VHR Hiwatt DR103 Guitar Amplifier

[Picture of the VHR Hiwatt DR103 Guitar Amplifier]

Looks like a Hiwatt, sounds like a Hiwatt, but it ain't a real Hiwatt. It's a Hiwatt in every respect except that I built it in April 2011 from a kit purchased from Vintage Hiwatt Restorations. The valves, panel and badge I sourced myself. There are many simpler amps I could have chosen for my first build but I was Hiwatt obsessed at the time. This is just as well as Vintage Hiwatt Restorations no longer sell kits.

This clone utilises the early 70's Hiwatt DR103 circuit and layout. I went to great lengths to to make the wiring as pedantically clean as possible. I came close but it's not as beautiful inside as a real Hiwatt. The transformers are made by Heyboer and are really high quality. All preamp valves are vintage, consisting of a pair of Mullards, a Philips and a Sylvania. The output valves are reissue Tung-Sols and do the job nicely.

It is a bloody loud amp - measured it at about 120W RMS before the power amp stage started clipping. It is very clean but can get rather crunchy as well, although it is not a gain monster. Sticking a clean booster in front of it to give the preamp a kick makes it sing with lovely overdrive reminiscent of early 70's Jethro Tull. It is a beautiful thing.