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Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head  

Item #: 
1322681180923
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For the TubeMeister 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head, Mr. Hughes and Herr Kettner packed all their know-how and over a quarter of a century˜s passion for tube amps into a remarkably compact chassis. Thanks to... Click To Read More About This Product

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$4990.00
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Overview
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For the TubeMeister 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head, Mr. Hughes and Herr Kettner packed all their know-how and over a quarter of a century˜s passion for tube amps into a remarkably compact chassis. Thanks to German engineering, it can go from a roar to a whisper, shaking the boards on stage, tingling spines in the studio, and raising goose-bumps in the still of night - even during silent recording.

Serving up three different sounds at the touch of a footswitch, the soulful Tube-Meister 18 is the go-to guitar amp for gigging. Its four-step power soak brings the sound of the big stage into small clubs and your own four walls. And courtesy of the built-in Red Box and silent recording capability, you can lay down pro-quality tracks at any time day or night.

Features
  • Warm tube tone with phenomenal dynamic range that sweeps from sparkling clean to throaty crunch
  • Harmonically rich tube distortion and the gain reserves to go from edgy overdrive to soaring lead sounds
  • Re-voices LEAD to summon modern high-gain sound that pairs plenty of punch with endless sustain
  • Passive voicing section tweaked to evoke the best frequency response out of each channel
  • Preamp section sporting two 12AX7 tubes
  • Push-pull power amp that pumps out stage-approved 18 watts
  • Oversized transformers with tons of headroom
  • TSC-protected power amp featuring auto-bias and status LED
  • Footswitch connection enabling remote channel switching and BOOST actuation
  • Serial FX loop for adding effects-flavored spice to the sonic stew
  • Quad-stage power soak with silent recording capability
  • Balanced RED BOX OUT with authentic speaker emulation
Specifications
  • Channels: 2
    Power: 18 watts
    Footswitch/Stageboard: FS-2 optional
    Protective Cover: Softbag included
    Dimensions: 356mm x 156mm x 150mm
    Weight: 5kg
Warranty
MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY
One year warranty on solid state amps. 2 year warranty on tube amps.


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Pro Coverage gives you added warranty protection for your new gear. Stepping in where the manufacturer's "normal wear and tear" coverage ends, our Pro Coverage program offers you upgraded coverage if your product ever fails Read More.

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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
Hughes & KettnerTubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head
 
4.8

(based on 47 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (42)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

92%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (22)
  • Portable (22)
  • Excellent sound (21)
  • Warm / comfy (20)
  • Good power output (14)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Home studio (19)
  • Performances (18)
  • Amateur recording (16)
  • Professional recording (11)
  • Outdoor events / games (9)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (21), Professional musician (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Glorious glowing object

I have had this amp head for four months and overall I love it. It's super versatile, sounds great and looks beautiful.

Originally I was dead set on a mini...Read complete review

I have had this amp head for four months and overall I love it. It's super versatile, sounds great and looks beautiful.

Originally I was dead set on a mini rectifier. But I went to GC and compared the mini with an Egnater Rebel 30, a Boogie Trans Atlantic, and the HK, and the HK came out on top by a big margin. I wasn't really even thinking the it was a contender until I plugged in. It was loud and tight with plenty of gain and punchy bass – exactly what I was looking for for. And the nicest clean sound by far vs the other amps I tried. Hi-fi is how I would describe it. Add the 18/5/1 watt capability and I was sold.

CONS:
When you kick in the lead boost it's way louder than the unboosted sound. So, while it would seem like you could use this amp essentially as a three channel, it's not really viable live, because the difference between your crunch and high gains sounds is drastically different. Would be great if the boost had its own volume.

The clean channel doesn't output nearly as much volume of the lead channel. Not a problem unless you're playing at super loud volumes. But in that type of situation, you might reach a point where the lead channel could still easily be heard over a loud drummer, while the clean would be drowned out.

The blue light is cool, sometimes. And sometimes it's a bit much. I'm actually thinking of installing a switch to toggle it on and off.

It only goes down to 8 ohms... wish it went down to 4

SUMMARY:
Love it. Fun, super-versatile amp full of great tones. Quality seems very solid. Looks cool. Quiet. I would (and have) recommended it to friends.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Had high hopes, ended up dissapointed

I had high hopes for this product based upon reviews and demos. I may have ended up with a "dud" of a restock and I waited too long to figure that...Read complete review

I had high hopes for this product based upon reviews and demos. I may have ended up with a "dud" of a restock and I waited too long to figure that out. Putting an overdrive or distortion pedal on the clean channel results in a high pitched, fizzy sound that isn't remotely useable. Tried four different pedals, same result. The tube indicator says nothing is wrong with the tubes. The overdrive channel handles pedals much better, but it still doesn't sound the best. It produces good clean sounds, and the OD channel by itself is ok. One of the main reasons I wanted this was the different wattages, but I found only the 18w selection to sound acceptable. The lower levels were weak and lost dynamics. Not sure what I could be doing wrong, but this doesn't compare to the Marshall, Orange, Fender or Bugera that I have that sell at lower or similar price points. I have read that some of the first run models had problems, and that may be my issue. I'm not going to say "I don't recommend this", but I will say test it fast and make sure you are happy before the refund period is up.

