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Hughes & Kettner Edition Blue 15R


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I managed to snag one of these for $99 on closeout at Music123. MF sells them for $149 so I jumped at it.


I'm very impressed with H&K's stuff after buying a TriAmp MkII, a ZenTerra head and 2 4x12 Pro cabs.


I had not tried one of the H&K SS amps before. So far I'm very impressed. It sounds absolutely great for a SS amp. I haven't had much time to fiddle with this evening (work got in the way). But I'll give fuller impressions tomorrow.


At first blush the amp has excellent tone in both the clean and "lead" channels. The sound is crisp and clear. It's a 15 watt amp with two channels and a push button switch. I haven't checked it out fully, yet. I has reverb but I haven't tried that, yet, either.


Playing a Les Paul through the clean channel has a nice fat tone to it without being muddy at all. I've not tried my Strat on it, yet.


The lead channel (as they call it) goes from just a little grind to full on death metal. With the gain at about 11 o'clock it has a nice Marshally crunch to it. At about 2 o'clock it will grind meat!! Even set to about 4 o'clock it's still fairly musical. But I played it mostly on clean and a little on the lead channel with the gain at about 11 o'clock.


I'm well pleased, so far, with the tone of this amp on both the clean and lead channels. I'll post more later when I get time.


I primarily bought this to see if it might make a good recording amp. I have bigger amps that I would gig with (the TriAmp and ZenTerra). And at $99, the price was right.


More later... :D

Born on the Bayou


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I got a chance to play with this for an hour or two, now and I must say I like it even better.


First round was playing it on the lead channel with my Strat. I tried it in most settings on the lead gain and it goes from a little crunch to death metal rattle. It doesn't seem quite as musical on the Strat as it does on my Les Paul Custom. I kept the reverb to 0 while I was playing the lead channel.


This little sucker will get very loud. With the clean volume set to noon and the master volume set to noon, it's loud enough to rattle things on my desk next to it. It also breaks up a little when I play it hard. Cranking the clean volume up a little more makes it chunk up a little. Turning down the mids make it sound like I'm playing through my Blues Junior.


I tried to see if I could get the Clapton woman tone out of it but although it sounded pretty good, it wasn't quite there. After DL mentioned his friend being able to get SRV tones out of an H&K I decided I'd try it. I pulled the mids up to about 2, cut back the bass to about 5 and set the treble to 7. I set the clean volume to about 6 and the master about the same and whaled away on it. It's about as close as I've ever heard a SS amp come to an SRV tone.


I turned the volume back a bit so it would stay clean and it's just crystal clear. The Strat quacks nicely with it. I cranked up the reverb to about 4 and it sounded very nice. Fuller but without too much harmonics. I hooked up my DD-5 delay pedal and played SRV by Eric Johnson. It sounded just great and very much like Eric's tone. (switch in position 4)


Next I hooked my Les Paul up to it and tried the same settings I'd just used for SRV (I disconnected the delay first). The clean channel sounds good with a Les Paul but not as good as it does with a Strat. The lead channel is where a Les Paul shines.


I switched back to lead channel and set the gain to about 4 and volume to 5. I set the master volume to 5. EQ set to t-7, m-5 and b-3. I played some power chords for a bit then played The Old Man Down The Road (which should be played with P90s). It sounded very musical even when playing chords.


Next I cranked up the gain to 7 and left everything else where it was and played Iron Man and Paranoid. The sound was excellent.


The last thing I did was hook my P90 equipped SG up and switched back to the clean. Just a touch of reverb (about 2.5), clean volume set to 6 and master volume set to 7. I played Green River (CCR) followed by Born On The Bayou (CCR). The sound was nice and crunchy and so loud it rattled the duct in the ceiling.


I switched to the lead channel and set the gain to 6 and the lead volume to 8 and played Mississippi Queen. Leslie would have been proud. :D


I turned it all back down to a more sane volume and plugged my Tele in (neck pickup). I set the EQ flat with the mids turned down just a tad (to about 3.5). The clean volume was on 4 and the master was also set to 4. Then I played Long Hard Ride (Marshall Tucker) and 1000 Miles From Nowhere (Dwight Yoakam). I cranked up the reverb to about 6 for the last song and little tremolo.


The tone of the little 8 inch Celestion speaker sounds much better than the 8 inch Weber in the Valve Junior.


The cabinet is a closed cabinet which aids it bass response (which can be lacking in an 8 inch driver). The highs are crisp and clean and the mids are full, throaty and not at all squeaky. I leaned the amp back for a little while and when the speaker is pointing directly at you, it can be a little bright. But anywhere else even slightly off axis sounds just fine.


The workmanship on the cabinet is first rate and I quite like the sparkly grill cloth. The H&K logo on the front is a bit large for the amp but it doesn't obstruct the speaker.


I didn't try the aux inputs on the back of the amp. I rarely use those anyway.


On the control panel left to right are Input, Clean Volume, Clean/Lead switch and LED (red), Lead Gain, Lead Volume, Treble, Mid, Bass, Master Volume, Reverb and Headphone.


The Plexiglass (perspex to Brits) panel glows blue when it is powered up making it easy to change settings in low light.


I am very satisfied with this amplifier. It's a steal at the price I got it for and I believe it's worth the $139 most vendors are charging for it. It would be nice to have an effects loop on this amp but it is an entry level amp. The lack of a footswitch to switch channels is also a negative. But a footswitch isn't available on the Edition Blue 30R either. Nor is one available on comparably priced amps. I would not hesitate to recommend this over Fender or Marshall's offerings in the same price range.


Sorry for the long post. I hope it has been worth the time it took to read.

Born on the Bayou


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LPCustom - I have the H&K Matrix 100w combo and I think it is a very nice SS amp. Nice tones, good construction, closed back design, decent effects, etc. After going thru what I did with the Peavey ValveKing, I firmly believe you get what you pay for. Of course with the exception of your latest deal. I may need to pick one of these Edition Blue 15Rs myself. I haven't heard a bad amp yet from H&K but I think they remain a darkhorse in the U.S.
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LP Custom:


Thanks man. You just made my life more difficult.


I'm tying to decide on a new amp, now I have to seriously consider this Zenterra as well as the Carvin V3, Carvin Master Tube Series, the Mesa Road King, the Mesa F-100, the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.


You guys got me thinking about Marshall too.


The only problem is I can only buy one.


Really though.


I do appreciate your detailed review man.


It's great information. :thu:

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