GR One 1400 Bass Amp review

This one goes to 1400!

  • £899

MusicRadar Verdict

A great-looking, brilliant-sounding bass amp.


  • +

    Very powerful, clean and compact.

  • +

    Two 700W amps in one box is a great idea.


  • -

    Tiny switches are hard to see.

  • -

    Fans are a bit noisy.

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Taking the GR One out of the supplied gigbag, our first impressions are that although it’s very compact in size, at nearly three kilos it’s remarkably solid for a class D amp. 

The matt black steel casing has the company logo laser-cut out of the top panel revealing the shiny aluminium heat-sink below. This is a really slick-looking amp. 

Like the smaller GR 700, at the heart of the GR One is the superb 700-watt ICEpower AS series amplifier - or rather two of them, each having a discrete output channel that’s adjustable for level from the front panel. This means that you could drive four 8 ohm cabs, two from each side. 

One of the most striking aspects of the new GR One is the clever use of coloured LEDs along the front top edge of the amp. These illuminate when the tiny push-button on the right of the front panel is used to switch on the tuner function, which is calibrated for four-, five- or six-string basses. Push the same button again and the same row of LEDs now function as a VU meter, with four different display modes. It looks very impressive, but on gigs after using the tuner we found we pressed the button for a fifth time to turn all the LEDs off; their brightness can be quite distracting on a dark stage. 

The EQ consists of four main controls: Low, Mid Low, Mid High and High. Supplementing these are two three-way microswitches that allow you to select different frequency centres between the Low and Mid Low and between the Mid High and High. As well as all that, there are two push switches for Deep and Bright, both of which function exactly as you’d expect. In the middle of the EQ section, you’ll find a further microswitch labelled ‘Pure’, which allows you to bypass the preamp altogether. A very bright white LED illuminates to make it absolutely clear when this function is switched on. 

One of the most striking aspects of the new GR One is the clever use of coloured LEDs along the front top edge of the amp

Around the back, there are separate Speakon outs for each channel, an XLR DI with pre/post and ground lift, and an effects send/return. Lastly, there’s a 9V 300mA output from which you can power your effects pedals - that’s a neat idea. We’re impressed by the attention to detail that has gone into making this product genuinely useful for the performing musician. 

There aren’t many downsides to having lighter and ever-smaller bass amps, but one is that the front control panels can be a bit crowded. On the GR, some of the graphics are quite tricky to read, although the controls for the EQ, Gain and Output levels are all well-spaced and easy to access. Likewise, the push buttons for the Deep and Bright EQ filters, as well as the one for the Mute function, are fairly easy to use. 

However, the Pure switch and the three-position switches for Low and High EQ are tiny and difficult to see on a dark stage. We guess that once they’re set these won’t be fiddled around with so much compared to the other controls, making this a minor problem. A couple of other features on the front panel worth highlighting are the Aux and Headphone mini-jack inputs - the latter with its own volume control - and the DI output level. 

Plug in, and the enormous headroom of the GR is immediately obvious. Even with the front end gain cranked right up on a powerfully active five-string bass, it’s hard to bully the clip LED into turning red. Being a class D amp, when physics does take over things start to get a bit gnarly; it’s not the best or smoothest distortion you will have heard, but then it’s not claiming or trying to be. 

What is very good indeed is the EQ. The added versatility of the frequency selection switches means a huge range of clean and usable sounds. With the EQ set to neutral, the glorious clarity of the ICEpower amps is awesome. It’s not bass-biased or bright, it’s completely accurate - and all the better for that. 

With a flat sound like this, having such a comprehensive front panel seems almost surplus to requirements, but switching from an active five-string Zon to an ancient pre-CBS Precision highlighted the value of such a versatile EQ. Boosting the gain a little, adding some low end and sprinkling in a few extra dbs of brightness had the old Fender singing like a canary. Even the double bass, the transients of which are a challenge for even the best of bass amps, sounded as clean and accurate as we’ve ever heard it. 

It’s refreshing to see a new amp from a small company rather than from one of the big boys. With the GR One you get the impression that the whole thing has been designed with one person’s vision and passion, rather than via a committee of stylists and bean-counters. 

Just like with a custom luthier, ordering from such a small company means that you can request certain custom features for your amp; one of the really cool things about GR amps is their ‘Tattoo’ service, which allows you to choose your amp’s colour and even have a design put on it. The couple of minor gripes we had with the GR 700 (the obscured printing on the rear jack socket, the lack of a built-in tuner) have been addressed here, so if you’re looking for a powerful, modern bass amp and you fancy trying out something different from the mainstream, the GR One 1400 could well fit the bill.