Tried out a H&K Statesman 20w... a little review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by fusebop, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. fusebop

    fusebop Member

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    I was impressed by the tones, dynamics, looks, build and portability.
    It appears to be a great amp, but I do have a limited experience in
    tube stuff.

    However, I tested it against many others, including a fender
    3x10" handwired vibroking (the priciest thing I could use in the
    comparison), and it simply came on top, and not only because
    it's priced way cheaper. It beat other fenders, peaveys, newer
    voxes and laneys by far in my humble opinion.

    Gorgeous clean but not quite jazzy - couldn't get it dark enough.
    Awesome for blues stuff, especially with the twang switch on.

    Extreme dirt is not what I'm looking for, but I will say I wasn't
    satisfied - good character and really fat sound, but a bit flat. Not
    enough overtones or detail in the top end if that makes sense.

    But the slightly crunchy sound blew my mind. Just what I always
    wanted to get with single coils. Pick lighter = great cleans, dig in
    harder = usable crunch. The reverb works great here, and there's
    a balance pot to make it less or more pronounced between the two
    channels.

    Now I can't wait to try the 40w version. I'm afraid the 20 watter
    might not be enough for larger club gigs although it does bark pretty loud...
    Any thoughts on this, anyone? I usually gig with 40-60 watts but never
    turn it up more than 50-60%. Would something like this work good enough
    cranked all the way?

    And... did anybody else try the statesman, erm, statesmen?
     
  2. cale0906

    cale0906 Member

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    I just purchased the Quad EL84 Statesman 1x12 combo and am very impressed with it . I actually was going to trade my Vibro King for this amp but i think i have a cash sale for it .

    The Cleans are great ! Slightly crunchier than Fenders . The slightly overdriven sounds are really great . I jammed with it this weekend and it was more than loud enough . When at home i thought i would prefer the clean chn with a TS style OD for slightly overdriven sounds but jamming i used the OD channel of the amp , with the gain @ around 10 or 11 o clock . The EQ is very useful and tone shapes very well . I wish it had separate EQ's for each chn but it isnt a problem as of yet

    Very impressed with amp so far !
     
  3. MartinC

    MartinC Member

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    I bought a Quad EL84 40w 1x12 too. I don't think I'm very widely experienced in all things tube amp-wise either (mostly a home hobby player with the occasional jam and live performance ... plus the choice in Australia is much less than in the US) but I also tried many other amps before I bought and came out thinking the Statesman was the winner (for me!). Even when comparing to amps that were significantly more on the price front.

    Here's my initial review, which pretty much explains why I bought the Statesman:

    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=357984&highlight=kettner

    I haven't updated that review with more details based on putting more mileage on the amp 'cos I've been diverted since I bought it and I don't think I've done enough in terms of mileage to add anything else. My thoughts certainly haven't wavered though.




    Just on the wattage, I previously had a Classic 30 before the Statesman. I never turned the C30 up past 6 or 7 (dial goes to 12) on its clean channel. Louder than that and pain would set in through sheer volume. With the Statesman 40 watter, I can turn the clean channel up to full volume and play without feeling like I'm deafening myself. I think that's due in part to the fact that the Statesman doesn't seem to have any harshness in it's tone, even when played loud. The C30 could get a little bit raucous. But, the Statesman definitely is capable of less volume than a C30 on it's clean channel. That said, I've read other reviews that claimed the 20W Stateman was a loud amp. Some other considerations:
    • I've found that the 40 watter produces great tone at low volume also (one of my pre-requisites) ... yet it's got more in reserve if needed than the 20 watter would have.
    • The 40 watter has a bigger cabinet than the 20 watter, which I believe will give it a fuller sound.
    • The 40 watter starts breaking up just past halfway on the volume. The amount of clean headroom that you need/want might play a role in determining which of the two would be better for you (maybe it's neither if you need lots of clean headroom! ... or maybe it's the 6L6 model)
    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2008
  4. fusebop

    fusebop Member

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  5. MartinC

    MartinC Member

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    Hopefully you'll get some others chiming in soon ... Auratnik and Emiel (TGP members) both have Dual EL84 Statesmen. You could try PM'ing them if they miss this.

    Oh, and my guess is that the 20 watter at full tilt would be louder than the 40 watter on half volume. The 20 watter won't be half as loud because it has half the wattage rating ... it'll probably have more like 70%-80% of the max volume of the 40 watter.
     
