Hughes and Kettner Tubemeister 18 vs Traynor Dark Horse 15

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by SpankTank, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. SpankTank

    SpankTank TDPRI Member

    Age:
    25
    Posts:
    12
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    Hi all,
    I am debating moving away from combos. Heck, I'm debating moving away from tubes all together. I don't really want to, but I have been experiencing a lot of tube rattle, and can't really afford to keep burning through power tubes. Be that as it may, I've read that separating the tubes from the speaker can minimize this.

    My budget is kind of limited, right around a thousand CAD.

    The only new head /cab set up I could do would be the traynor dark horse. I've read good things. They come in at $599

    I also have an opportunity to get a Hughes and kettner Tubemeister 18, used, for $400

    This would give me a little more money for a cab. But at this point, I'm most likely limited to a 1x12,regardless of my choice.

    I should mention that I play clean mostly, or clean on the edge of breakup. I can get any OD/Distortion from my pedal. I like country , R&B, blues. That kinda thing.

    Any thoughts? Anybody have experience with either of these? Or both?

    Help!
     
  2. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,892
    Joined:
    May 24, 2010
    Location:
    Canada
    I have no experience with either amp. I just look at them and try to learn what they do to get their sound (electronic geek here). H&K does it with a lot more parts. And Traynor has a reputation for building equipment to last. If there was no preference to the sound, well you probably can guess which way I would go.
     
    SpankTank likes this.
  3. jscud

    jscud TDPRI Member

    Age:
    38
    Posts:
    31
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2018
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    If you're interested in going for an amp head that is tubeless, I used an Orange Crush Pro 120H for a couple of years and was pretty pleased with it. Ran it on the dirty channel with low gain and it handled pedals well. It would probably fit your budget.

    Since then I've switched to a Kemper, which I love but it's not very budget friendly.
     
    SpankTank likes this.
  4. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Age:
    50
    Posts:
    1,492
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB Canada
    I’m not sure about the dark horse, but I own the TubeMeister 18. The lead channel and clean channel are voiced quite differently, despite sharing an EQ stack. I find when I dial in good crunch tone on the Lead channel, the clean channel is overly bright. As such, I rarely use the Lead channel, but despite this being marketed as a rock amp, the cleans are really quite remarkable. The mid control takes you between Blackface Fender-ish cleans to Vox AC15 ish cleans. Not exactly, but in the ballpark. I also find the H&K cabinet they suggest makes the amp a bit harsh. I prefer it with Greenbacks or the V-type speaker I have in a Fender Bassbreaker cab.
     
  5. SpankTank

    SpankTank TDPRI Member

    Age:
    25
    Posts:
    12
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    Thanks, and yeah! Wow, the clean tones I've heard from the videos I've seen are impressive to say the least. I've now been looking at the tubemeister deluxe 20, I figure I should stick with my local music store, as the combo in question is still within the period where I could return it for a full refund, and if I were to buy the amp used, well there goes my safety net lol. So yeah these definitely have my interest. I also love the fact that both these amps can be used in low watt modes, which suit my needs a little better than my current combo. At 22 watts it can be a little loud for some situations.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  6. SpankTank

    SpankTank TDPRI Member

    Age:
    25
    Posts:
    12
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    That is honestly the biggest appeal of the traynor brand for me. The sound I've heard from the combos I've tried were good, but not amazing. Though, to be fair, I didn't spend a ton of time with those amps. Seem to be built like brick s***houses.
     
  7. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,892
    Joined:
    May 24, 2010
    Location:
    Canada
    I never looked to see where you are from. Then you should know a little of Traynor in terms of a company.
     
  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    22,575
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    I’ve heard both in the same room and I’ve played the new Traynor amps which have little in common with vintage Traynor amps.

    The H&K sounds better to me but I love the 18w basic sound.
    H&K seems maybe more pro quality but that may be advertising based.

    A retired pro player I know loves that 18w and gets clean and dirty setting that work, so issues with shared eq may be personal taste.

    As far as tubes going bad, I never buy new production tubes so can’t help you there!
     
  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    22,575
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    Are you thinking of the old Traynor reputation from when they hand built them in Canada? I love those amps but when the brand returned in 2001 or so I was first excited, then left cold.
    I guess all products have gone that way though...

    I don’t thiny they were building any guitar amps for a good number of years and the new products are hardly Related?
     
