Blackheart (Crate) does everyone here hate them

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by ibenhad, May 6, 2008.

  1. ibenhad

    ibenhad Member

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    Why is there not much discussion here about these little amp's? I hate Crate as much as the next guy ( yes I've owned them ) but these little amp's are pretty damn hot. I replaced the tubes day one and mine sounds great through a Marshall 4 X 12 bottom. Can't wait to get my Mosferatu and plug that in in front of that little amp.

    Doesn't Mesa Boogie own Crate or aren't they under the same ownership or something. Do yourself a favor and go try one of these... Buy it online replace the tubes and if you don't like it take them out and send it back. Really for 159$ for the head you can't go wrong. Smokes the EPI Valve JR and is just a moddable sp.. The tube replacement costs about 20$ so thats all you will be out. Just my 2 cents but I dig mine.

    :rolleyes:
     
  2. major

    major Member

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    Actually, I've heard the Head from blackheart and it seemed to sound warmer than the Jr. Plus you have gain, bass ,treble controls? Crate is owned by the St. Louis Musical Co. not Mesa.
     
  3. innocent_bystander

    innocent_bystander Supporting Member

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    i saw some youtube clips of the blackheart amps and those amps sound great IMHO...
     
  4. alaskagrown

    alaskagrown Member

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    I don't think Crate or St. Louis Music are American companies anymore. This is from Wikipedia, so take it for what it's worth...

    "In 2005, Ampeg, and its parent company, St. Louis Music (also makers of Crate amps) were purchased by Loud Technologies (LTEC on the NYX). In March 2007, Loud ceased production of Ampeg and Crate at the manufacturing facility in Yellville, AR, outsourcing the manufacture of Ampeg and Crate to contract manufacturers in Asia. In May, 2007, Loud closed and sold the plant in Yellville, AR and also closed the Ampeg and Crate engineering department in St. Louis, MO, preferring to have new models designed by their own engineers, as well as an Asian engineering group. These moves have been strongly questioned 'on the streets', as it has raised concerns about the overall quality, especially among Ampeg users. A major selling point for Ampeg in the past was that it was designed and made in America."

    That being said, I've heard nothing but good things about the Blackhearts, and there are many threads here saying as much.
     
  5. The Last Rebel

    The Last Rebel Member

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    I haven't heard anyone hating on the Blackhearts. Most of the threads I've read are pretty much all positive.
     
  6. ibenhad

    ibenhad Member

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    Maybe it's the (Crate ) Blackheart that is in the same company. The Blackheart sounds tons better than the EPI and probably already has as many sweet mods. I think these are hard to find but once the word gets out, watch out. I ain't knocking the EPI but everyone who hears my Blackheart stock thinks it smokes the EPI.
     
  7. Tarl

    Tarl Member

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    I have two US made Crate V series amps with Tone Tubby speakers and I love them both......never had any problems with them and the tone is awesome.....they draw compliments all the time. I also have a Blackheart little Giant i run through a Avatar 2x12 with Hellatone 60's, after a tube swap this amp sounds great too. A steal for $150.

    :BEER
     
  8. Groovey Records

    Groovey Records Member

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    David Allen @ Allen Amps is recomending the Blackheart as an excellent platform to mod and upgrade. Has a drop in board replacement kit.

    He says its Chinese
     
  9. bluescube

    bluescube Supporting Member

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    I really hate waht LOUD has done to Mackie, EAW, SLM and other companies it has bought.
     
  10. JoshuaTSP

    JoshuaTSP Senior Member

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    Love mine......so far I've only upgraded the Output transformer.
     
  11. godotzilla

    godotzilla Member

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    "Warmer?" I doubt that. The stock VJr is pure mud. I think the Blackheart has better articulation thanks to the inclusion of tone controls. The Valve Jr. is probably one of the darkest, low-mid-dominant amps out there. It's "warm" to a fault.
     
  12. vbjamin

    vbjamin Member

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  13. mike@nortoncable.com

    mike@nortoncable.com Member

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    Hate them? No. Cork Sniffery will because its crate, then again if it sounds good who cares thats all that matters.

    For $200 the BH5h head is unsurpassed. Having more tonal controls ,the 3/5watt Pentode/triode mode puts it ahead of the Valve Jr's 1 knob.

    Theres not many tube amps out there for $200 with this quality of build & sound. The Tolex, grill cloth and piping work is perfect, in fact better then most companies these days.

    NOW you could be witness to the BH5H being A/B'd against a Dr.Z or A matchless on tgp. Bias as that is the comparison of platinum to cast iron is not a fair one.

