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4 Year Asurion Musical Instrument Accident Protection Planfrom Asurion, LLC
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Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 18 - 18W Tube Head with Redbox
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- Channels: 2
- Power: 18 Watts
- Footswitch/Stageboard: FS-2 optional
- Dimensions: 356 x 156 x 150 mm
- Weight: 5 kg
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|Item Dimensions||6.14 x 14.02 x 5.91 in||6.18 x 17.91 x 12.68 in||21.65 x 13.38 x 12.2 in||9.15 x 17.55 x 7.77 in||12.08 x 23.75 x 18.62 in||8.75 x 14.75 x 17.5 in|
The Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 18 Head guitar amplifier is packed to the brim with tube-tone goodness and a few surprises. Powered by two EL84 power tubes, the 2-channel TubeMeister 18 Head dishes out everything from full, warm clean tones to high-gain leads and crunchy rhythms. You can change the power output of this amp to 18W, 5W, 1W, or no speaker at all. Besides the Clean and Lead channels you get a footswitchable Boost mode that re-voices the Lead channel to kick in some high-gain mayhem with tons of punch and sustain. Talk about flexible! The integrated Red Box DI gives you big 4 x 12" cabinet emulation directly to your mixing or recording board. If you want an amp that pretty much does it all, then grab a Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 18 Head guitar amp and start rockin' out today!
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I like the fact that the Clean channel has a Gain knob. Between that and the switchable power, this makes it easy to attain a smooth clean sound, or get a nice power section overdrive.
The OD channel has gobs of gain, enough, I dare say, to play some types of Metal music. Yet, playing with it's Gain knob down and the volume cranked still produces some sweet tones for blues and rock. Now, I loaned this amp to a co-worker, who remarked it sounded like a Marshall. To me, you could coax a Marshall-esque tone from it, but it doesn't have a Marshall vibe to me. This amp, to my ear, has more of an open sound, smooth, punchy cleans, and broad, spongy, crunch on the OD channel. It doesn't seem to have that tight, compressed tone that many other modern amps have.
All in all, I'm very happy with this amp. I appreciate the fact it comes with a protective bag, which I utilize to keep it clean and dust free since I don't play it often. If you're looking for an amp head that has tonal characteristics like those I just entailed, this amp may be for you.
As others have said the gain on the dirty channel probably isn't going to work if you are into super heavy metal. Maybe an overdrive pedal will fix that. The clean channel sparkles and is worth the price of admission.
All-tube amps can create some sounds that still can't be faithfully replicated with DSPs or software--yet. The Tubemeister 18 seems able to do the gamut from basic warm and clean all the way to rich, saturated, compressed full throttle. a pair of 12AX7s in the preamp and a pair of EL84s for the power stage work in concert with a massive output transformer to deliver exactly what you'd want from an all-tube amp. The built-in attenuator/soak and the Redbox line output really set the Hughes and Kettner amps apart from the rest. Those features allow you to harness the device's output how ever you like and with next to no complication.
I experimented with many combinations of master volume and gain on each of the two channels and was easily able to dial-in many great sounds, but one in particular-- the smooth, violin/saxophone-type sound of a power stage distortion-- was easier to for me to attain with the Tubemeister than it had been with any other amp or signal processor. The recipe for that sound? Boost engaged, lead master volume up all the way, lead gain about 20% (9 o'clock) and somewhere between 5-6 in my (humbucking-equipped) guitar's volume and about 4 on my guitar's tone control. Even the neck pickup (normally my least favorite for lead tone) sounds fantastic-- both full humbucking or even tapped down to single coil-- no other signal processor, analog or digital or even tube amp, has ever been able to get me to actually like the sound of a neck pickup for leads.
The EQ on the Tubemeister is useful, though probably not what you're used to compared to other tube heads. The variations in tone from the treble, mid, and bass controls are quite subtle-- no real extremes to dial-up from any of them. Speaking for the Redbox output, I suggest planning on some kind of EQ between that and whatever you'll be using to record or amplify it: the Tubemeister's tone controls are a bit too subtle to be all you'll need before trying to make the amp's line output sound exactly the way you'll want it to sound.
Even when pushed to the edge, the Tubemeister really lets the natural sound of your guitar through with surprising fidelity. I can hear all of the subtle differences between hollowbody and solid, single coil and humbucker, flatwound and roundwound strings when each are plugged into the Tubemeister at any gain setting. This amp reminds me why so many guitarists still prefer tube amps while players of other instruments seem to have left them behind.
The value of the TM18 is outstanding. You get an all-tube class AB amp with EL84s in the power section, an attenuator with 4 output levels (all the way down to zero, unlike many attenuators), an effects loop, and a direct line out (cabinet voiced) that is POST power amp rather than just a preamp out. You get all of this for under $600. Probably about $1000 of stuff if you bought these items separately.
How can they offer all of this for such a great price? It's manufactured in a place where components and labor cost very little -- China. But unlike some other designed-in-Germany, made-in-China music gear, the TM18 exudes quality in its design, components, workmanship, and materials. Fit and finish on mine are FLAWLESS-- even the gig bag (where they could have cheaped-out for a little extra profit) is superb quality. Hughes and Kettner seem to want to preserve their name by maintaining quality even at a very low price. Kudos to them. They have earned my repeat business and ensured that the anyone who asks me what I think of their stuff will get an accurate and extremely positive reply.
Like the sound of a tube amp? Need versatility? Get this. You won't regret it.
The TM 18 sounds even better with new Electroharmonix preamp and Mullard power tubes installed-- an easy upgrade with great, immediate refinement in tone and responsiveness.