FIRST LOOK: Blackheart BH5H Little Giant

Small in size yet sonically big and versatile

Blackheart´s BH5H Little Giant head is one of the best-value recording amplifiers on the market.

With one EL84 power valve and switchable three and five watt modes, judicious use of the three-band EQ and volume control can yield a range of sounds from angelic cleans to gritty overdrives.

Here at MusicRadar, we like nothing better than to plug in and rock out, so when a Little Giant and matching 1x12 cabinet arrived in the office, we headed straight for the studio to see just how well this set-up records.

With a fairly standard approach we recorded the following audio clips in Pro Tools with no additional EQ or outboard effects, close-mic´ing the cabinet with a standard SM57 like so:

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Unless stated otherwise, we ran the bass control around 10 o´ clock, the middle at 12 o´ clock and the treble around two o´ clock. The amp was switched to three-watt mode at all times and the guitar used throughout was a Japanese Fender Stratocaster with EMG single-coil pickups.

Here´s a nice mellow clean sound with the volume on the amplifier rolled back to about 11 o´clock:

Here´s an edgier, more aggressive clean sound with the volume set around one o´ clock:

Now the volume´s cranked up for a nice raspy overdriven riff on the bridge pickup:

Here the amp is set identically, with the guitar switched to the neck pickup for a bluesier voice:

Finally, this is what the Little Giant sounds like with all the controls cranked and the guitar´s neck pickup engaged. It´s grungey and extremely satisfying for swampy riffing:

For more information, visit the official Blackheart website. Special thanks to Steve Eyers for his assistance with the recording process.

By Chris Vinnicombe