you are getting your firt head/cab deal, these cheap little guys are definitely the way to go. No use blowing 700$ on the cheapest Ampeg head when you could get your whole setup for less with the backline series. Also, buy an EQ and distortion pedal rather than rely on the features of this head.

Reliability & Durability — 6
I would not use this amp without a backup. The amp has an internal switch that kills the amp when it "overheats," which is regularly when playing in a garage or venue in florida anytime from april to september. There is a small fan in the amp, but it helps more to have a box or rotating fan blowing on the head at all times. Other than this problem, the amp itself is extremely sturdy for a measly 13 pound amp. The head is so small that it looks goofy atop the bulky blx cabinets. You'll love the size and durability of the thing, as long as you keep the temperature under control.

Features — 7
The head is rated at 300 watts. As it is desgned to work with the backline series of cabs, it has either a 300W at 8 ohm or 200W at 2x 4 ohm impedence. The amp has a 4 band active eq, treb, low mid, high mid, bass, none of which drastically alter the tone. The contour option does provide a better means of shaping your sound. The most useful features if the amp are the FX loop and the tuner out. The tuner out helps tune up while playing without having to cut your input. The direct XLR out on the amp has severe problems. The overdrive channel is joke, the tone is complete crud. The -10 db pad is useful for practicing at home when not competing with drummer. As for power, the backline series provides a decent bang for your buck. I have it paired with the GK 210BLX and GK 115BLX, and it is extremely loud for such a cheap head and cab. The 210 allows the highs of pops and hammerons to ring clearly and the 115 provides a solid low end that will carry your band's sound to the fullest.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I've had this head for 8 years now, and have been gigging and touring with it for the last 4 or so. Never really had any problems with the overheating. If you're having trouble with the tone, try adding the -10db pad on the input section. It cleans up the tone a lot, especially if you use hot passive pickups or any active pickups. You have to crank the master volume a bit more to bring up the level on the back end of the amp, but it cleans up beautifully.
    I've actually never had mine overheat, and i'm in the marching band. At band camp it hits 100 degrees for three hours straight outside and it still handles like a charm.
    ya i have never had mine overheat either but im mostly in a fairly cool place. i didnt even know it had the switch in it to kill it though
    i'm planning on buying the goldline series... and i'm an a punk-alternative band. ...just thought i'd say that....
    Yea I've spent hours at Guitar Center demoing this here amp and it handles like a charm. 'Nuff Said
    I push th ecrap out of mine both at home , pratcice and on stage, have never let me down nor shut off from over heating, I also haven't had an issues with teh tone and shaping of tome from it either, but that may lend itself to using an Ibanez SDGR500 series ( very versitle tone from it) I also use a Boss Me50 and soon a GT-10B will replace it, Bang for the buck you can't go wrong with thsi head, I use teh G/K 4x10 cabinet and 1X18 cabinet ( the 2X10 ) could be your issue for poor tone response go test it with the 4x10 I think you'll be happier
    had mine for about two years now, and still handles like a pro. i run the backline 4x10 and an ampeg svt 1x15 (classic) and the bigger speaker truely brings out a lot of the grit and tone the amp has. i plan on eventually having an ampeg stack, but i'll keep my GK and prolly run 'em side by side for the unique tones they both offer.
    I play this with a little distortion on channel b, and i also use a eq pedal for the tone quality, it sounds great along side the guitar but by its self and with distortion its not much, but great sounding with a full band. =]
    Hey i was wondering if you know where the overheat switch something happened to mine during a show this past week and the fuse popped. Any chance you know anything that would help me out???
    I have a problem with my A channel. I get terrible feedback from it. A high pitched squeal! Is it my bass or the head itself.
    I've had this thing for a few years. It really depends on the venue or place that you play in for a nice sound to come out. I've played with it inside and out. If a room has nice acoustic's then the amp will sound good. I have to agree on the stomp boxes because the EQ is weak.
    Marc Nelson
    I bought mine in April 2007 and played 8-12 club gigs per month with it for about two years before any problems developed. The big problem now is that it does overheat. The internal cooling fan won't even switch on like it's supposed to. Since it's obviously out of warranty (LOL) my solution is to bypass the switch and power the fan constantly, or replace it with a 110v fan and tap straight into the power source. We will see how that works.