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Blackheart vs Valve Jr


dmock66

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If a pure tube sound is what you are after... either the valve jr or the blackheart take effects very well. Again it's just my opinion...but I have played them all and I currently own 3 modded JR's and a blackheart combo.

 

I grabbed the above from the Valve Special thread. I didn't want to hijack that but am curious about the Blackheart amps

 

When did the Blackheart amps come out and are they comparable to the Valve Jrs? What's the pros/cons of the Blackhearts versus the Valve Jrs?

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In a nutshell....same amp designer for both. The blackhearts have a TMB tone stack and a pentode/triode switch. I find the TMB tone stack fairly limited as one might suspect with only 1 preamp tube,but the blackhearts stay a little cleaner longer... and with a 5751 or a 12at7 they take pedals very well. I also like the 1x12 combo package. The build quality is very good on the blackheart as well as the valve jr,but I think the valve jr is easier to mod because the blackheart has a 2 sided pcb that can be a little tricky to work on. I also think the BH benefits from a Hammond ESE OT upgrade as well. They are both very good,proven values....my $.02 is that the modded valve JR has the best tone,but the BH is more flexible out of the box.

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I've owned both, and currently only have the blackheart 5W head. I think Layboomo covered most of the basics.

 

I've found the tone stack on the BH usable, but it lacks subtlety. Each dial basically has 3 levels: low, medium, high...there's really very very little variation between them. So the treble knob at 3pm is little different than the treble knob at 1:30 pm. But there's a very noticeable difference between 12:00 and maxed out, or 12:00 and all the way down. I rarely use the pentode/triode switch because I think the 3W setting is just too dark. others might actually prefer it. The 5W setting is bright and clear.

 

I don't use the BH cab- I have a closed-back 12" 130 watt cab with eminence speaker that packs a little more punch and is a touch clearer in the mids. My personal opinion is that the VJr is the amp to buy if you plan to mod it out. The BH is the amp to buy if you plan to play it stock or with simple mods or tube changes. I kep the BH because I only planned to change the tubes, and it sounded fantastic with the new ones...I have no desire to get inside one with a soldering iron. A BitMo 10-u-ator external box and new tubes is as complicated as I wanna get.

 

 

My BH (with Epi Dot Super barely visibile in the foreground):

 

DSC00007.jpg

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