What happened to Blackheart amps?

Discussion in 'Amps & Cabs' started by Col Mustard, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I was in a music store in Ithaca about a week ago and there
    was a Blackheart amp. I had not seen one offered for sale for
    a long time and had almost forgotten about them. They had a
    used strat for sale and I plugged that into the Blackheart and
    it sounded pretty good. I didn't buy it. *shrugs (just looking).

    Did that company go outa business? What about Crate, the
    parent company?

    Did everyone hate those amps or something? I guess I don't
    know anyone who has one. Is there an ETSG consensus
    concerning that brand? I always kinda liked the logo.
     
  2. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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  3. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Crate is still with us and I want to say I've been a user of Crate amps for a long time and never had any more reliable gear. My old SS 15 watt gave up the ghost after years of abuse by three different guitarists and I frequently borrow a Crate tube amp and cabinet for big venues. I hear guys run 'em down, but I like 'em.
    ;>)/
     
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  4. Tobacco Worm

    Tobacco Worm Well-Known Member

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    I jumped the reservation!
    Yup, heard the same thing about that line of amps being discontinued a while back. Guess they weren't selling like they wanted them to. And like Biddlin said about Crate still being with us, you bet, and I'm super glad they are too. Those folks know how to build a circuit! Reliable and affordable.
     
  5. frankd

    frankd Well-Known Member

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    If you can find a deal on a used one get it. I cant post pictures
    cuz my old puter blew last wk and Im on this windows 8 here
    and still trying to figure it out or I would post the one pic I had of my
    BH5 little giant setting atop my BH15 Handsome devil. My 5 watt was
    modified by TWANG and is a now a 5 watt only. I use it a lot and I have
    a Tweaker 15 a orange or 15 a 18 watt 4 hole plexi a vox lil nightrain
    and a epi hot rod jr the bh5 with mods is just a nice and home worthy
    as any the above. Now Im Going to have the bh15 modified IE
    tweaked up a bit 3 way carling added maybe dump the 7 watt switch
    for a db boost etc.Im go blackheart a wango on ya cuz I likes mine a lot.
    Black Heart BH5H - Bing Images
    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv8icVEbKfY[/ame]
    with a King Bee tele
    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFK92VH2cy8[/ame]
    A BH5 combo and a Lovely SG . Note full tone stack
    no gain knobby .
    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIZyIn7Xq6M[/ame]
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  6. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Well... thanks for all the responses and voice of experience.

    that little Black Heart amp was on my mind for weeks,
    during which time I did some research, asked a few questions
    and traveled from Maine to Arizona and home to Michigan.
    In that time I shoveled a lot of snow, and nearly froze my butt
    and finally I called the store back to ask them if they still had
    that amp.

    They did. I bought it from the store:
    Ithaca Guitar Works
    215 N Cayuga
    Ithaca NY

    I like this place. A small store stacked with all our favorite kinds
    of things, especially lots of guitars. They treated me well.
    I picked the amp up today while traveling through to do a couple shows.
    This one's the 1 Watt version with a separate cab with an Eminance
    10" speaker. This one's called the Ant. I'm traveling light this trip
    and have only an acoustic and a bass, but I'll put it through its paces
    when I get home and shoot some photos.
    [​IMG]
    It may be just a practice amp, and it may be a small room guitar amp.
    The low power seems perfect for me since I accompany an acoustic guitar
    player and can easily blast him off the stage with some of my other gear.
    I'm anxious to listen to it. One of the things I like about it is that it has
    three outputs: 4 Ohm, 8 Ohm and 16 Ohm. The little cab is the 16 Ohm,
    but I have a home made 8 Ohm cab at home with a Jensen Mod 12"
    and 10" installed, and I'm excited to plug that in and rock.
    [​IMG]
    And I can't decide whether to install a couple of mods like an XLR out
    and an f/x loop into the head, or whether to leave it stock because it's the last of a
    dying breed. Pictures soon.

    Watch Yer Step!... Introducing the Killer Ant and Killer Cab from Blackheart Engineering - Blackheart eNews
     

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  7. dcwave

    dcwave Well-Known Member

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    I have a little giant head and cab. The head has been modded - better low end and richer sounding.
     
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  8. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    Wow, 4 ohm output, with a 10" Eminence. That's confidence. Was this an up-market brand of Crate?

    It sure looks nice!
     
  9. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    Oh, yea.

    From that link:

    "Fiendishly designed on a beer-stained cocktail napkin, prototyped, then “brought to life and mercilessly experimented on” in a one-car garage down in the Lone Star State, the Killer Ant is engineered to the same exacting standards as the Little Giant 5. And like its big bro, this new tone-drone features completely overbuilt component specs, from one-watt resistors in the signal path to a double-sided PCB with two-ounce traces."
     
  10. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    That thing is so cool I just bought one myself. I'm gonna run it through my GT12 at 4 ohms.

    Thanks for turning us on to that, Col!


    In case you didn't get the manual, it's here:

    http://www.blackhearteng.com/pdf/BH1H_OM.pdf

    Wow, this guy at MLP went ape**** modding his. Interesting write-up, and pretty beefy looking components inside. Check out the thickness on that PCB, and the beefy t-formers. Nice! Once again, thanks, Col!

    http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/squawk-box/96064-blackheart-killer-ant-analysis-discussion-mods.html
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  11. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    sometimes you have to pounce. (sometimes you can get along fine and don't need anything).

    but if you snooze... and you let several months go by, and THEN (attempt to) pounce
    you're lucky if there's anything left to catch. It sounds like the Little Giant is also
    very cool, like this one but more so. I'd like to find one of those in a pawn shop.

    funny about the logo... you either love it or hate it.
    I was immediately attracted. go figure.
     
