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Hiwatt bass amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Big chicken, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. Big chicken

    Big chicken

    May 25, 2010
    In Space
    anybody ever use one of these?and would you reccomend them or should i stick with ampeg?
  2. Lars_Vegas


    Jul 12, 2010
    Depends on what you want? Both ampeg and hiwatt are great gear, but the hiwatt stuff does not as dirty as ampeg sounds.
  3. Andy_colassal


    Nov 21, 2006
    Regina, SK
    Embrace your inner John Entwistle.
    Squittolo likes this.
  4. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    Don't overlook the Reeves 225.
  5. AwkwardLoudness


    Jan 11, 2010
    MI USA
    If you can find a vintage (pre-1981) Hiwatt in good shape, then yes, go for it. The 100 watt DR103, 200 watt DR201, and 400 watt DR405 are all great bass amps. The DR103 is by far the easiest to find, but has the least headroom. You would want the 4-input rather than the 2-input version of a DR103 because of the headroom.

    I wouldn't recommend a new Hiwatt at retail price. These amps don't have near the build quality as the vintage ones.

    Reeves Amplification builds an amp that's inspired by the Hiwatt DR201, and it may be your best option among newer amps: http://www.reevesamps.com/custom225.htm

    Ampegs have circuits that are very different from those in Hiwatts, so it's going to be a matter of taste.

    I finished restoring an old Hiwatt bass amp a few months ago. It is one killer amp. Images are here: http://www.vintagehiwattconvention.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=977
    Ben_Sth_Oz likes this.
  6. KramerBassFan


    Jan 3, 2009
    Wow, a DR405.... sure aren't many of those around!
  7. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    I used to see a band in Miami with a bass player that used Hiwatts. Killer. Diller. Massive. Sound.

    I'd consider one if I had the scratch.
  8. tony_clifton


    Nov 14, 2009
    'bout the 405 - heard the tranny is so big the chassis might rupture when you keep the amp upside down/sideways. Just warnin'
  9. D.M.N.

    D.M.N. (O)))) Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Oh My...........that's.......that's gorgeous. I'd love the chance to play one of those beasts.

    Awkward loudness, that's incredible. How's it sound with bass? Monstrous? Where do you guys find these DR405s, they're like hens teeth.
  10. Not a chance in hell! Do you know how thick that chassis is?

  11. My Dr201 had Radio Spares caps in it when I got it. The only caps I could find of the right physical size were twice the value of the old caps. I also replaced the silicon rectifiers. The originals were only one amp rating. That gave the bridges a two amp rating but the HT fuse was one and a half amps. Replaced them with two and a half amp rectifiers to give five amps. A little more conservative.

  12. AwkwardLoudness


    Jan 11, 2010
    MI USA
    If the amp got dropped or bumped around enough, then a transformer mounting bolt could rip through the chassis. It wouldn't happen due to the transformer weight alone even if sideways.

    Monstrous with bass indeed. I play bass through it with a SWR Megaliath 8x10. With regular guitar, I've used a quad of Hiwatt 4x12s. In both cases, the sound is huge, loud, thick, well rounded, and monstrous. It's hard to describe really.

    These amps are very rare especially in decent condition. I've only seen pictures of about seven DR405s. It took me a few years to find one for sale on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
  13. N.F.A.


    Jun 25, 2009
    In a blue funk
    Hiwatt is my dream tone for bass and the DR103 is the amp that gets it for me. The Reeves 225 is a worthy clone worth checking into. However you should know that it represents a very clean, piano like tone that won't really dirty up without using pedals or preamps/eq's. Entwistle, Greg Lake and the bassist from Cheap Trick used them. Probably tons of others I can't think of right now.
  14. AwkwardLoudness


    Jan 11, 2010
    MI USA
    This issue with DR201 cap replacements is addressed in this thread (Post #6) on the VHC board:

    The best solution is to use F&T 50µF+50µF caps in place of the old RS 100µF caps, and link the two positive terminals on each cap with buss wire. I had to do the same on the DR405.
  15. here´s my 1973 DR103. I can´t use other brands after playing through a hiwatt... It´s like a drug... so. be carefull

