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GK Legacy vs MB Fusion

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Harry122, Jan 4, 2020.


  1. Harry122

    Harry122

    Feb 9, 2019
    Long time follower and now first time poster on Talkbass! I hope everyone has enjoyed their holidays! From the looks of it, seems most of us have acquired some new gear, including myself. Now having both the old MB Fusion 500 and the Legacy 500, I thought I could share some of my observations.

    MB Fusion 500:
    Although subjective, this is an absolutely incredible sounding amp. I would describe this tone as clean, articulate, warm, powerful, and easily cuts through the mix. With dedicated A and B channels, you can go from clean to burly in no time. Combined with Master - A and -B, its nice to have the option to either maintain the same volume or increase the B-Channel for solos if or whatever application you need really. Personally, I have rarely used this feature simply because I'm a simpleton with no need to switch channels. Nice to have though. One thing I do like about this head is the adjustable contour knob. I like this because its not a simple on or off feature and I can carve out the mids however I like. Other features I enjoy is the selectable mid frequency switch for tone sculpting, "presence" switch for a brighter top end, and the "deep" switch for a pretty noticeable bass boost. DI out is incredibly silent. No issues with mine whatsoever when running into a Focusrite. However, as small as it may seem, my only real problem with this amp is the cooling fan. As others have noted, it sounds like a small jet on takeoff. If you're recording DI, its not an issue. If you're using a mic', I'd recommend getting it as far away from the amp as possible. At the end of the day, you really can't go wrong with one of these.

    Legacy 500:
    Also a matter of taste, this too is a fantastic sounding amp. Personally, I have never tried the older RB series so I can't speak to its similarities but if I understand it correctly, I would agree that this head is definitely capable of achieving that "grind" that GK is known for. Like the Fusion however, the Legacy exhibits similarities as in its all part of the GK "sound" except with a few added bonuses such as the overdrive channel (which essentially is an A/B channel), build quality, and improved electronic components for longevity. As far as tone is concerned, everything about the Fusion that has already been said also applies to this head except a few key differences. The biggest differences being 1) the low end -- bass for days and a lot tighter without burying the bass in the mix.. 2) low mid "grind" -- having done an A and B test of this, I can say with certainty this amp easily cuts the mix from this low end growl.. 3) although its not adjustable, I think GK got it right with the contour settings. Even though its either on or off, whatever frequencies this switch affects are the right ones. To my ears, this cuts out the mud and really cleans things up.. Really, the only thing I don't like about this amp is once its turned off but in standby mode, there seems to be a dull ticking noise that (realistically) can only be heard if you put your ear right to it. Perhaps mine is faulty but I wouldn't expect this to be an issue for others. May be a capacitor or something.. Either way, it does not affect tone. I may just have to contact support at some point.

    Conclusion:
    Both are absolutely fantastic heads and you really can't go wrong with either. Tone wise, if you're looking for something a tad bit mellower, I'd go with the Fusion. If you want the additional low end grind, go for the Legacy. As a player who only plays at home in "studio," power requirements aren't factored into this thread but it should be noted that if you play bigger venues, go for either the Legacy 800 or Fusion 500.. or if you're playing stadiums, go for the Legacy 1200 or Fusion 800. 20200103_185352.jpg 20200103_185403.jpg
     
    sonojono, NigelD, SwitchGear and 19 others like this.
  2. somebrains

    somebrains

    Feb 7, 2017
    RB grind, I always thought 800s were better at it than 400s.
     
  3. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
    As someone who gigged an MBF500 for 7 years, and now a Legacy 800 for the past year, I think this review is right on. I haven't really felt the difference between 500 & 800 watts as I never open up either-sized amp all the way. They're both louder than I've ever needed. I agree that the MBF B-channel and the L-series overdrive suite can be tweaked to perform pretty much identical functions - and I do use them as a "solo" tone. The extra knobs on the L800 o'drive allow for a bit more fine-tuning than the MBF or MB B-channel does. Also, as a long time 800RB user prior to the arrival of the MB series, I find the "grunt" of the L800 to be very similar to the older RB series, and different from the MB's, especially in those lower frequencies. Both sound great to me, but I love having the older RB thing in a smaller, more powerful package that has some extra features. My one caveat here is that I tend to never use Enhance knobs, low boosts, presence boosts or any of the other switches on any of my GK's. I'm sure they're great features for some, but I've never found the need for them - IME the GK EQ stack does it all!
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2020
  4. gmarcus

    gmarcus Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2003
    How does the fan noise on the legacy compare to the MBF?
     
  5. Harry122

    Harry122

    Feb 9, 2019
    I ran this amp for about 3 hours straight a few nights ago and it didn't even come on. Not sure if it's because the design is that efficient in reducing heat output, but at any rate, I can almost guarantee it's nowhere near as loud as the Fusion fan!
     
    gmarcus likes this.
  6. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Fusion fan is quiet if it even comes on in the newer MBF800's. It was a worry for me when I bought it but the noise had been corrected by then.

