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

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (36 votes)
Blackheart: BH5H & BH5-112 Little Giant Half-Stack
4

Price paid: € 300

Purchased from: Rock & Classics

Sound — 10
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.

Overall Impression — 9
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.

Reliability & Durability — 7
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.

Features — 8
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.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    KurdtStaley
    i think i'm going to buy this head to go with my Marshall mini stack. 150, for that great tube sound. i've been doing a decent amount of research and it looks like the best low wattage tube amp.