Impression of Hughes & Kettner as a Company

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Cap'n Fingers, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. Cap'n Fingers

    Cap'n Fingers Member

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    I've always been somewhat fascinated with H&K. My first experience with them was about 15 years ago when I purchased their Access pre amp. This was,( and by some accounts still is), one of the most versatile best sounding pre amps ever made. At $1700.00 to $2000.00 new it damn well should have been. ;) Even though it was such a popular unit HK halted production after about 5 years. According to HKs tech Larry, Access production involved a lot of hand wiring and they couldn't charge enough $ for them to be profitable.

    Fast forward to the late 90s. I followed the Zentera for a couple of years before they started production on them. It looked as if they had another Access quality unit in R&D and I was ready to see just how good a modeler it would be. As anticipated it was a ground breaking amp but the price... OMG! At close to $3000.00 I wondered how the hell they were going to compete with Line6. As we all know they aren't competing with Line6. I'm surprised that the Zen has had as long of a run as it's had. Especially since they Increased the price of the Zen by $1000.00 a couple years ago.

    So you're asking, what's the point of this thread? My take is, (that at times), HK has thown marketing considerations to the wind and poured a lot of money into making some incredible products. This a very cool concept when you think about it. The uncool part is that most potential buyers can't afford the "good stuff" and HK has yet to really penetrate the US market because of it.

    I'd be interested to hear anyone elses opinion of HK's seemingly unusual approach as a company.
     
  2. dave6

    dave6 Member

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    quite a few years ago i was in a music store looking for a new head. i heard this incredible tone coming from the somewhat closed off jam room. i entered to find an attax 80 head going through 1 marshall greenback 4x12 and 1 marshall vintage 30 cab. i was amazed at the sound.

    i bought the attax 80 head, carried it home, plugged into my les paul, my marshall cab, and cranked it up......THE TONE BLEW ME AWAY......and i'm a die-hard tube guy.

    i ended up changing the preamp tube and i gave that head to a friend of mine a few years ago and aquired an attax 200 stereo.....I'M VERY HAPPY. this amp is very veratile, and i couldn't be happier with my tone.....
     
  3. shuffle

    shuffle Member

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    Yeh i completely agree, its strange, but you certainly get what you paid for!

    I bought a H&K Duotone, one of the best clean amps i have EVER tried. Modern, yes, but its so damn nice! overdrive i wasnt looking for, but its good. But the clean channel! More chimey then anything i have ever played! Was worth the $$$ imho

    Im in the market for another amp to use along side this. I tried out Fender RI's and the clean imo wasnt as good.
     
  4. Cap'n Fingers

    Cap'n Fingers Member

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    Yeah, they certaintly have some jewels in their line up. It's a shame that most of what gets advertised with the online retailers in the US are the lowwer priced amps that don't seem to get much attention. I maybe wrong but I assume the lowwer end stuff isn't as impressive.
     
  5. shuffle

    shuffle Member

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    yeah i really dont like much else of their stuff. Especially all their modelling stuff, im just not a fan of modelling at all really.
     
  6. fin

    fin Guest

    for some reason, I always thought they only made bass amps...


    checked out the website, the tube stuff looks nice, not sure that Alex whatshisname from Rush is the guitar tone you want associated with you amps though, !!!!!:BOUNCE yuk!
     
  7. Berlin Chris

    Berlin Chris Member

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    I totally agree with your friend, the H+K Edition Tube is one monster of a little amp. For my taste this is the best amp in the HK-line.
     
  8. tonedaddy

    tonedaddy Member

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    My take on it is:

    - H&K is not a US-centric gear company. Rather, they're a very German company, focused on engineering and not marketing. And not to stereotype all German companies, but I don't think that kind of focus is that unusual historically. From what I can tell, H&K has a large presence in Europe because of that engineering focus, and it's much more appreciated by and attractive to European buyers because of it. I don't think H&K is likely to change their products or marketing just to make them more attractive to US buyers. That said, about 4 years ago I went to a local day-long music festival with my son that featured lots of popular current bands and a few older bands like The Cult, and I was a bit shocked to see lots of H&K amps/cabs as part many rigs that day, almost matching the number of Mesa's around. So maybe H&K has found a niche in some genres, but I don't keep up with that music so I don't know anything about what's happening now.


    I think H&K makes great products, regardless of price. I own an Access preamp, 2 Cream Machines, a Blues Master, a Crunch Master, and 4 of the newer effects line (the Tube Factor, Tubeman, original Rotosphere, and Replex). IME, the flip side of them being unpopular is that if you're patient, you can sometimes find H&K gear at cheap prices. And I agree, the Access' reputation is well-deserved (just not very widely known).
     
