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Rating and Reviews: Hartke LH500 Bass Head

Get serious bass with the Hartke LH500. With a 12AX7 tube preamp and solid-state output, the Hartke LH500 strikes a great balance of tone and power.

User Ratings
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
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The Wow Factor
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"Great Head! Great Price! " submitted December 26, 2012

By Chris Marcoux in Florence, ON
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Have been playing bass professionally is bands for 19 years
Music Style: Rock, Metal, Blues
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Sound: Sounds excellent right out of the box. With only Bass, Mid and Treble booster you can dial in a great tone in minutes. The lows are very full and prominent and the mids and highs are very clear and crisp. I play in a hard rock band and can cut through the mix no problem with this. After I got this I heard for the first time from my guitar players with Marshall half stacks "Damn man can you turn down just a bit" Best thing a bass player can ever hear LOL! Feature: Not many features, Just a "Brite" Switch that I don't use, sounds ok but mainly for soloing I think. A limiter that works pretty well and has a direct out which is nice. The only thing I don't like is that it doesn't have SpeakON connections but I can live with that. Ease of Use: Very easy to use, Plug in and dial in. Quality: Very well built. The metal frame is super durable and all parts seem to be very good quality. Value: This amp is more than worth the money. I would compare it to some units which sell for up to $1200 . Manufacturer Support: Never had to use it. The Wow Factor: It's just a wicked amp. Built well, looks nice and sounds great! Overall: I love this head! Hartke has blown me away. I have never owned one before and I wish I had of tried them out years ago! The sound is amazing. You can dial in a great sound without messing around with an eq and shape features. It has a good sound to start and then just has Bass Mid and treble boosters. Simple and effective, the way all great bass equipment is.
24 of 24 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"I love this amp!" submitted December 8, 2012

By chris marcoux in Florence, ON
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: I have been playing music for 17 yrs and professionally in a band for about 12.
Music Style: Hard rock, metal,
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Sound: The sound is great, the tube pretty amp is just what I need. It only has the three eq knobs but you don't have to work very hard to get a great tone. You also get very full and crisp tones which I really had to work to get on my previous head. Feature: The most useless feature to me is the brite button. It would be good for a solo situation. Or something just not needed by me. The most useful would be the limiter button. Ease of Use: easy easy easy. Pulled it out of the box, hooked it up to my cab and dialed in some decent tones in about 5 min. Quality: it seems to be made very well. It has a metal casing with heavy duty handles and can be mounted in effects case as well. The knobs are like chrome hard plastic that seem very strong. Overall it will be a great gigging amp. Value: for the power, sound and quality it is more than worth the money. I'd suggest picking one up. Manufacturer Support: have not had to The Wow Factor: it is a very sexy amp lol Overall: My main head crapped out and I need one quick. I was a little skeptical due to the price but was blown away when I hooked it up. The tube pre amp gives this head such a great tone and the power is all there! This thing has no problem giving you your 500 watts. I now use this on my main gigging rig.
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"Simply great" submitted August 23, 2012

By Corey B
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Musical Background: Playing bass for two years
Music Style: R&B, Christian, Rock
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Overall: I wanted something that would give me that great deep tone with nice mids that didn't have a ton of knobs. I had another amp with a bunch of knobs that was very cumbersome to adjust while gigging. I love the simply look and functionality of this amp and it thumps. I have it hooked up to my 4 X 10 Fender bass cabinet that can handle 1000 watts. It’s great simple amp that give you the ability to adjust your sounds for a great price.
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"hartke hair raiser 500." submitted April 4, 2010

By a customer from windstream.net
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Value
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: active musician
Music Style: country, gospel
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Sound: the sound of this head is powerful and has guts. my fender active deluxe jazz bass sounds awesome with this 500 watt workhorse! Feature: it has basic features. simple to set up. it's designed to be a basic workhorse only! it's for power and versitility! if you got to have 100 different sounds and tones; you may need to switch over to lead guitar. Ease of Use: very simple controls. easy to use. Quality: this head is hartke tough! a gigging machine! not a humpty dumpty head. Value: i've researched amp heads for a solid month. this is the only quality and powerful amp head i could find, for this incredible price. Manufacturer Support: have'nt needed to contact hartke. The Wow Factor: this head looks the way a professonal head should look like. it's tough and serious looking, but pleasing to the eye. Overall: getting ready to purchase a new hartke cabinet. don't know which one yet.
12 of 13 people (92.31%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Simple serious business for a good dollar!" submitted August 30, 2009

