Hiwatt ..the later years

Discussion in 'Reviews of amps and cabs' started by Big Wheel, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. Big Wheel

    Big Wheel Member

    Feb 27, 2012
    Im not really a Hiwatt guy..I've owned a few hylight era 50s and 100s, I mainly use 4 input Marshalls. Lately Hiwatts have too high an asking price, for my casual interest. Anyone try comparing later stuff to the glory years? My main concern is that without partridge trannies and mustard caps, you get only a lookalike...looking forward to hearing from anyone with their experiences...thanks!!
  2. DocRock

    DocRock Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2006
    The Caves of Altamira
    I had an original Hylight-era Hiwatt DR-103 from 1973. I thought it was an absolutely fabulous amplifier. Nothing sounds quite like a real Hiwatt. One of my favorite clean-tone / pedal platform amps of all time. The only reason I sold it was because it needed to be run at a certain minimum volume in order for it to sound like it was breathing and not choked off, if that makes any sense. For the small to mid-sized clubs I was gigging at the time, it was just too much (even run clean). It is literally the loudest thing I have ever played through, to this day. But what a glorious sound! If I were playing large venues, I'd still have it. I actually sold it to J. Mascis from Dinosaur, Jr. on eBay. I didn't actually know it was him until after he paid and I saw all the buyer information.
    Darth Weller and kookaburra like this.
  3. iainmc

    iainmc Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    i had a dr-504 which at 50w was louder than 100w marshals i have had. but i loved the sound but the volume killed me (and caused a revolt in a band i had..) - i really didn't love it with a power brake.

    now, I use a matchless clubman which was their version of a hiwatt - without the ringing ears.

  4. Dr. Tweedbucket

    Dr. Tweedbucket Deluxe model available !!!11

    Feb 22, 2007
    Gamma Ray detection station on Mt. Kwakkleberry
    You can get close to the original Hylight sound. I bought an amazing reversed engineered Hiwatt from some guy here on TGP. He did a stellar job and the amp sounds to my ears nearly like the real thing (I own a 71 and 74 DR103 and a 78 DR504). In a blind test, I probably couldn't hear the difference... but don't claim to have golden ears either. Maybe someone else could pick it apart. The trannies are Heyboer and I think the caps are sozo.

    I also had an Audio Bros 90s DR103 which was an amazing amp. I should have kept that one.
    In between Hiwatts, I've tried a few Reeves but have been disappointed. They are their own thing and great amps, but just don't grab that 70s Hylite tone.

    Here are a few shots of the clone that I'm talking about. It was built to an incredible accuracy standard! He used NOS mustards in the signal path. I don't know how or where he got the face plates or the Hylite SN tag, but they look to be the real deal in every regard. It's housed in a Swenson cab and everything about it says Hiwatt!



    This amp wasn't cheap ^ I paid $1300 for it, but it came with some nice NOS glass as well.

    So I realize this is a one off, but as I mentioned, the Audio Bros did it right and you can still find them from time to time.

    So clones aside...I don't think $1500-$1800 for an original Hiwatt is out of bounds.... that's what I've seen them for go for. As long as they are fairly original and work properly, they are fine.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
    beforetone likes this.
  5. Jr Deluxe

    Jr Deluxe Member

    Apr 27, 2017
    Hiwatt had some odd things in the very later years. I had a 1x10 20 watt combo that said Made in MODESTO. It was rather cheaply made and was pretty much an el84 buzz machine that didn't clean up well. It looked cool though.

Share This Page