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Ordered a H&K Tubemeister 18 Combo Today

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by yell03, May 11, 2012.

  1. yell03

    yell03 Tele-Meister

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    I currently have 2 Fender Pro Juniors and I just sold my Marshall Class 5.

    I have 4 well selected pedals to run with my single channel non-master volume combos....
    TS808 OD, Fulltone OCD OD, MXR M78 Distortion, and Earthquaker Devices Dispatch Master Reverb/Delay.

    As you can imagine this is a very portable rig, but I decided I wanted even more portability as in not needing any pedals if I didn't want to bring them.

    I researched many Small two channel amps and the best features and most portability is the H&K Tubemeister 18 1x10 combo.
    It is almost exactly the same size and weight as the Fender Pro Junior, but it has 2 channels, a boost feature, effects loop and digital reverb. It also has 1w, 5w, and 18w selectability built in.

    These sell for $699, and a footswitch is $50 extra.

    I passed on the footswitch until I decide if the amp is as good in person as it is on paper and in videos.

    I used a 20% off coupon and got the amp for $560 shipped to my door.

    It is scheduled to arrive Monday 5/14.

    I have been through so many very good amps...
    Egnaters, Blackstars, Orange, Marshalls, Buddas, Fenders, Peaveys, Vox, Engl, etc...

    All have been very good, but none has had all the features and portability I wanted.
    Some were great, but single channel amps with master volumes that did not provide enough flexibility (Vox, Egnater, Orange)
    The Buddas were great, but not for low volume playing.

    The H&K looks to be a great combination of the features I want, but it is all about TONE, let's see how it performs after it arrives.

    If it is as good as I hope, then one of my Fender Pro Juniors will be up on the block along with one or two pedals.
     
  2. looney77

    looney77 Tele-Afflicted

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    I've been really curious about this amp, lately. I have no chance at playing one, I would have to order it "blind".

    I had a H&K tube 50, in the late 90's. It was my favorite amp for gigging I've ever had. But, it wasn't much for low volume practice. The power sponge feature on the tubemeister has me really wanting one of these. Even the TM 5 watter would probably be pretty cool at home.

    Let us know how you like it. It may give me a reason to drop the dime.
     
  3. Pips

    Pips Tele-Holic

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    I've had the 18 watt head for a few weeks, you'll love it
     
  4. yell03

    yell03 Tele-Meister

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    The 1w, 5w, 18w feature make the TM5 a non-option for me.
    Home Practice at 1w or 5w and then jam/gig at 18w.

    Seems to be the general opinion of owners of this amp.

    I sometimes wonder if choosing the combo over the Head was a good choice?

    I figured, the combo is small and light so I could always run it like a Head in to another cab, plus it has reverb.

    Might be a non-issue...

    I saw the amp shipped today, but I am hoping they shipped the combo, the weight looks a bit low and they really rushed to send it out for me by Monday.
    If they messed up and sent the Head, I don't have any cabs to try it with.
    The Combo weighs 20lbs and the Head weighs around 10lbs, I have a bad feeling.
     
  5. Parma_TeleMon

    Parma_TeleMon Friend of Leo's

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    I'm jazzed for you. As we discussed in a previous thread, I've been looking at these myself. I currently have an Egnater Rebel 30 that sounds pretty good but has been pretty high maintenance. The silent recording feature on the H&K would be ideal for what I do.

    Can't wait to hear your review! The reviews I've seen make it appear to be more modern-soiunding tonewise. If it gets anywhere near Vox jangly I might have to pull the trigger on one.
     
  6. yell03

    yell03 Tele-Meister

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    I had a Rebel 30 and a Rebel 20, nice amps.
    I don't know why I sold the Rebel 30? Probably GAS.

    I will definitely review it....

    If the TM18 has nice cleans with a tube feel and the gain channel has decent crunch and then with the built-in boost enough for smooth sustaining leads, I'll be happy.
    My Pedals with my Fender Pro Juniors get me close to the exact tones I want, I can always run them with the TM18 if needed.

    I really want my set-up to be SIMPLE.
    Ultimately if I could run the TM18 with a Delay in the loop and no other pedals I'd be happy.
     
  7. yell03

    yell03 Tele-Meister

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    Oh well, looks like I won't have it until later in the week.
    It is being shipped from the Manufacturer, not the retailer.
     
  8. yell03

    yell03 Tele-Meister

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    My Tubemeister 18 1x10 combo arrived at 5:30.
    I played around with it for 2 hours.
    Here are some initial reviews.....

    Clean channel:
    I really like the clean channel.
    It has a separate gain knob which I actually like cranked.
    It gives me a gritty clean that way, but you can get a spanky clean by rolling the gain down.
    I really like the warm cleans it puts out with the gain knob cranked, kind of like using a Tube screamer through a clean amp.

    Gain Channel:
    I really like the gain channel.
    It can give you anything from blues to hard rock depending on where you set the gain knob.

