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Microphone Month 3

Hughes & Kettner GrandMeister Deluxe 40 - 40/20/5/1-watt Programmable Tube Head Reviews

5.0 stars based on 9 customer reviews
Questions about the Hughes & Kettner GrandMeister Deluxe 40 - 40/20/5/1-watt Programmable Tube Head?

Questions about the Hughes & Kettner GrandMeister Deluxe 40 - 40/20/5/1-watt Programmable Tube Head?

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  • from Texas April 27, 2017

    Just metal? No by a long shot!

    There was word of the H&K forums that this amp was geared towards metal only. That it could not really do anything else well. That's a load of pure grade A BS folks. Yes, it can do metal. It certainly has the gain for that by the bucket loads. But, it can also do slight breakup, blues, rock, and country rock very very well too! Its all in the settings of the amps gain, and in the fingers of the player. Switching between clean to ultra thru my Helix effects is just awesome! I run a 4 cable method thru Helix for the effects. Yes, I know the GM-40 has effects too, and they sound good. But I use Helix for the wah and compression (where needed). In this way I have a patch setup in Helix just for the GM-40 deluxe, and I can also switch over to the Helix presets as well bypassing everything but Helix. Best of both worlds for me. The GM-40 right out of the box sounds great!!!

  • from Knoxville March 25, 2017Music Background:
    Guitarist/Keyboardist

    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.

  • from Campbell, CA March 20, 2017Music Background:
    Making joyful noise since I was 6 years old. Man, I'm old.

    Commercial Kitchen-Sized Meals in a Lunchbox Format

    After searching for months for a replacement tube amp for my beloved but extremely weighty Fender Concert Reverb II (80s era Rivera model), I discovered this lovely amp head. I had started out with a quest to find a power-switchable tube amp to accommodate different room sizes (mostly playing in a bedroom at home) yet not sacrificing anything in tonal quality. I had seen/heard many of the smaller 1w to 20w heads, but none of them offered more than two or three common features.

    I could spend the day telling you about all the cool features - but why? Just watch and listen to the demo videos...let your ears, and not your eyes, convince you that this Lunchbox-sized head is serving up all kinds of good, hot cookin'...and no matter what style you play, you're going to find what you want and need. I'm selling a few pedals off my board that I won't need any more...

    Go get ya some!

  • from March 14, 2017Music Background:
    Nearly twenty years of musical experience

    Grandmeister deluxe 40

    For any metal heads out there that have been considering this amp, I would recommend it. I was somewhat skeptical of this amp when I first purchased it after much research and comparison to other amps out there. I knew that the clean tones and various crunchy tones would be great after all the videos online featuring that type of playing but I was worried how it would play in a metal context. After firing this beauty up I switch it to the ultra channel and went to town. All the knobs where set to roughly noon by default and even at those settings it sounded amazing. Great tone and low end response, which I was worried about. Just get it already!

  • from Northeastern NJ January 3, 2017Music Background:
    Church worship leader, gigging lead guitarist

    Grandmeister Deluxe 40...SIMPLY ROCKS!!!

    I've had various tube amps and digital and analog amp/FX modelers & emulators over the years. And as good as one or the other option has been, tube or digital, there have always been limitations. I've alway dreamed of an analog all-tube amp with built in effects that didn't compromise on sound quality. Well that day has finally come AND MORE and leave it to German engineering to figure it all out!

    I purchased the Grandmeister Deluxe 40 head, TM 60 watt 1x12 cabinet and the FSM 432 MKIII midi foot controller and they work and sound great together. I've had this amp for about a week in a half and have barely scratched the surface... First of all, as a tube head, each of the four channels sound awesome! The clean, crunch, lead and ultra channels each have such differrent tone characteristics...they aren't at all just "gainier" versions of the channel before, but instead each channel acts like its own separate tube amp (similarly to the H & K Triamp amp it's based on). And if you engage the "boost" button each channel has specific frequencies that get pushed that make each channel really sing!

    The built in studio quality digital reverb, delay and modulation effects, which can be set up via the smart rotary buttons and control buttons, work very well and sound great, and the fact that every saved preset and it's fx settings can be "remembered" when you turn a knob and see when the "store" button blinks is clever to say the least. Plus the midi footswitch works without a hitch in storing any created presets and channel switching or boost and fx triggering.

