Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister Deluxe 20 - 20/5/1-watt Tube Head

2-channel Guitar Head with Selectable 20/5/1 Watts, Power Soak, Effects Loop, and Built-in Red Box DI
Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister Deluxe 20 - 20/5/1-watt Tube Head image 1
Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister Deluxe 20 - 20/5/1-watt Tube Head image 1
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Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister Deluxe 20 - 20/5/1-watt Tube Head
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Toneful Tube Amp with Onboard Power Soak

Discover a new level of amp control with the Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister Deluxe 20 guitar amplifier. This tiny two-channel tone machine features an onboard power soak with selectable 20W, 5W, and 1W operation to let you dial in the right tone for any size gig - you can even choose speaker-off mode for true silent recording that won't damage your amp. An onboard H&K Red Box DI lets you send a speaker-simulated signal straight to a board without a mic for a cleaner stage setup and to take full control of your live sound. Finally, a serial effects loop lets you route your delays and reverbs after the preamp stage to preserve your guitar signal on the way in. Test out the all-tube Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister Deluxe 20 today and get flexible options for the stage and studio.

Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister Deluxe 20 Tube Guitar Amplifier Head at a Glance:
  • All-tube voicing that delivers for any size gig
  • Tube Safety Control monitors and prolongs tube life
  • Speaker-simulated DI for convincing tones without a cabinet
All-tube tone that delivers for any size gig

The TubeMeister's classic 12AX7/EL84 combo delivers glassy cleans and volcanic leads from its two footswitchable channels and fast, familiar 3-band EQ. An onboard power soak makes the TubeMeister flexible for live work, recording, and practice, allowing you to dial back the wattage from the full 20 watts to 5, 1, or 0 watts without sacrificing tube tone and response. Sweetwater guitarists applaud Hughes & Kettner for building the power soak right into the head - a feature not common in stock amps.

Tube Safety Control monitors and prolongs tube life

Though they sound great, tubes can be ticking time bombs, ready to go out at the worst moments. The TubeMeister Deluxe 20's Tube Safety Control (TSC) continuously monitors power tubes and adjusts their bias so you get the best sound and longest tube life possible. The TSC takes failing power tubes out of the circuit to protect your amp and lets you see their status at a glance.

Speaker-simulated DI for convincing tones without a cabinet

The Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister Deluxe 20 features a compact version of its award-winning Red Box DI, which faithfully mimics the sound of a miked 4" x 12" direct from the head. Send this signal straight to a live board or recording interface for convincing guitar tones without having to mic a speaker cab, or combine with a real miked sound for flexible mixing options. This feature, paired a speaker-off silent mode, makes the TubeMeister a fine studio tool for any time of the day or night.

Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister Deluxe 20 Tube Guitar Amplifier Head Features:
  • Classic tube cocktail of two 12AX7s with two EL84s
  • Two channels with independent gain and master volume
  • Global 3-band EQ for fast tone shaping
  • Built-in power soak lets you choose 20W, 5W, or 1W operation
  • Speaker-off mode for silent recording without damaging your amp
  • Red Box DI mimics the sound of a miked 4" x 12" cab for creative signal options
  • Tube Safety Control continuously monitors power tubes and optimizes their tone and life
  • Series effects loop inserts FX after the preamp for a cleaner front-end signal
Take total control of your tone with the TubeMeister Deluxe 20 amp!

Additional Media

Guitar Amp Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Type Tube
Number of Channels 2
Total Power 20W/5W/1W
EQ 3-band EQ
Amp Modeling Cabinet emulation
Preamp Tubes 2 x 12AX7
Power Tubes 2 x EL84
Inputs 1 x 1/4"
Outputs 1 x 1/4" (8/16 ohms), 1 x XLR (DI out)
Effects Loop Yes
Footswitch I/O Yes, Channel / Boost
Height 6.14"
Width 14.02"
Depth 5.91"
Weight 11 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number TM20DH

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
Write your review

May be all you need for bedroom rocking

Got a friend to purchase this head for me from Sweetwater. After some time I finally got it in my hand along with a hand-made 2x12 closed-back cab loaded with Celestion G12's Neodymium. First off, this amp gets hot, extremely so in silent recording mode. The power soak works by converting output power into heat, so the lower the wattage is set, the more heat. This is by design so you need not worry, but I recommend putting it in standby when you're not using it so those power tubes won't overheat easily. Secondly, the RedBox AE is great. I was able to get nice clean and distorted tones by cranking the volume then setting the level in my interface low. The trick here is that H&K's line out actually pass through the power amp before coming out so you still get some of that tube sound from the power tubes, unlike most others who just take the preamp signal. This way, the sound I get from RedBox is somewhat reminiscent of what I get out of the cab. You can also turn RedBox off if you have a nice loadbox. I plan to use it for recording instead of mic'ing. Now the part that matters most: the sound. The cleans are clear and articulate, as you'd expect from H&K. The shared EQ does limit it somewhat, which is common with lunchbox amp. For separate channel EQ you will have to shell out another $ for the 40W version. The overdriven channel is even more interesting. The gain knob by itself covers a wide range of music, only short of really heavy chugging modern metal - think Meshuggah. Very different from my old 6505MH which gets saturated at 5/10 gain on EMG, with this amp I have to go 7-8/10 with master volume at 2. Gain aside, the amp has a weird honkiness in the midrange that is really hard to dial out and makes palm mutes not as tight as could be. Kick on the lead boost, the honkiness is greatly reduced and the amp now sounds more "modern" and tighter. It also works with a TS or clean boost if you prefer to not have the tone shift caused by the amp's boost. Overall I still think the 6505MH is the best metal amp for the bedroom player which will do metal even with potato upstream gear. but the H&K is a better all-rounder that will still deliver crushing metal tones with a bit of help.Backstory: I've tried the TM18 many times and never bonded with it. It had that weird midrange but much worse than the TM20 and also sounded too dry/harsh with the treble high. I can confidently say that the TM20 is a very different beast from the TM18 and suits me much better. However, the H&K overdriven tone is quite polarizing much like ENGL's (these Germans!) so try before you buy if at all possible.
Music background: Hobbyist

