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Hughes & Kettner Puretone - What's your opinion?

Tone Disciple

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,438
Yesterday I tried an amp I have never even looked at before - a Hughes and Kettner Puretone.

I was pretty impressed. Not as loud as Matchless SC30 or Phoenix I have had, but still plenty of volume. EL34's, but it had attitude more like my Constellation when you turned up the Growl control - which BTW takes the tone stack out of play (nice feature). Total control from the guitar volume knob. Class A - 25 watt.

Not sure that I am into the blue lit front panel thing, but just based on tone and sound - I was pretty impressed.

Oh yeah - the head price, used, was less than $1000.

I haven't bought any amp lately that was less than $2000 -so I am wondering if I am missing something bad about this amp that I just do not see.

Your thoughts?

Buy it?
 

guitarded_1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,335
I have never played this amp, but I must confess that I'm really curious to hear what others think. Through owning and playing several Matchless amps, I have grown to love the idea of a lower wattage, dual EL34 amp. Under a grand, I would probably snag it if I had the money.
 

Tone Disciple

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,438
It was neat because it pushed plenty of air, but was not sooooo loud you could not use it in small venues. Good dynamic response with the guitar and plenty of great cleans to growl with the touch of the volume knob.
 

mikenov

Member
Messages
68
I just bought the Puretone Combo. Love it. And I agree with your sound assessment. Very touch sensitive, hand wired amp for a steal. If you are looking for answers on why they are so cheap on the after market I can't tell you. I got my combo for a very good price here on the Gear page and really like it. I was actually looking for this amp because I own the Hughes and Kettner 20th anniversary 20w combo and loved that . Now when I A/B these two the 20th anniversary sounds like a toy compared to the Puretone. Still good just thin in comparison .
 

Crikey

Member
Messages
1,054
I tried out a Puretone head. I had read comparisons between it and the Matchless Clubman, which I've never heard; I'd heard Puretone clips I liked, and wanted to hear one.

The Puretone reminds me of the Trainwreck-inspired amps I've heard: Alessandro Bloodhound, Working Dog Boxer, and a 6V6-based wreck clone from Tone Shop. It's a bright amp with my PAF-like pickups, and reacts well to varying the guitar's volume knob. It has less clean headroom than I expected, and when turned all the way up mine compresses and spits like a fuzz box, which I found surprising. I haven't gotten around to tube swapping, or tried it with a variety of guitars and pickups.

The EQ is great with all three tone controls at noon. It's a nice balance of big footprint and solid lows without any tubbiness or muddiness.

There is just a certain quality to the overdrive that reminds me of the other amps with wreck inspiration. It's a gainier edge than the old-school Marshalls that are my usual basis for comparison.

If that's a sound you're looking for, these things can be a great deal used.


Crikey
 

righthandman

Member
Messages
122
I had one for a while, it's really a great amp. As others have said it's very touch sensitive and it projects very well. I used it in small clubs without miking it and it had plenty of volume and available headroom. Really wish I hadn't let it go.......
 

mikenov

Member
Messages
68
As a matter of fact, I played it this week side by side in a small bar next to a Super Reverb and it held its own in EVERY way volume wise. Its a LOUD amp. That is in a way its main drawback. At 25w you would think you are buying a bedroom amp but that is just not the case. This think gets loud at 2 and only gets louder until about 5 and then breaks up.
 

Stringkiller

Member
Messages
29
Took me a long time to buy one here in France - actually got mine in the UK thru Ebay as I had never even seen or heard one here. I had been impressed by the UK Guitarist magazines evaluation.
I have just started using my combo
Agreed but you get a lot of control from the tone and volume pots on the guitar from this amp compared to other amps I've played and owned (All the old favorites)
in concerts and it lives up to it's reputation and even more. Check one out if you get the chance. How much does the head or the combo go for in the US?
 

Produktsumme

Funkensprühender Feuerregen
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,122
IMHO it is one of the greatest amps of all time. Pick one up if you can find one. Nothing will make you feel the connection between strings and speaker as close to this one.
 

JunkGear

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,066
I agree with what the others have said; these are really nice amps. It’s a shame H&K pretty much abandoned their big bottle amp lines, they made some really good sounding and playing amps.

And by the way, you can usually disconnect the wire that lights up the front panel if you don’t like the blue.
 