    Did I mention that the Grandemeister Deluxe 40 sounds HUGE through the 1x12 cabinet? If that wasn't enough, there's also the very useful noise gate, the convincing Red Box AE cabinet emulator output and the very useful Power soak buttons feature when you want the same high end tone but at lower wattage and volume.

    And to top it all off, you can program up to 128 presets of your choice using any and every amp channel, fx, knob and button (except for the master volume) in whatever configuration you desire! I can imagine how powerful and versatile this amp will be as a worship leader/guitarist, a gigging player, and at home for practice and recording.

    I'm thankful to be one of the few to get one early here in the USA and can't wait to get this rig all set up for future performances, rehearsals and sessions! Thanks to my sales rep, Aaron Cieslikowski, in making sure I recieved my order BEFORE Christmas and for following up afterwards too.

  • from Mesa, Az December 16, 2016Music Background:
    30+ years musician.

    Grandmeister 40 Deluxe

    There's no doubt that Hughes & Kettner has set a new standard for guitar amplifiers.
    The features contained in this marvel of technology are astounding. Like the smartphones we carry today,
    this amp is to guitar players, the device we didn't know we couldn't live without.
    4 channels, w/boost. Built in effects, midi capable, cab emulation, programmable presets, DI for recording. But where the rubber meets the road, as goes for any amplifier, the sounds that come out of it are simply awe inspiring. I've owned some pretty good amps before, but this one easily tops them all!
    Go find one and see for yourself, or take my advice and just buy one.
    You'll be happy you did.

  • from Centereach NY January 29, 2017

    Versatile with a capital V

    No guitar amp is perfect. But in terms of bang for the buck I can't think of one that can do better! I upgraded to the 40 Deluxe almost as soon as Sweetwater got it in, and am very satisfied. Better than the Grandmeister 36 especially in two respects, first its clean tone which is now warmer and more Fender-like, second the ability to set Power Soak globally rather than having to do so on a patch-by-patch basis. If you're upgrading from the 36 don't expect your settings for that amp to carry over as the 40 is clearly tuned differently...you'll have to re-EQ but the end results will be better.

  • from Chicago December 15, 2016Music Background:
    In a gigging 90's Alt Rock Cover Band

    GrandMeister Deluxe 40

    So I have only had this in the US for 3 days. So my review is based on that....

    1) Tone... It's a tube amp and it sounds great! I can get all the sounds I want out of this amp. Cleans, Crunch, distortion and heavy distortion. The distortion sounds great to my ear. I can get the modern distortion sound too. This probably sounds good to me because I prefer digital distortion and these effects are digital. The notes are articulated very well and clear. The sound is not sterile... It's only as sterile as you make it based on your EQ, Effects and levels.
    2) Controls... Don't worry about this being difficult to operate. It is easy and only took me 5 minutes to figure it out. The knobs and buttons are laid out well.
    3) Features... The features included with this amp are great. The 4 channels are nice, The power soak is awesome, Noise Gate works great, and TSC makes dealing with tubes easy. An added bonus is the soft case for it.
    4) Effects... To my ear the effects are great. Better than any modeling amp I have heard. Better than most of the pedals I own as well.

    I didn't give it 5 stars because...
    I would like some more features! I would like to see a built in Tuner, Compressor, and WAH. If I had all those I wouldn't need anything other than the Midi controller on the floor.

    Also not five stars because they don't produce a program to work with the amp for Windows. I have to wait for Fredo an external developer to have his new version working with this amp to use on a windows laptop. I think he has a mac version too. It is free.

    Also not five stars because it would be nice to be able to program an expression pedal plugged in to the midi controller to control the master volume. This is not possible. Their directions to do this recommend buying an analog volume pedal inserted in the effects loop. You can use an expression pedal plugged in to the midi controlled but it will only operate the volume for the patch you are on and as soon as you change patches it defaults to what volume the patch was saved at.

    I recommend getting the midi controller with it. I have the controller and there 2X12 Cab which I like a lot as well. If you want to program more buttons for midi you may want to consider a different midi controller.

    Would I purchase again... For Sure! I'm very happy so far!

  • from Kentucky January 12, 2017Music Background:
    Playing off and on since the late 80's

    Great amp after changing tubes

    Out of the box I had a power tube short withing a first 30mins. Also the amp was very toppy with the stock tubes.

    I replaced all the Chinese tubes with JJ's and now it sounds great. Great flexibility and portability.

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