TC Electronic Blacksmith: forging a new era in bass amplification
(Dave Molter | Posted 2011-04-04)
If you're ready to hammer home a massive bass line using a relatively small, yet mighty amplifier, look no further than the TC Electronic Blacksmith, which is shipping as of April 2010.
Let's get the important stuff out of the way first; The Blacksmith cranks out 1600 watts into 8, 4 or 2 ohms yet the head weighs only 26.5 pounds. Compare that to the vaunted SVT head, which weighs 93 pounds and delivers only 300 watts. Price? $3,599 MSRP USD/ €2,350 List Price (excl. VAT). Pricey, it's true, but based on its feature set and power specs, well worth the investment.
Depth from the gene pool
The Blacksmith sports the Bass Amp 2.0 features available in TC's popular RH450 and Staccato '51 as well as the spanking new RH750, plus some goodies from the BG500 series heads and combos. MGR had a chance to test drive both the Staccato '51 and the < a href="http://www.musicgearreview.com/article-display/3482.html">BG500 210 combo in 2010 and came away impressed with both. Simply put, we feel that TC Electronic offers the best feature set in the bass amp business. The Blacksmith promises to deliver more of the same.
Features for the gigging bassist
Yes, Blacksmith offers more than enough power to light a small city. But more than power ets this amp apart from the crowd. The integrated chromatic tuner is accurate and easy to use and can be controlled with an optional footswitch. The footswitch can also control one of the features I like best about TC's RH and BG series amps: Three user-definable presets. If you use multiple basses or simply want to dial in different tones for different songs, the TC preset system is a no-brainer. Blacksmith allows you to use, say, A Hofner, a Rickenbacker and a boutique fiver with only a bit of pre-gig fine tuning of settings. Or go from thud to slap and back again at the touch of a footswitch. Blacksmith also includes 4 bands of EQ with controllable midpoints, the wonderful SpectraComp™ ‘per string compression’ that's head and shoulders above that offered by most outboard stompboxes; TubeTone™, whioch allows you to set up a sweet overdriven tube sound; and TweeterTone™ what TC describes as "intelligent HF control" that allows a very musical tuning of HF tweeters.
Power to the people
Blacksmith is capable handling cabinet combinations all the way down to 2 ohms, so ultimately, four TC RS410 cabinets could be fired up simultaneously – that’s 16 x 10” -- or two Ampeg SVT cabs. That's enough to knock down the front row or seriously mess with just about any inner ear.
If you're a power-hungry bottom feeder who needs max power in a luggable amp head, the Blacksmith may just be for you. If you need a bit less power in a smaller footprint with the same features, check out the new TC RH750, a beefed-up version of their RH450 flagship head.
Dave Molter is MGR's Managing Editor and Bass Guitars Editor. He has played professionally since 1965.