  9. Robert1950

    Robert1950 Member

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    It's Alex Leifson. He's a local guy around here. ;)
     
  10. Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Member

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    Hey folks,

    I saw this post discussing Hughes & Kettner. Hughes & Kettner is now being distributed by Pearl, the drum company. I found this out by accident the other day when I contacted Hughes & Kettner USA's customer service to obtain a right plastic side panel for my Hughes & Kettner Tubeman (three channel version). The guy I had to contact was very polite & courteous, asked for my address and sent me the side panel, free of charge. That's what I call customer service!!:AOK I currently own the Tubeman and a Red Box Pro. Both are great products that sound good and are well built for their purposes You can guarantee in the future that if I get enough cash to buy an amp head, I'll probably might get the Triamp Mark II.

    Guitar George
     
  11. Cap'n Fingers

    Cap'n Fingers Member

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    Very interesting. Maybe I've missed out on some of the comparison reviews. My impression of their lowwer priced stuff sounds misguided.
     
  12. DiazDude

    DiazDude Member

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    I love my Tube Rotosphere!!
     
  13. Berlin Chris

    Berlin Chris Member

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    No, I donĀ“t own one. Unfortunately the "regular" H+K tube edition has been discontinued some time ago and I am waiting for find a used one as a backup for my Bogner Caveman.
     
  14. journo

    journo Member

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    Hi,

    I am very fond of most of H&K's products. The less expensive stuff is amazing value for money. Especially the Edition Tube.

    The Tri-amp is a wonderful amp albeit maybe not amazing value for money. They released a new three channel head last year that sounds very good and is way less expensive than the Tri-amp.

    Their modeller amp zenTera is way ahead of everything else when it come to modelling. Unfortunately it has a huge price tag and a somewhat naff user interface.

    I had the opportunity to visit their factory when they had an open weekend for users and fans. It was impressive and the people were very nice and friendly. Answered all questions and asked a few of their own with a seemingly real interest in what the user wanted.

    Cheers,

    Mats N
     
  15. sixstringslut

    sixstringslut Member

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    Does anyone know if they still make The Red Box ? Or where to get one ?
    Or similar unit ?
    I know sound techs that guard these like gold.
     
  16. Cap'n Fingers

    Cap'n Fingers Member

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    I guess to most Americans, my self included, it's not easy to understand the way Germany companies like to operate. I don't think that H&K is more popular in europe because europeans can appreciate their engineering focus. Look at BMW and Porsche. Two fine examples of German engineering that sell tons of cars to us appreciative americans. I see H&K spending $ on advertising here but many musicians still don't know who they are. It makes me wonder if they're ok with the way sales are over here. I'd think they could do SO much better in the USA if they tried.
     
  17. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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    I have had a Triamp II. I loved it for some things. Great Marshall sounds, I thought the clean was iffy, but the overdrive channel was amazing. If not for the shared EQ on each 'voicing' of the channels, I would have kept it. (And it looked FANTASTIC on stage.)

    And I did call Larry B at support. He was very helpful and sent me the lighting module that I had broken taking out the chassis...free, no questions asked.

    Great cust service. Like I said, the triamp would still be in my possetion if I could have eq for each of the channel modes.

    EP
     
  18. Cap'n Fingers

    Cap'n Fingers Member

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    Humm. I wonder if that's an indication of a problem HK had with doing their own distribution or a decision made to benefit both companies.

    A buddy of mine,that runs the guitar dept at well known local music store, once told me that he didn't sell much HK stuff because the sales reps didn't have any savy. They would show up unannounced once a month or so and usually at a bad time for him. My buddy said if they scheduled an appointment and acted like they wanted to sell him something his store would have sold more than the Red Box.
     
  19. JLeurck

    JLeurck Member

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    Is it possible their failure to make a significant dent in the American market is more driven by the economy? I mean, if the dollar were stronger in the international market (i.e. against the Euro) then I'm sure their price list would look a little different. Back in the early/mid 80s when the dollar was buying 3 DM, I seem to remember German engineering to be available at a price a working-class stiff could afford. Back then Marshalls were cheap as hell, too, since the dollar was so strong against the British Pound.
     
  20. bailnout

    bailnout Member

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    My $.02...

    Never had to deal with them as a company but I've been on the amp hunt for a few years now to try and find the perfect one for me. In that hunt I have owned both the Duotone and the Triamp MkII with two 4x12s loaded with 25 watt greenbacks. I just resently sold the whole Triamp rig to fund getting an OD100, a Bogner Ecstasy and Bogner V30 4x12. At this point, I don't know which I regret getting rid of more, the Duotone or the Triamp. Probably the Triamp. I probably could have ended my search with that one but the G.A.S. kicked in and I sold it. I think I might end up likeing the OD100 as well or better, but then again, it cost me more too. I wouldn't surprise myself if I ended up back with the Triamp though. My wife will kill me if that happens! :)
     

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