The TC Electronic RH450 Bass Amp Head has a lot to like
Good afternoon everyone! How’s Monday going for you so far? You know, us here at PAL believe that the best way for players to get the most out of their gear is by getting the low down on all of the important specifics and features of their favorite products. Through our several tutorials, features, reviews and our brand new forums – which you can check out right here – we try to make ProAudioLand not just a source for the best gear at the best prices but as a landing zone for mastering your skills along with plenty of help finding that signature tone. Whether you need help on finding that perfect set of pickups for a specific style or want to kill some time reading up on some of music’s biggest headlines – the PAL blog has you covered!
And yet another way we like to give back is through our very popular monthly giveaways. It seems as if this year alone we’ve given away half a dozen guitars, plenty of effects pedals and even a few amps to boot. Just last month we gave 13 lucky winners their own pair of Aerial7 headphones! And of course, there’s no purchase necessary to get in on these giveaways. This month, we’re closing out the year the right way by offering all those who apply a chance to win a TC Electronic RH450 bass amp so if you haven’t entered just yet – what are you waiting for! Hit this link to enter for a chance to win! Alright, so now that you’ve singed up, it’s time to play that old waiting game but in the meantime, let’s get a closer look at the RH450 and why this is definitely a bass amp that deserves your attention. Who knows, even if you don’t win, you might decide it’s still well worth the investment! Let’s get started.
A Closer Look at the RH450
The TC Electronic RH450 bass amplifier head is the company's first full bass rig and from the looks of it, they’re starting off on the right foot. The RH450 comes packing 450 watts of Class-D power and is potent enough to run multiple bass speaker cabinets, especially those made by TC Electronic themselves – naturally – such as the RS210 and RS212 cabs. Did I say multiple? Because by multiple I meant this baby can run up to three cabinets simultaneously which should be more than enough for bass players who aren’t playing to sold out crowds at, let’s say, Madison Square Garden. From my own time with the product, I can firmly tell you that the RH450 packs enough juice so that you’ll have tons of volume on hand without getting anywhere close to its full setting.
Among the most important features on this amp head include an input that accepts passive or active instruments, 4 semi-parametric tone controls (more on that in a bit) with light rings around each knob that make your settings visible even on those dimly lit stages, along with tone centers that can be adjusted. Other notable features include a built-in tuner that is precise and extremely easy to use, especially if you’re like me and hate eating up time on stage just as much as I hate playing out of tune. Honestly, I’m not sure why integrated tuners aren’t standard on these things. Another great feature that should help performance-minded musicians is its three user-memory locations which let you store your favorite setups for quick recall.
You might not use presets, but maybe it’s simply because you've never had the chance. Anyone who's used different basses on stage knows that a few user memories on your amp would be welcome. With the RH450 you can easily switch between, for example, your 4- and 5-string. Just plug in the bass and use the car-radio-style Store and Recall controls to easily switch between presets for your chosen model. There are 3 bass user memories, remote control access via the RC4 Control (which is actually sold separately) and visual indicators for Mute and the Tuner.
Although it might look a bit complicated at first sight, the RH450 bass amp head has straightforward controls like you know them from traditional amps but voiced to give you plenty of tweaking options and enough sensitivity to nail down that perfect tone. For most bassists out there, these controls are probably all they’re going to need but if you’re one of those audiophiles that aren’t satisfied with the defaults, the RH450 gives you the option to change the focus of each of the tone controls, thereby greatly expanding the range of sounds possible. The technical term for this is ‘semi-parametric’ bands which work by tweaking the “hidden parameters” of your sound to a pinpoint frequency that lets you do anything from removing or boosting each tone control which can then be saved in the settings. All this spells huge control over your sound – down to the tee.
The Details in the Sound
As far as sound goes, a ‘TubeTone’ circuit affects both the preamp and the output for realistic tube-amp character which should please plenty of bassists looking for that old school signature sound. Most transistor designs have tried to replicate tube sound using one small preamp tube but they generally fail since they don't take into account the crucial characteristics of the full preamp and power amp sections—both of which are essential to the sound. This is where the TubeTone comes in; emulating all characteristics to deliver the full tube sound!
And keeping in line with another technical sounding but made-up term, ‘SpectraComp’ technology provides multi-band compression that luckily is even across all strings – I can’t tell you how annoying it is when it’s not. The input/output on the RH450 is comprehensive and includes an AES/EBU connection, a standard in digital audio connection which means that you can hook this up straight to your favorite DAW programs such as the popular Pro Tools. Presets, Mute, and Tuner can be selected remotely with the RC4 floor controller but unfortunately, it’s sold separately.
We all know playing any instrument on its own can be a little dull after a while but everyone needs time to practice which is why like any good modern amp, combo or head, the RH450 has rehearsal inputs! This rear panel-mounted feature allows you to plug in your iPod, phone, computer or MP3 player via the supplied mini-jack to RCA cable adapter for easy practicing and playing along with recorded music. The headphone amp is a high quality model taken straight from TC Electronic's Studio Konnekt 48 and includes a speaker filter on the bass signal.
All in all, the RH450 from TC Electronic is built for bass players by bass players and draws upon decades of cutting-edge amp design and signal processing experience. When these guys put out a press release saying that the RH450 was an amp system with “no compromise,” it was easy to dismiss it as overhyping the product but after taking a closer look, it does enough of the important things right that we can let that pass. And hey, you never know, you might actually be winning one of these by the end of the month! But in case you aren’t too keen on your chance at winning the giveaway or simply want one of these bad boys asap, you can check out the RH450’s product page right here. And one last thing: Good luck to those of you who have entered!
- Rear-mounted rehearsal inputs for MP3 player or computer via supplied mini-jack-to-RCA adapter
- Headphone amp includes a speaker filter on the bass signal
- Integrated tuner provides full-resolution tuner with light ring to help you tune up quickly and accurately
- RC4 allows easy remote access to integrated tuner (RC4 sold separately)
- Mute button lets you tune up without disturbing others
- Onboard user memory banks let you easily switch between presets for your ideal tone choices—3 memory banks, remote control access via RC4 pedal (sold separately), and visual indicators for mute and tuner
- Bass, Low-Mid, High-Mid, Treble tone controls
- Semi-parametric bands for all 4 tone controls, letting you adjust the focus of each band
- TubeTone control acts on both preamp and power amp, reproducing genuine preamp tone
- SpectraComp technology for multi-band compression that evens out the compression across all strings