Price paid: $ 399.99
Purchased from: Not Purchased
Sound — 7
I played this amp through three different basses. I started off with a Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass to try and get the best funk tone that I could muster. This amp, I found right away, was incredibly smooth. No matter how hard I hammered on the J bass, it always evened out to a balanced and smooth sustain. While some people may like that, if you're looking for punch and presence, this might not be the way to go. The next I played was a Schecter bass with active pickups. This was to attempt to get some really nice jazz tones. This is where, I think, the Hartke LH500 really shined. The warmth was incredible for a solid state amp. As with the Jbass, everything was smooth and even, almost as if it were being put through a condenser. Lastly I played a Gibson Thunderbird IV. I was trying to get some growly low end, which this amp accomplished, but not to a Stellar degree. Just for fun, I also threw a Big Muff Germanium in front. I was surprised by how well this amp took to pedals. The fuzz seemed thick and well articulated from the head. This is a great amp if you're looking to play rock and jazz on a budget, but I'd be wary if you're wanting to play funk.
Overall Impression — 7
This amp is great on the wallet and on the tone. The real money will be finding the best cabinet to play this with. I played through a Hartke Hydrive 410 for this test, and I would comfortably suggest that as well. If you want Jazz and smooth Rock tones without going broke, definitely take a look at this amp.
Reliability & Durability — 10
There isn't much else to say other than that it's indestructible. Full metal casing on a rack mounted head? This thing wouldn't take damage in a room full of three year olds and hammers. We get quite a lot of traffic that goes through the shop. This amp sits next to a few ampegs, so it doesn't get THAT much attention. However, I've never seen one thing go wrong with this head.
Features — 5
Hartke's hybrid LH500 is a giggable bass head that aims to fill the gap between features and affordability. This is a hybrid amp (pre-amp 12AX7, solid state power channel) that pushes out 500 watts. This amplifier offers little in the way of EQ, but does have a bright switch and limiter. It's also rack mountable thanks to it's robust metal chassis. Other features include an active/passive input options and light weight. All in all, this amp gives you the essentials... And that's about it.