Hiwatt  DR-504 Custom 50 Head
Hiwatt DR-504 Custom 50 Head

DR-504 Custom 50 Head, Tube Guitar Amp Head from Hiwatt in the Custom series.

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James... 01/13/2012

Hiwatt DR-504 Custom 50 Head : James...'s user review

« Really great and quieter too! »

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Everybody pretty much knows the Hiwatt story. In the 60's and 70's they were sort of a Marshall alternative for players who didn't have microphone amplification and needed a loud 100 watt amp to get heard in those massive venues. Unfortunately the need for such a thing had died out. Oh well. But that special hiwatt tone is still something a lot of people want. Me definitely included. I have tried a lot of the boutique (non) hiwatt named reissues but I decided to give the hiwatt 50 watt version a try. This is your typical half watt version of the old classic. Has the basic controls. No gain control obviously. Has high and low inputs.


A lot of people seem to think these sound best with the original fane loaded hiwatt 4x12's but I beg to differ. I actually use mine for surf and punk alt rock stuff. Nothing too crazy. And I find that it sounds very complimentary with a 412 loaded with greenbacks. It's kind of marshally but with the headroom and BIG sound of a hiwatt. These do sound very big and kind of bassy but at the same time there's a high end pang to the tone. It's a less focused sound than a plexi amp and it really fills up a room in a way no other amp can. It's pretty easy to dial in too. Actually, it's quite a simple amp to use and you don't need many pedals. It's one of my go to amps for plug and play stuff.


I really feel like I can only use mine with a Les Paul. It sounds alright with a telecaster, but for me personally this amp is at its best with the les paul at the helm. It has a sort of neutral tone to it that I find very satisfying. It's bassy and treble with a slight growl in the mids, although not quite marshally growl. I expect this amp can take a lot of pedals very well but I find all I really need is a good overdrive and a nice analog delay. It would be nice if this amp had a reverb but it's not a deal breaker really.


Is this amp handwired? I tried to find some info on that and the hiwatt site is a bit shady about just how 'handwired' these are. Seems like it' a gray area but it looks like they are partially handwired. For the price I would like to hope they are. But hey, I am really satisfied with mine. I have a reeves 50 watt too and this one stands up to it. They are both different animals but this one gets the hiwatt vibe just as well. I'm impressed with the build quality. It's quite heavy due to the transformers. This is definitely not a small practice amp or anything.