By a customer from hotmail.com
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Sound
Features
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Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Active musician, recording engineer, live sound engineer
Music Style: rock, blues, southern rock, gospel, christian
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Sound: Easy bottom end to dial up. No silly shape functions or buttons. Solid bottom end. Feature: Tuner output patch, effects loop, and controls for limiter would be desirable. Ease of Use: Power up, plug in, dial up and thump! Quality: Well built. Sturdy and looks like a bass amp should look. Laid out well. Well pleased thus far. Value: Dollar per watt you can't beat. Come on, 500 watts for less than 400.00 bucks is a dynamite deal! I bought mine when it was still $449.00. Manufacturer Support: Haven't had to deal with them yet. Harkes been in business a while now, they build solid gear. The Wow Factor: Wanted the LH1000, or the BR series, but these were priced right and I saved on not having to buy higher wattage cabs. Bass is DI's to board anyway, so it's plenty for stage volume. Overall: I've owned and played for about 4 months now. I'm satisfied. Great amnp. A professional piece of bass gear. No disappointments. And the current 349.99 price tag, you're not going to find a better deal from a quality company in this class.
25 of 27 people (92.59%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Discount Swag. Dope Tone." submitted March 10, 2013

By Mike Taylor in Richmond, VA
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Musical Background: 7yrs guitar bass
Music Style: Progressive metal.
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Overall: Awesome awesome tone. Use the pad button and adjust the eq to compensate for volume. Use the valve gain sparingly and take your time to experiment with everything..review the Manuel before setting up. Only a few pages long. Sweet head even at 8 ohms. Get it.
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"No frill Frills!!" submitted June 24, 2009

By a customer from hotmail.com
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: active musician, recording engineer
Music Style: christian, rock, alternative, southern rock, blues
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Sound: Pretty musical for a 3 band para eq. Easy to dial in a good punchy tone. This is a no frills ready to work amp. Turn it on and start pumpin out bottom end. Tube in the preamp is a plus for this workhorse. Best value for the buck per wattage! Feature: Stand by switch would be nice, as well as tuner out. The xlr direct out is clean. I'm not impressed with the limiter, maybe if it had a couple of control pots incorporated and was more of a compressor. It does work though, just not effective or pleasing. Ease of Use: Turn it on and plug in and you've got bottom bounce baby! Quality: It's Hartke, sturdy, looks good, sounds good, does what they say it will do! Value: Best value per dollar per watt! No frills easy dial up bottom end! Manufacturer Support: Haven't had to use them yet. The Wow Factor: The LH1000 is a better unit, but you've got to have the wattage in cabinets to use it! A bit pricey, but compared to others in its range, and the tube preamp, this one wins hands down. I researched dozens, Hartke wins hands down. Bottom line, she'll hold up well, resell well, and 3-500 watts will handle any medium to large gig. I'm sold! Overall: I'm sold thus far. Dependable and sounds really ballsy and thumps. I really with the limiter function was more user controllable. EQ section simple, but musical. Really needs the tuner out patch. Clean and loud overall, nice head man! You can't be disappointed with the price, tone, and wattage all considered!
20 of 22 people (90.91%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"First Real Bass Head" submitted July 23, 2014

By William Windham in Athens, TX
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Musical Background: 35 years of noise
Music Style: Anything and everything, excluding Polka and Rap/HipHop.
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Overall: I've only been playing bass now for about a year. I've been a guitar player for about 35 years now. So, naturally I've been playing my bass out of various guitar amps. I've got this going through two mesa cabs, 1x15 and 4x10. It has a nice round sound and the low mid treble knobs will actually make a big difference in your sound. It's doing a nice job so far. Much better than the guitar heads. The "features" are little to none, but in my case that may be for the best.
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"Zz.........The Best!!!!!" submitted July 21, 2014

By David Lucena in Captain Cook, HI
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Musical Background: I've been playing bass for about 30 years.
Music Style: I play all types of music
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Overall: Bought this amp head a couple months ago and love it. So easy to use. Plug in and play!!! I'm part of a trio of guys ages 66, 65 and 63, so for us simple is better. The price, ease of use and build factor, for me, makes this an excellent purchase. Zzounds purchase process was simple and straight forward. Received my unit quickly, Great service!!! Haven't needed to call the manufacturer for any reason. I'm so impressed, I just ordered an acoustic bass from Zz...........Aloha Ya'llll !!
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"Hartke LH review" submitted February 2, 2014

