Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Hughes & Kettner Triamp 3

Now if only I could afford one of these.   Hughes and Kettner have updated their flagship guitar amp the Triamp now in it's Mark 3 version.   One thing I've notice, Alex Lifeson who I'm a bit obsessed about you may have noticed has had the H&K backline obvious in live videos of the R40 tour I've looked at online - there are some where he has a wall of Marshalls which looks like him and Geddy trying to portray the look from the bands early 70s days.  But interestingly to me they all look somewhat not plugged in where as the ones with the Triamps they are glowing away with the characteristic blue H&K glow.   Seems like Lerx has returned to these as his go to amp - he has a signature model around.

Anyway back to the new one.   Let's try to get our heads around this.  You essentially have three dual channel amps in one here.  Each with independent eq.  As you work from 1 thru 2 to 3 the level of dirt goes up, so channel 1a and b are more clean/minor crunch ... think classic Fender sounds.  Next up Channel 2 heads into classic rock territory... think Marshall.   Now here I know a few old cynics will be smiling that knowing smile that is thinking - but Fender is 6l6 and Marshall is El34 so you'll never get same out of an amp - it'll mimic but not get close.  H&K have solved that with 6 power valves in split in pairs two pairs of 6L6s and one of EL34s.  Oh you can then fiddle with what pair or pairs you use on each preamp...  you can then programme that all in and have it all instantly retrievable via the included midi footswitch - or ask your programmer to include the settings in the backing midi tracks.... Yes.. my jaw was heading to the floor at this point to.   BTW if you fancied putting in some KT66s to try to get even closer to say the very early Marshall JTM45 sound guess what?  There is a built in automatic and active valve biasing circuit so you simply plug them in and it takes care of it.   Channel 3 is into the high gain territory... the demo below shows how really musical channel 3a is in the right hands.

Oh yes throw in top quality speaker emulated output for ease of recording sending to front of house and that each preamp has a tailored boost/overdrive pedal available at the flick of a footswitch and you are starting to get close to this amps features.   Boggling!   My son claims with the switchable power amp tube settings etc. it's like 42 amps in one - Douglas Adams moment...

Now the downsides.   It is 150w.... ouch not the best for bedroom use.   Oh yes the biggest draw back.  I can only find it on sale in the UK in a couple of outlets and best price I can get is north of £2,700...  but then it is the answer to life the universe and everything.    Watch the demo video below and you'll see that just on sound quality alone it is stunning.   Would love to see some of this flexiblity and usablility finding it's way down the range into cheaper models...   the Grandmeister and Tubemeisters are already great amps but the next generations with some more of these features in them will be interesting to see.


  1. Lerx! Ha! That's very deep knowledge, my friend.

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