NAD: Hughes and Kettner Grandmeister 40 Deluxe (kind of a bummer)

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by MetalHex, May 24, 2019.

  1. MetalHex

    MetalHex SS.org Regular

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    20190523_123639.jpg 20190523_123652_HDR.jpg 20190523_123736_HDR.jpg

    I bought this for cheap as a B stock item. The only thing I can see is the plastic face has a scratch on it, but thats it.

    The good: Lightweight
    -Comes with a carrying bag
    -Small and compact
    -Looks beautiful
    -Making presets is a breeze
    -Built in effects are good, especially the gate
    -Good cleans
    -Individual notes sound really good on the ultra channel, much better than my Peaveys
    -The foot controller seems like it would be a great add-on

    The bad: NOT ENOUGH GAIN ON TAP

    A few people have said this before and it is true. Is it strictly because of the EL84's? Why would they put those tubes in there? Because people dont want all that gain?? Just turn the gain down FFS. Why would those tubes be anywhere then if it cant have as much gain as my cheap ass Valveking? I really just dont get it. If this amp could deliver the same face-melting distortion as my Peavey amps, then I would say bye to Peavey and probably never look back. But since its missing this one HUGE characteristic, Im already considering sending it back.

    What else I noticed, it has a very boomy sound paired with my 4x12 mesa cab...so I dont know if that has anything to do with it. I have to turn the bass knob and resonance practically all the way down to get it where I like it. Much more boom and "whompf" than my VK.

    But this amp, lacking the bone crushing gain, and with its boominess, even with the built in boost engaged, sounds like an unboosted Peavey. I desired this amp because of all minimalistic approach of having everything built in....and its great for that. If it had more crushing gain I would give this amp 100 A+'s and say hands down, this is my dream come true; but since it doesnt I have to give it a B+.

    Is there anything that can be done, without using extra pedals, to give this amp the balls it deserves? Better tubes? Why in bloody hell doesn't this amp have the balls it deserves to have? Do I really have to return this and get an Invective for a bunch more money that I dont feel like spending right now? What I dont want is cables and pedals everywhere, so the Invective would cover that ground minus built in chorus, etc.

    Anyway, I will still play around with it but when I plugged my VK back in I was like yep theres the gain I love for chugs.

    Bittersweet purchase anyways, and it is in fact a great amp! Just not quite all the way there .
     
  2. op1e

    op1e Blood_Lust:Unlimited

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    Those things have a ton of gain from all the videos I've watched. You must have some funky preamp tubes. My 6505mh has el84's (only 2) and I had to throw a low gain in v1 cause of the squeelies I was getting at loud volume. I really wanna dump my 100lb rack and 100lb head eventually for gigs and have an all in one like you said. I think I'll be going with the Black Spirit though, cause frak el84 tubes I can't stand em. Run that thing into the return of your VK and see what it sounds like (speaker defeat on of course). You'll know then if its a power amp problem or a preamp problem.
     
  3. StevenC

    StevenC SS.org Regular

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    EL84s can have a particular sound a lot of people don't like for high gain tones, but I'd be really surprised if they were causing the lack of gain. An Invective MH has 84s, for example.

    As above, could be bad preamps tubes as that's where most of your gain and tone are coming from on modern amp designs. Unless you just want way more gain, in which case yeah some amps just don't do that because they don't need to.

    Also, don't be afraid to run your bass and resonance way down if that's where they sound best. I recently learned this with Mesas, sometimes you need to trust your ears and throw out conventional setting wisdom.

    Anyway, HNGD! Hope it works out.
     
