This is a truly classic boutique design amplifier delivered in a robust, stylish package. With a switchable pentode/triode selector and 3-band EQ controls, you get the only amp in its class to deliver true tonal range from instantaneous punch to deliciously greasy overdrive and with precise control over output volume.
BH5H & BH5-112 Little Giant Half-Stack
darkarbiter7, on february 18, 2008 10 of 10 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 250
Purchased from: Musicians Friend
Features: It's a quite new amp, made either this year or late 2007. The amp is versatile in a sense. It can't get metal on it's own. It'll need either a distortion or a overdrive pushing it. Well, this isn't MY amp, it's my friends. But, I played it for several hours to get a nice indepth review of it. It has a 3w/5w wattage selector Switch, a full EQ, and a volume control. It also has several speaker outputs. It's a 1 channel 5 watt class A tube amp. 5 watts is enough to get over a drummer, just if you don't want cleans. I really wish it had a preamp gain control, if you wanted to play dirty at low volumes, but it's great without one. This deserves a 9, because at 150 bucks (the price of the head), it has a ton of features compared to similar amps in it's price range (Epi Valve Junior and the other 5w tube amps really don't have as many features as the blackheart). And it's not quite a 10, because you can really never have too many features. // 9
Sound: I am using it with a MIM strat with handwound custom pickups, all single coils. By playing it, it handles clean to blues to rock. So, yeah, it covers my musical style. It's slightly noisy when cranked, but that's inherent EL84 white noise. The tone makes up for it. With the amp, you can get nice warm cleans, brighter, grittier cleans, gritty crunch, and even grittier overdrive which is close to if not distortion. So in general, this amp is british voiced, much like a good Marshall. My only gripe with it, is that it can't get smooth like I want. This is why a preamp gain control would be so nice, there's really no way to get a smooth screaming overdrive like with my Peavey classic 50. So, sorry EJ fans, this may not work for you. But, AC/DC and old Clapton fans rejoice, this will give you whatever you want. The 3/5 watt Switch is kind of the opposite that I expected. I expected a higher amount of Drive at a lower volume. It's lower volume, but it has a cleaner tone, but it's also darker and smoother. It's a very nice touch. If the Drive on the 5w mode is too gritty for you, the 3 watt mode will smooth it out. Yet, it won't be smooth enough (or driven enough) for Eric Johnson like tones. It also cuts a decent amount of volume. Overall a 9.5. It gives you a very good tone, and you can get that natural overdrive at non-earshattering volumes. and at 150 bucks! This is one of the best tone to price ratios on an amp that I've ever seen. With a tube swap (stock tubes are some chinese brand), it'll easily become a 10. // 10
Reliability & Durability: My friend just got it in a few days ago. It looks and feels sturdy. The preamp tube is protected, and the power tube looks like it has a harness securing it. all the internals are well protected. Everything seems sturdy. Well, this really isn't a "Gig" amp. It's more of an awesome recording and practice amp. It can get over drums too, so it'd probably alright to use in a band settings. Just not a gig (unless you mic it). If you were to gig with it, you could probably Live without a backup. This earns a 10 because it's quite tank like, and it came with a warranty and such. // 10
Overall Impression: My overall impression of this amp is overly good. You can get great tones at low volumes. I compared this side by side with my Peavey classic. My Peavey has slightly brighter cleans, and a smoother cranked (clean channel) tone than the blackheart. On the lead channel on my Peavey, the overdrive is much much smoother than the blackheart. But, the blackheart has a gritty crunch, like many people like. But, I'm not a huge fan of gritty crunch tones. I like my Peavey's lead tone better. But, I like the blackheart's dirty cleans (you can get them at low volumes) better. So, for 150 bucks for the head, this is the deal of a lifetime. I am definetely getting the killer ant (1 watt blackheart) when it comes out. I should mention the cabinet also. Well... It didn't come with a speaker cable, so we couldn't use the blackheart cab. We had to plug it into my Peavey's cabinet section (which are already wired together to be plugged into a head, without an extra cable. But, the construction is sturdy, and I don't see how it can be much worse than my Peavey classic non-labled speakers. Overall, a 9. Mainly because nothing is a 10 overall, except for very very expensive custom amps. // 9
BH5H & BH5-112 Little Giant Half-Stack
rickraptor, on september 23, 2009 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Price paid: € 300
Purchased from: Rock & Classics
Features: This 5 watt all tube amp head with solid state rectifier was made in early 2009 by Crate. It features a 12AX7 preamp tube and a EL84 power tube. It features a 3 band EQ (Bass, Middle and Treeble), a volume knob, a pentode/triode toggle Switch (to change the amp from 3 to 5 watts) and a power switch (on/off). The simpler, the better.
