Hartke 5500C Reviews4.5/5.0 based on 1 customer review
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from Byron, GA
June 30, 2011Music Background:
Hartke 5500CI bought this head after not being overly satisfied with the GK-MB210 combo (which has the MB-500 head in it). I really look for that lower mid "growl" as part of my signature sound and, despite the reputation, the GK just didn't deliver. So I took a chance with the Hartke 5500C.
And am I ever glad I did. This head is outstanding.
I played the 3500 version of this head at a local music store and liked the tone, but 350 watts just wasn't enough for some of the medium to larger sized bars my band plays, so I went with the 5500. The head has a great array of features without being over-complicated. To me, the best features are 1) The tube and solid state preamp 2) the 10-band EQ and 3) built in compressor. The preamps really allow you to shape your tone. The tube section has a warm, crunch type feel and the solid-state section has a deep, smooth tone. The EQ allows you to dial in any sound imaginable from motown soul type bass to the hard grinding tones of heavy metal. The amp really shines in the "growl" department I previously mentioned - crank the tube preamp section and the low mids and you have a simply outstanding rock tone. The compressor is a must - this amp is very powerful. It simultaneously prevents speaker damage, clipping, and volume peaks while adding that much needed "punch" to your tone that really allows you to cut through the mix. For those of you that are looking for the low frequencies that rumble the audience's guts, the amp has a low pass contour that really brings out the notes that are more "felt" than heard - if you crank the low pass, this bad boy thunders.
The only drawback is the highs. At louder volumes, they can be a tad harsh, but the high pass contour switch allows you to fix that. You can completely remove all treble from the mix, if you so desire.
Overall, this is undoubtedly the best bass amp I have ever owned. The head has so much natural tone, it can make even a crappy instrument sound great. I plugged in an old starter Yamaha bass with dead strings that was lying around and this head made the thing sound like a Warwick!
If you are looking for an amp that can provide loads of power and a multitude of different tones, the Hartke 5500c is hands-down the best choice in this price point. This bad boy blows some $1000 heads I've played out of the water. Go for it! You won't regret it.