A review of the new Hartke TX600 from across the pond in London... So... I've been running a Genz Benz Contour 500 head into 2x Hartke 112 Hydrive cabs. Lovely punchy cabs, great little head. I found myself wanting a more valvey tone and just a little more headroom... Cue me deciding to give the Hartke TX600 a go... First impressions: This is a nice, modern looking amp. The single handle is a good feature and the chunky dials with back lighting look good. On the flipside, it seems like Hartke have decided to change their visuals. Sitting on top of the Hydrives it looks like an amp from a different manufacturer. That said, no biggie and still a nice looking little unit that feels like it will stay together for a long time. Switching it on: This is a very quiet unit. It seems even quieter than the Genz, with very little hiss and the variable speed fan which only comes on when needed is a nice feature. Gain. Dialling up the gain reveals a tube preamp that takes a LOT to make it overdrive and even then it is very minor overdrive with the light flashing red and hardly any audible distortion. With a passive G&L JB-2 I wasn't able to make it overdrive even with it max'd out. With a high output G&L L2000 and some very aggressive playing, the backlight started to go red around the 3'o'clock mark and again was not very audible distortion. Not a tube preamp designed for tube overdrive tone, if that's what you're looking for. For clean valve preamp tone, it's great; which leads me on to... EQ. The EQ is not your bog standard active EQ affair. The EQ is apparently a "tone stack equilizer" which has no theoretical flat setting and I can confirm it doesn't appear to behave like other EQs I've used. Whatever it is, it is very easy to dial in some lovely musical velvety, growly aggressive, or smooth and warm tones. It certainly sounds different to a normal active eq, but it only takes a few seconds to dial in what you need and is difficult to dial in something that sounds bad. The treble is sweet and crisp with no harshness. The bass is powerful and very musical (notably set at a relatively high 80Hz). The shape control is a "scoop" setting rather than a mid boost type filter. Compared to the Genz it is smoother and more, well, valvey; exactly as expected. Compressor. I was very pleasantly surprised by the compressor, having never tried Hartke effects pedals and having owned some great stuff by TC, EBS etc. I found that this is a really really nice, musical sounding compressor that goes from subtle to rich, punchy and crunchy. Very nice and up there in tone with the famous EBS foot pedal, which I loved. Volume. Hmm. Volume. This is, unfortunately, what has lead me to decide to send the unit back and now consider getting the much heavier, less feature laden LH1000. I did a direct comparison with the Genz and Initially thought I had somehow managed to wire up the cabs wrong...or had missed a button, or misunderstood how the EQ worked. After consulting the manual and staring at the amp, A/Bing between the Genz and the Hartke into the same speakers multiple times, it dawned on me. This "600 watt" amp is significantly, noticably, frustratingly quieter than the 500 watt Genz Benz. It sounds like what I'd imagine an amp with 300 watts would sound like in terms of volume. To confound matters, the volume has a very annoying way of suddenly jumping up in volume beyond around 2'o'clock. Beyond that, when pushed, it started to sound boxy and compressed/stressed and still could not keep up with the Genz, whose volume increases in a far more linear fashion and without farting out through the range of the volume dial. On both the Hartke and Genz I pushed the preamp up to the point when it starts overdriving and then just backed off so it stayed clean to make it a fair test. I've owned Genz Shuttle 6.2s, 9.2s and GBE750s and these all were VASTLY louder. Disappointing... Very disappointing. It makes me wonder if Hartke are being a bit "creative" with their power ratings...someone with more amp related knowledge may be able to comment... I may report back on my experience with the LH1000.