By Chris Stopa in Portland, OR
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Musical Background: Playing music for about 22 years. Play bass in two bands - one blues and other rock
Music Style: blues, rockabilly ( country rock ), classic rock, heavy metal
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Overall: Bought a Hartke LH 1000 when they first came out several years ago. Sounds more vintage( tubey) than most solld state amps. Almost too much power. The LH 500 would be enough unless you are running many speakers. Not super light but good value. Jack Bruce has used a Hartke in concerts so you can guess how tubey it sounds..
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"bass musician" submitted December 5, 2013

By Jimmy H in Jasper, TX
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Musical Background: a few blue moons
Music Style: rock, Christian, blues
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Overall: Nice tones from this unit, easy adjustments for a quick tone change without a lot of unwanted dials, like the sound it generates from the preamp valve
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"Bought a lemon and made lemonade!" submitted February 16, 2012

By Brian S
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Musical Background: I have been playing for almost 30 years. I play the bass guitar, guitar and drums. I play recreationally.
Music Style: Rock, Classic Rock, Southern Rock, Country, 80's Hair Metal etc.
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Overall: Got this back in 2009 when they were brand new. I got one with a stripped input jack from the factory. It had a few months before I used it, so I never noticed the input jack until months later (at a gig) so I couldn't return it for another one. I had a horrible time with Hartke warranty. I got it to the warranty guy (who went way above and beyond to make sure I never missed a beat) who verified that it was stripped from the factory. It took 8 months for Samson to ship the proper parts to repair it! That was unacceptable! I literally had to call Samson and make a royal stink before they acted. I wasn't happy about that! Once I got it repaired, it has done a great job for what I do. (Small to medium venues) It is a basic, plain jane amp that is a workhorse. Had it not been for the unfortunate series of events that happened to me with this amp, I would have given it all 4 - 5 stars. I still use this amp today and it keeps pumping! Had it not been for this amp performing like it has over the past few years, I wouldn't have recommended it to anyone but I have to admit that it has been worth it and is alot of bang for your buck.
5 of 6 people (83.33%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Hartke does it again!" submitted July 5, 2014

By Will G in MINNEAPOLIS, MN
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Musical Background: I play professionally and studio work for 35 years
Music Style: R&B Funk/ Jazz
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Overall: Fantastic and solid I like what the limiter does and that the tube sound is there!
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"Sugar please.." submitted October 20, 2010

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Active.
Music Style: Punk, Metal, Jazz, anything fun to play.
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Sound: The Hartke LH500 is a very nice unit. I play punk, and do not get me wrong; I love good sound, Despite what some may say about punk music. My band and i started playing a few years ago, and recently my Ex Bass head (Berhinger 4500x?, cheap Model) started getting really Muddy. I could not stand the sound it was making. When it worked it was good, and it did its job. But it bit the dust (Seen that coming)and the Left side quit working. So i started looking at a new bass head, i hit local and in state Craigslist, Online retailers, and guitar shops to find what i was looking for. I came across this head before on zZounds and when i saw that the price had been reducted i started researching This unit. All the reviews i came across helped out very much, and led me to exactly what i found in the UPS box! The sound is Amazing, i never really saw the ugly sound i was getting out of my Ex Head until i had actually played with this unit. And like many reviews said "It has the Hartke Mid range" I do not know what they do to get the sound, but they have it down, and it sounds great! Playing through a set up of 1-15 EV loaded Cab and a 4-10 Unknown cab (Really nice cab though) it shakes our practice Pad. The sound as i had it set up is warm, Driving, and a nice low end. Feature: I love the limiter on this thing, it does exactly what the manual stated it was there for. It cuts any spikes in FreQ and keeps it straight across the board. the Bright Feature is not really any use to me, but sounds good. Ease of Use: Simple 3 Band EQ is simple, i basically hooked it up to my Cabs, Turned on the volume, turned the EQ bands on to some random settins, bass at 5 o clock, Mid at 3, and Treble at 5. Took about 15 seconds to dial in the sound i was looking for. Simple. Its exactly what i was asking for. My old Behinger unit has too many Knobs for a bass head. Quality: I was really surprised at how well this unit was built. It will stand up to the abuse we put our stuff threw. The knobs have resistance when you dial then, they do not wiggle, and look sharp. Value: The Price was right, i am very happy with this unit for what i payed, i expected less. Manufacturer Support: None yet, but the warranty Card it came with is nice! Just in case Anything ever happens. The Wow Factor: ... I want it... yes. Overall: This rig is Beast, load, and has growl. Its fantastic. If you are thinking of buying this head, so it. its great.
4 of 6 people (66.67%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Just what I needed" submitted August 17, 2013