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  4. LeftOurEyes

    LeftOurEyes SS.org Regular

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    If you are dead set on wanting to like the amp because of the features, you could try having it modded. Contact Kruse Kontrol and see what he can do and what the costs will be. His prices are not bad, but I dont know what part of the country you're in for shipping costs.

    http://www.krusekontrol.com/hugheskettner_mods
     
  5. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    The power tubes has nothing to do with the pre-amp gain on tap
     
  6. MetalHex

    MetalHex SS.org Regular

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    I will have go check the preamps then. I think this amp will trip a pairing tube if the other one goes out, (or something like that) and when it does I believe theres a led light on the back that lights up. I will have to check for it. Normally though if a tube goes bad then you will hear all sorts of bad and loud noises though, correct? And when you say to run it into the return of my VK, how would that picture look exactly? Also never heard of speaker defeat, which amp has that switch on it? Sorry I need someone to hold my hand through that step by step.

    I wouldnt say this amp is lacking gain...well maybe just the tiniest bit, but not enough to warrant assuming anything is wrong with it, I dont think.

    But why is it that other people have said the same thing then, that it doesnt have the same ball crushing gain as other amps? That leads me to believe there is nothing wrong with the amp, as it sounds really good, it just maybe has 9/10's the amount of satisfactory gain vs. my PV's. Or, I could be explaining it wrong, and maybe it does have a shit ton of gain and maybe it's something else that I cant put my finger on. Im going to try to get some recordings and hopefully post them up. (though they wont sound anything special, probably just cell phone capture audio)

    ::looks to see who i'm responding to in this second quote::......
    :holy:

    Thanks anyways! Oh, also....what preamp tubes would you guys recommend then assuming that these are stock?
     
  7. MetalHex

    MetalHex SS.org Regular

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    Im located in New England area.

    I wouldn't even know what to ask for if I did decide to keep it. Huge gamble because I dont know if what I think would fix the "problem" would actually fix it and make it sound more to my liking. Also that would void any kind of manufacturer warranty and possibly make it harder to sell down the line, being modded.
     
  8. MetalHex

    MetalHex SS.org Regular

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    I do know this. I think what happened was I mis-spoke and thought the el84 were the preamp tubes. Thanks for your helpful input though.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
  9. LeftOurEyes

    LeftOurEyes SS.org Regular

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    The speaker defeat is for silent recording. Most amps must be plugged into a cab or it will damage it, but this amp I believe has a built in load box so that it can be connected directly to your interface with no cab. The speaker defeat is to turn off the speaker out so you can leave the cab plugged in but listen through your recording monitors instead. Most amps sound kinda bad directly out, but this amp is supposed to sound good with their red box I think they call it.

    As far as pluging in to the VK you would use the fx loop. Connect the send from the H&K into the return of the VK. This will use the preamp of the H&K but use the power amp from the VK. Do not do this with an amp that does not have an internal load box without connecting it to some kind of external load box (the amp that you are using as the preamp is the one that will need the load box). When doing this the H&K's power amp controls wont change anything and the VK preamp controls wont do anything.

    I don't think modded amps are hard to sell at all as long as they are a decently popular amps in the first place. I think this amp would be a little harder to sell regardless of if it was modded or not. Modding it could actually make it easier to sell, but maybe not, it kind of depends on the mods you did and the price you want.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
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  10. MetalHex

    MetalHex SS.org Regular

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    Very helpful thanks. Stupid question again, when I connect from HK to the VK, I do that with the instrument cable, I would think? Then also, it would be the speaker out from the VK, connected to the back of the cabinet, using the speaker cable? I just wouldnt wanna mess this up thanks.

    Ultimately, this is to determine that the power amp tubes on the HK are bad/good? So could this work in reverse, where if I wanted to test the preamp tubes I would do the opposite?
     
  11. LeftOurEyes

    LeftOurEyes SS.org Regular

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    Yes that is correct. They call this "slaving" an amp if you want to look any of this up later. Bands used to do this a lot, I think Metallica was known to do this a lot.
     
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  12. MetalHex

    MetalHex SS.org Regular

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    sorry I edited my post right after you posted so you may not have seen it....but could the opposite work, if i wanted to test that the preamp section of the HK is good, just do everything in reverse? Or would I need a seperate load box for the VK?