    FWIW, See how many 3/5 Watt pentode/triode switchable class a single ended tube amps in the $200-300 range are on the market :)
    Obviously its cheap because its made overseas as is the valve Jr.
    Out of the box the BH5H is ok. Spend $30-40 on better tubes and its a solid amp.
     
  14. gtr777

    gtr777 Supporting Member

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    I have the head. Does it need to be re-biased after swapping the tubes or is it self biasing? I have new tubes for it but just haven't gotten around to putting them in.
     
  15. Groovey Records

    Groovey Records Member

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    http://www.allenamps.com/blackheart.php

    I cut and pasted the following from Dave Allen's Website

    EnJoY ThE MuSiC

    GrooVey RecOrds


    [​IMG]


    The Blackheart BH5H Little Giant™ head from Blackheart Engineering™ (Crate™/Loud Technologies™) is a thoughtfully (USA) designed and well constructed PCB amp manufactured in China. It is a very decent little 5W single-ended amp right out of the box.

    The good news for the tube hobbyist community is that it has a sturdy steel chassis, a very adequate power transformer for a 5W amp (the same PT is likely used for higher wattage models) and a nice rough black/salt n' pepper cabinet with white piping for well under $200! I think it is a big step up from the Valve Jr. and a great platform for hand wiring and modifying with premium components.

    I have designed a drop-in eyelet board featuring (2) Belton molded type 9-pin sockets, F&T axial filter capacitors, 2W metal film plate load resistors and a heavier filtered DC heater supply reference about 50V above ground for ultra quiet operation. I use a different tone stack with a combination MIDDLE/RAW control for more tonal variations and more gain to work with. I also use different plate load/cathode resistors for additional gain from the single 12AX7 preamp tube. I include a progressive power switch which adds a "standby" capability and a 12 foot right angle IEC power cord to replace the straight 5 foot stock cord. Full size 3/8" pots and set screw type black barrel knobs are also included upgrades with an option for PEC 2W mil spec pots. A vintage type pilot light holder with jewel is included but the hole must be made 11/16" for it to fit. The pot holes must also be drilled out to 3/8" to accept the full size pots.

    The components I feel would benefit the most from upgrading are the coupling capacitors, cathode bypass capacitors, PCB mini pots, plastic input and speaker jacks and the plastic bobbin output transformer. I'm offering Mallory M150 coupling capacitors, Cornell Dubiliar silver mica treble capacitor, Nichicon 100V rated axial cathode bypass capacitors and insulated Switchcraft metal jacks. I'm offering a very well made Heyboer 5K ohm paper stick-wound output transformer with paper layered and interleaved windings, grain-oriented M-6 lamination steel and bottom lead exit for a much neater installation than the stock unit. It bolts right on and has the correct color codes for the 4, 8 and 16 ohm taps.

    The complete kit as described above and including a layout drawing, parts list, basic installation steps, lead wire and correct metric hardware is $199 plus shipping and includes a JJ EL84 power tube and an Electro Harmonix 12AX7 preamp tube to replace the stock Chinese tubes. No other tech support is provided so you should be an experienced tube hobbyist to take on a project like this.

    Although there are unused 5V filament leads available, I don't feel there is any benefit to adding a tube rectifier to a single ended amp because it draws the same current whether idling or playing full volume so there is no "sag." I use these leads to power the pilot lamp. I'm working on another design which would use these 5V leads to run a 5V6GT octal power tube which would require an octal socket to be installed. This would free up a 9-pin socket for a 2 preamp tube set up. This could be used for high gain or vibrato circuits. I have the 5V6GT tubes for anyone wanting to forge ahead with their own designs.

    I'll also list separate components "a la carte" for those who want to go their own direction.
     
  16. dougb415

    dougb415 Member

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    I went to the local Crate dealer (BH website says they are also a BH dealer) and still they have none in stock.
     
  17. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Well go on with your Crate hating self! Try a Crate Palomino V32 instead! Bob
     
  18. OM Flyer

    OM Flyer Member

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    Mmmmmm.... Blackheart!

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Rick1114

    Rick1114 Member

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    I tried one last week at Sam Ash on 48th Street(NYC). I just pulled down an american strat and plugged into it. It has a large & deep cabinet for 5w amp, and lots of bass, but the high end sounded lifeless to me. It felt like it should have a tweeter or something!

    I'm coming from playing Fender amps so it's probably just not my thing. The you tube clips I heard sound good for classic rock music.
     

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