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Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200 combo

Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200 combo  ·  Source: Hughes & Kettner

Not so long ago, Hughes & Kettner introduced the Black Spirit head, rated at 200 Watts. Now comes the logical next step, a sibling amp in combo form. And according to the manufacturer, the Black Spirit 200 Combo is the “largest-sounding combo ever produced.” How about that for a confident claim?

Black Spirit 200 Combo

The Black Spirit 200 Combo combines the Black Spirit 200 amp head with a 12″ speaker, the Celestion G12H-75 Creamback, mounted into a compact 1×12 Thiele/Small combo housing. The rest of the amp is identical with the head version, including the four channels Clean, Crunch, Lead and Ultra. Also provided is an effects section comprising Reverb, Delay and Modulation effects as well as a Power Sag to mimic the tube characteristics of the power amplifier.

The Black Spirit is, however, a pure transistor amplifier. Not a single valve to be seen anywhere. But before you turn up your nose, take a listen to the latest tube-less amps out there these days. The sound has improved a lot since the 1980s. And don’t forget that they require less servicing and are often cheaper. Hughes & Kettner, of course, acknowledges that tube amp sound and feel still carry a lot of weight. The Spirit system, it says, uses “strictly analog circuitry [to] faithfully recreate the complex, dynamic processes known from classic tube amp designs.”

Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200 combo

Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200 combo

Red Box DI

Now add in the Red Box DI for recording as well as control features via Bluetooth and the Black Spirit 200 Remote App or a MIDI footswitch. And 128 storable presets. All in all, you get a lot for your money. But Hughes & Kettner need to convince guitar players that a solid state transistor amp has enough power to gig with. I don’t see it as a problem, but many purists still gravitate towards valve amps. Then there is the modelling crowd that will go straight to the front of house or an FRFR cab. So H&K has some work to do to persuade players to choose this amp.

Black Spirit 200 Remote App

Black Spirit 200 Remote App

Check out the official demo videos and also the Thomann overview video below to help make up your own mind about what seems to be a feature-packed 200-Watt combo.

The world’s “largest sounding combo”?

Is the aggressive marketing claim warranted? That’s obviously hard to know at the moment, as the videos don’t give us the sound at full volume. But clearly H&K has tried hard to emulate the characteristics of valve amps. Time will tell if it’s succeeded.

RRP – EUR 1199

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by Jef

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