NAD - Hotone Legacy Nano Heart Attack (and review)

cybermgk

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K, I really didn't need this. Happy with my current ampage. But this was on the Bay, with a Best offer accepted, new, and they took my $90 offer.

So, I have a new amp.

Specs
✪ Sound inspired by Legendary Mesa Boogie Rectifier*
✪ 5w Class AB Amplifier Head
✪ Extremely compact configuration for portability
✪ High quality tone with Volume and Gain controls
✪ 3 Band EQ controls for shaping your tone
✪ Speaker out can automatically fit cabinets of different impedances (4-16Ω)
✪ FX LOOP for using external effects
✪ Headphone output jack is very convenient for practicing and recording
✪ Aux In jack can let you play with an external music player
✪ 18V DC power supply (Adapter included)
✪ Power Output: 5 Watts
✪ Dimensions: 128mm (W) x 75mm (D) x 59.5mm (H)
✪ Weight: 440 g

Heart Attack - Hotone

Feels very solid. Knobs turn with quite a bit of resistance, but feel smooth. It is SMALL. Fits in my palm.

This is definitely a one trick pony. You really can't get a decent clean tone out of it. In fact, you have to put the gain all the way off, AND roll the volume nob on the guitar back a bit to not have any breakup. And then. it is fairly dull, lifeless and muddy, no matter the EQ.

But, it is not meant for that. It is meant to be a high gain amp. And, on that it delivers pretty darn well. I was very pleasantly surprised by the tone AND the feel. The amp sounds pretty darn good. Fits right in that Classic metal/Hard rock to modern metal and hard rock tonal areas.

I haven't had much Rectifier experience. Played one twice for 15-30 minutes, and of course youtube. Hits pretty close to some of the driven tone of the Mesa. Definitely in the same vein, bit of that sizzle. There is a little of that SS buzziness as it gets cranked more and more on the gain, but it is much better than a lot of SS and modeler amps out there, imho. And, they make it fairly into that Mesa sizzle.

It has a surprisingly tube like tone, and a little of the feel. What surprised me the most, pleasantly was the responsiveness. Really responds well to pick attack change, rolling off the volume and was amazingly easy to get pinch harmonics. I was also, very surprised by the string seperation through the amp. Chords didn't mush, but you could hear each string fairly well.

Overall, through my 1x12 and 4x12, this amp sounded more than good enough to gig with, for the right music genres. Also recordable if mic'ing the cab.

EQ works, but the knobs are so small, you have to just move them a little, and it is more sweep on the pot than you would think. They effect enough change that I can easily dial in some really bad tone to sweet spot with the cab used.

The Line out/Headphone tap sounds like arse though. Ugh, by itself, almost unuseable. I used a cheap ADA speaker emulation box, and that made it passable tone through headphones. Not great, or even good, but useable.

Was also very quiet amp, and took a Zoom MS70 Chorus/Delay/Reverb, Hum Debugger and Boss Fender 63 Verb pedal very well in the built-in loop.

I've played worse sounding amps, that cost a lot more. It is a one trick pony, but it does that one trick pretty darn well. Sounds easily as good, a little better than most amp sims I've used. Sounds as good as some better pedals through a clean amp, and almost as good as my Blackstar ID:60 TVP. Provides very nice, mesa-ish low gain to very high gain tone, at home levels. Just not REAL versatile. Though with the gain down, and volume rolled back a bit can get some Bluesy crunch as well.

I'd give it a B/B+, for the quality of that one trick compared to all amps in general. For the price, its an easy A.

The MP3 and Vid on Hotone's site, linked above is pretty darn accurate. I actually think it has more, though fairly tight, bottom end and fatness to the tone, than shown.

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EndGame00

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I have the Purple Rain (Plexi-derivative).... I can get some decent-enough tone if I push the master volume up to 7... It definitely has that usual SS-dullness to it, almost comparable to the old Rocktron Rampage amp... then again, I never intended to use it to band practice... I bought it for my office during breaks to kill time.... This is a loud amp for a 5-watt SS....
 

cybermgk

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Hmm, Loud? The Heart Attack is about as loud as my Peavey tube VK II Microhead at the 1 watt setting, same CAB. I pretty much had the volume at 7-9 while I tried it out.
 

EndGame00

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I plugged mine to a 1x12 with WGS Retro 30, set the volume at 7... I thought it was pretty loud, for all its intents and purposes.... I have a few complaints: They could re-tweak the frequencies on the bass and mids on the Purple Rain... The bass sounds undefined when volume is cranked all the way.. the mids gets nasally around 8 on the dial.... The "plexi crunch" was alright, almost like a bone-stock 1959 SLP.

The mini amp is perfect for killing time at the office... I really don't want to bring my low-watt tube amp.

I'd probably get the "British Invasion" (Vox AC30) just for shit n' giggles.
 

cybermgk

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I plugged mine to a 1x12 with WGS Retro 30, set the volume at 7... They could re-tweak the frequencies on the bass and mids on the Purple Rain... the mids gets nasally around 8 on the dial....

I find that Mids issue, an issue with the Retro 30 itself actually. Did the same thing with my Rivera and Marshall amps. Its sitting in a box now.

I wasn't sold by the Purple rain Vids online, little more by the Brit invasion, but liked the Heart Attack vids. Ergo, I have that. And, as I said, as long as your playing crunchy and dirty, it sounds pretty good.
 

ScottMarlowe

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This is by far the best sounding of the Hotones I've heard. The others all have a kind of harsh solid state quality at all volumes that this one seems to avoid.
 

cybermgk

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This is by far the best sounding of the Hotones I've heard. The others all have a kind of harsh solid state quality at all volumes that this one seems to avoid.

I agree. I do think it gave away a lot of versatility to do that, though.
 

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