REVIEW > HARTKE
The back panel features three output
sections—two for stereo mode or a single
output for bridged-mono mode. The stereo
section has two 1/4" jacks with a speakON
output connector for each side of the stereo
signal, all wired in parallel. The bridged-mono area has a single speakON connector,
making it the only connection option to
use when the amp’s power sections are combined. Dual outs for the preamp and dual
ins for the power amp add to the Kilo’s versatility as a standalone tone generator that
can be routed straight into a PA or a recording console. There’s also a second dedicated
tuner output (the first is on the front panel),
and an XLR out. Capping everything off
is a pair of jacks for controlling the mute/
overdrive functions, as well as EQ and
effects switching. There are also three 1/4"
jacks for the stereo serial effects loop.
end, scooped or humped mids, or high-end
pop for slapping. The low end was thick and
buttery smooth, the mids facilitated excellent articulation, and the highs were sweet
and rich but never harsh. In short, I was
able to coax a massive variety of tones out
of the Kilo—from classic Motown grooves
to slap-happy funk, dub-worthy tones, and
percussive sounds that would fit in with
the tightest of metal groups. In fact, even
if the Kilo didn’t have all the other impressive accoutrements, the preamp alone would
make it a compelling head. When you add
in the graphic EQ, which has +/- 12 dB for
each band, you’ve got an even more precisely
seasoned and tasty smorgasbord of tones.
Beyond EQ curves, one of the Kilo’s
most drastic and fantastic ways to modify
your low end is its overdrive circuit—which
is capable of adding a considerable amount
of burly hairiness. With gain set around
11 o’clock, I conjured moderate grind by
hitting the strings hard, but the sound
still cleaned up when I backed off my
attack. Things got warm and fuzzy as gain
approached 3 o’clock, though the effect
wasn’t quite as punchy as, say, an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff. However, it was easy
to control the amount of grit without getting excessive feedback or having to cut bass
frequencies or overbearing mids.
burly yet infinitely tweakable
tones are your bag.
you don’t need massive wattage or
you get option anxiety easily.
HyDrive 410 Rating:
With Great Power Comes
To test the Kilo, I plugged in a Kramer USA
Striker bass and connected the head to two
Hartke HyDrive 410 cabinets, each of which
has four 250-watt, neodymium-hybrid-cone
speakers split between two sealed chambers.
Because the speakers are 40 percent lighter
than most 10" units, the cabs are surprisingly
lightweight and easy to carry.
Tonally, the Kilo is all about smoothness.
Its power section serves up clean, booming bass, and the tube preamp keeps things
from sounding too processed and flat. Even
if you’re running it without any of the extra
bells and whistles engaged, it excels at clear,
powerful tone. With the 3-band EQ knobs at
noon (and the graphic EQ switched off), the
amp exhibited an impressively wide dynamic
range but had plenty of room left on each
control to modify the tone with more low
your back twinges at the mere
thought of traditional 4x10 cabs.
you need the sub frequencies that
only 12s or 15s can provide.
or use a mobile device to hear
audio clips of the head and cab at
The Hartke Kilo is versatile enough to satisfy just about any bassist. Though its range
of features may initially appear daunting to
players who prefer simple rigs, it’s so easy
and intuitive to use that even these players
owe it to themselves to check out its fantastically punchy and diverse tones—because
it cranks out enough volume to cover pretty
much any style of music imaginable.
134 PREMIER GUITAR FEBRUARY 2012