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Hartke LH500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by KJung, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. I just tried this head through a few cabs up at LDS (Eden 21XLT, LDS 310), and it is absolutely killer. I was using a LowEnd Jazz, and compared it to the Genz Shuttle 6.0.

    The LH500 has a tube front end, and seems to be designed around the old Bassman circuit (class A with a preamp tube). It's very similar to the Alembic preamp... simple bass, mid, treble and a single volume control. The tone controls are that unusual 'Fender' type thing, where flat seems to be bass and treble turned down almost all the way, and the mids up a bit.

    Anyway, not a lightweight at around 25 pounds, but two space rack format, and about $500!

    Fat, tubey, warm front end. It's not designed to distort or grind a lot. Again, more like the Alembic pre through a nice SS power amp. Quality seems first rate... good feeling pots, heavy-duty metal chassis.

    To my ear, it is more 'tubey' than the Shuttle, and had a much more even and forcefull, fat low end response, and warmer mids versus the 'brightness' of the Shuttle (of course, it is 20 pounds heavier also!).

    For those who like a somewhat modern tube tone (like the Alembic pre) in a simple to use all in one unit, this head is completely killer.

    Amazing what is coming out in that lower price range of heads at this point.

    FYI... I had not heard of this head before. They also make a higher powered model from what I understand. For you 'clean but tube warm guys', this is worth a look IMO and IME:bassist:
    gjohnson441496 likes this.
  2. esoxhntr

    esoxhntr Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2007
    Markham, Ontario
    Are you talking $500 new???:eek::eek::eek:
  3. Yes... quite amazing... I think they actually sell for a little less than that.

    That's why I put up the thread.... these things feel and soundlike $1,200 hybrids to me. I obviously don't know about reliability or whatever, but similar to the Nemesis700... it's a very impressive head.
  4. LH500-web.jpg

    Here's a picture. Very impressive unit from the Hartke gang.
    zapped777 likes this.
  5. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Cool - a great sounding tube hybrid for $500. Sounds compelling.

    Have you been able to try their new hybrid-cone cabinets?
  6. esoxhntr

    esoxhntr Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2007
    Markham, Ontario
    Yup, just checked it... $449 U.S. at all the webstores which includes a pre/EQ footpedal (not part of the amp, just an accessory). Scary indeed if it is as good as you say.
  7. Cabs were not in yet, so no, didn't get to try those. It sounds absolutely killer through the Eden212XLT... fat, warm, and also capable of big, warm 'burp' when you dig in at the bridge.

    I have not been very impressed with the Hartke line for many, many years, but assuming the reliability and service are good, this one seems to hit the mark for those who want a modern tube tone IMO.
  8. Snakeman1066

    Snakeman1066 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Central Valley
    I recently had the chance to try out all three of their new heads

    There is also a 1000 watt version of the LH


    $650.00 street price

    2 x 500 watts of power, 1000 watts bridged mono
    Classic 12AX7 High Voltage Class-A tube preamp circuit
    Bass and Treble Shelving, plus mid-peak EQ controls
    Selectable brite switch for added high frequency response
    Selectable limiter switch with LED indicator
    Balance control blends level of A and B outputs
    Front panel XLR balanced direct output
    Rear panel 1/4-inch effects loop
    1/4-inch plus Speakon output connectors
    Two-rackspace metal chassis with steel faceplate and handles

    but If i were to buy a new Hartke product it would be this one...This monster blows the LH series out of the water


    $999.00 street price

    The Hartke Kilo raises the standard for bass amplification. Two separate power blocks deliver a true 1,000 watts at 4 ohms in bridged mono or 500 watts per side in either stereo or dual mono.

    Classic Hartke Shape Control and Bass Attack Overdrive are onboard, as well as three 12AX7 tubes, a variable compressor, bass and treble shelving, limiter switch, tube EQ and 10-band graphic EQ for complete control over every aspect of your tone. The Kilo also features XLR balanced direct outputs, as well as both 1/4-inch and Speakon output connectors. The Kilo provides robust, full-range tone that will shake the foundation for discriminating players in any style of music. And these demanding players will choose the Hartke Kilo because it gives them unrivaled tone control and plenty of power. An enduring design that features a three-rackspace chassis, milled aluminum faceplate and oversized handles also offers the assuredness that any bassist can be perfectly comfortable taking this amp on the road. Thanks to its power, resiliency and tonal versatility, the Hartke Kilo emerges as a trendsetter on the bass amplification market.
    True 2 x 500 watts of power, 1,000 watts bridged mono
    Three 12AX7 tubes
    10-band graphic EQ
    Bass and Treble shelving, plus mid-peak EQ controls
    World-famous Hartke Shape Control and Bass Attack Overdrive
    Variable compressor
    Deep and brite switches
    Limiter switch
    Front panel tuner output jack
    Direct output with level control and select switch to choose input, compressor, EQ or effects
    XLR balanced direct output with ground lift switch
    Footswitch jacks for optional footswitch to control Overdrive, EQ, effects and mute
    1/4-inch and Speakon output connectors
    Three-rackspace chassis with milled aluminum faceplate and oversize handles

