Blackheart

Blackheart

Welcome to my Blackheart page.

UPDATE: 15th June 2012 – It would seem that Blackheart Engineering is no longer trading.  The amps left in stock are starting to go on sale to clear them, and some items are now totally out of stock with the distributers.  The BH112 extension speaker cab is one item I know is no longer in stock with the UK distributer. 

Aparently the UK distributer are now shipping the Ampeg tube amps instead of the Blackheart units.  Get yourself a good deal if you can on any that are left in stock.

Also, as of a few days ago the Blackheart Engineering web site is also down, and looks like it’s not coming back.  I will leave this page here for future reference, and for as long as people are still visiting it.

UPDATE: 29th December 2012 – It now seems the Blackheart Engineering website it back up.  A quick domain registration check confirms that it was last updated in July 2012, so it looks like BHs site was down for a month, and will need renewing June 2014.  

Visit my Flickr page for photos of my mods and inside the amps. Click Here

Here is my current BH5H mods Guide V2

BH5 stock schematic

BH5H PCB layout

BH5H PCB TOP

BH5H PCB BOTTOM

Pyotr Belov BH5H PA Input MOD

Pyotr Belov BH5H Boost Footswitch MOD

BH5H Latest MODs Schem

BH5H FX LOOP MOD

BH5H Tube Rectifier Schematic

BH5H Permanent PA Mod for POD Input

BH15 and BH15H Schematic

BLACKHEART BH1 Schematic

More info

As well as having a BH5H, I also have a BH1H, but the mods I’ve done are the Ant Eater mod by Bitmo Mods, including the line out mod. You can then connect the line out to the guitar input on the BH5H for some more gain stages which seem to give a more dynamic tone, and can give some more gain. you will need a dummy load to connect to the BH1H’s speaker output. Bitmo also sells a kit for an attenuator which includes a dummy load.

Below there’s info about modifying the following on the BH5H:

•Adding a tube rectifier
•Minor modifications to slightly enhance the amps tone
•Boost Footswitch mod
•FX Loop mod (can be used as a non permanent Power amp mod by using the return jack only)

Blackheart permanent PA modded BH5H demo (with POD for amp simulations)

This is my BH5H with the permanent PA mod (since removed, and no longer advised. Use FX return instead), and JJ/Tesla EL84 and ECC83S tubes. the cab, a BH112, has a Celestion Seventy 80 to replace the eminence (I no longer use the 70/80). see the tones page on this site for my X3L tone that I used for this demo. The guitar used is a stock Epiphone Les Paul Black Beauty, and no post processing was done on the sound. I used a Thomann T.Bone MB-85BETA mic, which is a Shure SM57/58 copy. The sound you hear for me talking is recorded through the camera microphone, and this is faded to the amp mic when I’m playing. It was all recorded in Sonoma Riffworks Standard (that’s where the drums came from). The sound on this video is about 95% what you hear in real life. and as I’m new to recording amps with mics, I think I’ve done a good job… maybe with post processing it would be a little closer to what you hear in real life, but I didn’t want to change the sound. As you can hear, it’s very good anyway… so if you like it recorded, you’ll definitely like it in real life!

Tube Rectifier modification info

Pyotr Belov (the designer of the Valve Junior and Blackheart Amps) emailed me with an explanation of a MOD for a tube rectifier. Here’s what he said(when talking about the BH5H’s PCB):

“There is a PAD named TR. It stands for tube rectifier.
If you do a Tube/Solid State rectifier mod by switching the HV AC taps between SS and pin 4 and pin 6 of the tube rectifier (using a DPDT switch) the wire from pin 8 of your 5Y3, 5V4 or 5AR4 can be cleanly connected to the High Voltage trace.”

I personally used a GZ34 rectifier (which is the equivalent to one of the above). The schematic is listed on the right.

To my ears the Tube Rectifier makes the distortion a little dirtier and less defined. So it would be suited more to classic rock and distorted blues. Metal players may prefer the more defined distortion created by the Solid State rectifier.

Like I said… these amps were designed with modifying in mind, so they even put in a pre labelled pad to connect the tube rectifier on the stock PCB! Great guy, and a great amp!

PODs with the BH5H

As you’re probably aware, from the rest of this website… I use a lot of Line 6 gear, and especially their PODs. At the moment I’m mostly using their flagship POD, the X3 Live. The best way to use a POD is to amplify it with something that wont colour it’s sound at all (or very much), so studio monitors or a PA system is usually best. But sometimes they give out a sound that’s too harsh because of the high frequency drivers in PA speakers. Now when thinking about using a tube amp to amplify your POD, most people shout ‘ATOMIC REACTOR 50WATT’ and I do too (I have a 1×12 Atomic 50 watt) which uses 6L6GC tubes and a specially designed speaker by eminence to keep everything sounding very neutral. They do a great job of taking any harsh edge off the POD’s digital simulations of amps (although the X3L is very true to the real amps anyway). The problem is that before PODs I was a Marshall man, so as the only Atomic with EL84’s has now been discontinued, I thought I’d try this amp.

Basically this is a no frills amp. It does what it says on the tin, and does it well!… that said, I’m not really after a standard tube amp, so I opted to modify it so that it’s a good low power tube amp for a POD, and it works really well! so well that it sounds nearly as good as my atomic! but not as loud! Just use a more neutral speaker like the Celestion 70/80 or G12K-100 for more bass (I prefer the G12K now) and the FX return of the FX loop mod. see the guide below.

Here is my current BH5H mods Guide V2

Here’s a thread on the old Line6 forum where I discuss how to use the BH5H with a POD. As the old forum isn’t alive any more I’ve copied it here: BH5H PA MOD info

Gear List – 5 watt Class A and associated gear

Blackheart BH5H
Modified to run higher gain by replacing the resistor before the first gain stage. See above for more mod info on this amp.

Epiphone Valve Junior / Plexi SE
Modded with a Hammond 125ESE, and I have used a turretboard for twin 12AX7 preamp tubes from Watts Tube Audio and I drilled tha chassis and fitted an octal socket for a 6V6 valve, and then used the Plexi SE schematic and parts list from Guitar Amplifier PCBs. I also got a custom faceplate from BNP Lasers and used the faceplate template provided in the previous link to Guitar Amplifier PCB’s, but I had a Matte black anodized aluminium / dull gray laser mark plate and not the traditional gold ‘plexi’ panel.

Blackheart BH112 cab (closed back 1×12) with Eminence Man-O-War 16ohm fitted. This is the equivalent of a Celestion G12T75.

Epiphone Valve Junior 1×12 cab with Eminence Governor 16ohm fitted. This is the equivalent of a Celestion Vintage 30.

The information and schematics on this page, and contained on this site are for educational purposes only, and I accept no liability for damage to property or injury/death to person(s) caused by anyone using information and/or schematics from this site. Also your warranty will be void if anyone other than a Crate/LOUD Technologies service centre service your amp. I am in no way affiliated with Blackheart Engineering.

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