By Daniel T in Munster, IN
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Musical Background: Been playing music all my life playing bass, drums, and piano.
Music Style: Christian, Latin Gospel,
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Sound: The sound is amazing you can get alot of tones with just the bass, med, and treble knobs. If your looking for bass that would shake a church, a house, or the Neighborhood! Than this is it. Feature: 4 ohm head, very sturdy, the fan is super quite, and simple E.Q. Ease of Use: Its easy to handle. You don't have to worry about switching a bunch of switches just to get the sound you want. Quality: The head is made to survive on the road. This head would last a long time before it breaks. Value: Cheap yet quality is excellent. Price should of been more higher but Hartke has made an amp head that is powerful but won't kill your budget. Manufacturer Support: I'm not much of a Hartke fan since most of amps are at 8 ohms and I don't like caring two cabinets to make 4 ohms, BUT the heads they make are good quality amp heads but for the cost it won't kill you. I'm more of a Fender, Acoustic, and Behringer fan when it comes to amps, but I seem to have found a place for Hartke along with my favorites. The Wow Factor: Powerful! Cheap! Sturdy! A must buy! Overall: This Amp is powerful! at 500 watts I had alot of people asking me to turn it down and it was only on 6! The E.Q. is really simple but I can get alot of sound out of it. The limiter does what it says and it keeps the bass from going into clip. The Brite is nice when it comes to slap bass. The head is great simple yet powerful. I have this baby hooked up to my 4 ohm Fender Rumble 410 and boy does it do its job. I love to bring out the bass and this is just what i needed.
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"great sound for the money" submitted April 28, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: hobbyist
Music Style: rock, metal, alternative, funk
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Sound: very straight forward simple amp but with great tone. I use with the 4.5xl cab and it has plenty of punch. i play a sterling music man bass and i can get the perfect slap tone that i want without any effects but i sometimes use the the zoom 9.1 to get some even better sounds. The only thing i dont like about it is there isnt much to play around with as far as eq but i use a boss eq pedal along with the zoom which also has a good eq. I recommend this amp to someone looking for the swr/hartke/GK sound if you want ampeg sound this is not the amp for you. Feature: the limiter and bright switch are pretty cool to mess around with but other than that there arent too many features. Ease of Use: plug it straight in and dial in a good eq for your sound and you will be happy Quality: its nice and heavy...has a fan filter and seems to be built very solid. Value: I think you get a lot of amp for half the price of a lot of other good sounding heads. Manufacturer Support: just got the amp not too long ago so far so good The Wow Factor: rack mount design is cool and its just a solid looking head Overall: I plan on keeping this amp until it kills over on me or i get rich then im going with mesa.
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"Great amp if your looking for something good but for a decent price." submitted May 30, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: active musician
Music Style: hard rock, metal, funk
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Sound: Very simple amp, but it does get a good sound if you know how to mess with the EQ and the EQ on your bass. I normally never use the bright especially on my musicman bass... but the limiter switch helps the sound quite a bit. I did some research and flat EQ on the amp is something like 2-10-3...so keep that in mind when you are adjusting EQ because if you start everything at 12 o'clock or "5" then you will notice how much of a treble and bass boost that is but I like it at about 6-5-4 for a 4 string bass and then for my shecter 5 string i turn the treble up to about 6. The passive and active inputs seem to make a huge difference in not only volume but sound as well. I'm running hartke cabs (4.5xl and 115xl) so its definitely a crisp, bright sound that im getting. I recommend that if you own this amp that you should get at least a good compression pedal. I bought a Boss GEB7 EQ and the Zoom b9.1 big multi-effects pedal and I can achieve any sound I want and it doesnt mess up my bass signal. Granted it takes some tweaking but once you get your sound you will love it. Feature: I wish it had speakon outputs for the cabs but oh well just run a nice thick 1/4in speaker cable and you'll be fine. I also wish there was a level knob for the direct out... but hey for what you pay for the amp its at least got an fx loop, its rack mount design, seems to have a heavy duty fan... good for the money. Ease of Use: Like I said you need to know about EQ to get the perfect sound but if you just play around with it for a lil bit and make small adjustments it makes a big difference. Quality: This is my second one. My first one fried within the first month... I dont know what went wrong... there wasnt a fuse I could find to check or replace but luckily it comes with a good warranty and zzounds let me send it back to them and they sent me another one very quickly and its been great. Value: 500 watts for this price and considering you get a good tone I think the value is great Manufacturer Support: When my first one went out I called Samson and they were pretty helpful about telling me a place I could go nearby where i live to get warranty work done. The Wow Factor: Its not a beauty queen because it doesn't have a lot of features to it but at least you can rack mount it and it does look like a professional bass rig. which i guess really it is. Overall: I wish it had a couple more features, and I was upset about my first one just going out for no particular reason but its a good amp for the money and I'm glad I bought it. I will eventually buy another bass amp head like an SWR 750x or GK700RB just because they are a lil bit more of an amp with more features, more watts, a little bit better sound shaping capabilities etc.
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"Great Sounding and Powerful Amp!" submitted June 6, 2012

