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Microphone Month 3

Hughes & Kettner GrandMeister 36 Tube Head Reviews

5.0 stars based on 21 customer reviews
  • from Ohio April 3, 2016Music Background:
    working musician

    As Grand as it gets!

    I'll start by saying sadly , I did not purchase this here. Only because I was on a limited budget and found
    A b- stock. Which is always a risk! But, I know the service here would have been second to non.
    Non the less, I just want to say Wow! This amp is what I've been waiting to see someone with a brain cell
    Put together! And that was H&K. Them Germans know there business! My only grips with this amp
    We're the tubes. They put in a pretty low grade of tube. With much experimenting , I found the sound
    I liked with this amp with the tubes. I found some nos RFT German tubes( German again)for the pre amp tubes. And new Chryogenic TAD el84-Str 's for the output tubes! And this baby cleaned up really nice,no ice pik and no phis. I tried the pedal board and it's nice and works out of the box. But, I opted to use a midi buddy which I already own. If you want stomp box then there board is the way to go. For me it's for presets. Which I can double on my midi buddy. The units fx are simple to se and a re very clean! Are there better fx out there? Of course but, when you consider the ez of set up and for your most general use, the effects sound fine to my ears. And setting up is such a breeze. I don't want to spend my life being a programmer. I'm a guitar player! Thank you very much! And so, I had the Kemper and while it can do things this can't. The programming is just way too extensive on any of the modelers. This amp,theres
    Simple set,save and your done. You can tweek on the fly with the turn of a knob and hit save. What is more simple than that. Not to mention that this is the real deal not an imitation. Being able to swap tubes
    To get the feel and tone I desire is something to behold. Do yourself and skip the me too modeler and
    Get this amp! It can cover alot of ground! I love it!

  • from Apopka, Florida March 11, 2016Music Background:
    Over 50 years in Rock

    Grandmeister 36

    After playing over 35 plus amps over 50 years, this has been the best amp and so easy to dial in. You've got to try it to understand what you've been missing. And Sweetwater has the best staff. Matt always takes care of anything I order and even my guitars I buy from Sweetwater are playable right outta the box. They continue to excell in customer service.
    Thanks for the Amp....I need to look no further.

  • from Charlotte March 4, 2016


    I was going to give this amp 4 stars because H&K needs to upgrade the tubes they put in these amps, but from what I can see that is the only shortcoming of this head. And the way the amp is thought out is very impressive, it's quick and easy to come up with all types of sounds from crystal clean to the "ultra" setting which is the over-the-top setting for heavier stuff. The effects are simple, easy to use, and sound great. Overall, the build is above average, and very solid. The blue lighting on the amp also is a great touch, and looks awesome. Just very impressed with the variety of sounds coming from such a small head, Hughes and Kettner gear isn't cheap, but it's worth the wait, good stuff!

  • from wi January 3, 2016Music Background:
    50 years commited to this craft


    What can I say??? I have been waiting 50 years for someone to make the amp that gets the sound I have been searching for. The ease of use is incredible. Like most players out there I don't read manuals until I get totaly frustrated with what I can't figure out. Just remember one thing: don't use the store button to save your actual channel sounds, The amp does this by itself. How ?? I have no idea. You do need the footswitch to do any of the 128 presets. This is also not freindly with voodoo lad floor controls. But it doesn't matter. Basicaly everything you need is in this amp. Plus at 17 pounds....Incredible. And as for the 36 watts, Remember German technoligy is very conservitive in there R.M.S. ratings. Tested this against 3 different 50 watters and it actualy stood out louder and more full, it reaches down into those hidden lows most amps miss. This is a 7 string, Bariton guitar dream. Buy it, you will not regret it.

  • from PBL, CA December 29, 2015Music Background:
    Jack of some trades master of none

    Wonderful for recording guitar

    This amp was recommended to me by Nick Church at Sweetwater. Never having used a DI before and instead using plugins like Guitar Rig and Waves GTR 3.5 for recording guitar, I was in shock at the difference in the quality of the tone from the DI v.s. those plugins. Simply put the DI sounds just liked a professionally mic'd amp on my recorded tracks. I never had success in getting any plugin to make my guitar sound like this. Just lovely.

