Blackheart BH15H Handsome Devil 15 watt head - IT"S REAL!!!!!


Senior member
I've had one of these on pre-order since March; latest backorder notice, last one was for July 15:

QTY    ITEM                      DESCRIPTION                                 $    AMOUNT
     1   483096 001 03        BLACKHEART BH15H HANDSOME        DUE DATE: 08/15/08    299.99
           DEVIL 15W TUBE HEAD

I hate due dates that come and go. :sad1:
I'm still waiting on a ES-355 that my wife ordered for me for my birthday back in February, I might get it by next year.
Important notice to customers; I had gotten another backorder notice to 9/30 and was expecting amp to turn up yesterday or today via UPS (live in same city as their warehouse). I called and apparently due to the extended length of the backorder (more than 6 months) the orders got cancelled by the system, although they can still bring the old order up. You need to call and check if you have one of these puppies on backorder, they ARE in stock as of 10 minutes ago and if you originally ordered at the $299 price they will honor that; new price for new orders is $349.

Can't wait to get mine tomorrow!
Well, FINALLY; after 8 months of backorder, it actually does in fact really exist, will start the reviews/tube swapping when I get home this evening...

I don't believe in Handsome Devil amps. Show me your imagery, I still do not believe it's real!

Can't wait to hear how it sounds!
Well, due to being late at work, other commitments, forgetting to pick up another ECC-83 and the Red Sox game, won't have much time to jack with this puppy tonight.... Based off running a couple of axes through the stock cheap-assed Chinese tubes that come in it:

1.) We already knew/assumed it would be loud. It certainly is..
2.) Tonality switching from pentode/triode modes similar to 5W Lil' Giant
3.) Drive/level controls need a lot of playing with; seems to be a wide range of tone you can dial into
4.) If you have an axe with an RG TX/BBQ set of HBs, this may be a perfect match...

More tomorrow...
Maybe you could post some sound clips? I've been thinking of modding my epi jr head, but I'm thinking the $ would be better spent on the blackheart. Does anyone know why the crate V series tube amps are being sold so damn cheap! Are they that bad or are they discontinuing this one too! I can get the 50w 1x12" in Canada for under $250.
I've read some bad things about the 50 V. But I've never played though one.
Bad week @ work; not getting home till real late, won't have any time to play more with this and do some tube swapping until the weekend.
I was starting to think it was so good, that you couldn't tear yourself away.  :laughing7:
Got around to cranking out with this puppy this afternoon finally; all comments based on running the head through a pair of the Blackheart 1X12 cabs with the Eminence "Blackheart Special Design" 12s, which I'm still trying to figure out relate to which "regular" Eminence model; definitely "British-voiced" 12s....

1.) Much like the 5 watt head that Blackheart puts out, the stock no-name "China" tubes that come in it are barely adequate; they're loud, but dimed out the EL84s oversatuarate and personally I don't care for the way that distortion sounds, although some people (Metalheads?) might. A GrooveTube EL84=S duet set fixes this issue.
2.) Have played around with a number of different preamp tubes, thought I was going to wind up using the Sovtek 12AX7WBs I use in the 5 watter, but after auditioning those, some different flavors of GT 12AX7s and some vintage GE Fender OEM 12AX7s, what I left in the head before putting the back panel back on is a pair of GT ECC83s. The ECC83s seem to work best in both triode and pentode mode at max volume to my ear, you get all the balls out of the amp, but all "crunch" without any breakup.
3.) Bass/Mid/Treble controls all work as usual, nothing to note there.
4.) The Presence control is great, but at max volume rolls a little too much treble into the tone for my tastes if set above the 1 o'clock position; if you're into "icepick in the ear" you can dial that up until you can't stand it anymore.
5.) I was expecting the Level/Drive controls to work somewhat like a "Gain/Volume" or "Volume/Master" setup. but it's really a lot different than that. Level is simply Volume, you can just permanently leave that in the dimed position. While the Drive control DOES add some additional volume, maybe like 3-5 dB going from the 5 to the 10 position, it really should be more accurately labeled "Balls" and seems to up the saturation of the EL84 power tubes. No one has posted a copy of the schematic of this amp yet, but it should be pretty interesting.
6.) Corollary to item 5.) above, and true of most all tube amps, leave the the Level on 10, dial up max "Balls" as desired with the Drive control and actually control your volume level from your guitar volume pot(s).
7.) Like it's predecessor, it's solidly/heavily built like a tank and should stand up to years of hard gigging.
8.) At $349 ($299 if you were smart enough to pre-order) it's buck for buck the best value out there, hands down, even when you factor in another $40 bucks for the tubes upgrade.  Played through the same speaker setup, you can get the same PLUS a wider range of tones given the controls, than you would with "boutique" amps like the Dr. Z Carmen Ghia/MAZ-18 Jr. NR or even the Marshall 18/20 watt "handwires" or their clones all of which will run you at least a grand or better MORE.
9.) It often gets overlooked, but you CAN dial the amp controls back and get some real nice clean tube tone as well with this amp; with the 7/15 watt triode/pentode mode switching and voicings available, there's damn near nothing you couldn't do in the studio with this amp, and in 15 watt mode it's loud enough for most smaller clubs if plugged into efficient speakers.
10.) The ONLY thing it doesn't have is reverb, and that's why God invented pedals....

Note: Although the above might sound like an ad,I DON'T work for Crate/Blackheart, if I did I wouldn't have had to be on backorder for 8 months.....
Also; with the GT ECC83/EL84-S tubes, if you set the Presence at 2-3, dime the Level control and keep the Drive around 3-4 you can get a decent Fenderish tube amp sound out of it, very nice warm/clean, more so played through the Celestion Vintage 30 in the Blues Deluxe than through the Blackheart cabs. If you push the Drive up any more than that the overdriven tubes go Marshally.
Since presence controls, control the "negative" feedback from the output.... reverted back into some stage of preamp (usually phase inverter but it doesn't have to be that way), they tend to be both volume and drive dependent.  That is, they're gonna work differently at differing volume levels, and interestingly, also on speaker load, even though matched.