Reviewed by 47 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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5.0

Totally awesome. Love this head.

By david

from undisclosed

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy To Use
  • Excellent Sound
  • Good Warmth
  • Portable
  • Powerful

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Events
    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

    Great sound that I have been looking for.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Great Amp -- (Jerry Garcia Tone in there)

    By Brett

    from Stockton, CA

    About Me Novice

    Pros

    • Excellent Sound
    • Good Warmth
    • Great clean channel
    • Portable
    • Power soak function (1-5-18 watts)

    Cons

    • No on-board reverb

    Best Uses

    • Home jamming
    • Performances

    Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

    This amp both looks and sounds great. I play a lot of Jerry Garcia/Grateful Dead music and occasionally gig so I normally use the clean channel with the gain rolled up. I have this paired with a JBL E-120 in a custom Baltic birch 1x12 cab. Really does a good job of getting into the Jerry Zone (Jerry used modified Fender Twin preamps with McIntosh power amps connected to E-120s for much of his career). The power soak function is really useful: 1 watt at home is plenty loud; 18 watts for gigging in bars is great. I have yet to mic through the PA or use the redbox DI function. The size, weight, and bag make the head highly portable -- which is helpful if you know how heavy an E-120 is! The only marks against the amp from me would be the lack of on-board reverb and the difference in volume between the clean and gain channel. The first problem I solved with a TC Electronics Hall of Fame mini reverb which works well. If you need reverb, factor the cost of a reverb pedal into the purchase price. As for volume discrepancy between channels, it's not really a problem, just a fact to consider. Even when just practicing the full 18 watts is desired to keep up with bass and drums to keep relatively clean tones. As a bonus, the blue led/plexi front just looks cool. I get many compliments whenever out in public with the amp.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    tubemeister

    By bill

    from suring wi.

    About Me Experienced

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Excellent Sound
    • Portable

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Home Studio
      • Performances
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

      great clean tones and plenty of crunch for metal

       
      5.0

      Amazing Amp!

      By TheDanMan

      from Southern California

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Excellent Sound
      • Portable
      • Powerful

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Performances

        Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

        I discovered this amp at my local Guitar Center when I was in high school about 6 years ago and me and my friends would all argue over who would get the amp head even though none of us could afford it. Out of all the amps that GC had in the closed off practice room with all the high end amps, the HK always kept me coming back. It had such a modern high gain overdrive with a lead boost that made it one of my favorite amp distortions I've ever played, and yet retained such a beautifully warm clean channel. I've had it for a few months now and I love every chance I get to play it. It performs so well live, with it's built in cab sim DI that allows me to make the sound man happy, while still running my Marshall cab for my monitor. The power soak option makes it one of the most practical all tube amps, as it can run at 1, 5, and 18 watts. Overall it's been one of the best gear purchases I have ever made.

         
        5.0

        YES.

        By izJake

        from Kapa'a, Hawai'i

        About Me Experienced

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Excellent Sound
        • Good Warmth
        • Portable
        • Powerful

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Amateur Recording
          • Events
          • Home Studio
          • Performances

          Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

          I bought this amp for it's portability. I've heard good things about the TubeMeister, and thought I'd give it a try. There was one in my local music store that I tried before buying it and all I can say is that I was blown away. Don't let the lunchbox size fool you...this thing has power! It's loud, versatile, and sounds great from clear cleans to heavy drive. I'm running EL34 power valves in it and they sound fantastic. For the price, it really is a fantastic amplifier. Pick one up now!

          Oh, and did I mention Hughes and Kettner amp heads look beautiful in the dark? Because they so do!

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          3.0

          Had high hopes, ended up dissapointed

          By TallyPro

          from Tallahassee, FL

          About Me Experienced

          Pros

            Cons

            • Poor Sound Quality

            Best Uses

            • Amateur Recording

            Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

            I had high hopes for this product based upon reviews and demos. I may have ended up with a "dud" of a restock and I waited too long to figure that out. Putting an overdrive or distortion pedal on the clean channel results in a high pitched, fizzy sound that isn't remotely useable. Tried four different pedals, same result. The tube indicator says nothing is wrong with the tubes. The overdrive channel handles pedals much better, but it still doesn't sound the best. It produces good clean sounds, and the OD channel by itself is ok. One of the main reasons I wanted this was the different wattages, but I found only the 18w selection to sound acceptable. The lower levels were weak and lost dynamics. Not sure what I could be doing wrong, but this doesn't compare to the Marshall, Orange, Fender or Bugera that I have that sell at lower or similar price points. I have read that some of the first run models had problems, and that may be my issue. I'm not going to say "I don't recommend this", but I will say test it fast and make sure you are happy before the refund period is up.