  10. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,892
    Joined:
    May 24, 2010
    Location:
    Canada
    They sort of expanded to other things but came back with some interesting products.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  11. SpankTank

    SpankTank TDPRI Member

    Age:
    25
    Posts:
    12
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    Hey everyone, thanks for the feedback. Definitely went to deep looking at videos of hughes and kettner tubemeister amps haha. I think I'm going to return my combo, and use the money to get the tubemeister 18. Seems like a sweet spot in terms of wattage. Also heard the dark horse can go through tubes quickly. Whereas the hughes and kettner seems to be good on the tubes.

    Now, that means I'm gonna have to look at getting a cab.

    I've found a hughes and kettner 212 that I could snag for another $350,which would leave some cash in my pocket.

    I'm likely gonna do all this first thing tomorrow lol. When I decide to change up my gear , it usually doesn't take long to make it happen.

    Will post pictures when I get the amp.
     
    jscud likes this.
  12. SparkleFart

    SparkleFart Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    124
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2017
    Location:
    SE Alaska
    Several years ago I picked up a dark horse & have enjoyed it. It's compact & has a good clean sound, imo. I change out a couple home-brew cabinets between it & the old univalve it's perched on top of in my practice room. If your interested, here's a couple bad photos -- the only kind I take.

    hd1.jpg hd2.jpg
    hd3.jpg
     
  13. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Age:
    50
    Posts:
    1,492
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB Canada
    If you have the chance to try it out with a few cabs, I would do that. I Prefer the Fender Bassbreaker cabs to the H&K cabs, but lots of people like the V30s in the H&K cabs.
     
  14. swervinbob

    swervinbob Tele-Holic

    Age:
    48
    Posts:
    763
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2018
    Location:
    Texas
    A friend has the H&K with the V30 112 cab and I’ve played it several times. But, he and I are the same and set the lead channel to as much gain as you’re gonna use for rhythm and roll the guitar volume back for cleanish. Not sure it’s ever been on the clean channel. So, I’m not much help here. Good luck.
     
  15. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Age:
    50
    Posts:
    1,492
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB Canada
    Funny! I set the clean channel with the gain dimed and get a nice crunch on the bridge pickup. Roll back the volume for crystal clean and I have my neck pickup set lower so it’s naturally cleaner than the bridge. Then if I want more gain/drive, I kick in a clean boost to hit the preamp hard. I guess we all have our own way of doing things. I almost never use the lead channel. Cheers!

    It’s a fantastic 18w amp, and in a world of Marshall/Vox/Fender clones, it’s does it’s own thing in a unique way. Takes a while to get a handle on the tone stack, though, as the controls interact quite a bit. The Treble is more of a Treble/Presence and the Mid is more of a High Mid/Low Treble control. If the Min and Treble are too high, the bass is sucked right out no matter how high you crank the Bass control. But it’s cool once you get used to it.
     
    swervinbob likes this.
  16. Togman

    Togman Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    1,486
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire, UK
    I used to have a H&K Tubemeister 18W 1x12 combo. It was my main gigging amp until I got a Helix.
     
  17. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,257
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Western Canada
    I don't know about the H&K, but the low wattage mode on the Dark Horse is useless! Instead of finding a method to attenuate the actual sound, that mode drops the 6V6's and uses a 12AU7 for a power tube. It's not a similar tone at a lower volume... it's simply a raspy, thin tone that is impossible to play with. (IME)

    In full mode the Dark Horse is a great sounding amp with many voicings!
     
  18. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Age:
    50
    Posts:
    1,492
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB Canada
    The H&K attenuator is after the power tubes, I believe. It works really well on the 5watt setting - sounds like 18 watts only not as loud- and decent on the 1 watt setting, although it starts to sound a little bit strangled on the 1 watt setting in my opinion.
     
  19. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,303
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Idahoastan
    Seriously...be patient and get a vintage Traynor head...... Also look up Tao of Tone Facebook group..... It's all Traynor....70s are amazing and super easy to work on if need be. YRM. YGM IMG_20200919_184842.jpg
     
  20. T-Bone

    T-Bone Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,079
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    These are both in your neck of the woods. 3 weeks in on Kijiji
    4DE6C91E-C233-4A53-AB7A-2F4AC5994510.jpeg
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.