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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister: Part III

Current mood: cheerful

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If you haven't been following along with the TubeMeister chronicles you might want to check out my earlier blog entry(ies).

Okay, so I got a replacement TubeMeister about a week or so ago. I was a good boy and let it "warm up" to room temperature before doing anything with it. :)

After I got it all unpacked I took the little fella upstairs to the music room. I'm still flabbergasted at how small this head is. Taking it with you is a breeze. You could really toss this in a back pack (or add a strap to sling it over your shoulder), throw your guitar over your other shoulder and carry a small cabinet and be ready to jam anywhere. The combo would be even easier!

I got it all hooked up and turned it on, leaving it in Standby so the tubes could all warm up and get happy. While this was happening I made sure my guitar was in tune and then took it off standby mode.

Starting with the clean channel I started playing through it. This amp really has great cleans. I increased the gain on the clean channel little by little and was once again amazed at how awesome it sounded. You can get a very nice growl and crispy chunky gain on this channel. And by just rolling off the guitar volume a bit, it cleans right up!
I honestly could see someone leaving it on this channel and using pedals for heavier gain. Really nice.

I switched it over to the gain channel (oh, leaving everything other than volume & gain at the 12 o'clock position) and started playing through it as well. I moved the volume & gain up and down and switched through the power soak options. After a couple hours it started to really open up and growl for me -- I considered this part of "break-in". Felt like it was finally able to get a deep breath, if you know what I'm talking about.

Being completely honest here, I've been leery of using the 1 watt setting. I've primarily kept it on 5 & 18. I'm cranking the hell out of it on those settings and will keep venturing into the 1 watt realm but seeing how that's where my first one broke, I have a bit of subconscious worry there. It's funny, because I really really like this amp. But I've already made an agreement with myself that if it fails I'm getting rid of it and getting a Mesa Mini Recto (or similar). So, I'm going out of my way to make sure it doesn't break!

I've recently been thinking of getting a Mini Recto or possibly an ENGL Gigmaster 15 even if the TubeMeister continues working flawlessly. I mean, then I can have my cake and eat it too, right?

So at this point everything is working just fine. I've been harder on this one than the first and it's holding strong. I'm going to be traveling with it tomorrow so we'll see how it does after being in the car, moved, played, brought back and played some more. With as sturdy as the metal frame/enclosure is, you'd think this thing was intended to be abused. Let's find out, shall we? ;)
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