TC Electronic ups the power on its award-winning RH450 amp.
|Download Example 1
Jazz Bass, Bridge Pickup; Slight Low Mid Boost; slight boost in Spectracomp
|Download Example 2
Jazz Bass, Both Pickups; Slight Low Mid Boost
|Download Example 3
|Download Example 4
P-Bass, Slight Low Mid Boost; High Mid Boost; Tubetone set at 11 o'clock
Something Old, Something New
Those who are familiar with TC Electronic’s RH450 will certainly recognize the similar exterior on the RH750. The curved steel chassis contains a built-in handle— very convenient for quick transportation. Its friendly design also allows the player to set the amp in a horizontal or vertical position.
The front panel is packed with useful features like a chromatic tuner, semi-parametric equalization, and a multi-band compressor (which doubles as a high-end attenuator). TC Electronic also includes Tubetone—a tube simulator that recreates the sound of preamp and power tubes. Above the dials are control buttons that allow the user to navigate between the functions of the RH750, mute the signal, and save their settings.
TC Electronic was just as thoughtful with the rear panel as it was with the front. The Speaker Out accepts speakON or 1/4" jacks, but it may be used without a speaker load. They moved the headphone input from the front panel to the back, incorporating a mini jack instead of a 1/4" jack. Using the mini jack disables the signal to the Speaker Out, so that the user can isolate their tone via headphones. In this mode, the RH750 can be a practice amp, since the Aux In can also be utilized to feed an audio source through the headphones. Below the Phones jack is a Remote In, which connects the RH750 to a footswitch (sold separately) for quick access to the memory settings and tuner. Those who record frequently will find the Digital Out beneficial, for it optimizes the bass signal to be sent to Pro Tools, or any other digital audio workstations. The Insert jacks double as an effects loop or linking other RH750 units for more power. The tour ends with a transformer balanced DI.
The RS cabinet series takes on a different approach to speaker design. TC Electronic believes that stacking their 2x10, 2x12, and 1x12 cabinets vertically provides players the ability to hear themselves while adequately dispersing their sound.
The look of these cabinets boasts a rugged, yet modern styling. The rectangular shape consists of 18 mm plywood with rounded hardwood corners. Instead of carpeted or vinyl coverings for their cabs, TC Electronic utilizes a “skid-free” surface treatment, a material similar to polyurethane truck bed linings.
The RS cabinets are loaded with custom Eminence drivers, with a coaxial driver on the top to manage the high frequencies.
The first thing to notice when powering up this amp is the tuner display, which stays in perpetual operation while the amp is in use. Pressing the Mute button converts the Bass knob into a pitch indicator for increased precision.
The semi-parametric EQ section is designed for both tweakers and purists. The factory set frequencies address most tonal issues, but a push of the Shift button provides players the option to adjust the center frequency for all four tone controls.
There are three features that really stand out on the RH750. The Spectracomp is a solid compressor for slappers, or those who desire more sustain in their sound. The Tubetone is pretty accurate in its intentions, and it is one of the better tube emulators on the market. The Memory buttons are very useful, particularly for bassists who require different settings for their pickups or instruments.
The RH750 has some great qualities, but there are some minor concerns. The LEDs that indicate knob positioning are great for dark stages, but I question how well will they will hold up for the long-term. If TC Electronic trusts the LEDs, they may be better suited on the Master control. The plastic Input jack held up well during testing, but I felt somewhat leery about the durability.
Running With The RH750
To gauge the sound of this mighty amp, I compared the RH750 with class D amplifiers from a variety of other brands. All amps were paired with a variety of cabinets, including the RS212.
Contrasted with its counterparts, the RH750 has a strong midrange presence with solid lows and smooth highs. These characteristics were beneficial in live settings, and fellow soundmen lauded at how well it sat in the mix. I appreciated the ease of adjusting the EQ settings with my different basses, and storing those settings with the memory buttons was invaluable when switching instruments at a gig.
Players who favor their bridge pickup will enjoy the RH750. It enhanced the barks and bumps of my 1964 J bass, and delivered harmonics with plenty of clarity. Slappers may find the highs a little shy, but “glassiness” can be attained with a few tweaks of the Treble knob.
The dark tones of a Nash P bass came out smoothly through the RH750 and the RS212. I had fun manipulating the Tubetone, exhuming a bit of old-school flavor. Maxing out the aforementioned knob created some burly overdrive.
Combined with my Fishman-equipped upright, it had strong low-mid presence, yet it was not quite as responsive as other amps in its class. Even with the Spectracomp turned up, it felt like every time I would play higher passages, the sound would get lost. It also lacked in producing the “wood” of my bass, but this certainly may not be the case for other uprights and pickups.
I was very impressed with the volume. Rated at 750 watts at 4Ω, it held its sonic ground against rock ensembles and big bands. Rarely was it necessary go past 12 o’clock on the Master control.
The RS212 was a smooth sounding cabinet, though it was not the deepest or brightest of the bunch—but adding another cabinet resolved the need for some additional lows. Those who dislike tweeters will appreciate how the coaxial driver delivers the highs, and adjusting the Tweetertone excels at enhancing high frequency content. The RS212 handled a Stingray’s low B adequately, but it struggled a bit when pushed to louder volumes.
TC Electronic has created a series of amplifiers and cabinets that have the most important needs of the bassist in mind. Their thoughtful designs are great for players on the go, and their unique cabinets allow the user to easily hear their instrument while playing with an ensemble. Its tonal character may not be for every bassist, but those who desire more modern sounds may like its personality. If you are looking for a clean tone and a unit that is loaded with features, the TC Electronic RH750 and RS212 are worth the audition.
you like warm, modern tones and built-in bells and whistles.
you like old-school tone, or a less processed sound.
Street RH750 $999 RS212 $599 - TC Electronic - tcelectronic.com