             
            5.0

            Love the amp, but LOUSY service from GC!!!

            By Disappointed with GC North Houston Store

            from Houston

            About Me Experienced

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Excellent Sound
            • Excellent tone
            • Good Warmth
            • Portable
            • Powerful
            • Value for money

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Amateur Recording
              • Home Studio
              • Performances

              Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

              This amp can cover a wide variety of musical tastes and tones. With the power soak feature, it can easily be turned down from 18W (ideal for small clubs or bars) to 5W and even down to 1W for rocking out at home. I love the versatility, and for an amp of it's size the features are fantastic! Equipped wit an effects loop and 2 channels, the only thing missing is a reverb function. All in all, excellent bang for the buck and definitely worth while when paired with the matching H&K 1x12 speaker. Tonal bliss!!!

              (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Excellent for my purposes

              By James

              from Rochester, MN

              About Me Experienced

              Pros

              • Easy To Use
              • Excellent Sound
              • Good Warmth
              • Portable
              • Unique tonal qualities

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Amateur Recording
                • Home friendly volumes
                • Home Studio
                • Professional Recording

                Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

                I have had this amp for about 4 years. It is excellent for what I need. I do not gig. I do like to write and record. My tastes range from heavy metal/hard rock to progressive to ambient to country and classic rock.
                The Red Box feature is terrific. I can listen with headphones through my computer at any time of night. And, or course, direct recording.
                The Lead Boost feature can be quite a volume jump and I understand how in a live situation that is not ideal. For me though, that is not a concern and I like the super aggressive sound it offers.
                The Power Soak is fantastic. I can enjoy great tube tone at reasonable volumes.
                The sound of the amp may be the biggest issue for some. The H & K does not sound like a Marshall or Fender or other classic brand of amp. It has an almost hi-fi quality to it. Alex Lifeson has used H&K for decades.
                The Clean channel is nearly squeaky clean and chimey and takes pedals well. You can crank up the gain on the clean channel and get a surprising aggressive grit for rhythm playing for rock or harder styles.
                The lead channel has good quality harmonic distortion but will not give the low end chunka chunka djent stuff without assistance (I use an eq pedal). Solos sound clear and hot but the distortion is not really "dirty" sounding. I began to really appreciate this when it came time to mix the sound into a full band but when practicing alone I sometime miss that extra fuzzy distortion like a Marshall can give.
                But that brings us to the Lead Boost which gives me all the metal tone I could want though still slightly lacking that bottom end.
                It is my understanding that the EL84 power tubes prevent that massive metal sound but I can very easily dial it in via eq so for my purposes this is not a negative. H&K also provides some documents to help you achieve a sound you seek and their recommendation for the metal sound is definitely a good tone.I know it sounds like i'm hitting this point too much but please remember I am giving this amp 5 stars!

                (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Excellent, affordable gig/recording amp.

                By Thabozz07

                from Raleigh, NC

                About Me Experienced

                Pros

                • Easy To Use
                • Excellent Sound
                • Good Warmth
                • Portable

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Home Studio
                  • Performances
                  • Professional Recording

                  Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

                  The H&K 18w Tubemeister is an affordable amp that provides excellent sound quality with two channels that provide anything from crystal clear cleans to crazy overdrive. I have owned this amp for about a year, and I have it paired with a stack of 2-1x12 Celestion Vintage 30s. The 1/5/18w feature is fantastic as it allows you to dial it down for home and practice, but gives you enough headroom for gigging at small-midsize venues.

                  The redbox DI feature is also one to call home about. As an owner of a project studio(nothing fancy), this feature allows me to record the essence of a 4x12 cabinet with studio quality sound and presence. On the other hand, it takes entry level mics such as an SM57 and E609 very well.

                  My only complaint is that I wish the "Lead Boost" feature could be dialed down. This is a bit overbearing, but can provide a very strong high gain distortion.

                  Overall, if you are on a budget, you cant go wrong with the H&K Tubemeister series. It is one of the best in its class, and in my personal opinion it rivals amps twice its price. Good luck in your search!

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Be like Alex Lifeson - well almost

                  By DAVID

                  from Atlanta Ga

                  Site Member

                  Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

                  The Tubmeister 18 is a little wonder. It has all the bells and whistles except for reverb; not a problem with a great FX loop in back. I play at small studio levels on the 5 watt setting which sounds great. The clean channel is very nice, but don't expect fender like. Crunch channel is perfect for blues and classic rock. Boost channel launches you into whatever hard metal you want to play. I turn (down) the treble and 3 o'clock my mids and bass, this takes out the fizziness in the crunch setting and boost. It sounds great matched with a 1x12 with vintage 30s. I recommend any footswitch so you have hands free operation. This amp will play all styles and is very versatile. The lady's like the cool blue light. :)

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