Hughes & Kettner TriAmp

TriAmp, Tube Guitar Amp Head from Hughes & Kettner in the TriAmp series.

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Eroachguitar 28/09/2012

Hughes & Kettner TriAmp : Recensione di Eroachguitar (content in English)

"Great unsung monster of German Amp design"

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The Hughes & Kettner Triamp MK 1 is a complex, feature-laden amp that still boasts an all-tube signal path. Sporting a 100W power section with 4 EL34's or 6L6GC's, along with 9 - count 'em - NINE 12AX7A's, spring reverb, also an optional MIDI control module, buffered FX Loop with db pad switch, H&K's Famous RED BOX DI, Line Out, selectable mains voltage, and Power Tube Failure indicator.

On the front panel, Three individual channels, each with two dedicated modes, dedicated EQ, Gain (one for each mode per amp - a total of six!) and Volume controls are topped off by a global master volume, Presence, and FX Loop Level control. Each channel's modes are switchable via push buttons on the face panel, or heavy duty footswitch.


The Triamp is a massive, heavy beast of an amp head, using only the best chassis material and components. A peek inside reveals a landscape of precision resistors, F&T and Vishay capacitors, as well as expertly laid ribbon cabling. The transformers are some of the largest I've ever seen in a 100 watt amp.

The EQ is responsive across all channels, and there is plenty of gain on tap for every need.


The problem with the Triamp, in my opinion, is that it relies too heavily on low frequencies generated early in the preamp, especially when it comes to its high gain sound.

AMP 1 is the clean channel. Mode 1 gives a very spanky, ballsy clean that can get slightly hairy with the gain turned up. Very touch responsive. About as close to a Fender clean as I've heard in a non-Fender amp. Kicking it into Mode 2 ups the gain and the lowend response, achieving a more Vox-like clean tone which overdrives quite well with a pedal. Not as bright as Mode 1.

Amp 2 is voiced for classic plexi-style tones. Mode 1 offers up a very thin, bright sound. I found that it lacked a lot of lowend response, even with the Bass control maxed. I honestly didn't find this mode very usable. Mode 2 ups the gain, and thankfully, the lowend. Great classic-rock sounds are found here, with plenty of midrange grind and fuzzy Marshall highs.

Amp 3 is voiced for high gain. This channel has a very strong, tight low-mid emphasis, which is typical of German high gain amps. Mode 1 produces a bright, tight grind that is great for chugging. Mode 2 goes all-out, adding even more gain and thunderous lowend response.

The FX Loop is great, allowing pedals to be implemented without much loss or coloring to the overall tone. The Red Box DI was useful for running a line to Front Of House and allowing the engineer to mix that signal with the signal mic'd from my speaker cabinet.


A resounding quality of the Triamp to my ears was a muddy bass response, which, along with its size and complexity, ultimately led to me selling the amp. Moreover, the lack of bass response in Mode 1 of both AMP 2 and 3 rendered them barely usable.

With some dedicated tweaking and playing, there are numerous top-quality tones to be found in the Triamp MK 1, but in the end there are other amps that do just as much tonally with less bells and whistles, and less fuss. That being said, you'd be hard pressed to find a more durable and well-made 3 channel amp for the used prices (800-1000 bucks) that the Triamp MK 1 fetches.