By David S in Bloomfield, NJ
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Musical Background: Pro Musician, Luthier, Recording Engineer.
Music Style: Alternative, Rock, Prog Rock, Fusion, Electronica.
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Overall: I just got my LH500 today. It sounded great right out of the box, and with a little tweaking I was able to get a number of great tones. It sounds different from the solid state Hartke amps, and was a bit different from my previous amp, but I got all the tones I would use within a few minutes. It's also built like a tank, and loud as hell! Get it up around 6 and feel the floor shake! I have it pared up with my old Mesa 4X10 cab (from my 400+) but plan on getting some Hartke cabs soon. This weekend I get to try it on a gig. At this price it is a no brainer. ;)
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"Great sounding powerful head!" submitted July 1, 2012

By David S in Bloomfield, NJ
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Musical Background: Been playing professionally for 40 years. I play bass, guitar, keys.
Music Style: Alternative, progressive rock, fusion, classic rock.
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Sound: This amp has a great tone right out of the box. The volume control is a master volume after the preamp, and the tone really starts to shine when you have the volume at about 6. I leave the bright and limiter switches engaged. It has a super warm, clean tone with an amazing amount of low end. It won't get fuzzy like amps with separate gain and master volumes, but it does get a nice grind if you really dig in. Using it with one 8ohm cab gives me 350 watts. So far I have played three gigs with it, one being an outdoor party. I had more than enough clean power. Best of all, it sounds like me playing my bass, and not like what the amp sound like. If you are looking for tube sound, get this instead of some Ampeg junk. Feature: It's a simple amp, which is what I wanted. My basses have on board preamps for song to song changes. I emanated something that gave me the tone of my bass, but louder. I had been using a BlueTube pedal for some tube warmth, and this gives me that in spades. The DI works great. Ease of Use: The tone controls are mostly boost only, like on an old Fender amp, or something like the Alembic F-2B preamp. To set the amp flat, set tone controls at; bass = 3, mid = 10, treb = 2. I like to set them all at about 6-7. Quality: Seems like a solidly made amp. I took a peak inside and it's laid out neatly with a large toroidal power transformer, and the Sovtec 12AX7 is shielded, which is a nice detail. The fans are quiet. Before taking it out on gigs I picked up a Gator G-PRO-2U-19 2 unite rack case to keep it safe. Value: For the price, this is one great amp. 500 clean watts with a great sounding class A tube preamp. I may pick up an LH1000 just to have on hand. ;) Manufacturer Support: Haven't had an issue, but Larry is always very helpful on TalkBass and even gives out his own cell phone number. The Wow Factor: Everyone has been commenting on how great the amp sounds. I also have a Trace Elliot and Mesa 400+, but they stay home now. The Trace is only 150 Watts. Great sounding head, but I needed more headroom. The Mesa is 350Watts, but weighs a ton. This head gives me my sound with all the volume I need. Overall: I picked up one of these to replace the aging Trace Elliot head I have been using. I tried one out at Larry's bass lounge in NYC, and liked it. I use it with an older Mesa/Boogie 4X10 cab (with Eden speakers).
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"Left without bass amp in the middle of the gig" submitted June 12, 2014

By Dennis L in Pt St Lucie, FL
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: I have been playing live gigs since 1974, many bar band gigs, some touring and recording
Music Style: Southern rock, blues, country modern/traditional, classic rock, bluegrass and pop
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Overall: This Hartke LH500 bass head sounded terrific through my SWR 4/10 8ohm cab for 2 gigs. The 3rd gig out the amp shut down in the 2nd set, never to resonate again. Alas, I finished the job through the PA. The positive part of this experience is that ZZounds has a great return policy.
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