Harley Benton Mighty-15TH Test

Harley Benton Mighty-15TH Test


Harley Benton Mighty-15TH Test


The Harley Benton Mighty-15TH is a tube amp for very little money. Not even 250 euros are due for a class A amp with master volume in a solid metal housing, and if you don't want to do without tube power at home or want to take a portable amplifier to band rehearsals and sessions, you could have fun with this small metal box.


But this amplifier could also be used for recordings or other occasions where the volume does not have to be blatantly high. Of course, the prerequisite is that the sound is right, and the following test should find that out.


Metal is popular for the case, because the Mighty-15TH comes in a steel robe, painted black on the sides and on the control panel, only the front and back are decorated with a gray grid plate that allows a glimpse of the inner workings. And there you will find two 12AX7 tubes in the preamp and two EL84 provide steam in the power amp. The latter delivers an output of 15 watts, which can also be reduced to 7 watts using a switch on the control panel. There is also an indicator tube inside that provides information about the status and level (gain) of the preamp.


 The two green bars deflect strongly when the signal is more distorted, and correspondingly less with less distortion. This tube has no effect on the sound but is a good and smart alternative to the status LED on the control panel, which is therefore not needed with this amp. 

Harley Benton Mighty-15TH Test


However, this variant can also lead to confusion if nothing lights up immediately after switching on. You only see the readiness for operation when the tubes glow. The amplifier can be transported with the foldable carrying handle - also made of metal, but with a rubberized border - in a relaxed and well-balanced manner, with a weight of 5.8 kg that's not so dramatic. In order to keep the heat development inside the amp within limits, various ventilation slots have also been incorporated into the housing on the top and sides. The underside is equipped with four large rubber feet on which the amp has a secure and non-slip hold on smooth surfaces.

control panel 


The amplifier is equipped with a Class A circuit and designed as a single channel with master volume. All control and switching options are located on the control panel, and they are clearly structured and manageable: gain and volume control the degree of distortion and the overall volume, for a little more gain the boost switch next to the input socket can be activated. A three-band tone control with bass, middle and treble is available for adjusting the timbre, and that's it - simple, straightforward and without frills. Small chickenhead buttons were used for the controls, the pots themselves make a solid impression, nothing wobbles here and everything looks very stable and roadworthy. At such a low price I have had devices with wobbly potentiometers here and there, switches or loose sockets, but that is actually not the case here. As far as processing is concerned, the amp makes a very good impression. On the far right you will find the power and standby switches. In standby mode, the switch is in the middle, if you tilt it down, 15 watts of power are output, and the reduced power of 7 watts is announced upwards.

Harley Benton Mighty-15TH Test


Rear Panel/Connectors


The remaining connections are on the back, and these are three speaker-out jack sockets to which the following cab combinations can be connected: 1×8Ω, 1×16Ω, 2×16Ω. This is followed by the connection for the cold device cable - effects loop-in path or foot switch connection are not announced here. Of course it would be nice to control the boost function with a foot switch, but that's not possible with the pricing.


Of course, the first question with a 15-watt amp is always whether it's loud enough. The answer: Yes, it is! As far as sound pressure is concerned, the difference between 15 watts and 7 watts is of course rather unspectacular. At 15 watts, the amp is a bit louder than in 7-watt mode, but most importantly it has a bit more headroom and doesn't drive into power amp distortion as quickly. You get that more in 7-watt mode.

For recording, the Mighty-15TH is paired with a Universal Audio OXconnected, the signal from the OX then goes directly to the hard disk. The basic sound with the medium setting of the tone control is very balanced and warm, the highs are not as strong as, for example, with a Fender or Vox amp in a neutral setting. 

With a gain below 12, the tone with single coil pickups remains undistorted, with humbuckers a slight overdrive with a smoky tone is generated. It continues with the distorted sounds, and the gain control has reached the 1 p.m. mark. The boost function adds a subtle level of distortion, which I think could be a bit more. The response to the touch dynamics is okay and with the volume control on the guitar, the degree of distortion can be reduced even with high gain settings. The degree of distortion and the type of distortion sound can also be set very well with gain and volume - the preamp distortion via gain and the power amp distortion starts at 3 p.m. with volume settings. In the fourth example, you hear the different sounds first preamp distortion with gain at 3 and volume at 12. Then the whole thing is reversed and finally gains volume at 3.


The bandwidth in the degree of distortion on the amp ranges from clean to the robust mid-gain board, and a lot can be adjusted with that. Viewed under the acoustic magnifying glass, the Mighty-15TH sounds a bit dull as far as the timbre is concerned, the highs don't pearl excessively and the low frequencies sometimes get a bit muddy, and the distorted sound sometimes sounds a bit sticky. But in fairness, don't lose sight of the price tag, which is notoriously hard to expect for a boutique amp. Seen in this way, it cuts a fine figure and also gets along very well with all kinds of effect pedals. Here you can spice up the slightly colorless sound with a few character pedals, which would definitely be my preferred area of ​​application: set the amp to reasonably clean, treble turn it up a little further slightly reduce the mids and finally bring some color into play with a distortion pedal.

Harley Benton Mighty-15TH Test

Conclusion


The Harley Benton Mighty-15TH convinces as a no-frills tube amp in lunch-box format. The amplifier comes in a solid metal housing, clean workmanship, with a class A tube circuit and power attenuator. The latter throttles the 15 watt amp down to 7 watts and offers power amp saturation at a moderate volume. The amplifier is definitely suitable for the rehearsal room, but the clean reserves are not very high, which is completely normal with this power. The amp can be used to create classic rock sounds up to the middle distortion board á la AC/DC or similar sounds, but you have to make a few compromises in terms of sound. The Mighty-15TH looks a bit colorless, which is also due to the low price. But he gets along very well with effect devices and cuts a consistently official figure in combination with them.

Technical specifications
  • Manufacturer: Harley Benton
  • Model: Mighty 15TH
  • Type: tube amp head
  • Output power: 15 watts
  • Tube assembly: 2x 12AX7 (preamp), 2x EL84 (power amp), 6E2 (indicator tube)
  • Panel Controls: Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, Volume
  • Control Panel Switches: Boost, 7W/15W/Standby, Power
  • Connections: Input (Front), 3x SpeakerOut (1×16Ω, 1×8Ω, 2×16Ω), Mains In
  • Dimensions: 350 x 162 x 162 mm (W x H x D)
  • Weight: 5.8kg
  • Selling price: 229.00 euros (October 2020)

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