TubeMeister 18 Head review by Hughes & Kettner

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (35 votes)
Hughes & Kettner: TubeMeister 18 Head
3

Price paid: € 499

Purchased from: musik-schmidt

Sound — 10
I use it with an Ibanez RG2550 and an SA series and it sounds just like I was expecting (awesome). I mostly play instrumental rock, Rock (Staind, Guns N Roses) and Metal (Iron Maiden, Iced Earth, Metallica). This amp can easily cover the most stuff I play, for modern metal maybe a tubescreamer can be useful but is not necesary. Cleans stay clean no mater how loud you go even at high gain settings is stays clean. When you enter the Lead channel it steel sounds clean (semi-clean) but when you turn the gain knob at around 9 oclock it starts to get a Marshall style Distortion and when you press the Lead Boost you can get insane amounts of gain and sounds like Mesa Boogie style Distortion.

Overall Impression — 9
Overall I think this amp was a great purchase and I am really happy that I bought it. I also own a Peavey JSX Mini Colossal, a Peavey Bandit 112 Solo and a Roland MicroCube. TubeMeister is much more versatile than my Mini Colossal (more gain, better cleans, more headroom). I really like how this amp looks especially at night and how it sounds and there is nothing to hate on this amp the only con is the shared EQ but is not a big issue since it sounds good on the same settings on both channels. If this amp gets stolen I would definately buy a new one again.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Well I only have this amp for a couple of days so I don't really know how reliable it is but I hope that is going to be fine. Since is being designed by German Engineers it should be ok I guess. Generally Hughes And Kettner Products are very reliable, this amp comes withs 3 years warranty.

Features — 9
Hughes And Kettner TubeMeister 18 was introduced at NAMM musikmesse 2011 and has been realesed on mid July 2011 in Germany (is going to be released during Semptember 2011 in the rest of the world). I've had this amp for a couple of days and all I have to say is that this amp sounds and looks AWESOME. This amp is one of the most versatile tube amp I ever played. It can produce from sprakling cleans to Marshall style crunch and it can even go using the Lead Boost into Mesa Boogie style distortion. Features: - 1 8Watt all tube amp (class AB/Push Pull) - 2 EL84 - 2 12AX7 - 2 Channels Clean and Lead (+Lead Boost) - FX Loop - Footswitch Input(An FS-2 Footswitch is only included with the combo) - Power Soak (Full Power (18), 5, 1, 0 (no speaker for silent recording)) - Red Box DI Out (Cabinet emulated output) - 3 band EQ (for both channels) - Master and Gain controls for each channel - 1 Speaker out (8-16 ohms) - 1 Guitar Input The only thing I wish this amp had was EQ for each channel. The 1 Watt setting is ideal for practising at bedroom volumes and 18 is good enough for some small gigs. You can always mic the amp or connect to a PA using the Red Box.

