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Looking for comments on Hartke Kickback 15...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Borderline, Nov 8, 2000.

  1. Borderline


    Oct 30, 2000
    After trying a Hartke Kickback 15 (120 Watts), I am strongly considering getting one. I am a big fan of the Hartke sound, and the features seem like ones I would use. However, I hate to spend any amount of cash without a second opinion or two, and I was wondering if anyone else has had experiance with them, and what your overall impressions are, if there are any unexpected problems I may run into, and if there are any simillar products in a like price range I should check out before commiting to the purchase.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Hi, Borderline.

    I can't comment on the 15, but I do haave the 10" model. I think it has a great sound and it's a very reliable amp. If you like it, go for it.

    Will C.:cool:
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Well, I'll come in for the counter-opinion. I found it thin and nasal sounding. Loud, sure but not putting out a warm tone. For similar $$, I'd go for the Ampeg BA-115 or B-100R.
  4. lowfreqguy


    Oct 18, 2000
    Baltimore, MD
    I was shopping for the same type of amp. I ended buying the SWR Workingman 12 instead of the kickback. I liked the tone better and the SWR had some features(DI out,tuner out and effects loop) the Kickback lacked. I went through this a couple of years ago, so the specs of current models may be more similiar. Happy hunting.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think that the Kickbacks do sound thin and nasal with everything flat. But as soon as you engage the "shape" control they take on a much warmer sound. I had a 12" one and never used it without the shape pushed in - but then I was able to get some really good sounds out of it.

    I know several Jazz players locally who use them all the time and nobody I know has had any problems with them. I just found that it was slightly too quiet for larger gigs, but I found it was a great monitor on stage and I could actually hear it better than a lot of louder amps.

    When I was using one, I got a lot of interest about how small it was, but how good the sound and bass presence was. I got two tips from a local producer/ bass player who uses these in his studio. Firstly - unscrew the rubber feet and you will get more bass. Secondly, the sound can be greatly improved overall, by replacing the cheap speaker lead with some decent cable.

    PS the kickback does have a DI out - I used this all the time when I used it as a stage monitor.
  6. snfjtu


    Oct 3, 2000
    I bought a Hartke Kickback 12, and I'm extremely happy with it. I was considering the Kickback 15, but the 12 was smaller, and because of not having much space in my dorm room and the portability factor (the 12 weighs considerably less), the 12 was just better for me. I much prefer the punchier sound it has compared to other amps. I'd venture to say that Hartke and Ampeg are polar opposites which is why you get alot of people who love Ampeg and can't stand Hartke, and vice versa.

    I play a Cort Curbow 6 string through mine, and the 12 inch speaker handles the B incredibly well, which is odd for a 12. Usually you need at least a 15 inch speaker. Anyway, I wouldn't trade my Hartke Kickback for anything else in it's price range. It has great sound (with the shape control, of course) and serves multiple purposes. You can use it as a practice/rehearsal amp, a small gig amp, or a monitor at larger gigs (given you have a PA to hook up to...120 watts isn't much once you get into larger places). Hope this was helpful...
  7. Borderline


    Oct 30, 2000
    Thank you all for your imput. It is muchly appreciated. After some thought, I've decided to go for it, and I'm confident it will serve me well for a while.

    I figure I'll throw in my two cents in case anyone interested in getting one for themselves stops by. I am deifnately a fan of the Hartke sound. What Snfjtu said rings true.... I find the Ampeg tone quite, I suppose "boring" is an apt description. While it can be a bit nasally, the shape control does a wonderful job of warming it up. It is large enough for the gigs I'm likely to encounter these days, and the tilt feature should be useful once I replace it with something bigger and have a use for a monitor.

    Thanks aplenty,

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