Hughes and KettnerTubemeister 36 Head

I've owned this amp for about 18 months, in this time I've used it for large weddings, small pub gigs, practice studio rehearsals and playing/recording at home, so my review is well-seasoned and covers all common scenarios. No its not for sale.

Why did I buy it?

I wanted a 3 channel amplifier as I don't usually use drive pedals.

I wanted something with built-in attenuation to achieve decent tones at varying volumes.

I wanted a very portable amplifier.

It was second hand and a good deal!

Key Features
  • 3 channels; Clean has its own EQ, Crunch & Lead have common EQ
  • FX loop, Reverb, a 4-stage attenuator and built-in RedBox DI
  • Footswitchable channel changing, reverb on/off and fx loop on/off
  • Midi controllable
  • Tube Safety Control (self biasing, tube protection)
  • Comes with a very cool carrying bag

The Channels:

The Clean channel can shimmer with sparkling cleans, or wind up to break up a little.

The Crunch channel can offer smooth sustains like a clean channel being pushed, or AC/DC crunch, right up to Foo Fighters gain-levels

The Lead channel picks up where the Crunch left off; starting at Foo Fighters and finishing at full-on screaming solos with ludicrous sustain, I tend to not venture past 7/10 on the gain for even the most saturated screaming nonsense.

The Attenuator and RedBox DI

This amp's party-piece is the attenuator combined with the RedBox DI.

At full power this amp is 36 watts. this can be notched down to 18w, 5w, 1w or 0w (yes!)

In the real world this means I can get fairly similar tones at any given volume, in any scenario.

Couple this with the RedBox DI and I can record direct into my computer full-on tube tone, with headphones, at 2am without waking anyone. Equally useful is the ability to run my guitar through the PA and use a cabinet as a stage-monitor without having to be too loud.

The Other Features

Reverb -  it's ok. Nothing amazing, fills the dead-space, stops things sounding cold.

FX Loop - Nothing exciting, switchable which is useful I guess? I've never bothered, though I have scared myself by leaving it 'on' but not having anything plugged in which meant my amp was silent.

TSC - Tube Safety Control - this is brilliant. No biasing, and the system will shut off a pair of power tubes if one fails, so you'll lose some volume but can still play!

MIDI - Never used it, can't comment other than knowing that you can use it to control channel, attenuation, reverb and fx loop.

Output - The head has one output rated 8-16 ohm, which is a bit annoying as it requires either cabinets with piggy-back out, or other solutions like Palmer Cab Merger, which I am using.

Overall this is a brilliant amp for me, and gets more play than my Mesa Express. I'd recommend it to any musician who needs a portable gigging or recording amplifier

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