FIRST LOOK: Blackheart BH5H Little Giant

A low-wattage recording solution that doesn't leave a huge dent in your bank balance

Blackheart 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:

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