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Hughes & Kettner launch world’s “smartest all-tube amp”, the GrandMeister Deluxe 40
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Hughes & Kettner launch world’s “smartest all-tube amp”, the GrandMeister Deluxe 40

by Stephen Charlton2016/09/20

Hughes & Kettner is launching the feature-packed GrandMeister Deluxe 40, marketing it as the world’s “smartest all-tube amp”. It aims to pack the versatility and feature-set of a digital amp into a tube rig. The new model will available by the end of September and will set you back £1,021.38 (€1,190).

The 40-watt amp is building off the success of the GrandMeister 36. Hughes & Kettner have implemented a very similar smart control scheme. However the German company have rejigged the preamp. As a result it will offer different tones to the GrandMeister 36, although it still has that recognisable Hughes & Kettner sound. The new tone-shaping options are inspired by the design of the company’s flagship TriAmp Mark 3.

Four channels of versatile tones offered by GrandMeister Deluxe 40

The GrandMeister Deluxe 40 runs from beautiful cleans to nasty high gain sounds at the flick of a switch. Hughes & Kettner amps tend to sound best for driven rock vibes, clean tones and lead work, and the new amp is no different. It has plenty of gain on tap but based off the audio currently available it doesn’t really excel at deep, intense metal rhythm tones.

Boasting four channels, the settings for every aspect of the control scheme can be saved and recalled within the included 128 memory slots. Aside from the amp interface, the presets can be recalled via the free GM40 Remote iPad app or the optional FSM-432 MK III MIDI board.

Hughes & Kettner include onboard effects, DI speaker emulation

But wait, there’s more! Hughes & Kettner have packed in the following onboard effects: Tappable delay, reverb, chorus, flanger, phaser and tremolo. It appears that like GrandMeister 36, only one of the last four effects can be used at a time, so don’t chuck out your pedals just yet. Other features include a noise gate, intelligent boost, DI speaker emulation and power soak (1, 5 and 20 watts).

The Red Box AE speaker emulation is based off Hughes & Kettner’s award-winning DI standalone DI box. The Red Box has DSP-driven Ambience Emulation which mimics the “room-filling” sound of a  4×12 cab. It taps the signal between the power amp and the Power Soak so you get pure tube tone.

Hughes & Kettner has used Smart Rotary Control tech to keep the control panel simple, with only nine pots present rather than 14 per channel. The rotary knobs recall the setting based on which channel is selected, so it’s a simple system to use. The power amp runs on four EL84 tubes while the preamp has three 12AX7 tubes.

See the Hughes & Kettner GrandMeister Deluxe 40 official product page here.

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About The Author
Stephen Charlton
Stephen Charlton is a musician, journalist and editor.

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