TubeMeister 18 Head Review

manufacturer: Hughes & Kettner date: 03/22/2015 category: Guitar Amplifiers

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Hughes & Kettner: TubeMeister 18 Head
I think this amp was a great purchase and I am really happy that I bought it. 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.
 Sound: 9.7
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 8.7
 Features: 8.7
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (3) pictures (1) 41 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
TubeMeister 18 Head Reviewed by: Giorgosm10, on august 05, 2011
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 499

Purchased from: musik-schmidt

Features: 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. // 9

Sound: 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. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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overall: 9.3
TubeMeister 18 Head Reviewed by: BradTheBluefish, on august 04, 2014
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 600

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: - 18 Watt All-Tube Amp
- 2 EL84 (Power Tubes)
- 2 12AX7 (Preamp Tubes)
- 2 Channels: Clean and Lead (+Lead Boost)
- FX Loop
- Footswitch Input (not included)
- Power Soak (18W, 5W, 1W, 0W)
- 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 complaints I hear are that there's no built-in reverb or tuner. This does not bother me the slightest as I am glad to have all the rawness of the tube amp and not have to worry about anything coloring my sound. Also... pretty sure a TC Electronic Reverb in the Effects Loop (isn't that handy) would be far better than anything Hughes & Kettner would have put in the amp. I personally have a TC Electronic Tuner in front of the amp that I highly recommend.

The other complaint would be that it does not have a headphones output, but if you connect the direct out to a USB Interface, you could always listen to your amp in that way. However, this is why I could care less about these complaints. It take very little work to resolve them. // 9

Sound: I play Foo Fighters, Yellowcard, Paramore, and a lot of other bands from the '90s to now. This amp is beyond great in getting me really shinny cleans for my love of melodic pop tunes to really dirty, crunchy tunes.

To me, this amp sounds like a Mesa Boogie but with much better cleans (what!?). It can really bring in those sounds of a dirty Marshall and a clean Fender but have it be all-in-one. I had a Fender Blues Jr. before I had enough of the loudness (no power soak) and ice pick treble. This amp seems to be able to simulate the Fender just as good but with an EQ that's more effective - like the treble cranked would get you that Fender sparkle but I keep it at 6 and get a more usable, traditional clean tone. I'll rate this as a 9 only because I wouldn't feel comfortable recommending it to boutique lovers, but I will demand they try one out. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This amp head looks really cool (though if you think it looks cheesy in the photos, I understand). However, I was a little concern about gigging with it. After doing it and using the case that it comes in, I have no worries about doing it again. I basically treat it like a video camera and with it being so small, it is easy to care for. With reliability, as long as you don't drop the amp head, you should be okay. And hey, if your cabinet ever failed on you, use the direct out which sounds great. No need for a backup. So the durability isn't a 10/10, but I would definitely rank the reliability up there. // 9

Overall Impression: For what I am doing, this is easily a 10/10. This had everything I wanted which was...

- an amp I could easily gig with and be loud enough
- has a power soak so I could get good tone at night
- has a direct out (cabinet simulation was an awesome bonus as I don't think I'll ever mic my cabinet again - that good)
- has awesome cleans and awesome distortion rather than be a one-trick pony (i.e. my previously owned Fender Blues Junior III)
- has an effects loop so I can put my effects on AFTER the tube distortion (unlike my BJ III)

If this was stolen, I would definitely buy the same amp head with the same 12" speaker (highly recommend). Maybe I would consider getting a different Hughes & Kettner setup, but I am doubtful. I can't even think of anything I would want to add to this. This is too PERFECT for me. // 10

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overall: 9
TubeMeister 18 Head Reviewed by: langstjr, on march 22, 2015
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 550

Purchased from: Mountain Music

Features: Its a pretty standard two channel amp, with a single EQ that controls both. Both channels have separate main and gain knobs to dial in your desired tone. On the back of the amp is where things get interesting. There is a selector to go from the full 18 watts, down to 5, down to 1, and even down to 0 if you plan on using the red box feature, which essentially allows you to bypass your cab and send your signal directly to your computer for recording purposes. You can bust out a mic and set it up in front of the cab, but it's not necessary. I haven't used this feature myself yet, though. It uses 2 EL84s and 2 12AX7s and the amp regulates itself to ensure both tubes are being powered equally, i.e. no bias. It also has an effects loop for your post tube-driven effects. A foot switch is included to go from the clean channel to the gain channel, and then boost the gain channel further.

The reason I give this an 8 is because it lacks separate EQ controls and on board reverb, like many other amps. With that said, the single EQ still sounds amazing and I've never tweaked it going through the different channels. Also, an onboard reverb isn't necessary either as I have all the reverb I need and more on my board. Simply finding means of being critical for anyone who wants to know the "downsides." // 8

Sound: This amp plays beautifully. I've yet to play an amp that sounds better on any channel let alone both. I can get almost any tone out of this thing that I want at any volume, without any other effects or pedals. I can get crisp, clean and loud chords to ring out or I can engage the lead channel and boost that and I can get screaming metal tones. There isn't much else to say about the overall sound, just that is absolutely perfect.

With regards to volume though, its all the more reason to dig this amp. I have two other guys on the floor of my house and when I play at 1 watt with my amp facing away from the door, they say they don't notice my playing. It is absolutely perfect for bedroom playing/practicing, because you get the tone you want and the volume you need. However, when I put it in the door, turn it up to 5 watts, and jam with my roommate, I can play with the same tone I get at 1 but at a more jam-friendly volume thats still not overpowering. The 18 is perfect for playing small gigs or just messing around too, and if you ever needed more volume, thats what the house PA is for!

I'm weary of reviews that mark things at 10, but I cant find a reason to dock this guy of any points here! // 10

Reliability & Durability: I have yet to truly test its durability, and I don't realistically intend to, but accidents happen and I'm sure this guy could take a reasonable beating. The head is solid all the way around, the knobs seem tough. The cab I got used, and it has a couple nicks on it, but it looks like its taken the paint off whatever it hit instead of the other way around. The handles on the side seem really stable and I wouldn't worry about moving the amp around at all. Plus when you do, theres a durable soft-case that comes with the head. If I ever started to genuinely take this amp everywhere playing shows, I'd likely build myself a road case, but more for the project and less the necessity. The case is tough and the amp is too. // 9

Overall Impression: I play primarily varying styles of blues and rock, and this amp hits those styles perfectly. My favourite thing to do on the clean channel is to play with the gain turned up, volume around 3 o'clock and get the amp's natural breakup. If I want more, I kick in my boost pedal, and if I want more from there I'll kick in an OD. On the dirty channel, I leave it alone. I absolutely looooove the gain channel on this amp, and I almost never kick anything else in, because it sounds so perfect on its own. If I want to play a little heavier, I kick in the lead boost, but I don't typically play that style, so when I'm on the lead channel, it's usually the only thing engaged. Not too mention, this thing is downright sexy when you hit the switch - those blue lights attract all kinds of eyes.

I'm genuinely trying to be critical of this thing, but aside from the on board reverb and separate EQs (which I wouldn't even want on this amp!) I can't think of any other reason to dock this guy of any points. This kitten purrs! // 9

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