Review: Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200

(Image credit: Hughes & Kettner)

Most people aren’t aware of the existence of the drum mafia or printer syndicate, but, trust me, you’ll find out about them if you ever invent a pair of drumsticks that don’t break or a cartridge that doesn’t run out of ink. You just won’t be able to tell anyone about it. Fortunately, there's apparently no amp mafia as numerous manufacturers are doing everything they can to provide guitarists with amplification products that can provide every sound they’ll ever need and at prices that keep getting lower every day. (Insider’s tip: Sell your amp collection now while you can still get good money for it!)

The Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200 is the latest such product to tempt guitarists. Hughes & Kettner explains it best: “The sound experience and feel of a high-quality tube amp circuit. The flexibility and versatility of a modeling amp. The ease of use and robustness of a transistor amp. All this is contained within Black Spirit 200.” I’ll add that it looks like a traditional guitar amp, sounds like any guitar amp and operates like a multi-channel guitar amp, but because it’s packed with an abundance of features and sounds, it’s completely unlike any guitar amp we’ve ever experienced before. And it costs less than $800. We’ll do our best to cover the main attractions below.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.