TC Electronic RH750 & Blacksmith

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FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS, TC ELECtronic has been hard at work providing innovative amps and speaker cabinets for players across a variety of genres. Perhaps most popular among players has been the company’s RH series, with its sleek digital interface and lightweight chassis. Our Danish bass friends haven’t been resting on that success, it seems, as evidenced by their new RH750 and Blacksmith heads.

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BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING When Jonathan Herrera reviewed the RH450 for BP back in May 2009, he gave it a solid thumbs up, providing just one pointed criticism—it needed more power. Someone must have been listening, because the RH750 adds a beefy 300 watts to its 450-watt little brother.

The chassis of the amp is perfectly sized for schlepping around in a gig bag, and it’s solidly built, with sturdy feet on both the bottom and the side for varied placement. The amp is a little heavier than the average Class D head, but the RH750’s handle makes it feel lighter than its 8.8 lbs. Plugged in, the amp delivers the same quality tone as its sibling: punchy and full-bodied, with ample low end. Though I tend to take a “set it and forget it” approach to dialing in my amp tone, I found it hard to resist utilizing the RH’s memory feature, a slick system that involves setting your desired EQ curve and then pressing and holding any of those knobs for a moment to lock the setting. The RH750’s onboard chromatic tuner is equally intuitive.

Along with the conventional back-panel jacks (LINE OUT, PRE/POST SWITCH, INSERT, SPEAKER OUT, HEADPHONES), the RH750 includes an AES/EBU digital out that allows players to record straight to a digital audio workstation. The RH750 also features an RCA AUX IN jack for playing along with a CD or mp3 player. However, plugging into this jack mutes the speaker output, making it useful only with headphones.

FORGING AHEAD The word “blacksmith” typically conjures up an image of some muscled, soot-covered medieval man standing over a crimson fl ame with hammer in hand. It’s a traditional image of strength and power, and the one that came to mind when I plugged the burly Blacksmith head into an Aguilar DB 4x12 cabinet, turned the GAIN and MASTER controls to about three-quarters, and hit a low B on my Fender V. (I’m fairly certain I set off a few neighborhood car alarms.) In a word, the Blacksmith is loud. Really loud.

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The Blacksmith chassis is relatively large, but at only 26.5 lbs, the head is easy to cart around, especially via the convenient front handles. Its interface is the same as the RH series, with a few exceptions: the frontpanel LEDs are white (not red), and the back panel is scaled down a bit, offering a record-ready DIGITAL OUT, EFFECT LOOP, REMOTE IN (to allow foot control switching between presets), a LOAD IN toggle, and LINE DRIVER OUT. By virtue of the Blacksmith’s being made in Denmark (the RH series is made in Thailand), the Blacksmith carries a higher price tag. For the money, though, this amp offers a lot of bang for the buck.

Both of these amps from TC Electronic offer players a familiar interface, but with more power—lots more power in the case of the Blacksmith. Those looking for an amp for small to mid-size gigs would likely fi nd that the RH750 provides plenty of power. For those stadium giants who want to move serious air, the Blacksmith gives you a single amp with the power to play at levels that not long ago was only possible through custom gear.

TC ELECTRONIC RH750
Street $999
Pros A necessary power enhancement to a top-rate amp
Cons Aux-in mutes speaker, making it useful only with headphones

TC ELECTRONIC BLACKSMITH
Street $2,595
Pros Superhero-level power in a lightweight package
Cons None

TECH SPECS
RH750
Power amp topography Class D
Power output 750 watts
Controls BASS, LOW MID, HIGH MID, TREBLE, SPECTRACOMP, TWEETER TONE, TUBE TONE
Compression Multi-band
User memories 3 user-defined presets
Tuner Chromatic
Output Balanced XLR out
Dimensions 2.5” x 10.5” x 11.25”
Weight 8.8 lbs

Made in Thailand
Warranty Two years
Contacttcelectronic.com

BLACKSMITH
Power output 1,600 watts
Controls BASS, LOW MID, HIGH MID, TREBLE, SPECTRACOMP, TWEETER TONE, TUBE TONE
Compression Multi-band
User memories Three user-defined presets
Tuner Chromatic
Output Balanced XLR out
Dimensions 19” x 16.2” x 7”
Weight 26.5 lbs

Made in Denmark
Warranty Two years
Contacttcelectronic.com

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