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Should I sell my Hiwatt Custom 100 and get a Fender Twin?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by lonniedarko, May 24, 2011.

  1. lonniedarko

    lonniedarko Member

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    Hi guys, I just want to ask you guys your humble opinion about my current situation. I currently own a vintage Hiwatt Custom 100 which sounds amazing of course. I currently use the Hiwatt together with a V30 4x12 cabinet, it sounds okay but far from amazing. The V30s break up way to fast, and for me playing ambient/post-rock with lots of reverb and delay, and having a fairly loud live setup going on with a band the V30's are a real no-go. So I'm planning on selling my old 4x12 and get an original 300W Hiwatt 4x12. So yeah, you can understand clean headroom is a key ingredient to my guitar sound. Getting a Hiwatt cab will cost me about €500 ($700) making my total amp rig cost about €2000 ($2800). I know it's a lot of money, but I know it's worth it.

    However, lately the sound of a Silverface Twin has been appealing to me as well, judging from the countless youtube videos I've checked. Problem is I really want to try one out but I don't know anyone who owns one. I was thinking about just buying a used Twin and A/B it with the Hiwatt and just keep the one I like the most, having my ears be the final judge. But it wouldn't be a fair test because I would have to test the Hiwatt with a Hiwatt 4x12 because the V30s I have now don't match the Hiwatt that well. But that would be a pretty expensive investment, getting both the twin and a 4x12, just to see which amp I'd prefer.

    In short, I'm just wondering if I'd like a Fender Twin more than my Hiwatt. What really got me wondering was that getting a Fender Twin and selling my Hiwatt would save me a decent amount of cash. A used Silverface Twin costs about €800 ($1100). Knowing that a vintage Hiwatt Custom 100 is worth about €1500 ($2100, same price I paid mine) I can save like $1000 buying the Twin and selling my Hiwatt! It's not about the money really, I'd be happy to have spend a 'fortune' as well for my Hiwatt but if a Fender Twin sounds amazing as well and it would be convincing enough for me to sell my Hiwatt it would bring some financial advantages along!

    So yeah, that's why I want your guys opinion on both amps, before I take any further actions. I've searched around on the net and here on TGP and I do find a lot of 'Fender vs Hiwatt' threads, but people only seem to say 'I like the Hiwatt better' or 'I swear by Fender for cleans'. But no one seems to explain WHY they like the one better than the other. And that's what I really like to know.

    Just some things I like to hear from you guys?
    - How do you compare the sound of a Fender Twin to a Hiwatt Custom 100 and vice versa? What are each amps characteristics?
    - If you own one of these amps, what do you like about them and why?
    - Which one do you prefer, and most importantly, why?
    - Will a Twin 2x12 be loud enough for un-miced gigs within a loud band with a hard-hitting drummer?
    - Can a Twin 2x12 be pushed hard without breaking up (and speaker breakup) even with lots of reverb, delay and drop-tuned guitars?

    I can't really describe a certain 'tone' I'm looking for, I'm a real sucker in describing tone. I do find my Hiwatt to sound a bit 'stiff', I would like to have a bit more loose bass-response, but that could be the V30's fault :D
    I playing ambient/post-rock with a pretty 'loud' band format. So like I said, having TONS of headroom is definitely important. You can check out some songs of my band in my sig to get an idea of our music!

    Thanks!
     
  2. Dashface

    Dashface Member

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    As a pround Hiwatt user I have to say... No :D Don't get rid of it.

    1) They have a similar sound in many ways - both are loud, clean, high-headroom amps. The Twin is usually considered to be a bit more versatile in the cleans, a bit warmer, whereas the Hiwatt is considered to be a bit more rockin', and a bit better with pedals because of its flat EQ. I've managed to get great Fender-ish cleans with one of my Hiwatts by swapping out the tubes for the EH 6CA7s, but that may not be your bag.

    2) I love everything about my Hiwatts. Loud, proud, and takes pedals like a champ. Useful for just about everything. Also, I love how they look, and how they are quite unique on the scene (you aren't likely to see a lot of other guys in your town gigging with them). I've had a few Fender amps in my time (including a twin) which didn't have those things... The Twin was loud, sure, but just didn't have quite the same rock and roll mojo for me. Your experience may vary, of course.

    3) I much prefer the Hiwatts for the above reasons. Also they like Gibson guitars a lot better than the Fender amps I've had.

    4) Oh yes, a Twin will be loud enough. A Twin will be loud enough to murder a cow at 150 paces. There is pretty much no situation a Twin will not be loud enough. If you find that situation, your drummer is actually a jet engine not a drummer. Trust me, you'll be fine... But the Hiwatt will be louder.

    5) Sure, a Twin can be pushed hard enough... But not as hard as a Hiwatt.

    Hiwatts have been kind of an end-of-the-line amp for me. The moment I got my first there was no looking back. Since then I've sold everything else, and simply bought more Hiwatts every time they come up for sale. So you're talking to someone who has gone to an all-Hiwatt setup and loved it.