The 112 cabinet comes with an Eminence speaker. Both the cabinet and the head are made of several layers of wood and while not heavy they are not as light as I expected them to be.
Being a low power amp, I never thought it would be this loud, even with the 112 in the 3 watt mode I can play over a drummer (my drummer ain't the loudest in the world, but plays hard), so it is a nice amp for rehearsal (even with the 112) or even small gigs. I haven't tried it, but I bet I could use it in a bigger show with two 412 cabinets, although I wouldn't have as much headroom as I would like.
I give it an 8 because it has plenty of features for a 5 watt amp. I would give it a 10 because I don't need any more features on an amplifier, but as there are small amps with more features than this, so it deserves the 8. // 8
Sound: I play this little devil with 3 different guitars: An Epiphone Les Paul (humbuckers, not very good ones though), a Gretsch Electromatic (with mini-Humbuckers) and a Gibson SG Classic (with dual P-90's). I plug them to a Boss OD3 pedal or a Fuzz Face, then the amp. As you might guess, I play rock. From Chuck Berry to Guns N Roses and everything in between, being Iron Maiden and Judas Priest one of the heaviest thing I play.
OK, first, the amp (without any effects) has plenty of headroom, depending on which guitar you are playing it'll have more or less. I get the best cleans out of the Gretsch, and the dirtiest sounds out of the Les Paul. Once you turn the volume knob beyond 12 o clock, it starts to break up.Amazingly, you get a smoother overdrive on the 3 watt mode than the 5 watt mode, where it gets the maximum amount of distortion when cranked.
Second, how much amount of gain are we talking about? Not enough for metalheads, but more than enough to play most 60's and 70's rock. If you add a booster or an overdrive like Boss OD3 or Ibanez Tube Screamer you can get higher amounts of gain, perfect as a boost for the solos or to play harder music like 80's rock and heavy metal. I bet that if you plug an ESP guitar with EMG's and throw a high gain pedal in front of it this amp will do it for metal, as this amp seems to like all pedals I've tried.
It's a great little amp for rock'n roll, with more headroom than the Epi Valve Jr. If I want to play clean sounds at higher volumes, I just turn down the guitar's volume control and get that jazzy clean sound I personally love. This way you loose some treeble, but hardly any volume, and you have a pretty decent crispy clean, not hi fi, but fair enough.
I give it a 10, because it does everything a basic tube amp is suposed to do, and the tone is amazing: It's neutral, so every guitar I've plugged in sounds different, instead of making every guitar sound the same. I would say it's better than the Valve Jr I tried (because of the EQ and the pentode/triode switch, which grants more versatilty) and better than the Fender Champion 600 (because the lack of a bigger speaker and the lack of EQ), although all 3 have great tones. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I bought it recently, so I can't really tell how reliable and durable it is. My only gigging experience with it was a small gig without amplifying the drums. I played it on the 3 watt mode with the volume at 3 o clock and worked nicely. In order to carry it to the concert I protected it inside a box. It was kept inside a car a few hours and got a little hot, and while we were playing the power went out. Nothing happened to it (or at least nothing really serious). Also, it is heavy, and doesn't look as fragile as the Fender Champion 600 (this one looks like you could break it with your bare hands). As I still don't have enough experience with this I give it a 7, because of the way it is built, which seems durable. // 7
Overall Impression: This amp is perfect for anybody who wants to play rock. However, in order to get that great fatty overdrive you've got to crank it up. My SG really likes it, and sounds sweet with it.
