Matrix 100 Head review by Hughes & Kettner

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (13 votes)
Hughes & Kettner: Matrix 100 Head

Purchased from: Bmusic

Sound — 9
I play through it with a Jackson JS30 Dinky Floyd first using Jackson humbuckers and then through EMG 81 active humbucker pickups. The quality of all the channels (clean, crunch, lead and warp) is incredible, the quality of the sound on clean and crunch equals that of any other amp which you wouldnt think of getting for under $3000. It contains one of the best clean tones I have heard in any amp. Rivals the Mesa/Boogie Rectifier series. Lead and warp above the average standard of distortion channels in amps bought for under $1000. Lead is a great channel for doing solo's that arn't drowned out by screeching full distortion tones. Warp is Once again above the average distortion channel quality by a long shot, however for me it still leaves a bit to be desired like with any amp. I teamed it up with a Behringer V-Amp (for recording only), and a DigiTech Death Metal pedal, and this gave me a grinding distortion sound which is very rare to get in such a low price range. It gives me very little feedback, through any channel it is devoid of any sort of high gain feedback. even at high volume which you would only really use for playing live in front of a large crowd, the clean channel distorts a tiny bit, but if you change the hi, low and mid tone knobs then it is relitivley easy to correct the distortion. The amp has the ability (in my opinion) to play any style from blues/jazz to rock/heavy metal. Warp channel does not give as brutal distortion as I would like but it comes very close to it, and is easily the best distortion sound (Metallica or the like) you will get in a head in this price range.

Overall Impression — 8
I play a variety of blues and heavy metal, prodomenantly heavy metal styles though, very good match for players who like to rock hard and play crystal clear clean as well. Played with my Jackson JS30 Dinky Floyd, with EMG 81's (does not come with EMG 81's) and I play it with a variety of pedals that range from wah to distortion and a Behringer V-Amp 2 for recording, it has to be the best amplifier I have played other than a Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier. If mine was stolen, I would definitley buy this amp again, but if I had $5000 spare, then I would have to say I would go for the Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier. Great choice for people with small budgets but still want a very good quality sound output. I love it's ability to play anything like clean with chorus and reverb that sounds better than if you had a clean/chorus pedal, and being able to play brutal heavy metal tones. It was a toss up whether to buy this now, or wait a year and buy the Mesa, I went for this one because of the price difference and because it gives such a great sound that even 1 or 2 $3000+ amps don't give. I'm actually glad it dosn't have wah, because you get such a better sound through the dedicated wah peadal. To sum it up, this is the best choice of amplifier head, for anyone not wanting to spend too much bet still want to play live and record and sound like a Pro. 2nd best amplifier I have ever played.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Very durable, you could play it continuously for 5 or 6 hours at a mid range volume and it wouldn't overheat or have any difference in the sound. I can't garantuee that you would be able to play for that length of time at a high volume which you use for live peformance. A regular service would do this amp alot of good and if you ever come to resell it, then you will have a good chance of getting a large proportion of your money back from it.

Features — 8
The Hughes And Kettner Matrix 100 is one of the best amplifiers, if not "the" best you can buy for under $1000. 100 watts of power and combined with a 4X12 cab, it really moves the air. The Matrix 100 has 4 channels (clean, crunch, lead and warp) and has preset capabilities for you to save a channel with your desired tone and effects. This is one of 2 amplifiers that comes close to giving me the sound and tone I need for playing everything from heavy metal, to crystal clear sparkling clean tones. Comes with a 4 way footswitch for you to instantly change from one channel to another while playing live. Features 8 jacks at the back for footswitch, headphones, CD/line input and various FX loops and returns. The amp is good enough to take straight from the shop, to play a gig and still sound like a pro. The amps FX does give very good chorus, phaser, flanger, delay and reverb sound, but lacks any Wah, if teamed up with a good wah pedal and any other sort of pedal you might like, your basically set to play anything. It is a solid state amplifier.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    only thing I hate when it comes to reviews like these, is everyone compares it to the best out there. I wish he would have continually told about other amps in that price rather than a $5000 Mesa/ Boogie. But it sounds like a kick ass amp though for the price.
    Great ****in amp! awesome clean channel nice distortion... overall greatest trans amp i ever played
    i own this amp, for the money it's real good. but i personally think the distortion aint that good. sounds too tingy.
    XanTscia wrote: Whats the differents between the combo and the head version?
    Nothing. I owned the combo version for a while, it's the best non-modelling SS amp I've ever played, but the sound gets far too thin at gigging volumes. I certainly wouldn't take one over a quality valve amp.
    theres a second hand one of these going for 700 at my local guitar shop, ima buying it as soon as i got the money
    The fact that you actually like the Digitech Death Metal Pedal is really not something you want to put in a review...People might start discrediting your opinion....