Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 18 2-Channel 18-Watt Guitar Amp Head

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Listed:a year ago
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Todd's Gear Outlet
Jupiter, FL, United States
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Amazing H&K Tone all delivered in just 18 watts of awesomeness!

Designed and engineered in Germany but manufactured in China, the TubeMeister 18 is an elegantly restrained, Perspex-fronted, black and silver little number that comes complete with its own carrying bag. Four blue LEDs illuminate the front panel when power is applied, and the whole package is genuinely attractive to look at.

Despite its small size, the TubeMeister 18 weighs 5kg, most of which is accounted for by the input and output transformers. These flank its valve complement of two 12AX7s for the preamp stage and twin EL84s driving the Class AB push-pull output stage. Removing the bottom cover reveals PCBs of high quality, in terms of both components and construction.

There's a single-input, dual-channel architecture. Each channel (Clean and Lead) has master and gain controls and, although they share the same set of bass, middle and treble controls, the EQ filters are voiced differently for each channel. The front-panel Channel Select switch does what its name suggests, and its Lead Boost sibling re-voices the Lead channel to give a modern high-gain sound. There's little space on the front panel, especially with the input jack and power and standby switches in there as well, but the layout works well, and despite my large hands I never felt cramped when operating the controls.

The rear panel is less busy. A serial effects loop allows you to insert effects between the pre and power amps, tap the preamp signal off to a tuner or another amp, or use another preamp signal to drive the TubeMeister's power stage. There's a socket for the optional FS2 footswitch that overrides the Channel Select and Lead Boost switches, and a balanced, speaker-simulated XLR DI Out, from the integral Red Box DI. On the right you'll find the mains input socket, the output jack and — possibly the most important control — the Power Soak that tames the full 18W down to 5W, 1W or 0W, at which point the only active output is the DI.

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