Upgrading to TCE Blacksmith?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by Mjinsk, Dec 28, 2013.


  1. Mjinsk

    Mjinsk

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2013
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    Brussels, Belgium
    Hi everyone!

    I'm actually playing on a Genz-Benz stack. I use two XB2 Cabinets (a 4X10 and a 1x15), which are really excellent for me, and a Neo Pak 3.5 head.
    I'm seriously thinking about changing my amp head, since i'm looking for something higher in terms of quality.
    I thought about going tubes, but it's heavy, and tube changing is complexe and expensive.

    As the TC Electronic Blacksmith's price really went down (it's only about 1000 euros now), i'm pretty interested in it. It has some really cool features, it's pretty light (even if it's quite big), and seems to sound really good.
    I don't need that much power (please, no "TC-watts-debate" here), but as it is a transistor amp, it will sound quite ok at about any volume, right?
    If you have tested it, how would you compare it to amp heads such as a Mesa M6, or a Genz Benz GBE 750/1200? I know it's not exactly quite the same, but anyway...
    Finally, would my actual cabinets handle the power of the Blacksmith?

    Thanks for your advices. ;)
  2. Mjinsk

    Mjinsk

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    Brussels, Belgium
  3. elwuss

    elwuss

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    can't say much on the Blacksmith (I played it only once for a short while) but IMO it sounds too hi-fi for my taste, so I would say it's much too expensive even at the reduced price of 1000E.
  4. Mjinsk

    Mjinsk

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    Well, it's a matter of taste. But I really like the TC stuff, and i can get this Blacksmith at the same price as a RH750...

    What really bothers me is his power. Will i ever be able to push it above 1? :)
    And would my cabs handle all this power?
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  6. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

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  7. Mjinsk

    Mjinsk

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    Dec 8, 2013
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    Well, Genz-Benz really makes great stuff. I played on their GBE amp heads, and it's quite cool. But their Neo Pak 3.5, that isn't produced anymore, isn't as good as the GBEs.

    What I really like about TC, is all their built-in stuff like the Spectracomp, the Tubetone or the Tweeter stuff, which I find really useful. Their presets are quite interesting for me too, as I play in several bands.

    So, my question is more about "is the Blacksmith interesting compared to my Neo Pak 3.5". GBEs are great, but are more expensive than the Blacksmith, where I buy my stuff.
  8. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

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    The Blacksmith will have more output power than your 3.5. Genz-Benz has been absorbed into Fender (it appears) so existing stock is all you will find, heavy discounts are found in the US. I am not a "toys" player so the bells and whistles don't weigh in with me personally. I can get anything I need with the EQs on most amp heads across genres. Nothing against those using it, I just came from a time where we learned to do it with basic controls and technique. "Old hard ways :)"
  9. Mjinsk

    Mjinsk

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    So, in your opinion, nothing really interesting for the Blacksmith compared to the Neo Pak 3.5, apart from the output power?
  10. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

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    It has a nice "retro-Marshall" look. :)
  11. Mjinsk

    Mjinsk

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    And what would you suggest as an alternative to the Blacksmith?
  12. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

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    I really don't know what is available in your area. If you have played the Blacksmith and you feel it suits your needs and price then that is the amp for you. This statement: "I'm seriously thinking about changing my amp head, since i'm looking for something higher in terms of quality." Is where I spoke up. Moving from GB to TCE is not "moving up in quality" from what I have seen, experienced or read ;). Hopefully, as an example they are using a better grade of knobs and pots than the RH series which have been prone to early failure.
  13. Mjinsk

    Mjinsk

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    Well, as I really liked the tone of RH 450 and 750, I think I won't do any mistake if i get the Blacksmith (though i never played on it). It can only be better.
    I'm from Belgium, and here, Genz-Benz isn't really famous, so it's hard to get a comparison between these brands, when i discuss about it with other bass players.
  14. Musicman20

    Musicman20

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    I would opt for the Blacksmith at that price.
  15. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

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    Ah, see brands and/or models many here in the US can offer may well be out of reach due to transportation costs and import duties/taxes. You still need to consider the service network which can be inconvenient for imported US brands. Genz-Benz is a sleeper product here as well when compared to Ampeg, Hartke, G-K, Fender even Peavey. That does not even take into account brands like Aguilar, Orange or the more boutique builders.
  16. Mjinsk

    Mjinsk

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    I think i could hardly find a better transistor or hybrid amp head for that price... even for 1500 euros.
  17. Mjinsk

    Mjinsk

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    If you have any suggestions on another amp, please tell me.
  18. elwuss

    elwuss

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    Zagreb, Croatia
    check the GK Fusion 550.
    SS amp + tube pre-amp.
    also, 2 presets possible (motorized knobs)
    I got mine for 700E new.

    and it looks kind of similar to Blacksmith:D
  19. Mjinsk

    Mjinsk

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    I'm not a huge fan of the GK stuff... It's not the type of sound I like.
  20. KJung

    KJung

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    If you like the RH750, you will love the Blacksmith. Yes, the TC design is unique, and it has a strong baked in voicing. However, if you like that baked in voicing, then it is a good thing. At that price, I don't see much downside, especially since you have experience with the other heads.
  21. Mjinsk

    Mjinsk

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    OK, thanks for your advices.
    I just have one more question.
    We often hear that to get a nice sound with a tube amp, you must push the volume and the gain, so that the tube really delivers a nice sound.
    But with a transistor amp, either you play at a low or at a pretty high volume, it sounds more or less the same.
    Am I right for the transistor part? :)

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