    You really do need a proper Hiwatt cab to appreciate their sound, though. I've tried running mine through other cabs and they haven't really cut it. In fact, the only cab that sounded okay was a Mesa 4x12. If you can honestly get a Hiwatt cab where you are for $700, you really should. That's a very good price. Otherwise, consider a Reeves cab.

    Frankly, you should just get a Twin if that's what you want - but keep the Hiwatt. There's no real reason to sell it (Twins, as you've pointed out, are cheap), and if you do you will seriously regret it - and probably not be able to find another one easily. The nice thing about Twins is if you want one you can always find one for sale - but that will not be the case when you need a Hiwatt.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  3. Fenderosa

    Fenderosa Member

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    Feb 3, 2006
    If you can't find a silverface twin reverb, you should try out a reissue Twin Reverb. I would say that while not the same, these amps are very similar. A Twin Reverb is a loud and clean amp and should have no trouble keeping up with a loud band. That said, Vintage 30s are the wrong speaker to pair with a Hiwatt if you want the righteous clean tone that Hiwatts are reknowned for. Traditionally, Hiwatts are paired with Fane speakers.
     
  4. kingink

    kingink Gold Supporting Member

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    Location:
    austin, TX
    I'm pretty much with the above two posts.

    What Fenderosa said was what I was going to say: if you want to A/B the Hiwatt and the Twin just to see if you like the Twin better, spend the least possible amount of money on a Twin. In other words get the reissue blackface Twin.

    However, you're right that the the V30s and the speakers in the Twin aren't going to give you as even a comparison. So:

    Get your new cab for the Hiwatt and play with it for awhile to see if that gives you more of the tone you're looking for (you might even keep the same cabinet and just change the speakers).

    OR, get the Twin and play through it, then run the Hiwatt through the speakers in the Twin and compare. That way, you're comparing both amps through the same speakers. You could even run the Twin through the V30s, just for giggles. You'll get a better understanding of each amp's voice.

    OR, buy an open back 2x12 cabinet with speakers that feature an EQ curve that's flatter in the mids than a V30. Something like a Fane, the Weber 12F150, Eminence Texas Heat, or an EV, like EVM12L.

    OR, rent a Twin for a few hours or a couple of days, if that is possible. I would imagine most rental places only have the reissue Twin, but then you wouldn't have to buy one.

    OR, if you feel you've got the cash, buy the reissue Twin AND your new cabinet/speakers for the Hiwatt. You won't be out as much money as if you buy a silverface Twin, but you'll have your ideal Hiwatt setup and a pretty good version of a Twin tone. Compare and contrast. If you like the tone of the Twin better, sell the Hiwatt, sell the reissue Twin, sell the new 4x12 and buy a silverface Twin. Or keep the Hiwatt and sell the reissue Twin.

    Both amps are close in voicing. Not exactly the same, but in the family. The Twin will probably have a looser bass response, but that, the open back cabinet, and the scooped midrange of the speakers and the circuit will give you a big, room-filling, diffuse, and 3D sound. The Hiwatt through a 4x12--especially V30s--might sound a little more directional, but the bass will be a little tighter.

    I also own the Hiwatt Custom 100, and I've always heard it as midrangey, but Dashface is probably right: it's got a flatter EQ curve than a Twin, which has a scooped kinda curve.

    It's interesting that you say you get early break up with the V30s. Are you running the preamp volume on the Hiwatt pretty high? Or the master? Or both? I wonder if it's the speakers actually overloading or if the midrangey voicing of the V30 just gives a tone with more bark. You could try playing through one of the low-gain inputs, lowering the preamp volume, raising the master, and cutting the midrange. Maybe that will give you more of the tone you're looking for? Of course, maybe that's what you already do.
     
  5. dharmafool

    dharmafool Member

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    I'm pretty familiar with both amps and certainly agree with what's been said so far about each. If I were lonniedarko I'd complete the Hiwatt project with a proper cab and speakers for it. By proper I mean a cab made as well or better than a Hiwatt. For the sake of practicality I'd get a 2 x12 only, and use Fane speakers.

    THEN you would have something to compare against a vintage or reissue Twin Reverb. Who's to say which one you will like more, they're both stellar amps.

    Have a blast on your tone quest!
     
  6. MT Buckaroo

    MT Buckaroo Silver Supporting Member

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    +1 on just getting the right speakers for the Hiwatt (Fane style), and maybe just a 2x12 to save on cost, size, and weight. Then if it's still not doing it for you, try out a TRRI with upgraded speakers.

    My Reeves C-50 through a ported Reeves 2x12 with Fane type speakers (Purples) is ridiculously loud, possibly louder than my buddy's TRRI with stock speakers. Thank God it has a good Master.
     
