TC Electronic’s BH250 bass amp was a truly innovative piece of gear. A lightweight, full-featured micro bass head with an onboard tuner and the company’s TonePrint technology for loading signature effects from a roster of world-class players and experts. Perhaps its streamlined controls made some players long for just a little bit more while maintaining the portability and usability of the amp, and a little more power never goes astray. How about bumping it up to 800 watts?
THE 800 CLUB
That’s what’s going on with the BH800. It’s an 800 watt bass head that continues the spirit of the BH250, but with a few extra features that add up to a lot more usability and functionality. For instance, where the BH250 only had bass, middle and treble tone controls, the BH800 has bass, lo-mid, hi-mid and treble. Where the BH250 had a two-position gain switch for optimising the input stage for either passive or active pickups, the BH800 has a gain knob so you can dial in the perfect amount of input power. Where the BH250 had a TonePrint control, the BH800 has two, giving you access to a wide range of effects including Chorus, Flanger, Vibrato, Octaver (a Sub’n’Up octaver, which can give you an octave down or and octave up and can add dirt if you want it), SpectraComp (the same multi-band compressor that you’ll find in the Blacksmith) and BassDrive (designed for tube-like character). The built-in tuner is always on, giving you a clear read-out whether you’re in tune or not, and it’s designed to cater to everything up to six-string basses.
Around the back you’ll find a balanced XLR output with a pre/post EQ switch, a headphone out, which automatically mutes the speaker, an auxiliary in for rehearsing with tracks, a USB jack for loading TonePrints, a footswitch jack for hooking up a Switch 3 pedal and then finally a speaker out (class 2 wiring, 4 ohm minimum load). TC recommends using any two RS series cabinets (1x12, 2x10, 2x12, or 4x10), any two BC series cabinets (2x10 or 2x12), or the BC410cabinet with four 10” speakers and a tweeter.
ALL THE TONE THAT’S FIT TO PRINT
This is an ultra-flexible amp which can do everything from soft and gentle to loud and raucous. Whether you play jazz, funk, R&B, country, blues, rock, punk, metal, it’s all in there. The clean sounds are especially nice, running the gamut from deep, subby rumbles to punchy, edgy thumps. It seemed equally happy with active or passive pickups, although the BassDrive TonePrints seemed especially happy with passives especially when really pushing the gain. The available RH800-specific TonePrints are by Duff McKagan, Nathan East, Richard Bona, Victor Wooten, Roscoe Beck, Janek Gwizdale and Henrik Linde and they cover everything from subtle chorus to much more ourtageous tones like Gwizdala’s ‘Family of Rats’. A lively flanger effect that manages to sound space-age and musical at the same time.
THE BOTTOM END
If you’re into more organic and dirty sounds, then you might find three or four really great tones in here that you’ll use a lot. If you’re into a million different sounds, with a great majority of them clean or peppered with studio-quality effects, there’s a never-ending stream of them lurking within the BH800. This could either be a great ‘here’s my sound’ amp for set-and-forgetters or an all-in-one tone solution for those who never want to stop finding cool sounds.
Hits and Misses
Handy gain control
Tuner isn’t chromatic
No FX loop
TonePrint - For a world of signature effects.
Intelligently contoured tone controls.