The Spirit of Rock – Review

Is it possible I bought this little beast based on its name? Possibly. But who knows? One thing for sure, this thing is tiny but tough. The sound that emanates from this little monster is simply astounding.

I was looking for a DI type of device (that means direct input) that would allow me to record electric guitar parts in the demos I create. I searched around the Web for a bit and came across the Hughes & Kettner, Spirit of Rock mini amp, from their Spirit Nano Series. I read a few reviews and watched a few YouTube videos, and was sufficiently impressed by what reviewers were saying on the Web, that I began to seriously shop around online to compare prices.

When I saw that Long & McQuade – one of my favourite stores – carried it, I was very happy. Soon, I noticed it went on sale for an after-Christmas sale and bought it right away. When it arrived, my reaction was kind of, “what the heck is this thing?” or something to that effect, but I won’t get too vulgar here.

When I plugged it in… Holy Crap!!! It’s a monster disguised as a toy. I could not believe the volume, tone, and sound that came out of this thing. Unbelievable! What’s also really cool is that there is a line-in function that allows you to play some of your favourite guitar hero type songs through this device, so you can hopefully get somewhat close to playing along with one of your guitar gurus.

There is a sufficient amount of tone adjustment through its Sagging and Tone buttons, along with the tone controls on my guitar, to comfortably dial in a sound that I’m happy with. The only negative is that there is zero reverb. For reverb, I would have to buy an extra stomp pedal that has reverb built in. In my case, I’m not all that concerned because I can add quite a lot of sound effects pre-production through my mixing board and through software, I can add more reverb effect post-production. Still, I may take the plunge one day and add in a reverb pedal. Having no reverb on an amp is strange for me because my last amp was a Vox AC-15, which puts reverb and tremolo front and centre. I’m still wondering if I should have sold that amp – I do regret parting with it.

Hughes & Kettner has roots that date back to the early eighties. This company has been synonymous with heavy rock and metal for decades. I was familiar with the brand because Alex Liefson, former guitarist for the epic Canadian rock band Rush, which I am a huge fan of, was closely associated with H & K amps for quite a long time. I always coveted one but found them very expensive. Hughes & Kettner is a German company, and not surprisingly, prides itself on crafting precision equipment that delivers exception reliability and precision. The Spirit Nano amps are designed in Germany but built in China. The same series also has two other models. One is called Spirt of Metal and the other, Spirit of Vintage.

I invite you to check out the Hughes & Kettner website. They have wide range of amp heads, cabinets, and combos, as well as pedals and acoustic amps. The Black Spirit 200 seems quite similar to the Nano Series but in a big brother sense as it boasts quite a lot more features. That might very well be my next amp purchase.

Hughes & Kettner makes me excited about rock and roll again. It opens my mind and spirit to all the possibilities that are inherent in this wonderful form of music. Spirit Nano Series amps can even be used as a head and played through an external cab of up to 50 watts.

I am very happy I purchased the Hughes & Kettner Spirit of Rock. I don’t regret my purchase at all, especially for the little money it cost me to buy. My next article will focus on another DI pedal that I use for my demos. Stay tuned for that one. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my video review that I’ve linked below.

Video Review of Hughes & Kettner Spirit of Rock mini-amplifier

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