39 comments sorted by best / new / date

    LeakyFlask
    Giorgosm10 wrote: Since is being designed by German Engineers it should be ok I guess.
    Yeah, you know the germans always make good stuff.
    kaosxrocker
    LeakyFlask wrote: Yeah, you know the germans always make good stuff.
    Well played, sir.
    LesterGibson
    German designed but made in China. I want one, though I don't need it. My Koch Studiotone head is well, well, good but this H&K 18 watter looks and sounds the business
    ozzyknox
    I have been reading this thread with a lot of interest. I bought a Tubemeister 18 after reading a lot of online reviews, watching many youtube clips and testing the amp once at the shop. Well, I have had it for a week now and at the moment I am sorely disappointed. I am finding the amp to be far too bright. @Giorgosm10, you write about it having great head room, being very versatile and being able to use it for music such as Staind, GnR, Metallica etc. I am finding the sound very limited and seriously lacking in any kind of body. You also mention that it takes effects well. I am not sure if you are including extra overdrive/distortion pedals, but I have found that using extra pedals with my unit just makes everything sound fuzzy. The weird thing is that I am still failing to find a single bad review online, which leads me to think I may have a faulty product. Can anybody out there offer any input into my situation? I do plan to follow up with the shop I bought it from on Monday, but I would like as much input as I can get.
    ozzyknox
    Sorry. I forgot to say that I have noticed that the 2 preamp valves are glowing differently to one another. The left one is glowing nicely as I would expect. The right on, however, is hardly glowing at all. You have to look really close to see that it is actually burning. Do you think this may indicate a faulty valve?
    kidfixer
    edmz26 wrote: Can you please tell me where it is made from?
    The Tubemeister is assembled in China...but then again, so are Apple Macbooks!! I see people get hung up on where a product is "made", or think that if its not "made in USA", its shit. That's just not the case. Perhaps a USA-made (by hand) guitar will always be worth more because of the craftsmanship that goes into it...but that's NOT the case for electronics. If you want to buy "American" out of a sense of patriotic duty to support American jobs, that's great...but I think the automobile industry has proven that "Made In USA" does NOT mean "better quality". I'm more concerned about where its R&D team is from, and where the final QC inspection is performed. The Tubemeister is a German-designed marvel of electronic engineering, it is simply cheaper for H&K to outsource the labor. Almost EVERY electronics manufacturer outsources to East Asia. Even German auto makers found it cheaper to build the cars they were selling to Asia IN asia (BMW, Mercedes, Audi, etc) rather than export them there. Sorry for the rant...but when I simply answer "China" I always expect a reply like "Ugh, I dont want one then".
    Punisher23j
    To solve the "too muddy/trebley" stuff, you will have to replace the preamp tubes. Makes a world of difference since the stock ones are just no-brand Chinese tubes.
    Minimallamb
    Do you think this would be loud enough to play very small gigs with? I don't need any pristine clean tones (:
    BradTheBluefish
    For a cabinet, I use the Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister TM12 (60W). It use a single 12" Celestion Vintage 30 speaker, which is said to be used by Slash, Steve Stevens, and Peter Frampton according to the Celestion website.
    Giorgosm10
    JakeElson wrote: would it be good for garage rock/indie? and does it take effects well? I LOVE the blue light...!
    It does take effects well (it has an effect loop) and is a very versatile amp so you can play pretty much everything from sparkling cleans to blues to metal. Also I recommend v30s with it cause its a great combination IMO, also the original cabinet comes with v30s .
    jszy
    can you connect two 8ohm speakers cabinets in parallel to this head?
    asb9pwns
    Just bought one its amazing. Cleans sound perfect. The distortion is lacking a bit without the lead channel engaged but with a tubescreamer it makes everything better! the elad channel handles metal very well. This amp is perfect and light weight. It easily shoots over the drums. I use it with my Egnater 2x12 loaded with Celestion lead 80 speakers. It sounds like heaven.
    jarvss
    I have to conclude with ozzyknox that it's too trebly. Also the rythym sound is very muddy, no clarity. There's no compression which some may prefer, but I like to be able dig in with thr pick. For searing lead sounds it's great though. Bought one yesterday but I'm afraid its going back.
    kidfixer
    MaggaraMarine wrote: It would just need another channel with a bit more gain than the lead channel and a bit less gain than the boost..
    Or...for 30-bucks you can pick up a used Digitech Bad Monkey overdrive pedal off eBay and problem-solved. It will push the Lead channel right up there where you want it, without adding all the compression you get with the onboard Boost switch. Dont let the cheap price fool you...I've used OD pedals costing five-times as much and not experienced any better results than with the DBM for this type application. Surprisingly transparent for an inexpensive pedal.
