The much anticipated Hartke Kilo 1000 watt bass amplifier has finally arrived, and upon first glance, it doesn’t disappoint. Hartke have been key players in bass amplification for many years now, enough time for any less than satisfactory products to tarnish their name, but no such atrocity has occurred, these guys know what they’re doing. The Kilo is solidly constructed into a three rack-space chassis leaving plenty of breathing room for the components, and there’s a hefty pair of handles on the front to make lifting easy, which is a good thing, because unfortunately ‘Kilo’ is just a name and is in no way representative of the weight. All the controls feel solid and install confidence that this unit was made for life on the road. So let us take the journey of a delicately fingered bass riff and see what the Kilo has to offer.
The first thing of note our riff will hit upon entering the Kilo is a fully Class-A tube preamp utilizing three 12AXL tubes. A Class-A preamplifier is an advantage because it doesn’t chop up the signal, instead it treats it with a single amplification stage at any one time, meaning crossover distortion is completely eliminated, and providing the cleanest possible signal path. Unfortunately the power-amp stage is not Class-A, but this is not a bad thing, if it was, the amplifier would be ten times the size, chew through more power than Times Square on New Years Eve, and most likely melt through to the Earths core after ten minutes of use. Next down the line is a tube overdrive circuit. This has a variable control which allows for anything from just a wafer of grit, all the way to blatant fuzz. Then our riff travels through a built in compressor which is controlled by a single knob, and is very musical in use.
After that we have a gain control, a shape control for a selection of preset EQ curves, and then generic controls for Bass, Mid, and High. Next are the controls for the fully balanced Direct Out, not surprisingly there’s a level control, but of far more interest, there’s a control to select the routing, so you can choose whether the signal comes directly from the input, or post compressor, post EQ, or post effects, a fantastic option! Next is volume – always handy. Then balance for stereo use, and finally, as far as processing is concerned, a 10 band graphic EQ. Another genius innovation with the Kilo is the option to purchase a couple of footswitch’s which will allow you to engage the overdrive, mute, Graphic EQ, and the FX loop on the fly. From there our sexy bass riff hits the power amplifiers which pump out 500 watts a side, or can be bridged to provide a 1000 watt mono signal!
The Hartke Kilo is a fantastic bit of kit that sounds even better than it looks, implements novel design concepts, offers a huge range of tones, and suits any bass guitar you care to throw at it. For the money, this is a no-brainer!
Price: RRP $1699
Distributor: Electric Factory
Phone: (03) 9474 1000