Crummy Old Label Avatar wrote:Who cares (not me), but I noticed that Townshend is now a paid endorser of the "new" Hiwatt amps. Guess they're not paying him enough to have him actually drag them onstage, though.
Yeah, Hiwatt is the trademark early 70s British rock guitar sound. The entire 70s Pink Floyd output is exclusively Hiwatt-dependent. Gilmour is the one most popularly identified with Hiwatt, but I'd argue that Hawkwind (up to around 1976 or so) had the definitive Hiwatt-fuelled sound. I believe that around 1976 Dave Brock finally switched to a Roland Jazz Chorus -- as did a lot of other people. The thing about Hiwatt is that it was one of the first clean and neutral amps (unlike, say, a Marshall and its trademark distortion), designed to reproduce accurately whatever sound you put into it.
But the Roland JC 120 is a far better and much more reliable amp (even thouigh its distortion channel is a complete joke).
I have no idea what the "new" Hiwatt amps sound like.
I haven't heard the new Hiwatts either. The latest guitar amps are so advanced, it's hard for me to keep up with all the innovations. I think the circuit modeling emulators and on-board computers are a great idea in theory, but most guitar players think they're cheesy. Guitar players aren't always known to be the most grounded of individuals, however. Given the choice between: playing through tubes, replacing them when they go bad, and being stuck with two or three signature sounds; or, using a newfangled reliable solid-state amp with dozens of preset tones, endlessly adjustable by tweaking, and less weight to carry; many players would choose the former.
Another prominent user of Hiwatts was Robert Fripp, until he became enamored with the New Wave and ditched the tube amps.
My friend's Hiwatt had reliablity problems. When it was on, it sounded dazzingly good. Not long after he got it, one of the channels developed crackling, and he had to send it off to California to the one company in the U.S. that was certified to fix Hiwatts. He eventually sold it for something with less power so that it could be overdriven easily. He was shaking the walls of the house trying to get the Hiwatt to overdrive, it had that much power.