BH5H & BH5-112 Little Giant Half-Stack review by Blackheart

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (36 votes)
Blackheart: BH5H & BH5-112 Little Giant Half-Stack
10

Price paid: $ 250

Purchased from: Musicians Friend

Sound — 10
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.

Overall Impression — 9
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.

Reliability & Durability — 10
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.

Features — 9
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.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    SeveralSpecies
    Very nice article. I may either get this or a palomino. I like this because of the full EQ that the palomino 5W lacks, but the Palomino has a very smooth tone that I like. No matter which I get I will be adding pedals, so it probably doesn't even matter. I'm just using it for recording.
    jsml222
    I am really intrigued by this amp. It seems lime a really well built little amp at a really affordable price. The company also offers a 15 watt amp with more features that u can purchase for about 280 dollars. Apparently, the manufacturer of this line of amps envisions that this amp and it's 15 watt brother will serve as a platform for hot rodding and it's website has links to web stores that offer kits to hot rod the amp. for about 180 dollars-- for the little giant-- and 280-- for the 15 watt version-- it appears to be a steal particuliarly when u factor in the hot rodding kits that add to the amp.
    offsetmike
    oh my god! this amp goes great with the line 5 flextone cab...a lil bit more expensive but its worth it sounds great
    hardcoremo1155
    with say a boss metalzone pedal could u get a good metal tone from this amp? And if i bought the new 15w handsome devil and ran it through a 4X12 cab would that be loud enough for gigs?
    jamesdjharrod
    frankly, with the 75 watt cab for the little giant head, you could play to about 300 people if you mic it up. and crank the bastard up and it sounds very, very hendrix
    rfawarchild
    jsml222 wrote: I am really intrigued by this amp. It seems lime a really well built little amp at a really affordable price. The company also offers a 15 watt amp with more features that u can purchase for about 280 dollars. Apparently, the manufacturer of this line of amps envisions that this amp and it's 15 watt brother will serve as a platform for hot rodding and it's website has links to web stores that offer kits to hot rod the amp. for about 180 dollars-- for the little giant-- and 280-- for the 15 watt version-- it appears to be a steal particuliarly when u factor in the hot rodding kits that add to the amp.
    Better hurry price on the BlackHeart 7/15watt Handsome Devil went up to $350 at Musicians Friend recently. I had mine on backorder the better part of this year when it was $299.00 and we had an issue with shipping so they knocked off another $50.00 ;D I don't know much about the smaller models...i have heard that the tone controls are weak...not so on this model...I cannot stop playing it!!! Loud enough for practice and gigs...My heart is definitely black now!!
    n00barmy
    I never really tried these amps because I thought the emblem looked lame (I know it sounds stupid). I ended up trying one out because it was on sale and the owner of the store said that it goes very well with pedals (I have 7). He was right! I played this thing for about 30 minutes in the store even after I knew I was going to buy it. I got it home and had the volume on 3 with the switch to 5-watts and my Dad came in and said "it sounds like there isn't even a wall between us", so I flipped the switch to 3-watts and we're good, HAH! This thing kicks ass and sounds amazing with pedals, I have the SD-1, MT-2, and DS-1 pedals for the sound and then I have a Chorus, Compressor, Noise canceller and Tuner pedals. I usually play with the MT-2, the noise suppresor and the compressor on and this amp makes it sound beautiful. My heart is now, most definitely, black.
    hungryhobo741
    it 's anawesome amp got one today I'll write a review when I no longer think about running away with it and finding a religion that would let me marry it
    1010
    I'm not exactly an expert on this amp, but the inablility to get a metal sound may have a bit to do with the single coils on the strat, more of than the amp itself.
    berko
    1010 wrote: I'm not exactly an expert on this amp, but the inablility to get a metal sound may have a bit to do with the single coils on the strat, more of than the amp itself.
    You're right about that. This amp (talking about the 5W now) is a very bluesy-bluesrocky amp when it's directly connected to the guitar... especially if it's a strat. But as soon as you start to fiddle with 1.) humbuckers 2.) pedals 3.) or even effect-processors, it becomes something truly versatile, while the tube saturation (ofc only at high volume levels) is still there