New at NAMM:TC Electronic will unleash powerhouse Blacksmith bass amp at Winter NAMM
(Dave Molter | Posted 2011-01-10)
The biggest development in bass amps over the last three years has been the introduction of small, lightweight, powerful heads from most major manufacturers, including TC Electronic, Genz Benz, Gallien Krueger, Orange and Hartke.
TC Electronic has broken that trend somewhat with the announcement that the new Blacksmith bass head will be unveiled at Winter NAMMM in Anaheim beginning Jan. 12. Blacksmith is a heavyweight -- 1600 watts capable of powering 8-, 4- or 2-ohm loads. It also includes many of the features that make TC's RH450, Staccato '51 and BG500 heads among the most progressive on the market
Taking bass to a higher level
Blacksmith offers more than excessive power, with renowned Bass amp 2.0 features such as
integrated chromatic bass tuner, refined tone-shaping tools including 4 bands of EQ, SpectraComp™ ‘per string compression’, TubeTone™ ‘complete Tube pre- and power amp
recreation’ and TweeterTone™ ‘intelligent HF control’ as well as the unique 3 user-defined
memories, Blacksmith takes bass amplification to a new level in more than one respect. Of these features, I'm most excited about TweeterTone, a unique tweeter control circuit that acts as more than a volume control. What TweeterTone does is hard to describe, but when I tested the circuit on a BG500 115 combo in 2010, I was impressed with the circuit's ability to add "something" to the sound of a tweeter, making it far less harsh than expected. TC calls it a more "musical" tweeter control, and that as good a description as I've heard.
The Blacksmith also incorporates the chromatic tuner available on the RH450 and Staccato '51 -- a very accurate, easy to use tuner that will handle any bass, no matter the number of strings.
3 on-board user memories. If you use more than one bass on a gig, you'll love this feature. It's also great for setting up three different tones for the same bass -- like if you need to jump out a bit for a solo passage.
Blacksmith is capable of handling cabinet combinations all the way down to 2 ohms, so ultimately,
four TC RS410 cabinets could be connected simultaneously. That's 16, 10-inch speakers -- more than enough for the loudest indoor gig and probably enough to blow out a few rows in a stadium.
About the only bad news about the Blacksmith is its price tag -- US$3,599 MSRP / €2,350 List Price (excl. VAT). That's a high-ticket item even for gigging bassists. However, TC quality and features are hard to beat, and the company is committed to producing cutting-edge bass technology with players in mind. The Blacksmith will be
available in March, 2011.
Blacksmith Main Features
• Power – 1600 watts (4500 watts peak).
• Presets – 3 user-defined presets.
• On-board chromatic tuner – Always active for instant pitch monitoring at any time.
• SpectraComp™ – Multi-band compression – the musical way to compress!
• TubeTone™ – Emulation of both the tube preamp and tube power amp sections.
• 4-band EQ – Semi-parametric Bass, Lo-Mid, Hi-Mid and Treble.
• TweeterTone™ – Front panel tweeter level control for crisp and modern bass tones.
• Transformer balanced Line Driver – Studio-grade DI for ultra-clean signals to PAs or DAWs.
Dave MolterIs Managing Editor and Bass Guitars Editor of MusicGearReview.com. He has played professionally for 46 years.