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Thread: NAD: Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 36

  1. #1
    Junior Member Paul L's Avatar
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    NAD: Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 36

    In my ongoing quest to lighten the load, in every sense of the word, I have parted with a few dear old friends in favor of lighter, more portable amps.

    The Tubemeister 36 head and 2-12" cab arrived today, and all I can say is WOW! This is a compact but very potent setup, and with the power soak and Red Box DI it is very flexible as well. Three channels, all of which sound fantastic, cab is rated for 120 watts, is closed back and houses two Celestion Vintage 30s...and still only weighs about 35 lbs.

    The built-in reverb, in spite of being digital, is actually very good. I haven't had a chance to check out the switchable effects loop yet, or to really open it up at full power, but perhaps this weekend. I also like the fact that you can defeat the speaker entirely for silent recording.

    All in all, I am very pleased with this amp. The fact that it lights up like a 50s diner had no influence on my purchase decision. None whatsoever.

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    I'm considering getting either an 36 or 18. Obviously the 36 has an extra channel so I'm swinging towards that. What do you think of the tone and how good is the clean channel?

  3. #3
    Senior Member sleary's Avatar
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    Great choice. I love my tubemeister 18 ....great amps IMO
    2013 PRS DGT..
    2012 Ibanez RG 870 premuim
    2014 Prs se Clint Lowrey
    1988 Washburn G1V
    Hughes and Kettner Grandmeister 36 with Saxon cabinet .

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    Is the variable wattage as useful as advertised? As in does it still retain full tone at lower watts?

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    Member RichardJ's Avatar
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    Been thinking about the 18 combo myself as my present 50 watt Koch is really way more than I need. What are they like for clean headroom?

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    Junior Member Paul L's Avatar
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    I have both the 18 and the 36. Clean channel on both is excellent...everything from squeaky clean to bluesy breakup. Crunch/lead channels are great for anything from blues to hard rock. It'll do metal, but I don't play metal so I can't speak to that as well. Lots of video reviews/demos on YouTube. Have not tried the combos, only the heads (only difference I'm aware of is that the 18 combo has reverb but the head does not). In terms of features, power and versatility, the 36 gives you way more, but the 18 is a fine amp in its own right. It's the one I will use for jams and one-off gigs, and will serve as a backup to the 36 when gigging with my primary band. Power soak feature works well and allows you to crank the amp and get great tones without pissing off the neighbors. It does get pretty hot when you use the power soak, but I'm sure it's well within design limits.

  7. #7
    Happy Egads's Avatar
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    Did you guys see the release info on the Grand Meister? Oh boy...

  8. #8
    Occasionally Onery Member CantankerousCarl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
    I have both the 18 and the 36.
    Paul - I had the 18C for about a year, loved the clean channel, but was never happy with the gain channel - for my taste the gain was not smooth enough, even @ 1W settings with the power amp working a bit. Tried a ton of pedals in front of it, nothing made my ears happy with it. BUT I do miss walking in with that little unassuming box and blowing people's minds with the blue glow and volume for the size.

    I found the lead boost almost unusable, too compressed and muddy. I tried turning down the gain and leaving the lead boost on as my gain channel, still a bit too squashed. Maybe my issues wee b/c it was a 1x10 combo? Dunno...

    How does the gain channel compare on the 36?
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  9. #9
    Senior Member sleary's Avatar
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    I use a custom made 2x12 Saxon cabinet , eminence Texas heat/wild thang speakers with my tubemeister 18 . I put a tc electronics Rottweiler in front of it and it sounds explosive....love it
    2013 PRS DGT..
    2012 Ibanez RG 870 premuim
    2014 Prs se Clint Lowrey
    1988 Washburn G1V
    Hughes and Kettner Grandmeister 36 with Saxon cabinet .

  10. #10
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    This is my current set-up. A Tubemeister 36 and 2 1x12 cabs. A mini stack.

    I recently acquired a SAS Narrowfield...and I can NOT get enough of the clean channel!!!!

    Absolutely stunning!!

    And this is coming from a guy that just sets everything to 10, and hopes for the best.

    I couldn't be happier with my H&K...it is built like a tank and will last forever. It sounds great on the dirty channels as well....

    I worked so hard getting my ampflication just the way I want it...then I see this thing called the "Sweet 16" LOL

    Seriously, H&K make solid products. Check them out!!

    If you want more chatter, PM me....

    Tony

  11. #11
    Junior Member Paul L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CantankerousCarl View Post
    Paul - I had the 18C for about a year, loved the clean channel, but was never happy with the gain channel - for my taste the gain was not smooth enough, even @ 1W settings with the power amp working a bit. Tried a ton of pedals in front of it, nothing made my ears happy with it. BUT I do miss walking in with that little unassuming box and blowing people's minds with the blue glow and volume for the size.

    I found the lead boost almost unusable, too compressed and muddy. I tried turning down the gain and leaving the lead boost on as my gain channel, still a bit too squashed. Maybe my issues wee b/c it was a 1x10 combo? Dunno...

    How does the gain channel compare on the 36?
    Just curious...did you ever try swapping tubes or running the amp into a cab? The stock tubes are nothing to write home about...they're okay, but I can see where some might perceive the tone as somewhat brittle. Maybe some JJs or Mullards or Tung-Sols might have done the trick. I'm going to experiment with mine a little bit.

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