    Before I got the fusion I had that Ashdown that only had a graphic EQ and no traditional tone controls. I thought it was a cool concept but the fan ran all the time and it was as loud as a 747 taking off. I sent it back after a couple of days of trying to live with it.

    Regarding the Legacy heads, I was glad to see that it still has a 3 tube design and that one got shifted over to OD use. I'm not an engineer but figure that all else being equal more tubes is better. GK is still the only game in town in terms of a micro amp that employs more than a single tube in the preamp.

    If you want a multi-tube design you have to go to higher priced boutique brands and those amps are usually a lot bigger and/or heavier too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
    Harry122 likes this.
  7. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Acct Serv. Man.: Long & McQuade; MTD Kingston Basses Intl Emerging Artist; Bartolini Emerging Artist
    Hey, the Fusion S amps have tubes in the pre section...the Legacy amps are fully solid state.
     
    Harry122, DrMole and Doner Designs like this.
  8. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    I see that now. Thanks for pointing it out.
     
  9. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Acct Serv. Man.: Long & McQuade; MTD Kingston Basses Intl Emerging Artist; Bartolini Emerging Artist
    No problem...I like them both, but I'm waiting to see the Fusion+ with the Tube compressor before deciding on which to upgrade to...IF I upgrade from my MBF 800 :D
     
    Doner Designs and Harry122 like this.
  10. Very helpful thread. I have been looking at the Legacy 500 as I want to eventually add a 112 Neo to go with my 212 Neo. I see a post Apocalyptic World of Acoustic Gigs in corner's of Bars were space is at a premium and a slender Cab that I could stand on end would be practical. Also having that Small gig, Big gig versatility.I currently have an MB 800 which I Love and I like the E Q at noon, Contour to taste, Flat to 9 or 11 O' Clock depending on Room. While I love the sound I have been looking for something a little different. The MB can be a little "IN YO FACE!" The Legacy just sounds like it has a little more warmth at it's flat E Q setting's .
     
    Harry122 likes this.
  11. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass

    Apr 9, 2009
    You might get unexpected results running the 112 with the 212. The power will be split in half so the 112 will be pushed harder and louder. A better option would be a pair of 112's or a pair of 212's.
     
    Jurbanski likes this.
  12. Thanks for the comparo.

    My chunky Fusion 550 of 11 years shat itself so looking for replacement...Fusion S or Legacy..
     
    Harry122 likes this.
  13. Harry122

    Harry122

    Feb 9, 2019
    I watched the demo of the new Fusion and it sounded incredible. I think it would just depend on whether you want something more mellow or not. From my experience, the Legacy gives me all the grind and punch I could ever need especially when paired with a B7K and VT Bass. My old Fusion 500 was amazing but just didnt quite have the "grind" I was looking for.
     
    Alistair R likes this.
  14. Legacy might be the go since I've been using a Darkglass head in since the Fusion carked it.
     
    Harry122 likes this.
  15. Hadn't even considered that, thanks for the reminder.
     
    jeff7bass likes this.
  16. Benko

    Benko

    Dec 16, 2014
    Tokyo, Japan
    Hi I digged a bit this thread, would you have a take on the DI of the Legacy 500?

    I bought a high quality DI / preamp a few month ago and after a non-objective non-thorough A/B testing I found out that I like the DI output of the Legacy very much and can really get the tone I want (I like the "GK" tone).

    The real annoying thing for me with the legacy 500 is the white standby light that you can only turn off by plug it out (why would they do that???!!)
     
  17. Harry122

    Harry122

    Feb 9, 2019
    I'm no recording expert but I can say with certainty the DI on the Legacy is top notch. It's clear, punchy, and articulate. Not to say the DI on the Fusion was bad, but I felt it was muddy and for some reason seemed quieter than the Legacy. I'm assuming its probably something I did by not tweaking the EQ or Gain appropriately.

    To answer your question though, the DI on the Legacy is incredible. No complaints here... except for the white light!!
     
  18. Benko

    Benko

    Dec 16, 2014
    Tokyo, Japan
    I’m no DI expert also but as you were praising the Fusion’s i was wondering your impressions that confirm mine.
    Will sell the preamp/DI and leverage more the legacy for tone shaping (if one day gigging start again)
     
  19. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine

    Mesa make several hybrid amps with tube/s in their preamps...
     
    MAXSPINRUN, DrMole and Harry122 like this.
  20. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
    In yo face - I know that’s not a tech term, but I think it’s def a GK thing :). I’ve owned and gigged both MB & MB Fusions (500 & 800) and now a Legacy 800. I just can’t agree that the Legacy has more “warmth” than the MB. It has a “grind” that reminds me of the RB series, and a lot of adjustability in the low end, but it’s at least as in my face as my old MB 800. For warmth, I think I’d look into the new Fusion amps if I were you. If the Fusion S preamp is a direct descendant of the MB Fusion, I think you might find your warmth there.
     
    Jurbanski likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 16, 2021

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