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Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head   

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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 tub...Read More

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OVERVIEW

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.

A head with warm tube tone and phenomenal dynamic range.

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

Rock on stage. Play at home. Record at night. Order today!

SPECIFICATIONS

TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head

  • Channels: 2
    Power: 18 watts
    Footswitch/Stageboard: FS-2 optional
    Protective Cover: Softbag included
    Dimensions: 356mm x 156mm x 150mm
    Weight: 5kg
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
Hughes & KettnerTubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head
 
4.6

(based on 22 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (17)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

91%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (20)
  • Portable (19)
  • Excellent sound (18)
  • Warm / comfy (18)
  • Good power output (12)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Home studio (16)
  • Performances (13)
  • Amateur recording (11)
  • Professional recording (10)
  • Outdoor events / games (7)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (17), Professional musician (4)

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

 

Good tone and volume, Poor reliability

I bought one of these as a restock when it was the Stupid Deal of the Day. It's the first product I got through that where I was very disappointed. It sounds pretty...Read complete review

I bought one of these as a restock when it was the Stupid Deal of the Day. It's the first product I got through that where I was very disappointed. It sounds pretty good, although not as good as my Mesa TA-15, and has great volume, but I think there's something weird about the tube bias "feature" because the head just cuts out, over and over, when I'm playing it loudly. It's essentially useless for any application where dependability is a must. I may use it for practicing at home, but that's it.

Reviewed by 22 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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4.0

Good amp, but tubes didn't last

By 

from Atlanta, GA

About Me Experienced

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Easy To Use
  • Excellent Sound
  • Portable

Cons

    Best Uses

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

      Sounds very good and I especially like the ability to play without any speaker. BUT ... after just a few months, power tubes blew. Musicians Friend said it was probably because the amp was not set correctly when they shipped it. I said that in that case why wasn't it covered under the "1 year" warranty? They said, they can't test all the amps, and there was nothing they could do but sell me some new tubes. Needless to say I rejected their offer. Contacted H&K twice and they ignored my requests for help. So two months after buying this I paid another hundred to have new tubes installed.

      Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

       
      4.0

      Very Nice Little Tube Amp!

      By 

      from Las Vegas, NV

      About Me Experienced

      Pros

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

      Cons

      • Poor Sounding Distortion Channel

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Home Studio
      • Professional Recording

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

      I've owned the TM18H for about 6 months now and it has a very nice warm clean channel that I absolutely love! It pairs extremely well with a Gibson or Epi Les Paul or a Paul Reed Smith. It also works very well with effects pedals. The only down fall is the second channel or the distortion channel. I get a bad hum and its very temperamental so i stick with the clean channel and my pedals. I've used it thru a 1x12 Peavey cab and a 4x12 Marshall 1960A and it sounds great through either.

      Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Wort every pennyh

      By 

      from Freehold, NJ

      About Me Professional Musician

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

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

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Performances

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

        Working Classic Rock musician and I own, or have owned every well-known amp there is. Always looking for versatility in a small package and this is it. I close mic a 10 or 12 inch single cabinet at every gig and rarely need to go to 18 watts. If I use a 2x10 cab, I never need the 18 watts. Great cleans (love having the the "drive" knob for the clean channel) and good saturation in the Lead channel. Boost is a bit much, but comes in handy once in a while.

        Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Excellent for my purposes

        By 

        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!

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          (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Excellent, affordable gig/recording amp.

          By 

          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!

            Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

            (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            The best tone in the price range, period

            By 

            from Michigan

            About Me Professional Musician

            Pros

            • All Tube
            • Easy To Use
            • Excellent tone
            • Extremely Versatile
            • Good Warmth
            • Portable

            Cons

            • Footswitch not included
            • No Reverb Or Effects

            Best Uses

            • Amateur Recording
            • Home Studio
            • Performances
            • Professional Recording

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

            As a professional and studio musician who's seen a whole lot of gear, this amp is one of the biggest deals in its price range. Even though it is far less featured than H&Ks high end amplifiers, the quality of the tone is bar none. Clean channel is reminiscent of an old Fender Twin (sans reverb), very crisp yet warm, as you roll up the gain you get a very nice bluesy crunch. The lead channel can pull off any overdrive tone imaginable, from a very light crunch to full blown mayhem with the lead boost, and everything in between. There is enough gain for any style, even the heaviest of tones found within extreme metal and djent.

            My primary concern with this amplifier is the lack of onboard reverb (which can be found in the Grandmeister 36). This is easily remedied with a high quality stompbox or rack fx, but it's easily overlooked. The lead channel is also a bit louder than the clean channel, but if volume is a concern, you may be better off with the 36-watt version.

            The Red Box DI is exceptional for recording. Plugged directly into an interface, it sounds very much like an effectively mic'd cabinet. You don't need a cab to use the DI, which makes it a very portable (and silent) solution for recording. The signal is from the power stage of the amp, meaning fully saturated tube tone.

            Bottom line: it may be small, and not as loud as the 100-watt beasts it was born from, but it packs every bit of that Hughes and Kettner tone. Add on the features of the DI, power soak, and TSC, and you get insane performance from an affordable little package.

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            (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            This is the Amp to have

            By 

            from New Hampshire

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

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

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Events
              • Home Studio
              • Performances
              • Professional Recording

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

              I have six amps and this is my favorite one great variety of sounds and weighs only 11 pounds,
              I play this head through a custom cab with a Celestion 12" blue speaker. what a nice sounding combination

              Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

              (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Awesome Tube tone and sustain

              By 

              from Double Oak, Tx

              About Me Experienced

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Awesiome Looking Head
              • Easy To Use
              • Excellent Sound
              • Good Warmth
              • Great Clean And Driven
              • Portable

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Home Studio

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

                This amp gives excellent tube sound. You can dial in super clean tube warmth or you can dial in great sustain on the boost.
                You have three output wattages to choose from and a great selection in tone. it is a quality engineered unit.

                Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

                (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                For tone and looks this is the best

                By 

                from USA

                About Me Experienced

                Ask me a question

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Beautiful
                • Easy To Use
                • Excellent Sound
                • Good Warmth
                • Great tone
                • Portable
                • Powerful

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Events
                  • Home Studio
                  • Performances

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

                  Wow! Great stunning looks make this a great amp head for small gigs.

                  Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

                  (10 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  This amplifier is simply AMAZING!!!

                  By 

                  from Los Angeles

                  About Me Experienced

                  Ask me a question

                  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:

                    Okay, like any musical equipment, there is no one single piece of equipment that can do everything and meet all needs for all situations. Obviously there are many personal elements that factor in.

                    With that said, The Tubemeister 18 (and 36 for that matter) is the best, most flexible, feature filled and reliable guitar amplifier I have seen and/or used.

                    It can shimmer clean like a Fender amp, jangle like a Vox amp, growl like a Mesa amp and scream like a Marshall amp. However, it maintains a tonal quality, clarity and presence all its own.

                    For the price...there is no other amp in its class, weight, power, tonal variety and flexibility. Winner!

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