  7. Frankee

    Frankee Wartime Consigliere

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  8. Dashface

    Dashface Member

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    Yep - the Hiwatt circuit is not afraid of volume. I've never even dreamed of an amp that could equal the levels found in my Hiwatts. Not even close.
     
  9. zzmoore

    zzmoore Member

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    What kind of speakers can you get in Belgium.?
    Sell the 4 x V30 and by two new speakers. Install those two speakers in your 4 X 12 cab.
    If money is not an issue, sell your 4x12 and by a 2x12 with different speakers.
    Best
     
  10. Dashface

    Dashface Member

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    He did mention in his original post that he could get an original Hiwatt cab for $700... I don't know about you, but the first Hiwatt cab I bought was $800, and I thought that was a freaking steal - and I still do. He should be buying that cab :D
     
  11. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Member

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    Agreed. My DR-103 sounds awful through V30s, and wonderful through Fanes.
    I much prefer Hiwatts to Fenders; fatter, richer, something...
     
  12. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    A vintage Hiwatt head will retain it's value like no
    other amp in it's class.

    As the other's have said, you need the right speakers
    and since you're in the EU try to keep the amp loaded
    with NOS Mullards.

    A Twin is a great amp to own, but keep the Hiwatt .
     
  13. Hulakatt

    Hulakatt Supporting Member

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    I love the brief but oh-so-accurate description of the HiWatt kits on the Weber site:

    50watt - 1 word; BALLS
    100watt - 2 words; MORE BALLS

    I'm sure PT and DG could've rocked Twins all night long but they stuck with Hiwatts and I'm glad they did.
     
  14. teleman1

    teleman1 Supporting Member

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    Are you thinking of painting your home soon? You can use the Twin to peel old wall paper or just peel the paint off the walls.

    THe twin is one heavy item to move around. The Hiwatt would probably do better in the breakup dept, yet still be adequate for good cleans. The Twin is just ultimate clean Fender tube tone; huge headroom.
     
  15. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

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    First off, you gotta try your Hiwatt with some Fane speakers. V 30's are nasty speakers IMHO .. The Fender is a different beast....gotta try one...
    Speakers are a very important part of your sound in the tone chain... It's your hands, amp and speakers.... That's 1/3 the tone each... That's a lot...get 1 fane medusa 150 or 150 c and try it out...my bet is you'll keep the Hiwatt
     
  16. Truxton Spangler

    Truxton Spangler Member

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    The V30s are probably a big part of why you're not happy with the Hiwatt

    Best regards -T
     
  17. Roe

    Roe Member

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    keep the hiwatt and get a cheap silverface twin
     
  18. lonniedarko

    lonniedarko Member

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    Location:
    Belgium
    Hey thanks for the replies you guys! There seems to be a lot of Hiwatt love around here!

    @ Dashface: Yeah you're absolutely right, $700 is indeed dirty cheap for a Hiwatt cab. Most of the ones I came across (and they are HARD to find in Belgium and Europe) are at least $1200 or something.

    Some of you guys are indeed correct about the V30s, like I said, they don't sound band but I figure my setup will sound a heck of a lot better if I could have some Fane speakers running or something similar. I have an old 15" EV sitting at home inside my LAB L9 combo, the Hiwatt sounds amazing when played through that speaker.

    I thought about just selling my V30s and swapping them with something else, just to cut some cash. I thought about putting some Eminence Tonkers and Eminence Swamp Thangs into the cabinet in an X-pattern. They are (one of) Eminence most efficient speakers with a power rating of 150W and a db sensibility of 102db. I like the description of both speakers and I think they will work pretty good together. What do you guys think? Would they work well with a Hiwatt? How do they handle overdrive?
    I thought about EV12s and Fane Medusas as well but they're pretty expensive over here.
    Getting a 2x12 floated around in my mind. Having a more 3D and room filling sound with an openback 2x12 would be cool. Though I think I'll still prefer a 4x12. Like I said, we play a lot of un-miced gigs in small clubs, so a 4x12 will be much easier for monitoring. It pushes a lot more air around as well, which is something I like about playing smaller gigs, not only hearing the sound but feeling it as well. Of course, this might be something I might be losing if I'd buy a Twin, so it's something to take into account!

    @ Kingink: I have both the pre-amp volume and the master volume set between 12 and 2 o'clock. The mids are around 2 o'clock I think.

    More comments and input are more than welcome!
     
  19. sa1126

    sa1126 Member

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    I ran my '71 dr103 into a jcm800 cab before getting my hiwatt cab and the g12t75's sound surprisingly good with the cab. You might check into those because you could probably find a quad for cheap.

    The twin will leave you wanting more. The open back doesn't have the same boom as the hiwatt. You will lose the punch to the face and or gut volume you get with the hiwatt. Trust me...I own both amps.
     
  20. bigben55

    bigben55 Member

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    I bought a 1970 SF Twin back in February for $450. Not all original, a little beat up, but sounds glorious. Shop around; SF Twins are a great bargain right now. And get a non master volume.
     

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