LH500 Review

manufacturer: Hartke date: 04/14/2016 category: Bass Amplifiers

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Hartke: LH500
Hartke's hybrid LH500 is a giggable bass head that aims to fill the gap between features and affordability. This is a hybrid amp that pushes out 500 watts.
 Sound: 7.5
 Overall Impression: 7.5
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Features: 5
 Ease of Use: 10
 Overall rating:
 8.2 
 Reviewer rating:
 7.9 
 Users rating:
 8.4 
 Votes:
 11 
 Views:
 5,756 
reviews (2) pictures (2) 1 comment vote for this gear:
overall: 7.3
LH500 Reviewed by: JustRooster, on december 14, 2011
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 399.99

Purchased from: Not Purchased

Sound: 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. // 7

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 7

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overall: 8.5
LH500 Reviewed by: rich.bendall, on april 14, 2016
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Thomann

Ease of Use: 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. // 10

Sound: 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! // 8

Reliability & Durability: 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! // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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