| | TC Electronic BH-250 review
Review of TC Electronic BH-250 Bass Amplifier
In any review of a bass amp, I feel the review has to keep in mind the environment the amp was used in, so before I go into details, i'll describe that.
I have a number of amplifiers: A Markbass F500, a Gallien Kruegar MB500 Fusion, a Gallien Kruegar MB200, and now the BH-250.
I was attracted to the BH-250 for the tone-print capability (no more separate effects pedals) and the smart tone control system. My rationale was the ability to tweak the eq quickly in a live situation. (often on a busy stage where you supply your own backline you have very little time to fiddle to get a good sound. Or it's a wedding function and there is no chance for any sound check)
Notice that all my amps are Class-D, light weight, and maybe use the B&O ICE MODULE power amp (i'm not sure there, haven't opened them up), so they should sound fairly similar, and they do. Love these small light amps and neo speakers - getting too old for all that heavy schlepping)
I've been playing for 30 years, and I play in a number of bands, ranging from 4 piece (bass,drums, 2 guitars) all the way up to an 11 piece band with keyboards, horn section and backup singers) The common thing with all these bands is usually they do not have big PA back-line support. The PA is a vocals only PA with perhaps a few mics around the drum kit. This means the bass amp has to carry the load and compete with all the din. (sorry, music)
I have ALWAYS been a backup freak, and I always take two amps to a gig (one for backup) and I always have two cabs. If one fails, I can still do the gig. (learnt the hard way btw)
Also, each amplifier has its own character (EQ points etc) and sometimes if I have the luxury of a relaxed setup, like at a party, I'll audition both amps and see which one sounds better in the given situation, for whatever reason. It's usually marginal, but I've found the Markbass amp better when I need a midrangey sound , the MB500 Fusion better where a slightly scooped sound is good.
Both of those amps are 500W, and I never want for more power. Depending on the gig, I take a GK 115RBX and a Bergantino HT112ER , or 2 Bergantino HT112ERs, or for smaller rehearsals, a GK NEO210. For the really big gig, i'll take the 115 and the NEO210 stacked on top.
So, how does the BH-250 go when used in the above scenarios? It has its own signature sound, which I like. It's punchy and smooth. And it fully does the same job of the other amp heads in all my various gigs. it's also interesting that none of the band members ever notices which amp i'm using. I guess it's because I always EQ them the same way, but having said that, I typically leave the amps EQs flat unless I need to tweak a bit. The BH-250's EQ is like it says on the tin, and I find just a small tweak either side of 'flat' goes a long way to get the sound I want. (I also have on-board Audere preamps on all my basses for further on-the-fly mid gig tweaking)
I play a variety of Jazz and Precision basses, and a 5 string Warwick and that low B is no problem BTW
The tone-print facility is excellent, easy to use and the quality of the effects are first rate in my opinion. The effects offered are the ones bassists use, and I must say the compressor is the best I have used. One knob, simple and it works. I've tried many compressors on the market just to even up my playing a bit, and this is the first one that works for me.
I'm not going to talk about the AUX in facility or headphones etc as they are not how I use the amp. Haven't used the DI out yet so can't comment on the level or quality. The onboard tuner is excellent, plus having the mute facility is another gig friendly feature. If you afford the 3-switch foot-switch, get it, as it makes on-stage control of the amp much more convenient. I particularly like having a foot-switchable mute outside of the bass/amp signal chain.
How does the BH-250 compare to my GK MB200? Very similar in sound really, but I tend to use the MB200 as a practice amp permanently set up in the studio, and I haven't used it in anger on the big stage. But I like the MB200 a lot. Another simple EQ that just works.
Also the MB200 is QUIET, no fan noise. That's important in a quiet room where fan noise is distracting. The BH250 is not bad, but the fan is always on. (the GK MB500 fusion fan comes on quite loudly every 10 minutes or so for about 30 seconds. In a quiet rehearsal when the fan starts every one looks at the amp, then at me, and I just say "it does that".)
So for me the BH-250 is a winner. I like it a lot. Your mileage may differ because your needs are different, but for me I'm happy to have it in my tool kit. Plus for the price it is great value. If you can only afford one amp, you may find this is all you really need especially if driving into a 4 ohm load..
Plus it looks cool....