  16. Darbo


    Jul 6, 2010
    wow ,well where do I start...yes I have used them back in the seventies I had a 68 - 70 british version had to be adapted for use in the states.. very clean sound. as I remember the volume and master or Presence usually maxed @ 10 .. thats what really gave you that warm overdriven sound .. allways sounded best just as your speakers were about to blow out .. thats what really crazy about the gear thats out today .. I'm 51 been playin since I was 15 .. ampeg Traynor , Hiwatt , sunn. Acoustic 370 ( one of my fav ) with the rear folded 18 spkr cab .. I am amazed at the tech thats out today . about a month ago i tried a Mark Bass 800 tube .. and ws blown away with the tone and sound quality it put out ..
    Now mind you I do not play alot of slap , pop... I'm an old wanker from the Hendrix , Zep days .. If your looking for your sound and Hiwatt sounds good to you then its a great amp head ,, prob the best I had played through .. just keep in mind that they are somewhat High Maintenance. Bed very carefull in transporting them .. allways let the tubes cool before even thinking about moving the head ,,, and she will be good to you .. ahh yes .. the old days .. of course I ws younger and didn't mind porting round the heavy gear .. we didn't have the quality PA sysytems that they have now so as a Bass player it was a constant to have a booming rig SVT 8/10s or Eqv. ... good luck my friend ...

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  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    hiwatt is fantastic, but i would never off my svt to get one. i would, however, like one.
  18. AwkwardLoudness


    Jan 11, 2010
    MI USA
    Without pedals or preamp, Hiwatts will get dirty tone with the preamp volumes generally past 2'clock with active pickups or hot passive pickups and the instrument's volume turned up.

    I'll add Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, Jim Lea of Slade, and Glenn Cornick of Jethro Tull and Wild Turkey to that list.

    This seems odd to me. With the exception of Canadian or Sweden export amps, all the old Hiwatts were originally equipped with a voltage selector with taps for 105V (Japan), 115V (N. America), 225V (Mainland Europe & Australia), 245V (Britain). Also, some amps were modified by owner/tech to run fixed voltage.

    I'm not sure what maintenance issues you had. Power tubes going bad? The fixed bias EL34 Hiwatts (DR103, DR504, CP103, etc) run pretty hot and they will cook power tubes easily. It's best to stick with NOS Mullard, Winged =C=, or JJ EL34L power tubes since they can handle the Hiwatt juice. The DR201 and DR405 amps with KT88 tubes didn't have this problem since the bias was adjustable. Good call on letting the tubes cool before moving. In my experience, Hiwatts are more durable than other old tube amps.
  19. P.Niggz


    Apr 12, 2009
    I moved to Hiwatt from Ampeg a few years ago... I'll give you a run down of the hiwatt all in my personal opinion!

    Pros of the Hiwatt: Has Never blown up like the 3 ampegs I had before it. (I wish I'd have taken advice from friends / bands i've produced who are ampeg endorsees about ampegs blowing but I didn't, fool.)

    Slight Cons of the Hiwatt: Its the cleanest bass amp i've ever played, and I wanted a dirty sound, easily fixable with a pedal but now I run it in parralel with an orange AD200B. The hiwatt sounds better than the orange but I can choose the amount of proper amp dirt I want this way so I'm happy!

    No matter how much i turned up both hiwatt channels (I now run them together with a patch cable from the normal to the brilliant channel) I never ever get any dirt from it at all... and I'm playing a musicman stingray 5 with everything turned up full (don't hate me please).

    Definite Cons (for most people) of the hiwatt: Weighs far more than my SVT2 or SVT4 did, can't be rackmounted (which isn't a big deal as I bought a new flightcase to house that and the orange).

    I agree with some people they seem to be a little more hardwork than most amps, I did go through a few valves to begin with but its just a case of looking after it properly and she'll treat you amazingly.

    Overall I'd say go Hiwatt and Ditch Ampeg in my opinion, but what do I know, I'm not even a supporting member yet! :)
  20. AwkwardLoudness


    Jan 11, 2010
    MI USA
    Cool. What's the model and year of your Hiwatt?

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