    As far as the Cabs go the look very nice and feel as though they are constructed well, however for my ears thy have way too much midrange honk that i couldn't quite eq out, but i imagine this would be great for some styles of Rock and Funk. I would be concerned also at the long term life of the cone, i would be afraid that where the aluminum is fused to the paper they would crack or come apart at the seam, but maybe thats just me, I also tend to favor ported cabs, and these are sealed


    Dual-chamber, sealed Cabinet
    4 x 10-inch 250 watt HyDrive neodymium hybrid cone drivers
    1-inch titanium compression driver
    Power Handling: 1000 watts @ 8 ohms
    Frequency Response: 30 Hz to 17 kHz
    Sensitivity: 99 dB @ 1 W/1 m
    Voice Coil: 2.5 in.
    Parallel Speakon and 1/4 in. inputs
    High frequency attenuation switch (On, -6 dB, Off)
    Removable casters
    Dimensions: 24(H) x 24(W) x 15(D) in.
    Weight: 68 lbs

    but i CAN ASSURE YOU That if that Kilo head had a different name on it it would fly off the shelves, it is just amazing and then some....
  9. That looks like an impressive unit also.

    I guess I was just so impressed by the LH500 for its simplicity, quality feel and tone, and low price.

    There are lot's of large heads with a ton of bells and whistles, but I found the idea of basically an upgraded/modernized Bassman front end driving a nice SS power section in a low priced, two rack space unit to be something somewhat unique to the marketplace.... old school simplicity, and a sort of 'modern meets vintage' sort of tone. It just kind of hit me as something a little bit new in the marketplace.
    freshbass likes this.
  10. greenbass5


    Sep 16, 2007
    Oklahoma City
    How would you compare this head to the Nemesis RS 700? I was very interested in the Nemesis as an alternative head to my V4BH to use with my NV 610. But I'd like more power at 4 ohms. The higher power LH1000 is about the same price. Thanks.

  11. The 700 is a very nice head... more knobs and control, and a more modern, tighter, but still warm tone. It does 2ohms also. At 4ohms, the volume is comparable. Quality is very good on both (based on look, feel, noise, etc.).

    The 'feel' and operation of the 700 is more 'typical' for a modern head... pre gain, EQ that is flat at noon, post gain, semi-parametric mid, etc. The feel of the LH500 is much more old school, like the Alembic F1. Putting all the tone controls at noon would NOT be a good thing. The LH500 has quite a bit of the 12AX7 sound to it, again like the Alembic pre.... not grindy or distorted, but fat and warm and full... 'clean tube' tone, without the big bloom of, for example, some of the Mesa stuff.

    The LH1000 is a 'stereo' design like the WT800. It does look like you can bridge into 4ohms, but not sure what that does to the specs. I have not heard this version of the head.
  12. greenbass5


    Sep 16, 2007
    Oklahoma City
    Thanks. I'll have to go look these up. I'd love to be able to try an RS 700 too. But haven't run across one. Not to mention, for almost same price of the RS 700 I can get a LM II.
  13. 60bass

    60bass Supporting Member

    Apr 24, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    I had a chance to try the LH1000 through a fridge cabinet for about 20 minutes today at a local dealer. Tons of power with headroom to spare. Low B was no problem with the big Ampeg 810 and I found that I rather liked the mid control. It was actually nice to just turn the mid knob and dial in quite alot of punch. Sometimes I get tired of having to set a bunch of mid switches and adjust multiple controls just to get some punch.

    This amp is the utmost of simplicity. It does have a very Bassman like tone stack in it. What you see is what you get with this amp. It has the basic stuff required of an amp to get the job done, but that's it. For a street price of 649 you get lots of watts but little else (IMHO). Build quality seemed excellent and the amp was dead quiet.

