Hughes & Kettner Tube 100
Hughes & Kettner Tube 100

Tube 100, Tube Guitar Amp Head from Hughes & Kettner in the Tube 20/50/100 series.

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Eяяаtom 04/02/2009

Hughes & Kettner Tube 100 : Eяяаtom's user review

« A nice surprise! »

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> 100W all-tube amp head: - 4 power tubs: Ruby EL34 (JJ in my case) - 3 preamp tubes: Ruby 12AX7 (JJ ECC83s in my case) > two channels with 2 modes A and B = 4 very distinctive channels - 1 clean and 1 crunch, 2 separate volumes and 1 common EQ - 1 classic distortion and 1 "heavy" distortion with common EQ and volume. On the front panel: > presence control (affects the high frequencies, adds highs and brightness), > reverb control (spring accutronic), > "power amp": general master with watts scale (from minimum to 12 o'clock = 0 -> 2W, from 12 o'clock to 3/4 = 2W -> 25W). On the rear panel: > effects loop with level control (FX-MX, from Dry to Wet), and a "Db" button > XLR output (DI Red Box) > connector for a MSM-1 MIDI module to control the head via MIDI (optional). > 4 tube status indicators > 3 speaker outputs: - 2 x 8 ohms - 1 x 4 ohms - 8 or 16 ohms. The head is rather heavy: 46.2 lbs... What else can you ask for?


The manual is comprehensive but not really necessary, the amp head is easy to set up. The settings are effective, generally speaking (especially the master setting), they are very progressive. The result of this precision is that, even when used at low volumes, the sound remains quite usable, at the price of the warmth of the tubes obviously. Switching the preamp tube is not easy, you have to remove the front and rear panels, separate the interior from the chassis. For the power tubes there's just a grille you need to remove and that's that, however you will have to adjust the bias. This amp head is poorly "ventilated" and thus it can get pretty hot, but you can always remove the back panel to let some air in. The three-voice footswitch allows you ton control: - channel 1 or 2 - mode A or B - the activation of the effects loop and/or reverb. Tube preamp test in V1 position: The JJ Ecc83s seemed to be the best, in my opinion, together with the Electro Harmonix, which sound very similar: good overall definition and respect for the amp's nature. Sovtek WA: The sound seems impoverished, a little vintage. Tung Sol Gold: Too much gain, it boosts the amp, but lacks balance! JJECC81: I recently installed this tube in V1 in order to decrease the overall gain of the channels.


There's a tube inside, so it's warm, dynamic, with presence and reactive to your playing! Sample 1 ( (Guitar with humbucker & EMG), Sample 2 ( (Guitar with single-coil pickup), Channel 1, A mode, Clean : very proper, clean(!), distinct, twangy, funky! If you bring up the volume, it crunches a bit with heavy attacks. I believe H&K is renowned for its clean sounds. Channel 1, B mode, Crunch: Just as good! With a gain control that allows you to even get some overdrive. It comes close to crunchy Marshall-like sounds, but fatter and rounder, since Marshall prioritizes crisp high mids. I think the amp's biggest strength is when the gain is halfway, especially with single coils. Channel 2, A mode, "classic" distortion/overdrive. Discreet enough and more vintage than modern without being too typical, ideal for classic rock or hard rock. Channel 2, B mode, "heavy" distortion: Mode A with balls, the voicing is different, with more gain, more aggressive, hinting a fuzz, dark, heavy due to the intense lows (excessive compared to mode A). Large enough headroom, but pay attention to the background noise! So, the distortion is relatively modern, but not too much, it's not a Switchblade either. It's perfect for big rock, metal, has a muddy tendency, unlike the incisive sounds of a VHT or even an Engl. It's comparable to the Peavey 5150, knowing that this one has everything you need to get metal sounds with a tighter sound. The Tube 100 favors versatility. If you like that sort of color with a "roots" character and you play metal 90% of the time, go for the 5150. If you are looking for something more comprehensive and with nuances, less predictable as well, the Tube 100 is for you. I use a Tube 100 with a Schecter equipped with a Gibson 498T on the bridge and a SH1 (both splittable) and with a Framus 2X12 in V30.


This amp head came out in 1997 ( and hasn't been produced by the brand for some time now (since 2001?). Its price new was around $1050. It was replaced by the Triamp MKI, and then MKII. It's also available in a 50W version: Tube 50 and as combo: Tube 50 & Tube 20 (not to be confused with the 20th Anniversary or the Edition Tube!). I chose this amp because I was looking for an amp head halfway between British (Marshall) and high-gain American (Mesa) sounds, so I chose this German amp! I play rock and even metal (498T on 2B), classic & funky rock (498T split on 1B) and lighter and more atmospheric things (SH-1 on 1A). This amp head was used by French metal band X-Vision, although they switched to the 5150 for their latest album. Listen to their first album to get an idea of what the Tube 100 sounds like (extreme!). You can hear it here ( and here ( The only con is that it lacks precision with fat distortions (an EQ on the loop and appropriate pickups and the problem is solved). Among its pros are its versatility and comprehensiveness (from a nice clean sound to a killer distortion!) a very good value for money (like all H&K products, for that matter), and that it can be used at low volumes. I have some pictures in my profile!