    Boost Feature:
    You have to be careful with the Boost feature which works with the Gain channel.
    If you have the Gain cranked on the gain channel the amp sounds great, but when you engage the Boost it gets Fizzy.
    If you know you are going to use the Boost, keep your gain on the gain channel at 12 o'clock or so and then the boost works well.
    However, the Boost also can get a bit muddy, so you might need to raise your Treble on the amp.
    Boost allows you to get some serious thud out of the little 1x10, definitely can sound HUGE.
    ***I like using my TS808 as a boost if I have the Gain Channel maxed out instead of the Boost Feature***

    Tone Controls:
    The Tone Control are great, very responsive and with a Wide Range.
    However, this amp might benefit from separate Tone Controls for the two channels, especially when using the Boost Feature or when using the Clean Channel with Pedals where it can be a bit Bright.

    Reverb
    The built in digital reverb sounds GREAT, but it is not a strong reverb, more of an ambient reverb.
    No surf music on this, but for me I love it.

    Power Attenuator
    The 1w, 5w, 18w settings all sound great and are very usable for practice, jams, or gigs.
    At 18w at low volume you lose some tone, a quick switch to 1w or 5w and all is perfect.

    Pedals:
    Much different than my Fender Pro Jrs which LOVE all pedals.
    With the Tubemeister you have to tweak your pedal setting to get it to sound good.
    The TS808 works great with the TM18, great for boosting the Gain Channel, I like it better than using the amps Boost Feature for rock, the Boost Feature gets you in to metal territory and extreme thud.
    My Fulltone OCD which works OK with my Fender Pro Jr as long as I max out the treble on the tone of the OCD is really nice with the TM18.
    I actually can set the OCD tone at noon and it sounds great.
    My MXR 78 distortiom which works great with my Pro Jr does not go so well with the TM18.
    Very fizzy and very bright.
    I had to turn the distortion way down to avoid fizz where with the Pro Jr I can max out the distortion.
    Of course, the reason I bought the TM18 was to avoid pedals and I have to say, the only pedal I really need with it is my TS808 as a boost and maybe my Dispatch Master Reverb/Delay in the loop, but only for the Delay Effect, the reverb on the TM18 is great.

    It is too early to say, but I think the H&K Tubemister 18 1x10 combo is a keeper and I could see my Fender Pro Juniors some of my pedals going up for sale after I get some more time with it.
    It took me a few minutes with it to like it, it was not LOVE at first sight, it took a little tweaking.
    I really wish the Boost Feature did not get muddy and fizzy, if the Boost feature had its own separate tone controls, more like a 3rd channel it would be perfect.
    The Clean and gain Channels shared Tone Controls are OK, it is when the Boost is engaged you need to tweak.

    More reviews later

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    the light show alone is worth the price !!!
     
  10. yell03

    yell03 Tele-Meister

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    I need a little more time with it.
    Initial reviews are tough to do.

    The Clean Channel is nice when run completely clean, not the nicest I have heard, but nice.
    I really like to thicken it up with the Gain Knob, just so warm sounding.

    For rhythm players the Gain channel is great for anything from Blues to Hard Rock, but if you play Lead you will want to boost it with a TS808 or some other Overdrive pedal to get you over the top and add some sustain.

    The boost feature will do this, but then on your rhythm part, you might have to set the gain a bit lower than you want as the Boost feature adds a LOT of Boost and Gain and will tend to fizz you out and muddy it up if your initial settings are too high.

    For Metal Guys, the Boost Feature will do this for you and even the little 1x10 Combo has some serious chunk and thud if you like that, definitely shakes the walls.

    I still need to try the amp with my Tele, only review was with my Les Pauls so far.
     
  11. Pips

    Pips Tele-Holic

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    Great review - I love the head and agreed with your comments, I do like a little bit of dirt with my clean if you get what I mean, and it does that very well. The Boost is great when you manage the gain channel.
     
  12. yell03

    yell03 Tele-Meister

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    They are the two biggest things with this amp
     
  13. Revman

    Revman TDPRI Member

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    Just traded a MIM Roadhouse Strat (Texas Specials) for a H&K 25th Anniversary. Great combo amp. Couldn't be happier with the sound. Has a 12" Celestion speaker. Works great with my pedals. Congrats on your amp purchase!
     
  14. yell03

    yell03 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks....

    I am surprised how much thump this little 1x10 combo gets, I'll bet your 1x12 is great.
     
  15. yell03

    yell03 Tele-Meister

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    Put in another 2 hours with it last night....

    Some more observations on the Tubemeister 18 combo:

    It loves the Fulltone OCD
    It likes the TS808
    It does not like my MXR M78 distortion, the M78 tens to get fizzy through the TM18.

    My Pro Jr loves all three pedals.

    The TM18 likes most pedals, the Pro Jr LOVES all pedals.

    I am liking the Tubemeister 18, it is NOT love at first sight.

    It is a fun amp to play, much more fun than the Pro Jr.

    I enjoy messing with the clean channel, it can do pure cleans to dirty cleans with the twist of the gain knob, I like the gain knob either very low or all the way up.
    I will say pedals sound much better on the clean channel with the gain up.

