Hiwatt Owners, Advice Please?

Teahead

Member
Messages
1,375
I've used a Vox AC30 for about four years now, it has never been reliable and currently needs a new output transformer, which it will get, but I've learned never to rely solely on the Vox again. So, I'm looking at Hiwatt amps, but unfortunately there is no chance of me trying one before I buy, which is where I hope for you guys to chime in.

I'm mainly interested in the Custom 50 and Studio Stage 20/40, either combos or head and 2 x 12. Most leaning towards to the Custom 50, since I think it would be a nice compliment to the AC30. Anything I should be aware of? Experiences, be them positive or negative, are most welcome.

If I had the time, I'd probably order a Reeves, but I don't have time. I need to pick this amp up asap. Many thanks,

Tea.
 

protoangel

Member
Messages
181
Awesome rock n roll amps: Its all about the power stage distortion.

Very powerful mids

I have a 1973 DR504 (custom 50)

Agree about the pedals - needs a bit of tinkering

But don't use them with Cel V30s I'm in the process of swapping them out for something flatter and more musical.

The Hiwatt/V30 combo is bright and aggressive with pushed mids, especially when you crank it up (yes with a hotplate :eek:)

Settings

Try jumpering both inputs and turning input vols up to 11 o'clock, and diming the output vol. Instant power stage rock n roll

Make sure bass treble and prescence are set at zero, and crank the mids - Mid control has a very wide frequency response, including the "bright" and "fat" regions.

Back off the output vol to say 12 or 1 o'clock and you get "vox-ish" tones esp through a nics 1/2 open back 2 x 12.

It really shines with a 4 x 12 though - even sounds good with those nasty CEL G12-75T speakers!

Agree about buying used.

The Partridge xformers are essential to the tone.

There was a batch of newer ones where the O/P xformers were blowing so watch out. (Tey have new suppliers as of last year).
 

Teahead

Member
Messages
1,375
Cheers guys. I've seen the consensus concerning original versus reissues at the Plexi Palace, unfortunately I don't have the knowledge, nor the balls to take a risk on buying an original. For all the same reasons I wouldn't chance a vintage fuzz face, I'm more interested in getting a modern, full warranty equipped amp. Oh, master volume is a must, attenuators are highly likely to have contributed to my Vox eating it's o/t as quickly as it did.

It doesn't have to say Hiwatt on it, just so long as it delivers the sound, I couldn't care less about a badge. Although I'd like to order from within the UK and Ireland, again for reasons of warranty and the like. Shipping an amp across the Atlantic is a risky, expensive business.
 

protoangel

Member
Messages
181
You should be fine with the latest batch - they wouldn't risk ruining their business with duff O/P transformers.

They told me about the changeover at the London gtr show last year.

PS have you checked out Blackstar Amps - they sound superb... very well engineered. British company, who build stuff in Koera. Artisan series are point-to-point, others are PCB. I heard the 30 watt Class A amp - Awesome

http://blackstaramps.com/
 

callaway_1

Member
Messages
311
Definitely get a real HIWATT made by Hylight Electronics. The garbage that MG is putting out is a disgrace to the HIWATT name. A warranty from MG doesn't mean much.
 

Teahead

Member
Messages
1,375
Can I ask, who are MG? Presuming they're the people behind Hiwatt, as Korg is to Vox?
 

callaway_1

Member
Messages
311
Music Ground. The owner's deep pockets allowed them to acquire the HIWATT name in the 1980's. There website implies that "they" started in 1964, but it is all a marketing ploy.

beware!
 

stekks

Member
Messages
853
+1 on an early 70s Hiwatt... They pop up every now and then, cheaper then a new one and a better resale value. Compared a new one with mine, they were pretty close though. My old one had just a tad more 'swirl'/complexity/smoothness then the new one.
 

phatster

Member
Messages
733
Listen to Callaway ...he is eat up with Hiwatt {in a good way!}Hoosiers are VERY discriminating in therir gear preferences!Go with the early 70's models if at all possible..its an investment in quality and TONE!
 

callaway_1

Member
Messages
311
Listen to Callaway ...he is eat up with Hiwatt {in a good way!}Hoosiers are VERY discriminating in therir gear preferences!Go with the early 70's models if at all possible..its an investment in quality and TONE!
Sinus Hell that sounds like Indiana!

:AOK
 

Teahead

Member
Messages
1,375
Music Ground. The owner's deep pockets allowed them to acquire the HIWATT name in the 1980's. There website implies that "they" started in 1964, but it is all a marketing ploy.

beware!
Ah, I see, that'd be why they have so much Hiwatt stock on their site then. A Reeves would apparently take three or four weeks lead time, mmm, with the weak dollar they are very temptingly priced.

Otherwise I've been looking at the Cornell range, he doesn't really have anything Hiwattish, but the Plexi range looks great.
 

Teahead

Member
Messages
1,375
Ha, yes I saw the guy on ebay! While Cornell building something to order is nice, I kind of really need to get something quickly. The replacement o/t for my Vox is still a while off being delivered.

I think the 18/20, probably 1 x 12 combo, would suffice and might nicely compliment my AC30 in a two amp set up for clean & dirty tones.
 

JWR

Member
Messages
444
If an original Hylight is not available in the time frame you are looking for, personally, the only other thing I would consider would be a Reeves.
 
Messages
3,383
Get that Harry Joyce on the emporium and put away your wallet for a long time. That amp is a classic and will only get better and increase in value over time.

Listen to Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes. Harry Joyce amps are responsible for a lot of his live tone. It is an expensive piece, but IMO very much worth the money. Shouldn't be much trouble getting most if not all of your money back in a resale if it isn't for you.
 

callaway_1

Member
Messages
311
Get that Harry Joyce on the emporium and put away your wallet for a long time. That amp is a classic and will only get better and increase in value over time.

Listen to Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes. Harry Joyce amps are responsible for a lot of his live tone. It is an expensive piece, but IMO very much worth the money. Shouldn't be much trouble getting most if not all of your money back in a resale if it isn't for you.

I don't think that is an authentic HJ, but one made by the flakes in Florida.
 

Teahead

Member
Messages
1,375
I snapped, as much as I would have enjoyed a Reeves Custom 50 and 2 x 12, I decided to stay on this side of the Atlantic and just bought a Cornell 18/20 Plexi from ebay at £750.

That's £450 off the new price, which swayed my decision and it means I can use all the lovely NOS EL84s I have for my Vox in the Cornell ... http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI....m=190188352491&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=009

I guess this is now strictly off-topic, but who cares? Thanks for steering me away from the Hiwatt range, it was probably total overkill for me anyway. I'll get more use from this little fellow ...



 

Mudder

Member
Messages
3,997
I'm too late but another option would have been Sound City amps. They're essentially a Hiwatt but more mass produced, so a bit cheaper. Still a great alternative.
 

callaway_1

Member
Messages
311
There is a common misconception here in the U.S. that Sound City amps are "basically" HIWATTs or that they were designed or built by Dave Reeves.

Reeves built the initial batch of amps for SC that became known as the Mark I series. He had absolutely nothing to do with the MK II, 3 or 4 series of amplifiers.

It is a common ploy be sellers of SC amps to claim a Dave Reeves connection, but it is all just a sales ploy.
 






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