  12. frankd

    frankd Well-Known Member

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    Cool ! Welcome to BH Club I love mine! The Killer ant Is the one I don't Have
    Not Because I haven't tried I have searched for 2 years!
    Fact The BH Amps are built like Tanks and also For Hot rodding
    and moddin ! You wait and see you will be looking for the 5 watt
    next or the 15 ! yeah they all have 4 8 or 16 ohm Too.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1hcR4_eckw&feature=player_detailpage#t=3
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
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  13. frankd

    frankd Well-Known Member

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    AWWH Come He didn't go crazy he just got DOWN and did what ya do with
    A Blackheart Ny Modded BH 5 Is a Clean machine but put a TS Or OD
    In front and its a Screamin demon!
    Ohh and Congrats
     
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  14. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    yeah, I read that My Les Paul post, thanks for the link. I didn't understand
    everything he did, and it seems like he didn't either because he ended up where he didn't want to be, but I'm going to actualy print that out and save it for reference.

    I believe I can learn a lot from that. One thing to learn is when to stop I think...
    *laughs. But there's a lot of know how in there, and I appreciate it.

    And yes, congrats to Leadfinger on getting one. Let me know how you are using
    yours. I'm still vacillating over whether to buy the Bitmo mod or to leave it
    stock. I'll play it for a while and get a feel for what it can do, and then make
    an educated decision.
     
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  15. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    That guy at MLP is a wizard. One thing I did understand from his incredible post was that maybe trying different brands and types of output tubes makes more of a difference with these than with other output type amps (EL84, 6L6).

    Col, that Bitmo seems like a deal at $39, and you get a tone control. But I'm just going to try it as is for now. People say the amp likes single-coils, and humbuckers sound a bit muddy. I can't imagine my SGJ sounding muddy through anything, but we'll see. If it does, then that tone control might really make sense.

    "A Blackheart Ny Modded BH 5 Is a Clean machine but put a TS Or OD
    In front and its a Screamin demon!"

    Nice. And Blackheart was all for it, even giving links to modders they liked on their website. Too bad this brand went under. Sounds like they were an evolution of what people like about Crate (bulletproof, simple). Damn! But I got an Ant coming, so it's OK. After seeing those pix on MLP I am very pleased. They used quality in that build. Per the recent discussion on here about PCBs -- take a look at those thick babies. No problem with those PCBs.

    Also, it's made in Korea, not China, apparently. I though the Crate stuff was all MIC now? You certainly don't source in Korea these days if it's all about saving a few bucks.
     
  16. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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  17. frankd

    frankd Well-Known Member

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    Yep There are mod kits for every blackheart. I had my lil giant Modded by
    TWANG from MLP Forum he has done a bunch Of Blackheart's
    I had a tone stack by pass switch BOOST added a new OP Transformer
    a Master Vol a carling 3 way switch etc ITs Nice now ZERO HUM FIZZ or any white noise when
    CRANKED FULL VOL With or without pedals! NOW
    I gotta get MY BH 15 handsome devil Modded Most will mod it
    to a very near 1974 X ! Which is my plan. So I spent 120 on the bh 5
    and another 2 bones including shipping on it 320 total. I spent 160
    for the bh15 and will dump another 2 bones including shipping.
    360 total your average 1974x clone is about a Grand So I feel im doin okay
    by spending the extra dough to mod them its worth it I believe. Now its
    time to crank my lil giant UPPPPPP. and Damn Lead those Mercury upgrades are awesome!
    And You see why I highly recommend these amps as is they are great amps but
    built like tanks with extra room to be modded!
     
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  18. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    People say Mercury goes too far in their claims, yet everyone I've read or spoken with who is a "guru" with amps say that the right output transformer upgrade is one of the best single things you can do to a stock production amp -- especially to gain clean headroom.

    Not that Mercury is the only game in town for that (and certainly not the cheapest), but they make a good product. No one disputes that. I know they supplied Carvin for years before the "boutique transformer" thing took off, and probably still do, quietly.

    frankd, that does sound like reasonable money at that. Every hand-wired amp from a good builder is a grand or more, like you say. Even for a simple as hell 5W tweed-ish thing with no reverb tank. So, taking one of these and modding it with these kits costs $600+, but you can do it in stages and start off with a damned good amp at a good price.

    I see where Mercury has an upgrade transformer for the Killer Ant for $99. Can't find anyone who has installed one, though. Part of me just wants to keep the Ant simple and cheap. It is a fun and fascinating arena for "one day" though.

    A guy in the local craigslist has a Little Giant stack listed for $275. Tempting -- there's no end to amp GAS, is there?
     
  19. bwotw

    bwotw Well-Known Member

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    Edited, I confused Blackheart with Blackstar :p
     
  20. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Well, I've got my Killer Ant set up in my music room now, and have been playing
    my SG Spl '70s trib through it. I'm still trying different levels for different levels of
    crunch, but my first impression of this amp is that it's wicked filthy...
    [​IMG]
    I mean that in a good way *laughs... The Killer Ant seems to be kind of a one trick pony...
    --it's got one control: volume. So the tones that come out are affected a lot by pick attack. That's one of the advertised features of this little beastie. Crunch and crunchier...
    [​IMG]
    I like the way it sounds through its native Eminence speaker 16 Ohms, and I also
    really like the way it powers up a home made 8 Ohm cab I have with one 10" Vox and one 12" Jensen in it. If I end up getting a Little Giant head, that should make this cab scream.
    [​IMG]
    So happy new amp day to me. I started this thread out as a question to the community,
    and I got my answers and I bought the amp and now we're talkin' mods. I'm very tempted
    to get one of those kits for this. If I could get a decent clean signal out if it, I'd be very
    happy camper. But right now I have other amps for cleans and I'm just exploring what this little Black Heart can do...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

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