Price paid: € 90
Purchased from: second-hand
Features — 10
The Hughes & Kettner Edition Silver was marketed as a closed-back 50W solid-state combo amp that delivers tube-like sounds for an affordable price made in Germany. The amp has 2 channels CLEAN and LEAD with a shared 3-band EQ, Master volume and a spring reverb. Comes with one guitar input, LINE IN and LINE OUT, 2 RCA connectors for connecting a CD player or any other external player to jam along (a bit obsolete) and a PHONES input for headphones. The clean channel has a separate volume, the lead has gain and volume. The amp has a 12" Celestion speaker. This model has been discontinued in the mid 2000's and and now replaced by the Chinese made Edition Blue series.
Sound — 9
The first time I learned about this amp was at a hip-hop/contemporary jazz concert where the guitarist who is a buddy of mine played his noname/homemade strat through a H&K amp. I wasn't really familiar with the brand, and the fact that usually heavy metal players prefer it didn't really make me curious about it. However when I first heard this amp I thought it was some $$$$ worth all-tube combo. I was blown away by the rich and clear sounds it produced. I spent the next week trying to identify that particular model. Finally I found a used one and I am more than happy with it.
I play blues, rock and some jazz with a FSR Fender Tele and an Epiphone Sheraton II. Before this amp I tried and used many different amps (Fender Frontman 212, Fender Excelsior, Peavey Bandit) both solid-state and tube, and I have to say this is the best solid-state amp I ever heard. The OD channel is an average SS sound, a bit too heavy for my taste. The clean channel is where this amp really shines. It delivers crystalline Fender-like cleans with a surprisingly tube-like response and distortion on higher volumes. If you set the clean channels volume above 12 o'clock you get a really tasty crunch tone ideal for softer rock or blues (depending on the pickup selection). Set it to 5 o'clock and you get a decent tube distortion. The onboard spring reverb is nothing special, obviously you won't get that splashy '60s surf sound, but it's way better than any digital/modelling unit I heard so far (e.g. Transtube Bandit). If you want to play any genre where you need lots of reverb, I suggest you use a reverb tank or a pedal. This amp really like single-coil pups, with my FSR Tele it gives that classic twangy tele sound. It handles humbuckers really nicely as well. With the Sheraton you get mellower clean blues sounds with a rich texture or if you tweak the EQ and the guitar's tone pots a bit, a nice warm jazz sound. You get a much bigger sound than you would expect from an amp like this.
All in all, this amp is ideal for players who like (and understand) the tube-sound but don't want spend a thousand dollars on decent sounding tube amp. This little amp really has a beautiful clean sound which beats many combos with a much more terrifying price tag. I give only a 9 because the Lead channel is literally useless for me.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This thing was built to last. I know what I'm talking about as I currently own a Chinese made Peavey Transtube Bandit as well. The Bandit looks so cheap next the Edition Silver. The previous owner had it for 10 years and he already bought it second-hand, but there is not a single scratch on the amp. The pots are really good quality, they are not too easy nor too hard to adjust. Despite the fact that it is "only" a 50W SS amp I would definitely gig with this beauty without a backup. Not not loud enough? Mic it or use the line out... You will not be disappointed!
Overall Impression — 10
After owning many amps I did not like (or deserve) I have to say that finally I found the best amp for my taste. This little thing beats many top brand in it's category. If it were stolen I would definitely try to get another one. Before buying this I was thinking about going for the newer Edition Blue series, but a sales executive at H&K convinced me that the Edition Silver beats the Blue in many aspects.
Many of you would say that a 50W SS can only be used as a practice amp... Well maybe, if you are used to Marshall stacks. For me, this is the ideal rehearsal and gigging equipment. Bang for the buck. Don't believe it? Try it.