Matrix 100 Head Review

manufacturer: Hughes & Kettner date: 04/15/2011 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Hughes & Kettner: Matrix 100 Head
It provides all must-have sounds and effects, from clean to blues, rock to warp and back! Matrix delivers the sinfully sweet tone that has turned Hughes & Kettner into a household name for many pro players -? these babies even have plenty of stage-compatible power built-in.
 Sound: 7.3
 Overall Impression: 7
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Features: 9
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reviews (3) pictures (1) 19 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.5
Matrix 100 Head Reviewed by: hammers, on march 17, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Bmusic

Features: 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. // 8

Sound: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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overall: 9.5
Matrix 100 Head Reviewed by: avezy, on december 27, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 570

Purchased from: Niel's Guitars and Amps, Sydney

Features: 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. // 10

Sound: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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! // 9

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overall: 6.3
Matrix 100 Head Reviewed by: unregistered, on april 15, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 250

Purchased from: Music Go Round

Features: The Hughes & Kettner Matrix is a four channel, 100 Watt solid state head. I believe they made them from 2005-2007 or so before replacing them with the Attax series. I purchased this amp used in early February, 2011. The four footswitchable channels (a 4 button Switch is included w/amp) are Clean, Crunch, Lead, and Warp. The amp is meant to cover all bases style wise; I personally am mostly a metal player, thrash & alt-metal mainly, though I do make forays into blues-rock and alt-rock. Allegedly the Warp channel was designed for my style; I'll get into whether or not it succeeds later. The Clean channel has it's own EQ, while the three dirt channels all share the same EQ. This is a limiting factor in spite of the claims in the amp's literature that the three channels are voiced to sound good on any shared settings. A second set of EQ controls or even a footswitchable built-in graphic EQ would have been better. Each channel has its own volume control in addition to a master volume, which allows for excellent volume control. It's very easy to get bedroom volumes with this amp. There are several built in effects: Chorus, Flanger, Tremelo, Delay, & Reverb. These effects settings automatically save for each channel, which is very nice . The delay & modulation effects can be separately footswitched by hooking up a standard one or two button footswitch to the dedicated jack on the back. Lastly, there is a series FX loop and a headphone jack. // 9

Sound: My guitar collection currently consists of three dual-humbucker models: a 2009 Jackson DK2T with Duncan JB & Jazz humbuckers, a 2003 Ibanez SZ520 (all stock), and a 2010 Epiphone Les Paul Custom Ebony that currently has a GFS Crunchy PAT in the bridge (blecch, worse than stock in some ways) & the stock PU in the neck (both soon to be replaced by a JB/Jazz set). The amp head is being run through a Marshall MC212 with low-end Celestion speakers. We'll go channel by channel starting with the clean. The clean channel has a fair amount of bass & midrange on tap. For a shimmery clean sound, I keep both at or under 5 while cranking the treble. Even then the clean channel seems to lack a little bit of glassiness. It's certainly usable though, very full and nice sounding with a touch of reverb & chorus. Those looking for glassy Fender-esque cleans may want to look elsewhere though. There seems to be plenty of headroom here. The Crunch channel goes from a light bluesy crunch up to a Black-Sabbath-esque sludge. This channel definitely seems voiced to mimic a mid to late sixties british tube amp. Like the clean channel, it lacks a bit of clarity & sheen on the high end, making it less than ideal for lightly distorted chord-comping a-la Hendrix or Vaughan. This channel works much better when slamming hard rock power chords in the vein of Zeppelin or AC/DC. The Lead channel is loaded with treble and upper-mids while the low end is suppressed. They were going for a 1980's JCM 800 sound here obviously. The crunch is a bit fuzzy & buzzy sounding; not as meaty as I would like. The gain on tap here is pretty high, enough to get into classic metal and even thrash territory. However, it isn't that great a tone. Even though the low end is de-emphasized, what lows are there lack definition. Therefore the tone is a somewhat unpleasant blend of shrill highs and muddly, gutless lows. The Warp channel is the opposite of the Lead channel. You are immediately hit by a wall of low mids in the 400k range. This, combined with the additional gain available, makes for a very heavy sound. Once again, however, the lack of high end-definition rears it's ugly head, making for a muddy sounds with the huge low-end only worsening the effect. This channel is the best of the three Drive channels for my needs, but that isn't saying a lot at this point. While heavy, the sounds lack the sizzle on the high end and the definition on the low end to allow for tight, crunchy palm mutes. Overall, like the rest of the amp, the sound is somewhat messy & muddled. The effects are decent. The chorus sounds very nice on the clean channel. The flanger & tremelo are okay, but I rarely use them. The delay is okay, but the number of repeats is not adjustable, which is very limiting. The reverb is average. // 4

Reliability & Durability: Given that the amp is solid state, it should be plenty reliable. I've not run into any real problems in the relatively short time I've had it, though it did lose the effects settings once, which was odd. // 8

Overall Impression: On paper, this seems like a great amp for rock and metal, which is right up my alley. In practice, it misses the mark for me. Granted, the cab I'm using isn't great either, but even with a seven band EQ in the loop, I could not achieve the well-defined, heavy/crunchy tone that I prefer. I've been through more than a few amps in my 13 years of playing, and while not the worst, this was definitely a disappointment. At the store, I tried numerous lower-end Randall heads. They all seemed to have minor defects & were a mixed bag, sound wise. I was pretty frustrated by the time I tried the Matrix, which may have contributed to my errant purchase. After two months, I have given up on it altogether and will be selling it soon. Let it be known that this is not a solid state bash-fest here. I for one have a soft-spot for well done solid-state gain circuits. While a high-gain tube amp is the ideal for a gigging guitarist, the cheap thrills provided by a decent solid state amp can be a lot of fun for a hobby player like myself. I have a Roland Cube 15X that I love to use for practice. It is a no-frills crunch fest. Obviously the sound is small and cheesy compared to a Mesa Dual Rectifier, but for low volume playing it gets the job done. It gets much closer to what I want then the Matrix, but is obviously useless in any sort of Jam situation with a band. Oh well, the search continues. // 4

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