  • from Virginia Beach, VA October 20, 2015Music Background:
    Semi Pro

    I'm a Believer

    This amp is truly spectacular. The sounds I'm able to get out of this amp are stellar. I'm traditionally a Boogie fanboi I guess you would say. I just wanted something light to carry around for smaller gigs. Came across this amp and with the 4 discreet channels and built in effects I thought I would give it a shot. Didn't really expect much. About 10 live gigs with this amp now and it's a MONSTER. This amp sounds huge. I'm running through a 112 homemade cab with a WGS Vet 30 in it and love. I use the Red Box DI to FOH and every sound man I've worked with so far has had nothing but praise. There is massive amounts of headroom for great cleans and the other 3 channels I love. I am definitely a Hughes & Kettner convert. Not sure the Boogie is going to see the stage again for quite some time.

  • from Touring the world June 19, 2015Music Background:
    Krotch Rockit

    Killer right out of the box!!!

    I've only tweaked a little bit here and there but straight out of the box the thing was dialed in!

  • from Mass May 14, 2015Music Background:
    plus 20 years

    H and K Grandmeister36

    This amp is perfect for any venue. It sounds great with built in RedBox connecting direct to PA. With the MIDI foot controller you can program any setting you need. Connect this to a cabinet and it rocks. Power soak feature lets you crank to your hearts content and not be overbearing. Seeing this is relatively new to me, I cannot comment on durability but to this point it is a 5. Also the built in effects are nice. It economizes what I carry on gigs!!!!!

  • from Ventura, CA April 6, 2015

    Amazing amp

    so in the interest of full disclosure, I had two bad experiences, one was my fault, one was not. The first head that was shipped to me had a nasty screeching when switching channels. I tried to exercise that demon for a few days to no avail, and SW replaced the head promptly.

    The second was definitely my fault...I didn't spend the time to really read the owners manual to learn how all the controls worked. I was frustrated with the sounds as I could not get something I really liked. Once i read the manual and figured out where to start to set it up it really came alive. Having owned lots of tube amps my natural tendency is turn everything to 11. This amp doesn't like that very much. Start with the presets and work your way off them, and you'll find several settings you will love.

    I played this both through my Marshall 1960AV 4x12 and the H/K 1x12. Both sound killer. The 1x12 is great for home use, plenty of sound and as another reviewer commented "this amp is not quiet". You can get quiet if you turn the wattage settings down, but at 36W it cranks, even with the 1x12.

    Get the optional foot controller, and if you opt for the MIDI setup and the iPAD app, you will need 2 MIDI cables (instructions stink, they assume you know how to set it up, which I didn't) The iPAD app is the bomb for monkeying with the controls on the fly.

  • from Oshkosh, WI March 12, 2015Music Background:
    Playing for 6 years

    Big Sound Little Package

    I bought this amp to get back in to playing electric guitar, the tone is amazing, more than I expected. I purchased it with a Ibanez 2x12 Tube Screamer Cabinet with the Celestion Seventy 80s. It blows my mind, I started off at the 1 watt setting and had the master just under the 1/4 turn, and it blew my mind on how loud it still was so, I put it to the 5w setting sounded even better and more saturated, same with the 18w and 36w setting. What amazed me the most was how powerful it was at 36 watts, with the master a less than 1/4th of a turn, i was more than loud enough to fill my room with sound, I cant wait to see her at full blast!

  • from Omaha, NE January 26, 2015Music Background:

    Why aren't other amp companies following suit?