M

Member 201954

Yes, absolutely great amp, that probably suffered a bit from the H&K badge on the front. The other H&Ks I had played yet, sounded much more modern and a bit sterile in comparison. The Puretone is a totally different beast. I love the way you can dial it in with its 3-band EQ PLUS the Growl. You are not pinned to a more british or american flavor. With the tonestack full in (Growl at minimum) the amp acts a bit stiffer, with Mids dialed out you can get the sounds some reviewer years ago called "Deluxe Reverb on Steroids" (without Reverb...).
The magic seems to be the interaction between the inventive kind of tonestack (I love varying the amout of growl to get cleaner, sparklier or warmer, middier sounds) with what is (as far as I read) more or less an AC50 output section.

At 25w you would think you are buying a bedroom amp but that is just not the case. This think gets loud at 2 and only gets louder until about 5 and then breaks up.
(OK - I am late to the party commenting on a 10ys old post)
This is probably the case when the Growl pot is fully open and the tone stack completely taken off the circuit. It stays much cleaner with less growl.
While 25w are nowhere bedroom level, in fact these refer to an impedance mismatch. The Puretone OT is set for 8Ohm and delivers healthy 40w clean power. Around 25w can be measured when mismatching it with an 16 Ohm Speaker (as they do with the combo amp).
My Tech explained me - and he is fabolous with tube amps, so I have no doubt he´s being right on that.

The Power Soak on the Puretone is barely usable. But I got a PPI-Master Volume mod, which fits the amp perfectly and a PowerScaling. The PPIMV seems to work better in my opinios (just the other way round than I expected), but the PowerScaling still has the advantage of giving the amp even more flexability, because you can pretty good dial in how much compression you´d like for your general sound. I like it best fully open, but from time to time compressing the amp a bit more is a nice feature.

I run mine through a pair of vintage Greenbacks G12M25-55Hz. That´s glorious rock tone. No more need for a Plexi.

Another cool "mod" I did to it was simply putting an AY7 into the V1 slot, giving a much fatter, less aggressive timbre. And, btw, because of the simplicity of the circuit bringing all-over volume down quite a bit. The difference of a gain stage of 100 vs a gain stage of 40 in V1 is really, clearly audible (not true in every circuit, but definitely in that one).
 

Produktsumme

Funkensprühender Feuerregen
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,122
^^ This. You are 100% describing my experience with the amp (and yes, this thread is **** old, but the amp deserves more attention). Indeed there are downsides, the power soak does not greatly reduce the volume, the taper on the volume control goes from zero to “boom” in a couple millimeters turn, but man, if you can play, that thing will show it. Every mistake you make will sound just like that, a mistake. One thing is guaranteed: it will make you a better player.
Two years ago some shops here in Germany did a blowout sale of stock that obviously came directly from H&K warehouse, first the heads for 500€, then the combos as well. I got a head and two combos. The combos sound great with their UK V30s in them.
 

Produktsumme

Funkensprühender Feuerregen
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,122
Oh and thank you for the AY7 tip, will try it out. Great idea!
Edit: Just ordered a couple of 12AY7s from Tube Amp Doctor...
 
Last edited:
M

Member 201954

One thing is guaranteed: it will make you a better player.
And THIS should be the best you can say about any kind of gear, I think.
I like brutally honest amps for forcing me to improve my playing - but they are really rewarding, because they show anything detailed you put into it. Very rewarding musical experience.
I find that true about pedals as well. Don´t buy, if it doesn´t teach you anything nor improve your playing.
 
M

Member 201954

chillytc

Member
Messages
843
I owned a Puretone combo briefly. Happened to buy it at a time when I owned a Bad Cat Hot Cat and concluded at the time that I liked the clean channel of the Hot Cat better (a bit more open and polished - and less like a Plexi). That said, the Puretone was a fantastic amp - I liked it with the growl up with some power tube grind going. Agree with others who have said it ain't a bedroom amp but if you ever wondered what a Class A Plexi would be like, this would give you an answer. Very touch sensitive, power amp distortion right there for you and ballsy/in your face tone. Agree also with the others who noted it hides no sins but that's the nature of that kind of immediate, responsive amp thing. I'm not so sure I would love this amp without being able to dial out the EQ circuit with the growl to get that particular raw, straight through kind of thing, but with that feature, it is a great amp for someone looking for ... well, pure tone.
 






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