What is it?
Since its formation in 2014, Trickfish has held its own in the shark-infested waters of bass amplification and devices, with a small but formidable array of amps, pedals and cabinets.
Designed with the esteemed Mike Pope and built in the USA, the Bullhead 1K is Trickfish's flagship model – offering 1000 watts of power at 8/4 ohms and comprehensive EQ controls, it's a pro-quality and classy little unit that weighs in at just under 3kg.
Here we are partnering it with Trickfish's TF-112 cabinet, a boxy 1x12 that's constructed from Baltic birch, covered in sharkskin vinyl and is finished with a a 16-gauge steel grille for an industrial vibe. It has a recessed metal handle on the top of the cabinet, metal corners and detachable rubber feet.
At 16.4kg, you are not going to relish taking it on public transport but it's certainly portable enough for its type.
The Bullhead IK has a simple layout. There are big, brushed-silver control knobs for gain, master volume, and a 4-band EQ controlling bass, low-mid, high-mid and treble. There are selectable shelved frequencies. The bass control can be shelved at 40Hz/80hz, the low-mids at 333Hz/473Hz, high-mids at 1kHz/1.8kHz, and treble at 4kHz/8kHz.
On the rear of the unit you'll find a switchable parallel/series effects loop, tuner output and amp mute footswitch input, and there is a balanced DI out that's switchable between pre and post-EQ and has adjustable level and ground lift.
Performance and verdict
We ran active and passive instruments through the Bullhead 1K. At first, with the EQ flat for a straight-forward punchy tone, then dialling in a little more volume. There's very little noise or hum, just a nice and tight focus to the tone.
As accessible and intuitive as the control panel is laid out, the EQ nonetheless offers options, and options require a little experimentation. The shelved frequencies can switch the tone up considerably, so it's worth playing around to see how the EQ interacts with your bass and the other frequencies as you go.
While you might lose a little definition when switching to the 40Hz frequency, it's nice having that amount of control over the low-end, and it very much depends on your instrument, too.
• Eich T-100 and 1210S-8
A great sounding, fully-featured setup.
• Little Marcus 800 and Marcus Miller STD 102 HF cab
Tweaked EQ and new features make these amps more usable than ever.
What's really exciting is all that control over the midrange. At its upper limits, it tip-toes into the treble frequencies, and offers an abundance of those spanky tones that slap players love. Alternatively you can park it dead centre in the mids for that aggressive, pokey clank. It's highly musical.
The TF-112 handles all this admirably, with a considerable amount of projection. The high-frequency driver – a conical horn design – adds a lovely bit of articulation should you need it. It's an excellent cabinet, but such is the Bullhead IK's power and spec, some players might prefer to run it through a 2x12 or 4x12.
Unquestionably, the Bullhead IK sounds and feels like a high-end piece of kit. Of course the selectable eight-frequencies and 4-band EQ is found on its smaller sibling, the Bulldog .5K, but the extra power, allied to the parallel speaker outputs and classier design are worth the outlay.
MusicRadar Verdict: With the TF-112's solid build, excellent projection and lovely high-end articulation, and the Bullhead's power and EQ options, this is a formidable amp and cab setup for the stage or studio.
The web says
"This is an impressive rig with excellent EQ. Unlike some boutique equivalents, it doesn’t hype lows and highs to convey clarity—it simply has a full, balanced sound."
Bass Musician Magazine
Trickfish Bullhead 1K amplifier head
• Price: £1199 / $1,349
• Made In: in USA
• Power: 1000 watts @ 8/4 ohms
• Features: Features 1/4” jack Input, Hi/Lo Input selector (+/-9dB), Gain (with Input Level indicator), Bass, Bass Frequency selector (40Hz/80hz), Low Mid, Low Mid Frequency selector (333Hz/473Hz), Hi Mid, Hi Mid Frequency selector (1kHz/1.8kHz), Treble, Treble Frequency selector (4kHz/8kHz), Master Volume, Mute switch, 3.5mm Aux In input, 1/4” jack Headphone output, 2 x Neutrik Speakon/Jack output sockets, FX Loop Series/Parallel switch, FX Loop Ground/Lift switch, 1/4” jack Send/Return sockets, 1/4-inch jack Tuner output socket, 1/4” jack Mute footswitch input, Direct out Level, Direct Out Pre/Post EQ selector, Balanced XLR DI output socket, Ground/Lift switch
• Dimensions: 95mm / 3.7” (H) x 395mm / 15.5” (W) x 225mm / 8.9” (D)
• Weight: 2.8 kg / 6.2 lb
Trickfish TF-112 speaker cabinet
• Price: £699 / $799
• Made In: in USA
• Power: 300 watts @ 8 ohms
• Impedance: 8 ohms
• Frequency Response: 35Hz-16kHz
• Speakers | 1 x 12” Eminence Neodymium speaker and 1 x HF driver 80 degree conical horn, with HF Level control
• Connections: 2 x NL2 Neutrik Speakon/Jack sockets
• Dimensions: 395mm / 15.5” (H) x 485mm / 19” (W) x 465mm / 18.3” (D)
• Weight: 16.4 kg (36.2 lbs)
• Contact: Trickfish