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Monday, December 14, 2009

REVIEW: Blackheart's Hot Head half-stack

Blackheart's Hot Head half-stack is one flamethrower of an amp that can rock out all night and simmer down to make the ladies melt in the front row! Power, flexibility and sexiness makes this amp a must-have for those of us who wear chain-wallets or who like to wear spiffy hats on stage.

Despite its classy demeanor there is a monster lurking under the hood of this bad boy. 100W of face-melting sound is nice, however when you hit the switch the Two Power Modes (Class AB and Class A) divisible by Pentode (full power) and Triode (half power) operation give you 4 different sounds to contend with, how about that for flexible? The richness of your guitar comes through note by note in Class A mode while Class AB delivers some earth-shattering girth. I personally like these modes: Class A/Pentode: 60W, is great for use with my analog pedals, Class A/Triode: 30W, gives me a nice warm clean tone but breaks up just a bit when I bear down.

The controls speak for themselves. The EQ is responsive and tight. The Hothead has two channels: Loud and F'N Loud. Each channel can be dialed in as you wish and selected with the included foot switch or toggle on the front of the head. The LOUD Channel is spongy and crunchy while the F'N LOUD Channel reminds me of some red-hot Brit amp delivering some warm, yet hair-raising leads.

Your loop has now been "warmed up." Both channels share a Tube Driven Effects Loop that you can run in a variety of different ways. You can even dial in the amount of effect level!

The Blackheart BH412 is equally as killer. It's packed with 4x12" Eminence BH1216B speakers that hearken back to that classic British tone and are specifically designed for closed back cabs. It can handle 300 Watts of power is made "tough-as-nails" with 15 ply, 18mm void-free plywood! As far as looks go the salt and pepper grill cloth and killer tolex wrap adds that classic look that I like without going too far one way or the other. Simply awesome.

Blackheart's Hot Head half-stack is a joy to play and kicks ass for my kind of rock. Everything I play from new alternative to classic rock or funk sounds great with this amp. Using my Les Paul Standard and my Flying V I was able to get all the rock n' roll gratification I could want. Using my P-90 equipped LP and Flying V I was able to get real plucky too! All of my pedals sound ultra responsive with all of that headroom and dialing in that sweet spot is a cinch. If you want an ultra responsive amp delivering boutique-style features without the boutique style pricing this is THE AMP to get. Pick one up and you won't be disappointed.

*NOTE: I had originally planned to have some accompanying video for this review, however my PC decided it needed to visit the Geek Squad. I hope to have some video and pictures of some sweet settings up soon!

Blackheart Hot Head BH100H 100W Tube Guitar Amp Head Features:
-100 Watts, Class A or Class AB Operation
-Pentode/Triode Switch
-Power Output: Class AB 100 Watts RMS in (Full Power) Pentode Mode, 50 Watts RMS in (Half Power) Triode Mode, Class A 60 Watts RMS in (Full Power) Pentode Mode, 30W RMS in (Half Power) Triode Mode
-Two Channels: Channel 1 (LOUD) voiced for Crisp Cleans to Classic Rock and Heavy Blues tones (Drive, Level, Treble, Middle and Bass controls), Channel 2 (F'N LOUD) voiced to capture Classic Crunch to Sweet Overdriven Lead tones (Gain, Level, Treble, Middle and Bass controls)
-Master Controls (shared by both channels): Master Presence, Master Volume
-Effects Loop: Tube Driven, shared by both channels, can be operated in Series or Parallel Mode
-Effects Loop Bypass, which can also be used as a boost
-Footswitch for Channel Selection and Effect Loop On/Off, with LEDs
-Solid State Rectifier
-DC Powered filaments (preamp) for solid, quiet operation
-16 gauge, 1.5mm rugged chassis construction with folded and welded corners
-Outputs: 1 x 16 ohm jack, 2 x 8 ohm jacks, 2 x 4 ohm jacks
-1/4" Line Out
-Cabinet made of 15 ply, 18mm void-free plywood construction

Thanks for reading,

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  1. hello! i'm looking for information for this particular amp, but since it's a relatively new amplifier there are not too many reviews posted on the web yet.

    For the tests i've seen, i really loved the clean sounds and the overdriven ones. The only thing i'm afraid of is not getting enough gain out of the amp for the style I play (and no, it's not metal!). I would like to buy a tube amp which would not be necessary to put a distortion pedal through it! I'd like to get that real tube amp distortion feel.

    So, what do you suggest? here's the sound of my band (

    Thanks in advance!


  2. VT,
    This amp can get dirty for sure, in fact it can get pretty "Marshally." I did check out your band link and I believe this amp can do what you need. Check out this video demo:

    Happy holidays!

  3. I've got the Hot Head stack as well... love it.
    Mines got a very 'Slash' voice, if that makes sense. Ya know how when you plug into a Marshall stack and hit a D chord you hear AC/DC, I'm hearing Slash from mine- which I dig!!

    Great write up Aljon!

    Pro Tone Pedals


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