Friday, August 19, 2011

TC Electronic Blacksmith

BlacksmithI was so impressed with the RH450 amp that when TC Electronic announced a limited production of handmade amps from Denmark I ordered one immediately. This is the flagship model of TC Electronic's "Bass 2.0" amp lineup.

Power aside, you can't underestimate the features of the TC bass amps and specifically the control interface that is common to the RH450, RH750 (more on this amp later) and Blacksmith. If you read my earlier review of the RH450, you'll note the mention of accessibility, the flexible semi-parametric EQ, the musical sounding multi-band bass compressor, the fantastic built-in tuner and so forth. I've found these features indispensable and, as a result, I now have a variety of TC amps to cover every gig or practice scenario.

The latest amps, the RH750 and Blacksmith, both incorporate many suggestions gathered from a "beta test group" whose main goal was to improve this amplifier and interface even further. They succeeded brilliantly!

The addition of a Tweetertone control, which simulates the tweeter or horn level control on a bass cabinet, is one of the most useful new improvements. Another is the addition of a new control which allows direct access to Spectracomp (compressor) without having to press shift. As a result, it is now quicker and easier to access the most frequently-used adjustments. So while these refinements are minor for the most part, they are also significant.

Blacksmith's main features include:
  • Power - 1600 watts (4500 watts peak) *,
  • Presets - 3 user-defined presets,
  • SpectraComp™ - Multi-band compression,
  • TubeTone™ - excellent tube preamp and tube power amp emulation,
  • On-board chromatic tuner,
  • 4-band EQ - Semi-parametric Bass, Lo-Mid, Hi-Mid and Treble,
  • TweeterTone™ - Front panel tweeter level control,
  • Transformer balanced Studio grade Line driver output,
  • AES/EBU, digital output.
So in summary, Blacksmith incorporates the best features of the other models while adding considerably more power and the ability to drive a 2ohm load. That's four 8ohm bass cabinets! To distinguish this model, the LEDs are soft white. The system also features upgraded cooling with the two large fans vented to the rear. Fan noise is not apparent. Lastly, the power switch has been moved to the front panel for convenience.

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, so check out this video from TC Electronics.

* Refer to the post on TC Electronics power ratings.