11 January 2008, ANAHEIM, California - NAMM stand 5776, Hall B -- As if they weren’t already setting the boutique amp market on its snobby little ears, the impishly wisecracking tone junkies at Blackheart Engineering have announced their diabolical plans to conjure up and unveil yet another classic amp design, the “Handsome Devil.” Available in two totally wicked versions – as a disembodied head (BH15H, $299.99 street price) and single 12-inch combo (BH15H-112, $399.99 street price) – the dashing ol’ Devil is a meticulous take on 15-watt, Class A amplifier designs from tube amplification’s golden era.
Designed and prototyped in a one-car garage in Austin, Texas, by non other than Russian-born amp whiz Pyotr Belov, the Handsome Devil evokes classic tube tones that are highly reminiscent of the great American and British plug-and-play workhorses that laid the foundation for rock and roll guitar tones starting in the ’60s. Just like its predecessor and little brother, the Little Giant 5, Blackheart’s Handsome Devil is overbuilt to last with features and components you’d expect to only find on a hand-built, much more expensive piece of gear.
“We truly believe that a Blackheart Engineering product may be the only lengthy and meaningful relationship you’ll ever have,” says Kevin Van Pamel, Blackheart’s official talking head and admitted corporate sellout. “If you look at the statistics on marriage, you’ve got to agree. Well, we’re not going to let you down like that. We’re in it for the long haul. You come home at night and that Blackheart’s going to be waiting there for you, as pretty as the day you met her and ready to cook.”
That might explain the simple elegance and robust component specs that mark Blackheart Engineering’s designs. From one-watt, carbon-film resistors in the signal path to a beefy, double-sided PCB with two-ounce traces, 16-gauge, precision-folded and welded chassis, and mutli-ply, classically joined cabinetry, Blackheart is as serious about quality as it is about tone.
Delivering 15 watts of RMS output power in Pentode Mode and 7 Watts in Triode Mode, the Handsome Devil is equipped with a pair of 12AX7 tubes in the preamp section, a pair of EL84s in the power amp section, and a solid-state rectifier with internal 6V – 2A rectifier tab that permits future mods with 6X4 or 5AR4 type tubes. Front panel controls include rotary “chicken head” knobs for Drive, Level (Master Volume), Treble, Middle, Bass and Presence, flip switches for On/Off and 15W/7W operation, and a brilliant red jewel Power indicator. Rear panel speaker outputs can accommodate 1x16-ohm, 2x8-ohm and 2x4-ohm setups.
Available as a compact head (9.6” H x 18” W x 9” D) or single 12-inch combo (18.6” H x 18” W x 11” D) featuring the specially designed Eminence speaker range developed by Blackheart Engineering and Eminence Speakers, you can expect to see Handsome Devils charming the pants off of retailers and musicians alike beginning in April.
The Handsome Devil, along with other new Blackheart Engineering/LOUD products for 2008, is on display in booth #5776 (Hall B) at the NAMM Convention in Anaheim, California, from January 17-20.