The Truth About This Amp
I have been waiting on an amp like this for quite some time. I love tubes but lately I have been using digital amps for the simplicity of it all. No more carrying around huge peddle boards which I spent thousands of dollars on. With that said...I bought the Deluxe 40 and the matching 2x12 cab. Amp is stupid easy to use and I had it figured out in about 2 minutes...BUT...I was less than thrilled with the tone of the amp when it first arrived. I could not put my finger on it at first being that H and K makes great stuff. The distortion had a sizzle on top, much like a Krankenstien which I am not a fan of. Even on light distortion, it still had that sizzle. So...after some research I figured out that the tubes in the amp where cheap Chinese tubes and although they are matched, they are not matched that well. Even the amp will let you know how well your tubes are matched by the lights in the back and how many times they blinked. Mine blinked 3 times. Not good. I ordered a set of JJ el84's (2 sets actually) and 3 JJ 12AX7's. Let me tell you, completely woke this amp up. The distortion is now smooth and has incredible articulation. No matter how much gain you can still hear every single note. The big plus...no more sizzle.
Now I have the tube tone that I want with all the effects built into the amp. This amp will cover so many different genre's of music it is ridiculous. On the clean channel, turn the presence and resonance all the way up and this think will spank with the Fenders. Pull down the treble and the presence and you have a great jazz tone. Crunch channel will hit all your AC/DC tones and 70's tones. Also great for blues. The lead channel, lower the bass and push a little highs and mids and you can nail a lot of the 80's tones. I have a great Def Leppard tone. I also use this channel for a lot of Rush. Drop the highs and push the lows with some resonance and it turns into 80's metal. The insane channel is great for metal and has serious thump to it.
The effects are good. I have heard better and I have owned better, but they are 90% of my previous gear on sound and tone. To my ear it is awfully hard to beat analog chorus and phase but these do more than a good enough job. Now the only peddles I use is a tuner, octaver and wah. No more peddle board.
The power soak is amazing. Worth the price of admission alone. Fully programmable. I have banks set for home play and banks for practice and banks for stage. All the same tones, just much louder as I go up in banks without having to touch the master. Just program 1 watt for the house and program the same tone with 40 watts for the stage. It doesn't get easier.
The boost function literally adds 4 more channels to the amp. Each channel has its own distinct voicing and hitting the boost will boost certain frequency's and change the characteristics of that channel. You don't need the boost for soloing. Just program a louder channel and use the boost for both if that is the sound you are after.
The Redbox....Wow. Plug and play. No more micing and it sounds great for FOH and for recording. Already started recording with it and I was blown away...just make sure you cut back on the lows. I also have banks set up for recording.
Now the last thing. The presence and the resonance. USE THEM. This is the secret to this amp. You could almost set the eq at 12 and just use the presence and resonance. they are that good. Amps I have had in the past I never took them over 12. With this amp it is a great extension of the eq, if you understand how to use them. I have sounds with them turned all the way up, all the way down and everything in between. These are the magic buttons on this amp.
Do yourself a favor and spend the money. You will not be disappointed, however, just order a set of tubes when you get it. My hats off to Hughes and Kettner. What an amp. for the money you simply cannot beat it and I have had a Marshall JVM, Krank Revolution, Mesa triple rec, Randall RM 100 (amazing amp by the way), a Bogner, Peavey Triple X, a few Line 6 toys and a Rocktron Prophecy. The only one that came close to this was the Randall RM 100...but it was just toooooo loud. Oh, and the blue lights are exceptionally cool.
Call Roq, who is my sales dude. He will take care of you as he as always done me and I put that poor guy through the ringer. Top notch guys. Sweetwater has had all my business for the last few years. Now if they will just get Suhr guitars. Hint, hint.