Hughes & Kettner is launching a new line of bass amps called Quantum, created with the goal of providing the punch of a tube amp with the flexibility and precision of a solid state amp. The initial Launch consists of four combos.
First up is the QC310, having a single 10" speaker, boasting 250 watts, and weighing in at 38.5 lbs.(17.5kg). Next we've got the QC412, which has a 12" speaker, pumps out a massive 400 watts and again comes in at 43 lbs. (19.5kg). Moving along, the next combo ready to grace the stage is the QC415, this time a 15" speaker has been installed also producing 400 watts of power. The weight of this one? 53 pounds (24kg). Finally, on the initial launch there's the QC421, a 2 x 10", 400 watt combo weighing in at 64 lbs. (29kg). All share the same front and rear panel controls/connections.
The four main ingredients that make up this unique new bass range are the power amp section, the preamp, the speakers and cabinet construction. Here's the detailing behind it:
Seasoned players know the deal: 100 tube-driven watts simply sound louder than 100 solid state-powered watts. The reason for this is that tube power amps' complex dynamic properties enhance audio signals with transients. These added frequencies enrich the spectrum, making each note sound more concise, more explosive, and louder. In other words, our perception of volume is shaped not only by pure output power; the content of the signal is equally important.
Though the musical qualities of tube-driven power amps are heartwarming, their weight-related drawbacks are backbreaking and budget-busting. Due to the nature of tube designs, they are bigger, heavier, more expensive and more sensitive than their solid state kin. The ideal solution would be a solid state power amp with the dynamic, frequency enriching qualities of tube circuitry. And that's what Dynavalve technology is all about.
Dynavalve technology is the product of many years spent researching tube power amps' tone-shaping processes. Rather than coloring the sound of a solid state amp, the Dynavalve circuit "forces" the amp to behave just like its tube-driven counterpart. The result: In comparison to conventional solid state power amps with the same power ratings, Dynavalve yields far better tone, much more sound pressure and greater punch, according to the company.
The preamp section plays a pivotal role in the overall design of a bass amp. It is the interface between bass player and instrument on one side and the amp and power circuitry on the other. Quantum amps' inputs feature the Tube Touch Circuit. Resistant to high gain saturation, it's designed to respond to the players' touch. Another practical feature for the gigging musician is the Tube Growl knob, which dials in compression and tube saturation.
Quantum Series' voicing section uses the company's Pure Parallel EQ technology (a breed of EQ otherwise found in high-end studio gear) which reduces undesirable filter effects, transforming the four-band EQ into a more effective, sound-sculpting tool.
All Quantum amps are loaded with advanced speakers featuring Neodym magnets. Not only does this technology reduce weight significantly, it also creates a more concentrated magnetic field for improved impulse response the company claims. Speakers trigger faster and with greater precision, ensuring truer response to the player's touch and enhancing loudness.
Development throughout the range included the requirement to render the crucial overtone spectrum with uniformity. The projection pattern of conventional amps' high-frequency horns is a tight cone. And because these horns are driven by crossovers, phase shifting is inevitable. This is why Quantum series loudspeakers were designed with integrated HF systems. While the 10" speakers use parallel membranes (that is, a dual cone design) to this end, the 12" and 15" woofers feature a completely new technology. A machined aluminum dome (DuraDome) renders the voice coil's high frequency output. Both of these technologies deliver a wide pattern of throw, and a rich overtone spectrum that blends with the main membrane's low and mid-frequency response.
Many years experience designing, tuning and manufacturing loudspeaker enclosures enabled the Quantum development team to build cabinets that -- like fine acoustic instruments - make the most of resonances. Intelligently engineered and arrayed panels and bracings, and the housing's robust, six-ply Okum plywood (which weighs about half as much as standard cabinet woods) deliver low-end projection and balanced midrange resonance. Because the enclosure is designed to project these resonances uniformly across its entire surface area, the bass signal can be localized precisely from any position on the stage, according to Hughes & Kettner.
For more info on the Quantum series you can visit a new dedicated website that has been set up at www.quantum-amps.com