LH500 review by Hartke

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  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Sound: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (11 votes)
Hartke: LH500

Purchased from: Thomann

Ease of Use — 10
Gloriously simple to use. Bass knob, Mid knob, Treble knob and Master Volume. That's it. Plug it in on any setting and it'd sound good. A lot of people talk about the Hartke Mid-Range scoop, a la Fender amps, however I've not experienced that. I regularly upped my mid-range to cut through the heavy bass guitars and found no trouble doing so with this amp. All you need to do compensate for this is just up the mid nob to about 8-10 and you'll get great sharp tone for slapping and note definition. The amp comes with a simple manual which contains some useful tone advice as well as all the other good stuff.

Sound — 8
The amp has a superb clean tone. It comes with a Limiter and Brite switch but I rarely used either due to the metal style of music I was playing. I've always preferred clean tones in metal bass guitar as I think it adds a lot more support and nuance to a songs sound. This amp cut across two guitarists playing through Peavey 6150's with EMG's perfectly. In fact most of the time I had to turn mine down as the bass was rattling the ground!  The only problem with this amp from an unbiased point of view is that it lacks any form of distortion/gain function. This wasn't a problem for me however it may be a problem for some. It is worth stating though that it takes pedals really easily so if your looking for a good, powerful budget amp then you could always just pick this up and pick up a decent distortion pedal!

Reliability & Durability — 8
The amp uses hybrid valve and solid state technology so there is always a chance that the valve breaks and you have to replace it. However, the fact that there is only one does reduce this risk. Construction wise the amp is pretty impregnable. It weighs a solid 11kg and you'd need a Mace or Poleaxe to put a dent in it!  I have no doubt in my mind that this amp could be used as Armour in a medieval battlefield so I think gigging with it would probably be fine haha. The only drawback here is that I never had an opportunity to gig with it before I sold it. Thus I cannot speak from first hand experience about its durability!

Overall Impression — 8
I've been playing guitar for 10 years and bass for about 4, the amp suited what I was looking for, which was essentially a great clean blank canvas to work from. My aim was always to add plenty of chorus and delay effects to the sound to try and mimic the tones of Justin Chancellor and Jeff Caxide. I have no doubt that this bass could have done it! It's simple, it's effective and it's cheap! I think you would be very hard pressed to find an amp head as good as this for under £300 and I'd say it stands up with other amp heads that go up to £500 easily enough!

I recently sold the amp, but not due to any drawbacks of the amp itself. I'm primarily a guitar player and bought the amp for an upcoming band I was working with. Eventually I got a bit bored of playing their stuff so I decided to sell the head and stick to my Fender Rumble 100 V3 for bedroom practice.

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