    I've tried out many amps Blackstars, Line 6, Mesas, Oranges, and I thought I finally found my sound with the new Marshall DSL series. I was demoing a pedal at a competitor with Sweetwater and the DSL was already sold. I plug into this tiny amp and was immediately blown away. It is a tube amp, but has a noise gate, delay, fx, digital progamability (even with an iPad!), and you can even record with the thing! All in a tiny package, but this amp is fricken beast! I will definitely save up for this bad boy!

  • from Racine Wisconsin January 12, 2015Music Background:

    Great Amp !!!

    This amp is all I expected it to be plus !!! Previously I used solid state modeling amps and this has them beat hands down. The 36 watts is more than enough t play medium hall venues and the effects are very good. The power soak is fantastic no need to be turning down just put it in 1 or 5 watt mode and you can reap the sound of those tubes being pushed !! I also use it in my recording studio... I just put it in the " red box " mode and go straight from the amp into the mixer. No need for the speakers so I can record at night without bothering anyone. I am extremely happy with this amp. I must say when this amp arrived it had a buzzing sound. I called Sweetwater and they sent me a replacement right away. Seems one of the pre-amp tubes loosened up during shipping on the first one but Sweetwater was on the spot with making things right !!

  • from Santa Clara, California July 31, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Guitar Player 40 years

    I found the One!

    I have literally bought everything available over the years trying to find an amp. Now that was just buying an Amplifer, not including the Rack of doom, huge pedal boards, Digital with effects and every variation.
    This amp is only 15 lbs. Easy to carry and looks as cool as you can get.
    4 Channels, 5 on board digital effects, Midi, Power soak adjustable wattage, Red box direct out, built in Noise Suppression. I spent maybe 30 thousand dollars in search for that right amp pluse all the effects over the years. I finally bought my last amp. This can do any style of music. I love this amp!

  • from Owasso, OK July 28, 2014Music Background:
    Guitarist, Worship Leader, Recording Engineer

    Blown Away!!!

    First of all, don't be fooled into thinking "36 watts" is quiet. This amp is anything but quiet. It's very, very loud. Love it! It's soooo easy to figure out and tweak. Got the foot pedal working in stomp box mode in about 2 minutes. I'll setup some presets this week for next weekend.

    Love getting back to REAL tubes. And I can send a direct "RedBox" feed to front of house. My drummer and bass player use in-ear monitors and said it was the best sound from my guitar they've ever heard. LOL And they've heard my various rigs through the years. I still run it through a cab for stage volume. Best of both worlds.

    At church we practice in a chapel so I dropped it down to 1 watt. For the main service I dropped it down to 18 watts. It was still VERY loud and I got some sweet tube tone. I had a solo on 2 songs yesterday. The boost was nice. The amp cut through without a problem. Looking forward to doing some recording with it soon too - mic'ed and direct.

    It's also very well built. German engineering at its finest! And I love that it only weighs 18 lbs! The blue glowing lights are a bonus!

    The on-board effects sound VERY nice too. With 4 types of modulation, reverb, and delay...you're pretty much covered. I'll probably take the FSM432 MKIII foot pedal, add a tuner, wah, and maybe a compressor on a small pedal board. I'm set! Can't get much simpler.

    I also play in a band and looking forward to using this in our next gig. Right now I'm running it through a Genz Benz 2x12 cab. Looking at getting a 4x12 in the future. VERY VERY VERY happy with it. :)

  • from los angeles July 1, 2014Music Background:

    so so so good


    this amp sounds just awesome.

    i practice way, way more then i used too just cause i got this thing.

    because everything you do on it sounds awesome. you want metal. its there for you on "ultra" .. you want cowboy junkies .. its there for you on "crunch" and the clean tone is sparkly sweet. i ran it into an orange 2x12 open back cab and thats a sick combo.

    the only thing it doesn't do great is jazz tone but i have a fender standard deluxe for that.

  • from Rochester NY May 2, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist and cover bands.

