If you’re looking for a bass combo with some real oomph, you’ve found it. The newest addition to Hartke’s popular HD Series – the HD500 – also happens to be the most powerful. This impressive bass amp combines the convenience and portability of a compact solid-state combo, but with the power and tone of something much, much bigger. So, who’s it for and is it as impressive as first meets the eye?
Despite being an amp with hefty power and performance, the HD500 comes with a simple range of controls located on a slim panel on the top of the amp. Working from left to right, you’ll find the master volume control followed by Hartke’s innovative Shape control, before a panel offering 3-band EQ (bass, middle and treble), and the power switch. And that’s it!
Let’s talk about build – the HD500 crams a lot into a small package. In fact, looking at it, you probably wouldn’t believe that this combo offers a maximum output of 500 watts, because it comes in at under 35lbs, proving seriously portable. This power is delivered via a duo of 10” HyDrive speakers which utilizes a cone made of both paper and aluminum for a very well-balanced tone, as well as neodymium magnets which keeps things lightweight.
As we’ve touched upon, the control setup is simple but effective. These are active controls with the ability to boost or cut their respective frequencies by +/- 15 dB. The tone-enhancing Shape control is the highlight, offering the means to quickly boost the bass without upsetting your base EQ levels.
This is all housed in a robust black textured vinyl case with black grille and a sturdy carrying handle. You’ll also find a 1/8” stereo auxiliary input, an XLR output for easy connection to a sound system or recording desk, and a standard 1/4” mono headphone jack for quiet practice.
This combo amp is compact enough that it would sit in a living room or studio with no problems, while being light enough to transport to and from gigs with no issues. Of course, with great power and a pro-grade tone, gigging is something the HD500 is certainly capable of. This balanced tone is largely down to the hybrid cone design, which delivers the zing and attack of aluminum (a trait common with all Hartke amps) and the roundness and warmth of paper.
The HD500 is an impressive addition to the already solid HD Series and ticks a lot of boxes. The well-rounded tone, flexible controls and room-filling power make it an interesting prospect for any regularly gigging bassist. But add in the surprising portability and the HD500 becomes a very tough amp to pass up.