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    H&K TM18 owner - Struggling with finding the tone


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    Join date : 2015-06-03

    H&K TM18 owner - Struggling with finding the tone

    Post by tmcella on Sat Jan 23, 2016 5:36 pm

    Hello all

    I have owned a H&K TM18 head & matching cab for about 7 months now

    I am having an ongoing issue finding the tones I am after.
    I have tried both channels, changing the eq, I don't like the boost button
    I have tried adding pedals to shape the tone (doesn't seem to like distortion or fuzz pedals at all, get really tinny)
    The 5w and 1w settings sound terrible
    The 18w is where I have stayed mostly

    I find the cleans to be pristine, almost too pristine

    This is my first tube amp, so I am a noob.
    I am at the point of thinking I need to sell this and try something else
    But I am concerned I am missing something and another amp is not going to solve the issue

    So I am turning here for some help from other TM18 users
    Mine is a head & 1x12 H&K cab (vintage 30's)

    I tried single coils and humbuckers through it

    What's the magic setting? What am I missing?
    I have read several forums about setting your amps eq, not specific to the TM18
    Nothing has helped

    Thanks in advance for you help

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    Join date : 2015-01-28
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    Location : Southern England

    Re: H&K TM18 owner - Struggling with finding the tone

    Post by bordonbert on Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:15 pm

    I don't know the TM18, I have a GM36 which is my goto and a TM36 for backup, and I have made mistakes before assuming they are the same when advising but as no one else has stepped in yet here goes.  Others can correct me later where I go wrong.

    One thing that these amps are is sensitive to speaker choice.  Your starting point should be "What am I going to pair them up with on that front"?  If your speakers are at all toppy they will emphasise the top end of the H&Ks which is not lacking and can be harsh.  Celestion G12 Greenbacks worked for me and a few others.  There are other good alternatives.  Look in the Grandmeister forum for recommendations.  Please tell us here what you are currently using. EDIT: Just reread your post and saw you are using the H&K cab. I believe this uses V12s and I would suggest could be looked into. Do you have a friend who can loan you a different speaker cab to try out with more mellow speakers in it? You will be amazed at the difference.

    Valves also come into this.  For some music genres the stock valves are ok.  Anything high gain and metal and there are people who are happy with them.  For anything a little more refined you may want to consider swapping them out.  There are threads in this site about that.  Look at the Tube Swapping Thread in the Grandmeister forum as well, as the two are similar in that sense.  Swapping the EL84 pair for a sweeter toned set can help.  If your music type demands it, you may want to swap out the first preamp valve for a lower gain version.  My advice as an engineer is don't even think of a 12AT7, it's so bad a match it isn't even close in everything important except the gain which is at 60%.  A 12AT7 will also make your sound thinner which you don't want.  You should go for a 5751 which is no more expensive and really is very similar to the original 12AX7 but with the gain dropped to about 70%.  I run my GM36 with both preamp valves as 5751s and it sounds much smoother to my ears.  There is more on that aspect in the thread I pointed you to.

    The H&K amps have a peculiarity that they somehow seem to respond to the guitar tone controls more than many I have played.  In fact the guitar control becomes almost more useful than the amp controls in my GM36.  Don't rule out using them as a way to take off some of the top end.

    Finally, get used to the preamp controls of the TM, they aren't always entirely intuitive.  This is an idea which works for most valve amps.  There are two areas which create overdrive/distortion, the preamp and the power amp.  One of the secrets of great tone is to get the balance between these two correct.  A common mistake is to just power up and leave the amp at 18W setting then try to get bedroom volume by adjusting the preamp controls down.  That's the way to insipid tone.  Get the Master Volumes up around 1:00 or higher to set the power amp up for sweet overdrive of the EL84s.  You can do this by using the power soak to drop the output power setting allowing you to up your Master to compensate.  Try this;  power soak at 1W, Master at 2:00, guitar volume full, then adjust with the Gain to get the degree of overdrive you want plus a tad.  Then back off the guitar volume until it sings.  If that isn't loud enough increase the soak to 5W and readjust.  This will then take away the need to create all of your overdrive in the preamp with a higher gain Gain setting and the Boost, and I'm sure will take away some of the roughness if you aren't already doing it.

    You may have all of these things already sorted of course, but there may be something in there that will help.  Let us know how you currently stand with the above issues and we can advise further.  And finally, once again, trawl through the Grandmeister forum as well as this one.  There is some specific info for GMs there but there is a lot of common ground and we tend to have a lot more GMites than TMites.

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    Join date : 2018-01-23

    Re: H&K TM18 owner - Struggling with finding the tone

    Post by mtsv on Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:14 am

    I’m new to the forum, but I’m using TM 18 30th anniversary for some time, so here is what I have done to improve the tone:
    I’ve got the amp second hand, so the initial thing was to check the tubes. EL84 power tubes were ok and they were Russian (as expected), however the 12AX7 preamps were Chinese, so I’ve changed them to Mullards for a warmer tone. On the other hand, I’ve used Fenders and Marshalls before, so I was never be pleased of the lead tone of H&K, maybe because it was too modern. So I’ve connected my Tech21 Flyrig 5 in the fx loop and engaged Sansamp part (together with the reverb unit in it), and voila, it was magically better... I also used the delay of the Flyrig whenever I needed. To sum up, I recommend a character pedal, preferably in the fx loop to shape the sound.

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    Re: H&K TM18 owner - Struggling with finding the tone

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