    Grandmeister 36

    Really happy with this setup. Was seriously considering going to Fractal Audio FX II prior to buying this head with footswitch. I use the iPad remote application to program this thing and then just use the foootswitch for gigs. Currently have my Marshall JVM 410 and Blackstar Series One 100 amps for sale and I am downsizing my pedal board as well. The digital effects actually sound really good and there are a ton of tones in this amp. A+ for Hughes and Kettner, this thing is awesome!

  • from Malta Bend, MO March 31, 2014Music Background:
    Gigging Musician

    Very Satisfied

    I had played the Tubemeister 36 for a while and it was love at first sight with that particular amp, so when the Grandmeister was released I immedatly preordered one. I have to admit when it first arrived I was not happy at all. I had to play with the amp for a while to figure out how to dial in the sound I wanted. The knobs are digital and you cannot just look at them to see where thay are set at so I wasn't getting the sound I expected. After a little while however even I had it pretty well master and apon understanding, loved the feature because it allows you to swich between channels, and the amp automatically reverts to where you had that channel set last time you were there,no tweeking pots. Then if you like it you can save that setting to come back to whenever. This feature alone is awsome because live I can switch channels and never have to tweek the settings. Even without the presest (Just playing in stompbox mode). The effects are very adequate however I would spend the money for the programability feature and view the effects as a bonus. This amp has the same sparkaling cleans and even more gain than the Tubemeister. Worth the $ but get the footpeadal it's a must!!!

  • from Rowland Heights, CA March 26, 2014Music Background:
    Professional Musician with multiple albums and music credits.

    Simply Amazing

    I have owned many different amps, even a few from these guys the TubeMeister, but this one so far is simply better. I waited for months until the shipment finally arrived last week and from the time I pulled it from the box I have been having loads of fun. You can get whatever sound you want from this little beast, really Jazz, Metal, Rock, Prog, Blues, Classic, alternative and pop can all be dialed in. I have to say that a 5 out of 5 is not fair this deserves a 6. Small, portable and with tone to kill for the Hughes and Kettner Grandmeister 36 is the best in class. The effects are also done amazingly well and my TC effects pedal now is collecting dust. Okay I will complain now, I had to pay almost $1500.00 for the amp and the pedal, beyond that this is as stated simply amazing.

  • from Houston TX July 29, 2015Music Background:
    Metal, rock, classic rock

    GrandMeister 36

    I just received the amp in the mail yesterday. I chose the Free shipping Fed ex ground and it arrived 1 day early which was nice and it was packaged very well and safe. I read extensive reviews about it b4 purchasing and I found a lot of folks saying to replace the cheap tubes and maybe I will change them but I must say it sounded great right out of the box. the fizziness I read about was easily dialed out with treble knob without compromising the tone. I plugged in into my 4-12 cab with 70 watt celestions , I first tried it with my Carvin guitar with EMG 81 and 85 set. The distortion on the lead and ultra was exactly like I imagined, thick tight beefy tones, simualr to the peavey 5150 I used to own, the sustain was amazing and rich with harmonic blaze that really burned nicely, it was really nice. the clean channels were lush and loud as reported. I kind of expected more variety of presets but mostly they were just variations of tone, not so much laced with hundreds of different effects like you would get with a typical mutli effect processor with 128 presets. the noise gate worked very well. I tried 36 watts then turned to 18 watts. I could tell 18 watts would suffice at typical club or band practice unless your drummer is really loud then I think the 36 would be fine. Unless I go on any world stadium tours im pretty sure this amp is loud enough will be my last one for a good while. I would like to see this head in a 120 watt version with 6L6 tubes and true stereo speaker outs just in case that world tour comes to fruition. Maybe the H&K Coreblade is that amp, I haven't tried it.

  • from Iowa July 10, 2015Music Background:
    Actively gigging since late 80s. From old western swing to AIC.

    All-Rounder with Plenty of Powe

    Pros -
    Easy to Tweak/Program
    GREAT Cleans
    Can do good crunch as well as heavy distorted tones
    Effective Presence and Resonance Controls
    Good Modulation Effects
    Awesome Power Scaling
    Direct Out. Can plug direct into PA without speaker cab (no exterior live load required).
    Four channels with distinctly different characteristics
    Great footswitch
    Plenty Loud
    Great Loop
    Lightweight and convenient to transport

    Cons -
    Stock tubes are its week link. They tend to compress and add more sizzle than I prefer.
    Reverb is too bright for my taste.