    Over to the Gain channel.
    This amp has a great crunchy sound for rhythm.
    Being a Lead Guitarist I tend to like more gain, with the gain all the way up I still find it likes a boost from my TS808 or my Fulltone OCD (I never use the OCD as a boost, but it works well with this amp), then it sounds really nice.
    On its own the built in Boost still gets a bit muddy and fizzy, this is dialed out by lowering the Gain knob, but then it is not enough gain for me without the boost.

    I am still loving the built in reverb.

    I can easily see gigging with this amp and 1 pedal, either the OCD or TS808, bring both pedals and you can do it all.

    On the clean channel with the gain maxed for gritty cleans, just nail the TS808 and/or OCD on top of it and you can go from Blues to Hard Rock

    On the Gain channel with the Gain Maxed you can go from Rock to Hair Metal/Ozzy stuff with a boost from the TS808 and/or OCD.

    With the Boost engaged and no pedals, you can go serious Metal and this little 1x10 will Thump pretty well, you can feel it thump at low volumes.

    The amp has NICE TONE on both channels, you just need to watch out for fizz and mud with the Boost engaged.

    One thing I am still tyring to dial in:

    I like Tube amps with a chewy and warm feel if you know what I mean.
    This amp is not chewy or very warm.
    My Pro Jrs are chewy, very tubey and warm feeling.
    The Tubemeister has an almost solid state feel, I am trying to dial in more warmth, I am getting closer.
    It does not sound Solid State, don't get me wrong, it just does not have that spongy feel of the Pro Jr if that makes sense.


    My previous Marshall Class 5 had that warm, chewy, spongy feel like the Pro Jr, so did my previous Budda SD45 (too loud for anything other than large gigs), the Tubemeister is tougher to dial in.

    The Clean channel with low gain is very Glassy, with High Gain it is very warm, but either way it is not that chewy/spongy tube feel. It is very nice for rhythm, but it needs a little something extra for leads I need to find.

    The Gain channel is GREAT for Rhythm and with a boost from a pedal sounds great for leads, I just need to find that additional little extra tube feel from it.
    I am confident I will with a little more time.

    I still think this amp is a keeper, but I won't part with my Pro Jrs just yet.
    I could see parting with one Pro Jr, but not both at this point.

    In a perfect scenario after I dial in this amp....
    I'd like to sell my pedalboard, 1-2 pedals, and one of my Pro Jrs and buy a 2nd 2 channel amp, maybe a TM18 Head and 1x12 cab?
     
  16. andrenighthound

    andrenighthound Tele-Afflicted

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    Why did you get rid of the Marshall 5? I was think of getting one.
     
  17. yell03

    yell03 Tele-Meister

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    It was a really nice amp, great tone, but...

    In the end the Fender Pro Jr does the same thing with 15w instead of 5w and is more compact.
     
  18. Parma_TeleMon

    Parma_TeleMon Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the excellent and thoughtful review. I may have to (sadly) pass on this one as I'm after the jangly/spongy/saggy thing. Keep us apprised as you continue to dial this in. It took me over a year to find the magical combination of amp and pedals for my Rebel 30.

    The reviews on the TM18 said it sounds "hi-fi", with good clarity between notes in a chord. Would you agree with that assessment?
     
  19. yell03

    yell03 Tele-Meister

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    I had a Rebel 30, nice amp.
    My Budda SD45 1x12 combo was the best amp I've ever heard, but it just did not do low or moderate volume and it was big.

    I am not exactly sure what they mean by Hi-Fi, but yes, it has good clarity between notes in a chord.

    I am having trouble getting that spongy/saggy thing going.

    If by Hi-Fi, you mean almost a Solid State or a Sterile feel, it can be that, but mainly it is just that it is NOT SPONGY

    I will dial this amp in, I know I can.

    I have been through so many amps, the Budda SD45 was the best channel switcher.

    My favorite Non-MV amp is the Fender Pro Jr.

    My best MV single channel amp was the Egnater Tweaker (most features), but the Vox Night Train and Orange Tiny Terror were nice also.

    I think the H&K TM18 1x10 combo is the Swiss Army Knife or Jack of all Trades amp. Not the best, but close enough.
    The combination of portability, reverb, channel switching, boost, built in attenuation form 1w/5w/18w, and nice tone is unbeatable for $610-$625 after discounts with Footswitch (not included).
     
  20. yell03

    yell03 Tele-Meister

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    The H&K TM18 I am starting to figure out and I really like it a lot.
    By using my TS808 pedal I am able to get a more tubey organic tone that is hard to get with the amp by itself.
    I have learned to dial out the brightness.
    I have figured out that with the gain all the way up on the ampon either channel, the brightness goes away, but then the boost on the amp will make it get muddy and a bit fizzy.
    It will work that way for METAL, but not as good for leads and sweet sustaining solos.
    Here is where the TS808 makes the amp, just use that as a boost and all is perfect.

    I have also started using a single coil Telecaster with the TM18 and it loves it.
    With my Les Pauls you have to be more careful with all that gain on tap.
     
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