    edmz26
    Hi Can you please tell me where it is made from? Many Thanks!
    rak101
    Just bought this amp on Friday. Every ounce of free time has been spent playing guitar. I use this with a 2007 Gibson Les Paul Standard and the two make a great pair. I think what does it for me is the fact that it's so simple, yet a 1/4 of a gain knob gives a whole different sound. I absolutely love it. 1 Watt is amazing for bedroom levels.
    falcon1439
    www.arklesselectronics.com/articles.html @ozzyknox Basically it's bad,but not necessarily the valve.
    falcon1439
    90% of the time the heater will still glow when a valve is dud. If it isn't glowing then yes it could very well be a dud but it's just as likely that you will find a problem with the heater supply to that valve.
    JakeElson
    would it be good for garage rock/indie? and does it take effects well? I LOVE the blue light...!
    Giorgosm10
    watashiwajansan wrote: Can you use the speakerout and redbox simultaneously, as in Speakercab for monitor, redbox for PA?
    Yes you can do that. And actually if you take a closer look into this review (
    ) thats what their doing(using DI and Speaker out at the same time).
    watashiwajansan
    Can you use the speakerout and redbox simultaneously, as in Speakercab for monitor, redbox for PA?
    Giorgosm10
    RobGriff wrote: Is this amp loud enough to compete with drums or play small gigs?
    Yes its designed to be loud enough for small gigs and its loud enough with drums at the 18 watt mode, but for bigger gigs you can always mic the amp or just connect it directly in a PA using the DI(redbox) output.
    Giorgosm10
    MaggaraMarine wrote: Tried this amp today. I could get a nice Van Halen tone and cleans were good too. If you don't use the boost the lead channel lacks too much gain so it has not that medium-overdrive sound. Just high gain or clean. But I liked its sound. It would just need another channel with a bit more gain than the lead channel and a bit less gain than the boost. I tried it with a Jackson RR and some Squier Strat. Yeah and it looks very cool. And the sound wasn't really different when I tried the three different power modes.
    Well its still a Tube amp so if you want nice marshall tones you have to crank it up using the lead channel(without boost). I ve noticed that if you use the 5 or 18watt mode you get much better tones, especially if you want to get an overdriven(marshall) sound.
    MaggaraMarine
    Tried this amp today. I could get a nice Van Halen tone and cleans were good too. If you don't use the boost the lead channel lacks too much gain so it has not that medium-overdrive sound. Just high gain or clean. But I liked its sound. It would just need another channel with a bit more gain than the lead channel and a bit less gain than the boost. I tried it with a Jackson RR and some Squier Strat. Yeah and it looks very cool. And the sound wasn't really different when I tried the three different power modes.
    nido
    in the youtube demos Ive heard it sounds more on the british side.Would love to hear it full gain doing some metalcore or metal riffs A/B ed with a boost.
    RR3tran
    denday831 wrote: I don't know if I'm attracted to this because of the Price, the XLR out, the tubes or the pretty blue lights. I want one though!
    Agreed. Mesa level distortion for 499 quid? Sign me up.
    denday831
    I don't know if I'm attracted to this because of the Price, the XLR out, the tubes or the pretty blue lights. I want one though!
    Giorgosm10
    Minimallamb wrote: Do you think this would be loud enough to play very small gigs with? I don't need any pristine clean tones (:
    Yeah you should be fine, 18 watts on a tube amp are pretty loud. Also at high volumes you can get even better tones. I ve tried this amp at 18 watts and the volume was lower than 50% and my room was shaking.
    Giorgosm10
    Glass Prisoner wrote: So you definitely think this amp can do metal well? It looks great, and I think it would be perfect for me but my main qualm was about the level of distortion it can produce since I've only seen blues/rock demos. And is it good for singing leads a la Joe Satriani or David Gilmour? Great review, though. Very informative.
    When your using the Lead boost you can definitely get great tones for metal,JS and David Gilmour. Btw I have 4 clips on my profile check them out if you want. 3 of them have been recorded using the Redbox at 0 watt mode(two of them are JS songs) and the other one was recorded using a Canon 7D (DSLR camera).Unfortunetely I dont have a proper mic so the recording its just to give you a general idea, but for metal it sounds very punchy at the 18 watts you can get even better sounds but you might have an argument with your neighbours.
    Glass Prisoner
    So you definitely think this amp can do metal well? It looks great, and I think it would be perfect for me but my main qualm was about the level of distortion it can produce since I've only seen blues/rock demos. And is it good for singing leads a la Joe Satriani or David Gilmour? Great review, though. Very informative.