    Bottom Line -
    After Retubing with JJ Power and pre-amp set, the amp really warmed up. This gave soft distortion a lot more dynamics (very plexi-like) and removed the fizzines in high gain settings (especially lead channel). It's a significant improvement to already good amp. After this upgrade, I lost all desire to purchase the new Orange MKIII RV50.

  • from Texas August 29, 2016

    Feature rich, versatile head, highly dissappointing tones.

    I was tired of lugging around my AC30 for my rock gigs and my 6505 to my metal gigs...so I was in the market for a lightweight, mid wattage amp head that could cover all my needs. I saw the Grandmeister 36, and after reading the glowing reviews, it seemed like a no brainer. I'll break it down in a few categories.

    Sound: I'll start with the most important factor to me, and this is where I was disappointed. When I first plugged this in, I hooked it up to a V30 equipped Orange 2x12 with the amp set to clean. I used a heavily upgraded PRS SE custom 24 that typically sounds fantastic on any amp I plug it into, To me, the clean is the most impressive channel on the amp. I was getting very nice, warm, and beautiful clean sounds. The onboard sounds great as well, and really added some dimension to the cleans. It was a breeze to dial in good cleans. Next, I moved to the crunch Channel, and this is where things went down hill, The crunch channel sounded absolutely "cold" and "sterile" no matter what I did. Beyond that, there was this really "brittle" quality to it, that made the high strings just sound plain bad. I couldn't get a warm, classic overdrive to save my life. After about 20 minutes of frustration, I decided to come back to it later and try to coax some metal tones out of the next two channels. I switched to the lead channel and was instantly warped into fizz city, I really had to up the resonance and really turn down the presence to get any useable sounds. The Ultra channel was no better, just with more gain. It was so fizzy on the high end, and not pleasing to the ear at all, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that the el84 power section just couldn't produce those huge, warm metal tones. After reading up on some forums, I decided to retube the whole amp and buy some darker speakers to see if they tamed the harsh/fizzy high end, The new tubes had some mild improvement in clarity and took away some brittleness. The preamp tubes I got lowered the gain by about 20%, and I felt like this warmed things up a bit, but I still wasn't getting "my sound". Next, I swapped out the V30's for a Eminence Canabis Rex and Wizard. This was a huge improvement, as the Canabis Rex is such a dark speaker, it really mellowed out the fizziness...but I could still tell it was there, and the amp was still far from delivering what I consider to be a great tone. All in all, I was hugely disappointed with this after all the upgrades, and I sold it as fast as I could.

    Features: I'll keep this short...this amp has just about everything you could want. You can fully program this thing like a well oiled machine and make gigs a breeze. The effects are digital, but sound quite good, If you can get along with the amps tone, then this amp will truly cover all ground. The red box DI works fantastic, as do the smart knobs, and noise gate. Unfortunately, I just hated the tone.

    Value: For $1,200, purchasing this does not make sense to me. To get the full benefit, you'll need to buy the sold separately midi footswitch that cost an additional $200. That's $1,400 for a fully functioning amp...an American made Mesa Mark V 35 is $1,600 and can cover just as must ground as this amp, but with a tone that smokes this amp in every conceivable way. I know this, because me and my bandmate who owns one did a drawn out comparison one day, since they are both mid 30 watt, el84 powered, multi channel/mode amps. If I were to attribute a dollar value, the Mesa sounded an easy $1000 better. And I feel that that is not an exaggeration.

    I know I'm the minority here, and I can't help but think that maybe I just got a lemon...but the amp itself, had no functional issues. It just sounded very cold, harsh, and fizzy no matter what I tried, I would not recommend this amp to anyone.

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