    I'm still trying to decide where Hartke is coming from with this design. The amp is very Bassman like but it defeats (again IMHO) the purpose of having a tube front end. At least with a 50 or 100 watt Bassman you can drive the front end into distortion and get some grit and tube drive out of the amp. I had the thing cranked up loud trying to get some tube drive out of it but this amp is super clean. If you used outboard effects, it might be a great choice but for my style it just doesn't work. I like to add in some tube breakup to get a little bit of kick and I just can't get it with this amp.

    Don't get me wrong. I loved the power and tone of this amp and I think for the price it's one of the better deals out there right now for a high power amp. If your playing style is such that you love a clean warm sound with lots of headroom, this amp should be on your list to purchase.

    I just wonder why Hartke choose not to include at least a master volume so you could drive the front end hot. Better yet how about a a gain control in conjunction with a channel volume and master volume. If they did that, I'd buy one right now!

    I think I'll go back there and put an overdrive on the effects buss just for S&G and see how it sounds. Oh Oh, that got me thinking, what if you were to put a real "tube" overdrive on the effects buss? That might be interesting.

    Just my .02
  14. My feeling on the design goal is that many loved the warm, fat sound of the Bassman, but actually saw all that distortion coming from the low power tube power amp as a negative. I think this was part of the idea of the Alembic pre.... get that fat, mid punchy, warm but relatively clean Bassman tone, and then drive that tone with a transparent, powerful, clean, punchy SS power amp.

    Of course, many love the breakup of those low powered tube amps, so it's not a good versus bad thing.

  15. leftymike


    Sep 23, 2006
    Austin Tejas
    So speaking of th EQ.- I looked up the manual on Hartkes website and it had this to say:

    Equalizer controls
    The LH Series tone stack equalizer offers three bands of “boost
    only” equalization. Each EQ knob (labeled BASS, MID, and TREBLE,
    respectively) affects a different area of the frequency spectrum. Since
    the LH series equalizer is comprised of boost only filters, when you
    turn all the EQ knobs down, the sound will go completely off (unlike
    an typical PEAK EQ circuit). When all three EQ knobs are in their center
    positions (“5”), the response is actually set to a preset equalization
    curve, with a low and high-end boost and a mid-range cut, producing
    an EQ contour (at Hartke, we like to say, SHAPE) that sounds great
    for bass. In general, when an EQ control is moved right of center,
    the particular frequency area is being boosted; when it is moved left
    of center, the frequency area is being attenuated (or less boosted).
    However, the LH series EQ controls are somewhat interactive, since
    electronically, the BASS feeds the MID, which feeds the Treble. So,
    experiment with the LH Series EQ and your particular bass to dial
    up the best sound. The most important thing to know about the LH
    equalizer is that it’s extremely musical and sounds great with all EQ
    knobs set to “5”. Actually, it’s hard to make LH series EQ sound bad.

    Turning all EQ controls up the same amount will have virtually the
    same effect as simply turning up the VOLUME; conversely, turning
    them all down the same amount will have virtually the same effect as
    turning down the Volume. Both approaches are pointless (after all,
    that’s why we gave you a Volume control!)
  16. leftymike


    Sep 23, 2006
    Austin Tejas
    Friendly bump to see if anyone else has had a chance to try one of these.
  17. Mr_Dave


    Mar 11, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Employee - Basscentre Melbourne
    Had a chance to try the the LH500 and LH1000 at work, and i'd agree with everything Ken said - really good warm tube tone. sounded great with a passive P and J - i haven't had a chance to try them with an active bass yet... and the LH500 was really loud
  18. esoxhntr

    esoxhntr Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2007
    Markham, Ontario
    Has anybody seen one of these in Canada yet (particularly the GTA)? Wouldn't mind taking one for a spin... so to speak.
  19. KPJ


    Oct 2, 2001
    Methuen, MA USA
    I demoed a LH100 through a SWR Henry 8x8. Very punchy and full and stone simple. I didn't have a Speakon cable at the time so I couldn't bridge the amp and was only able to use one channel. I like my Shuttle for the majority of gigs, but if I ever need a ton of headroom for an outdoor gig with no PA support, a LH100o bridged into the Henry would be quite the rig!
  20. BryanSwift


    Jun 21, 2008
    SE MI
    I must know what that little fuzzy lookin' square pad next to the power switch is? am I goofy? :confused:

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