Matrix 100 Head review by Hughes & Kettner

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (13 votes)
Hughes & Kettner: Matrix 100 Head

Price paid: $ 570

Purchased from: Niel's Guitars and Amps, Sydney

Sound — 9
I am currently playing on a Squier Bullet Strat (which is probably the worst guitar that you can possibly buy right now), but I have to say, this amp totally makes up for it. The clean channel sounds great, especially with a little reverb and the chorus effect. At high volumes it can get a little distorted, which is sometimes annoying, and sometimes cool. The crunch channel gives a very authentic crunch for a non-tube amp. It's excellent for blues and the like, but crank up the distortion knob and you can start getting a great grunge tone. The lead channel offers high distortion and will handle a broad range of styles, from progressive metal to indy, pop, brit rock and punk, and most things in between. With the distortion all the way up on this channel you can almost get a good 80s thrash metal tone, but not quite. The warp channel is very very cool indeed. It is similar to the lead channel in the amount of distortion that you get, but a lot warmer, and very dark in comparison. It is meant to be played with the distortion knob turned as far as it will go, and puts out crushingly heavy rhythm and palm muting, while at the same time silky smooth leads. Despite all the distortion, every note is still clearly defined. This channel is near perfect for any death metal and metalcore fans out there, however it is not versatile enough to put out the classic thrash metal rhythm tone that I was hoping for when I bought this amp. I play all styles of music, but mostly death metal (Lamb Of God, In Flames, Arch Enemy), MetalCore (Bullet for My valentine) and thrash metal (Metallica, Machine Head, Trivium) and other metal. This amp can give decent tones for all of those bands, however is somewhat lacking I feel in the thrash department (the lead channel doesn't give enough distortion for that stuff, and the warp channel is too progressive in it's sound). All that said, this is without a doubt the best sounding non-tube amp I've ever played, and easily beats everything else within it's price range.

Overall Impression — 9
Overall, I think this is an excellent amp. For me, this amp has all the necessary features and effects and more, plus it has enough power so that If I ever decide to go gigging I wouldn't have to use another amp. Comparing this to my old amp (a Squier) is almost impossible, the difference is just too huge. I am happy that it can provide tone for just about all the bands I like to play, and even if my style changes in the future it will follow me wherever I go. It's got heaps of options and space to play around with the tone, so I can create my own personal ones. Without a doubt my favourite features of this amp are the effects saving function, and the channel-switch footpedal. Together these make life so much easier. A great buy, thanks Hughes And Kettner!

Reliability & Durability — 10
Because this amp is completely free of tubes, it never needs to be re-biased or have tubes replaced, and has little risk of complete faliure. Which is great for those Who are often hard pressed for time (most of us, eh). I've only had this amp a couple of months, but so far it's worked absolutely perfectly. As far as I know, the guy Who owned it before me had no problems with it either. I would feel very confident using this amp Live, because that's really what it was designed to be used for.

Features — 10
My Matrix 100 Head is the 2007 model. I bought it second hand from my local guitar shop along with a 4x12 cab for just over the price of the new head by itself. It is a solid state, 100 watt amp with 4 channels: clean, crunch, lead, warp. It has an effects loop with three effects: chorus, flange and tremolo, plus delay and reverb controls. The amp automatically saves the settings for a particular channel once you dial them in, so you can go to a different channel and change the effects settings, but still have the same sound when you come back. There is one bass/mid/treb equaliser for the clean channel, and one for the distortion channels. Each channel has a volume control, and there is a distortion level control for the crunch channel and another for the lead/warp channels, and finally a master volume knob. On the back of the head there are two speaker outputs (minimum impendance 8 ohms), a line-in for CD/mp3 players etc, a headphone jack, fx send+return for any other effects pedals you might want to use, and an fx on/off plug. This amp also came with a pedal which plugs in at the back, allowing you to Switch between the four channels without touching the amp itself. Really cool for Live playing! Overall, this amp has all the features I could ever want and more in an amp of this price.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    im paying mine off atm but im able to take it home and for the price it blows alot of others away. and it comes with the neat little pedal to switch from 3types of gain to the impressive clean. Love it, wouldnt have any other but if i was able to save up more at the time id buy maybe a mesa markIV, maybe
    Should I buy the MATRIX 100 combo or a Roland 60 Cube? I play metal, alot of thrash and such, and these two amps are the ones I've been looking for now, since they are both pretty cheap. I could possibly get the MATRIX for pretty much 350 and the Cube for maybe less than 300.
    I don't think they make the MATRIX 100 any more; they have this 'ATTAX 100' on the Hughes & Kettner site and it seems to be a clone of it. - Why they had to change the name I don't know. MVL.
    they had problems with the foot pedal not selecting the right channels or something, they stopped making the Matrix in like 2006/7 I can't remember. But all they've done is more or less take it, fix it, re-brand it and hope people still buy it
    I have just the cab. i find all solid state heads useless for live performance. i have a tubed peavey jsx to give that tight tone, while the cab pumps out the tone at high volume with lots of headroom.
    Used the combo version for a year or so, ok live until recently, when the channels began changing at random on stage (great to have the clean channel switch on mid-solo!). Now stays only on clean, with or without footswitch use, so repair is unavoidable. Crunch channel not bad when working, but lead is a little thin sounding. Think I will buy something simpler, with less on board effects next time. Just so you know, in case you're thinking of buying one. It's probably why they changed the name.