  6. fusebop

    fusebop Member

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    Here's hoping the other guys will drop their 2 cents...

    I'm aware that the difference in volume is nowhere as
    big as the difference in wattage, but I'd also like to know
    how the 40 watts' bigger enclosure works.

    The 20w I played was a bit directional, almost like
    a closed back to me. I wonder if the 40w could be a little wider sounding?

    Or would simply adding another 1x12" cabinet lay all my fears to rest
    with the 20 watter?
     
  7. MartinC

    MartinC Member

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    Wish I could help you on the 40w 20w direct comparison ... I'd be interested to know the outcome too. Both amps do have almost fully closed backs though.

    I did compare my 40 watter side by side with a Crate V30 (1x12 open back ... smaller cabinet). Obviously different amps so that muddies the comparison ... however both are 4xEL84 amps with similar specs. The Statesman had a noticeably fuller sound when set at the same volume ... a bit like the difference between a TV with built in speakers and a TV set up with surround sound. Probably not that extreme, but that kind of thing. No disrespect intended to the Crate.

    I dare say another 1x12 cab would make a big difference to the 20 watter, but I'm not sure if H&K make a matching 1x12. They do make a 2x12. Another option might be the 50W EL34 head with the 2x12 if you're aiming for a big spread. I remember reading that all the amps in the range (EL84, EL34 and 6L6) have a similar voicing, and also that the 50W head isn't that much louder than the 40W EL84 (but does have more clean headroom). There might be something on that in the review thread that I started. I think someone bought the EL34 and posted some comments about it.
     
  8. shark_bite

    shark_bite Member

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    Has anyone tried the Dual 6L6 model? I have a guy possibly offering it as a trade for a Custom Vibrolux. I haven't been able to find much info on the amp, though, and no sound clips anywhere.
     
  9. fusebop

    fusebop Member

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    Haven't tried it but there shouldn't be much difference
    except for the obvious headroom and 6L6 characteristics.
    The behavior should be about the same
    (and the dynamics, and the stunning quality...), just guessing. :eek:

    Some good points are: series/parallel loop selectable via switch (only series
    on the EL84 combos);
    and a separate equalizer for each channel.

    It weighs almost 60 lbs, though...
    If you try it out, be sure to drop some comments here.
     
  10. Emiel

    Emiel Member

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    Hi,

    I'm the proud owner of a Statesman Dual EL84 for half a year now. I choosed the H&K after comparing it to the Fender Blues Junior, Marshall DSL/TSL, Orange Rocker and Vox AC15CC. My previous amp was a Sound City 50 Plus with a 4x12 cab and that way just way too loud and I couldn't get it to overdrive (only a tiny bit at monstrous volume levels). I wanted something smaller, I was about to move to a student house so I needed a small combo.

    It's quite loud bastard. At home, the volume is about 25%, at bandpractices it's about 50%. The overdrive channel definatly sounds better when the volume is higher. Normally, I tend to use a 4x12 cabinet with it while practicing with the band, but now I use it just on it's own. My mates say it's quite big sounding for such a small combo :) and I have absolutely no problem with being loud enough or getting through the mix. Never tried the 40w version though... I only could see it indeed has a bigger cabinet.

    The shared EQ is not a bad thing for me. My Edwards Les Paul with BG PUF pickups is a bright sounding guitar, so I put the amps EQ like this:
    - Bass: 75%
    - Middle: 100%
    - Treble: 50%

    With both of my Strats (one with BG Vintage '60 pickups, the other with EMG DG-20's) I drop the bass and middle to about 66%. It's fairly neutral amp (although it seems to like mids). The cleans are fat and chimey (Vox like) and very bluesy. The clean channel is great with pedals. The ones I use most are an old EHX Big Muff and a Digitech Bad Monkey (use this mostly for lead on the overdrive channel). The overdrive channel is very crunchy, and somewhat in between a Marshall and Vox. Creamy fat overdrive... doesn't have lot's of overdrive to me, but I use low output pickups, with the Seymour JB I had in my Les Paul it definatly was a lot different. I prefer low output pickups with this amp I have to say as it's a "vintage voiced" amplifier.

    I'm only thinking of adding an additional 2x12 cab. Not sure about the speakers though... V30's? Greenbacks?
     

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