    This is what I should actually be trying to do right? Because if my concern that there is not enough gain then wouldnt i want to test the preamp section instead of power amp section?
     
  13. LeftOurEyes

    LeftOurEyes SS.org Regular

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    Yes it can be done in reverse, but you would need a load box for the VK. A lot of newer amps are coming out with internal load boxes for this and recording purposes but most still don't.

    You are testing the pre amp section the way I described originally. You are skipping the H&Ks power amp so the only sound you'll hear from the H&K is the preamp this way. If the H&K is hooked up to the VK power amp and it still sounds boomy and not enough gain like you want, then you know the problem is with the H&Ks preamp. If when you hook it up this way and it sounds much better to you, then you don't like the H&Ks power amp. I have a feeling its the H&Ks preamp that you are not liking, I doubt its the power amp, but maybe.
     
  14. LeftOurEyes

    LeftOurEyes SS.org Regular

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    If you hook up H&K send to VK return you'll hear the H&Ks preamp with the VK power amp
    If you hook up the VK send to the H&K return then you'll hear the VK preamp with the H&K power amp
     
  15. FrznTek

    FrznTek SS.org Regular

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    Try re-seating the tubes. I think Glen Frecker (Spelling??) had that issue. tube came lose in transit or something.

    Edit:
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
  16. LeftOurEyes

    LeftOurEyes SS.org Regular

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    BTW I looked up the H&K, it does say that it has a built in load box but that you must use the speaker defeat button to use it. So if you hook up the H&K send to the VK return, make sure the speaker defeat is pressed in. It says on the back "Never use this amp without speakers connected except in speaker off position."
     
  17. ekulggats

    ekulggats SS.org Regular

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    My advice- Run an outboard OD pedal for more saturation. Balancing between the Presence and treble controls you can get way more chonk and grind out of it. The lead channel I was on more of the time for sure.

    Same thing with balancing the Resonance/ Bass controls. Try it both ways. Try front loading the treble and mids in the preamp with cut bass then using the resonance to get the bass you need. And vice versa.

    The controls work differently than alot of amps and experimentation is a must, it can sound shit pretty quickly if you've got something wrong.

    I was able to get some pretty great tones out of mine. Grindy for sure- Also, Changing to JJ's smooths the character of the gain and gives more clarity and chonk.

    At the end of the day it is a unique sound.
     
  18. MetalHex

    MetalHex SS.org Regular

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    Something must have happened overnight because I lioe the amp much better today. I A/B the HK and the VK once again and the VK sounded kinda like a pillow was covering the cab or seomthing, and the HK sounded like the cab was uncovered so to speak.

    What I should say is that I dont think the HK is lacking gain like ive said previously, it is that it is not as tight as I would probably like it. Maybe its the built in boost thats not so great. I dont know much about boosts so i dont know its great or not, and im sure its all subjective/what i want it to do, etc... But afaik, there is no adjusting the boost at all...its either on or off and thats it. Maybe i should try an external boost, but i shouldnt want to have to depend on one since there is one built in.

    So i dont know what it was about yesterday but i feel more relieved after playing around with it more. It kinda sounds lile the 90s HM2 metal tones, which isnt a bad thing....but perhaps it could be a tad bit tighter.

    There is a mechanism on the back of the amp that tells what if all the tubes are working properly and it says that they are.
     
  19. LeftOurEyes

    LeftOurEyes SS.org Regular

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    The lights on the back are for the power amp tubes only, not the preamp tubes.
     
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  20. op1e

    op1e Blood_Lust:Unlimited

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    Get a cheap TS like a Joyo Vintage Drive or a Bad Monkey. Trust me they make everything better. The problem with a lot of built in boosts on amps is they're not a bass cut, just a level boost. I got a demo model of the Friedman Buxom Boost and it's great. I defeat the EQ and just use the Boost and tight knob so you can leave it on for cleans, no major tone impact. Then I stack it with my MXR CMBAO and turn my gain on the amp down a bit.
     
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