5ooo yen is what it cost me to replace the AC adapter for my Hughes & Kettner Tubeman pre-amp. All that for some copper and plastic, plus another $100 to replace some knobs and it still isn’t working perfectly. The treble control is scratchy, and the Master volume cuts in when the thing vibrates too much, or the mode-selector is pushed. However it was worth it because even partially operational, this thing is the SHITE! The clean sounds are so good, especially pumped into the power stage of my Boogie. Driving the input of the power tubes in different ways really sounds great.
You can really do anything with this preamp using the different modes and outputs. For example:
JAZZ (WARM & MELLOW CLEAN): I revived this to make give solid-state amps like the Roland JC-120 have more character. The JAZZ channel is perfect for this because I can bypass the preamp altogether. The manual said this channel cam emulates a Polytone or Fender Bassman. These are very different amps, but with the gain, tone controls and boost switch you have alot of control over the basic sound.
FUNK (CLEAN/TREBLE BOOST): This is the best clean sound I’ve ever heard EVER, especially with single coil pickups. The top end sparkles so nicely, but the sound still retains warmth. This is great for a “clean boost” or direct recording (ala Nile Rogers according to the manual) Ironically, it gives you a sound very similar to going direct but with more character. If you push the gain, it will start to sound harsh but I imagine that this work like treble booster in front of a tube-amp.
BLUES (Overdrive/crunch): This is the mode for guitarists who like to control their gain using the volume control on their guitar. It also has a ridiculous amount of output for pushing the input of a tube amp, so I think this mode was intended to be used as a stomp box or extra channel for your amp. It’s certainly the most versatile mode and would be worth the price if it were the only one.
ROCK (HIGH GAIN DISTORION): This is the DISTORTION PEDAL mode. The difference between this mode and the others is that you can’t get a clean sound with this one. It has the most gain, but it still remains transparent and articulate. I didn’t like this mode so much initially, but I later discovered that it was my bridge pickup I didn’t like. The preamp only made the harshness in the pickup more noticable. You also need some reverb/ambience to get the most out of it direct.
It’s ironic that this thing was revamped and discontinued because it was really ahead of it’s time. Guitarists just didn’t get it because of the generic and misleading names given to the four modes.
It’s only funtional drawback is that while it can do anything, it can only do one thing at a time. This thing is the daddy of all that Line 6 stuff, the Roland COSM technology, Korg’s REMS, and whatever proprietary marketing gimmick ZOOM, Vox and all the others have developed to trick guitarists into buying software code instead of hardwired circuits. The only advantage of those things is variety and convenience, but none of them run at 12 volts. To get a good electric guitar sound, you need electricity and lots of it.