My Blackheart Experience


Master Member
Well, after some initial confusion caused by my trying to install a mod too soon, and some bad (new) tubes, I'm ready to report on my new rig. I got a few new preamp tubes to play with in addition to a JJEL84 Power tube, and:
The ElectroHarmonix 12AX7 tube sounds really, really great - for classic rock sounds etc. - not as much gain as the stock tubes, but just the perfect sound. Very nice.
I tried out a JAN / Phillips 5571 too. This tube has a 'lower gain structure' - it's between a 12ax7 and a 12at7, according to the Tubestop. And, lo and behold, it's a great great match wih tthis guy. Clarity is amazing, wow. I'm not a 'tone connoisseur' but I love this tube. I wish I could have two amps, one with this pre tube and one with the EH. At 5w  It gets very crunchy and compressed but doesn't go overboard like the original tubes at all. The 3w setting with this tube is like a totally different amp. If you've got a BH and think you might like a cleaner sound with more clarity, highly recommended.

Like everyone else has said, this amp is really very fantastic. I mean, my Vox valvetronix modeling amp sounds like complete garbage next to this thing, and I used to think it was a nice little practice amp. As far as loudness, my main problem is that it's too loud, and when I crank it to get some crunch, I'm fighting a bit with the guitar volume and the attenuator. The attenuator is a must for me, but it's true that it sucks tone when you're running a cranked amp through it at very low output volume. For moderate amounts of volume reduction, it works fantastic.

Amazon has the 1w 'killer ant' for 139$, free shipping and in stock. I'm thinking I really need one now, then I could keep the 5571 in the little giant and the EH 12ax7 in the tiny guy. I mean, that's cheaper than a lot of the boutique pickups out there.
And if I cash out my retirement stocks right now, I can just about get one!  :icon_jokercolor:
what happened to the logo? :laughing7:

I'd like to try an attenuator, but right now I'm pretty happy using an overdrive with it. I've got a nice splitter pedal and combined with my Cyber Deluxe it sounds amazing. I'm happy with the EH tube in there so I doubt I'll try anything else. Maybe in the future if it starts dying I'll try something else.

I kind if wish I held out for the Handsome Devil, but I'm very happy with it. I'll get one of those eventually.

off topic - what kind of strap locks are those? I've seen people using them before but don't know what they are.
They look a lot like Dunlop strap locks
Yes, dunlop strap locks for all my axes. They do what they are supposed to do. 100% recommended.
That logo had to go. It looked like a tattoo Popeye might have, or maybe a 13 year old's idea of a cool tattoo.
For me, the cranked amp sounds a lot better than anything I've been able to do with any of the distortion models on my Boss multi effects. It's not just the tone, but the sensitivity, the dynamics, hard to explain. Therefore, cranking it up and using an attenuator works a lot better than a stompbox. Maybe I just need a better pedal, and maybe I'll go that route someday.
But since I can get that little killer ant head for less than the cost of a Fulltone OCD or other nice pedal....
And yeah I like the EH tube a lot too. I'll probably keep swapping them out once in a while till I finally settle on something.
I have a 5751 in V2 of my Carvin V3 (V2 is the gain tube for the distortion channels, V3 is the model of the amp  :tard:), it sounds great.  I think it's an improvement over the Sovtek 12AX7 it replaced.  A guy I work with who's a big amp geek thinks a 5751 just sounds "better" than a 12AX7.  Anyway, cool amp!  The Killer Ant is very tempting, but I've got an attenuator in the mail so I will probably be using my V3 at bedroom volumes from now on.  :)