Great tone, plenty o' bang for the buck!

I play just about every type of music there is, excepting metal and rap. I was using a dual amp rig with a ton of pedals - boost, OD, foundation OD, fuzz, blah, blah, blah... What I had sounded great, as long as I carried a small power generation plant with me, and had a stage big enough to get the spread needed. Problem: lots of great tones on tap at a reasonable volume, small package, good with single coils or HB, works from Johnny Cash to Fall Out Boys. Solution: The H&K TM Deluxe 20 with a couple of 1x12 cabs. I've used this rig for about 6 months and haven't found a single bad tone out of it, whether at full power or silent stage. Hell, I used it last week at 5 watts all night with great sound which filled the room. During my research, I read a lot about the harsh "hi-fi" tone of H&K or lack of headroom. My response is 'Hogwash'. H&K hit this one completely out of the park. Big kudos to Sweetwater and Dustin, who takes amazing care of me!
Music background: Everything but the darn kitchen sink. Maybe even that

Couldn't be happier

First off, this is my first purchase with Sweetwater and I was impressed by the phone call I received after ordering my amp just to make sure I really did make the purchase and to settle any details about delivery. I received my amp today and WOW, it is more than I expected. At 20W it is long enough to use on stage at a club and when switching from 20W to 5W & 1W the tone does not diminish. However, what I was most impress with was the many sounds I was able to produce. I am a rock/metal player and the amp was able to provide a distortion that was better than any of my pedals, even if I put the pedals through the FX loop I still like the amps break up that I could obtain from selecting the Lead Channel and the boost together, and then turning the gain to max and the master volume to about 10 o'clock. The EQ is very responsive and I could dial in several tones that I liked. This amp does have a nice clean tone that I am happy with but if you are looking for a Fender type of clean this is not it. But I prefer this clean over a Fender clean just because of the music I mostly play. I do wish the amp had a reverb though and that is the only reason I give it 4.5 stars instead of 5. All in all, I couldn't be happier and I am now a Hughes and Kettner fanatic! Also, 1W & 5W is more than enough for bedroom play. I haven't tried going through the redbox yet.
Music background: Weekend warrior


Backstory: I grew up with a 80's model Fender Princeton Reverb in my teens/20's, then many years using small solid state and headphone amps only (amateur apartment living practice gear from pawn shops). 1) NOT CONFIRMED: If the input circuit is anything like the TubeMeister 18, then the input is frontloaded with a +/- 15VDC opamp preamp that closely resembles a Klon Centaur or Korg SDD 3000 input section (I've studied all their schematics) . Another reviewer I saw here may not realize that is why this amp has little clean headroom. Turn down your input! No need for boost pedals unless you want to rock Iron Maiden covers in the clean channel. Unconfirmed opinion here, schematics for the TM Deluxe 20 have not leaked online yet. Very hum friendly input, only my Korg does it better. 2) I LOVE the clean channel. With a low signal input it is a clear and crystal as my Princeton ever was. Feed with a hot input (Korg SDD-3000 in bypass w/ max output level), and the clean channel will go into full shred. Can hollow body jazz strum like an old Bandmaster, no problem. 3) The hot channel is uber hot. Expect to use significant volume control/reduction/input pad to get any clean/crunch/less-than-full-shred sounds from the hot channel. Anyone who says this amp will not do metal has crappy pickups, this thing will do Judas Priest and Scorpion covers all day long without a single pedal. Others have mentioned "fizzy" sounding, and it can be, but I've found adjusting the preamp/final gains/tone controls it well. 4) Power soak works; I do use this for home practice, and I haven't had complaints from the neighbors. 5) The Direct Out DI works great; I have a cheap Berhinger USB preamp going into cheap PC DAW software and I am ecstatically happy with results so far, as I lack a decent microphone/studio recording environment. 6) FYI: I am usually using an Eventide H9 in the effects loop, with very minor equalizer/compression/noise gate processing, primarily for a -13db signal attenuation to get more headroom in the final power amp master volume control at "bedroom" volumes, even with Power soak down to 5W. I am Very VERY happy with this unit at the price point, my option was going to be a Marshall 205, and I am glad I went here instead. Only question now is the lifespan/reliability - only time will answer that.
Music background: 35 years+ amateur picker

Good little amp

In credible tone, redbox, silent recording. 4 stars because no reverb and have to buy a separate pedal to control...but any dual switch pedal you have should work.
See also: Amp Heads, Hughes & Kettner, Hughes & Kettner Guitar Amp Heads