TubeMeister 5 Head review by Hughes & Kettner

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.8 (13 votes)
Hughes & Kettner: TubeMeister 5 Head

Price paid: $ 299

Purchased from: Ebay

Features — 9
This is a pretty simple straight up 5 watt tube amp. Simple 1 12ax7 in the pre and a 12bh7 power tube. Its nice and compact, awesomeally made, and amazingly portable with incredible tone. More on the tone later though. Aesthetically, this thing looks amazing, specially with low lights, the blue led is killer and the drive glows red when dirty channel is selected (a lot of amps do this but the contrast with the blue really makes it pop). You're given an amazing EQ that is really responsive to the setting and how you have the master and gain settings set. Very, very interactive with one another, and as a plus you get a redbox DI built right into this, for great cab emulation without having to shell out another 100 bucks.  And you get a sweet carrying case for it... Not too shabby in this dep't. One thing I wish though is that it had an fx loop or a footswitchable drive channel, thre might be mods for this but I haven't taken my time to look. Those are the only things that make this category get A9 instead of a perfect 10.

Sound — 10
My playing style really varies, I've been playing for 8 years, started with metal, moved to core, back to metal, went to folk and blues to worship and ambient guitar. So I don't just play one style, and this head can handle it all.

This amp is clean and sparkly, the headroom on this tiny 5 watt amp is ridiculous, you would think that on an amp this small anything past 12 o'clock would just start to break up, but that not the case, and the sound just shines through literally. The tone on this thing is pristine, I would play this thing pedal free if I didn't like playing with delays and reverbs, it's amazing. It's clear and you can hear every note ring through. The variety of tones you can produce form this are amazing, going from Fender to Vox with just the simple turn of the eq's. I love playing with a warmer tone, and this just produces that tone that I've been looking for, completely blows my bigger Valveking and Fender straight out of the water.

The drive channel on this is also amazing, really, and I mean REALLY, responsive to your pick attack, turn the gain up and master down, and you can play chords with very little break up if you wanted too, just play harder to get that rich tube overdrive whenever the time calls for soaring leads. AND ANOTHER PLUS! This amps drive keeps the same clarity as its clean channel, it doesn't get muddy or muffled at all! The tone this amp produces is just awesome, plain and simple.

Reliability & Durability — 10
For being about the size of a chihuahua, this thing is built like a tank, a solid 8 pounds-ish, with durable stainless steel handles on either end to carry. The knobs and the switches all feel like they're made of quality materials, and have nice play to them. I think the glass might scratch over time, and maybe cool blue lights might fail over the years. But all the important things, like knobs, switches, controls, red box, it all feels like its built to last at least one eternity if not two.

Overall Impression — 10
I am thoroughly impressed with this little guy, I was afraid at first (bought it without playing one) because I wasn't sure this would be able to handle a live setting, but this handles it perfectly and then some. I play through my jet city cab (which by the way is a steal for the price) and I can hear myself over the drums perfectly, using that as a monitor and using the built in red box to feed to the pa during morning church services. The headroom this has, the amazing tone it provided, the defined overdrive that it gives and the versatility that this head provides just punched me in the face. I would buy this again in a heartbeat if it was stolen, but not without trying to track down the person the stole it lol. You can't go wrong with this amp, IMHO.

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