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Gallien-Krueger Legacy 800 review

Could this new Bob Gallien-designed head become a modern classic for the bass amp titans?

  • £850
  • €999
  • $899
Gallien-Krueger Legacy 800 review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Legacy 800 is another phenomenal-sounding amp, with tones to suit all occasions

Pros

  • It'll handle all kinds of styles
  • Generous amount of features
  • Typically solid G-K build and sound design

Cons

  • Could do with a better footswitch

What is it?

Gallien-Krueger's 800RB was something of a watershed moment for bass amplifiers, finding its way onto the backline of many a high-profile purveyor of low-end thump.

But Bob Gallien is not one to retire the notepad, shutter the lab and take an easy chair just because he's knocked one out the park, and the Legacy Series looks to build on the 800RB's reputation as a durable, do-it-all pro-quality amp.

The Legacy 800 takes its name from the 800-watts of solid-state Class D power on tap (there are 500 and 1200-watt heads in the series), and for such a high-powered head you'll be glad to hear that it is typically portable, weighing just 5.7lbs (2.6kg). You'll have little trouble throwing it into a gigbag and it is packed with features, too.

The amp is housed in a super-tough metal enclosure with rack handles at the front of the unit. There are a pair of side-mounted fans, with further venting to stop overheating.

Taking a look at the control panel and there's a lot going on, but it's all where you would expect it to be, intuitively laid out with a four-band EQ Bass (+/-10dB at 60Hz), Lo-Mid (+6dB/-10dB at 250Hz), Hi-Mid (+6dB/- 10dB at 1kHz) and Treble (+/-14dB at 7kHz). That gives you a good sweep. The Drive section, meanwhile, is activated once  you engage the (footswitchable) Overdrive.

There are five LEDs to let you know if the amp is in standby or if something more untoward is happening such as overheating, too much current, or clipping from an input that's too hot. The latter can be tweaked with the Trim.

You'll find a variety of switches for Edge, Bump, Contour and Presence that add a little extra contouring to your tone once you have set your EQ. Turn your attention to the rear of the amp and you'll find a cornucopia of connections, with a headphone jack for silent practice, aux-in for jamming along with external media, the usual impedance selectors, effects loop, and two Speakon output sockets.

(Image credit: Gallien-Krueger)

Performance and Verdict

We hooked the Legacy 800 up through a variety of different cabinets, and no matter the individual spin each put on the amp's tone, there was no question that it retained that trademark tone. For Gallien-Kruegers, we might think of punchy, thick tones, but the Legacy 800 can be mellowed out and dialling in some warmth is easy. 

The mid-EQ section is where you can really really bring that punch to the fore and harness the Legacy 800's power. The low-end remains tight throughout.

Also consider

(Image credit: Markbass)

Markbass Little Marcus 800
A revoiced EQ, hugely versatile, similarly powered, the Little Marcus is a really big deal.

Engage the Overdrive feature and you'll find heaps of musical gain, that saturates nicely without every thinning out the tone, retaining plenty of the nuance of your bass. Those with passive pickups might need to tweak the tone filters here to get the best blend but finding it is not hard.

Those playing slap will enjoy the high-end bounce from hollowing out those mids on the EQ, but if you're just looking for a quick diversion from your regular tone the Contour control is a good shortcut. We'd love it if these controls were footswitchable but the bundled footswitch only applies to the Overdrive.

It's a minor quibble in what is an incredibly intuitive and versatile bass amp. The sessions players who loved the 800RB will get a lot of joy out of this too. There's not much it can't do.

MusicRadar verdict: The Legacy 800 is another phenomenal-sounding amp, with tones to suit all occasions.

Hands-on demos

Gallien-Krueger

Sweetwater

Specifications

  • Price: £850, $899, €999
  • Made in: USA
  • Power: 400 watts at 8 ohms, 800 watts at 4 / 2.7 / 2 ohms
  • Features: ¼” input socket, Trim, Drive, Level, Bass, Lo-Mid, Hi-Mid, Treble, Master, Overdrive switch, Edge, Bump switch, Contour switch, Presence switch, Mute switch, Pin 1 Lift/Ground switch
  • Connections: Balanced DI XLR output socket, Source Pre/Post switch, 3.5mm headphone out, 3.5mm aux in, ¼” tuner socket, ¼” footswitch socket, 1/4-inch jack Send/ Return sockets, Cabinet Impedance selector switch, 2 x Speakon output sockets
  • Dimensions: H 61 x W 291 x D 271mm / H 2.4” x W 11.5” x D 10.7”
  • Weight: 2.6kg / 5.7 lbs
  • Gallien-Krueger