I wanted to buy a small amp in order to play at smaller venues, as the Marshall JCM900 I had was too loud for my needs. Between all the small amps there are, the Blackheart Little Giant won because of three things:
a) 3 band EQ
b) A 12 inches speaker
c) It had the best tone/price ratio out of all the small amps
You've got to rate this amp according to what it was designed for: a small practice amp which can be used at home (at moderate volumes), at your band's rehearsing place or at the recording studio. If you bought it and wanted to play Live at the Madison Square Garden then it'll dissapoint you (duh!) but if you bought it to record your guitar parts, rehearse or play small gigs at clubs and play rock then you'll be happy with it. It deserves a 9. If it had a master volume it would be a 10. // 9
BH5H & BH5-112 Little Giant Half-Stack
stykerwolf, on december 08, 2009 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: € 150
Purchased from: Thomann
Features: The amplifier was made in 2009, it's built like a tank; in fact I had trouble getting the grill on the back off to see how well the construction quality was, and it truly built with boutique standards.
It's a single ended amplifier; it has two tubes: one 12AX7 for the preamp section (run at dual triode) and one EL84 (switchable between pentode and triode for half the wattage)
The amplifier is versatile enough for the music I play which is classic rock and blues really, getting those Fender-y pristine cleans won't be easy, but the cleans are pretty good for blues and classic rock.
There are only 5 phonejacks on the Little Giant, 4 of them are speaker jacks (2x 4OHMs, 2x 8OHMs, 1x 16OHMs). The other jack is for the input. There are only 4 knobs on the LG, there's the simple 3Band EQ (Treble, Middle, Bass) and a volume knob. I would really like it if it had a gain knob for bedroom overdrive, and a standby switch. // 8
Sound: I use this amplifier with a low line Washburn guitar (HSS), and I had my doubts about if I could get a nice sound with the guitar I have. But I was wrong, it really livened up my sound and added depth, character and overall tone.
Being an EL84 amplifier, it has some feedback way high on the volume knob, but that's just the nature of EL84 tubes. As for preamp noise, there isn't any really (at least it's not noticeable).
The types of sounds the amplifier can make aren't super wide, but it covers the sounds that i look for and I love the "Blackheart" sound that it has.
Brutality of the distortion/overdrive isn't really enough for metal, the highest gain I'd say would be around Smoke On The Water, Sweet Emotion and around Led Zeppelin/ACDC gain levels. // 9
Reliability & Durability: Would I use this amplifier on stage without a backup? Yes, yes I would; because this amplifier is built like a tank with high quality parts. The PCB inside has thick traces and good soldering, along with quality components and big resistors and caps.
Nope, no breakdowns at the moment, I doubt it will breakdown because of the high quality parts and beefy circuit board (I was surprised that I found a JJ EL84 instead of a cheep Sovtek tube for the poweramp section) // 10
Overall Impression: As for a match with the sound I'm after; yes this amp fully fills that out.I was going back and forth between the Vox AC4 and the Blackheart, but when I got the BH I fell in love with it and it fulfilled my tonal needs.
If it were stolen, I probably wouldn't buy it again seeing as how I ordered it from Germany all the way to Istanbul, but if they had these amps here for reasonable prices i would buy the entire line of Blackheart amplifiers.
I just wish it had a gain knob for bedroom overdriven tones, that's all really. Blackheart amplifiers are awesome, they just rule; and for the price, you CAN NOT find anything better. // 9
BH5H & BH5-112 Little Giant Half-Stack
DrewMeyer, on october 26, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 315
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Features: I bought this amp during a sale on Musician's Friend, and I love everything about it. It is a one channel class A 5w all tube amp. It has 3 band EQ and A volume knob. Not a lot of features, but what else do you need (except maybe a gain knob... That would be nice), so I rate this a 9. // 9
Sound: I play this with a Epiphone Dot through a TS9 and EHX Little Big Muff. With these I can get almost any tone I want. I play blues, dirty and clean (in the realm of John Mayer), rock (think Black Keys), and sometimes venture into random light metal shredding just for fun. With this setup I can literally get a good tone for any of those styles. I can get an almost sparkly clean with no effects, then turn on the OD and get a slightly crunchy dirty blues tone, then turn on the Big Muff for some rock-metal tones. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I have had this amp for only about 5 months, and I have not gigged with it yet, but I take it over to my friends house, where it gets slightly banged up along the way usually, and then gets cranked as I play it over the drums. I have not once experienced problems of any kind. // 10
Overall Impression: I have played through the Epi Valve Junior, and the Fender Champion 600, and this amp stands up above both. I can say this amp can even rival the tone of a Blues Jr. I do not regret buying this over any other amp in its price range, because this is better than them all. If it were lost or stolen, I would rebuy it as soon as I could. // 9