Matrix 100w Combo review by Hughes & Kettner

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 10 (6 votes)
Hughes & Kettner: Matrix 100w Combo

Price paid: $ 240

Sound — 8
I play a Fender Telecaster through this amp, the clean channel sounds absolutely beautiful and lets the trademark Fender sparkle Shine through. One problem that I noticed with the clean and crunch channel is that at low volumes, these two channels tend to be a bit muddy with very limited treble support. However, at high volumes, it sounds like a genuine Fender tube amp. The clean channel is ideal to use with any kind of outside distortion/overdrive. With my Ibanez TS 808, there is extreme clarity in the tone (think Brian May), you can hear each individual note in a chord. With my Boss DS-1, the distorted sound is extremely thick, ideal for punk and grunge. The other three channels are very useful as well, the warp channel is ideal for a heavy nu-metal kind of sound, the crunch channel at high volumes emulate the british crunch sound of the 90s very well, and the lead channel is a very good all-around distortion channel, capable of playing both rhythm and lead lines and can be finetuned to emulate many different sounds. I find the these built in channels as well as the built in effects to be good backups to use in event of a pedalboard malfunction. Be patient when setting up the EQ, though, the EQ knobs tend to be extremely sensitive, so once you find the sweet spot, it's a good idea to take a photo of the knob positions.

Overall Impression — 9
If it were stolen or lost I would buy another one at around the same price if it were available but these amps have become a bit hard to find since Hughes And Kettner discontinued it. I have compared this amp to several others in it's price range and this amp outperforms all it's competitors both in tone and volume.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This amp is pretty much indestructible and built like a rock, since it's solidstate it won't require nearly as much servicing as tube amps, I have yet to encounter a single problem with it. It's the only amp I have and I have played several gigs with it without a backup. Also a very handy piece of equipment to have around in a studio setting.

Features — 9
This is a top of the line 100w solidstate amplifier, one 12'' speaker, completely sealed, weighs about 45 pounds. No visible defects out of the box. Four channels (Clean, Crunch, Lead, Warp), some of the channels share volume/gain/3-band eq knobs with each other, but the amp is equipped with memory technology to remember the setting so you don't have to finetune the EQ everytime a channel is changed. The amp also comes with a four button footswitch. Built in effects include delay, reverb, chorus, phaser, tremolo. Behind the amp, there are jacks to plug in headphones, extension speakers, other effects, etc. This amp is loud enough to play almost any venue, if mic'ed properly. The amp is versatile enough to play music of almost every style.

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