Monday, July 06, 2009

Tales From the Tonal Fringe: The Kitty Hawk M5

This is an orphan amp that followed me home this weekend and a price that couldn't be passed up. It's the Kitty Hawk M5 in a low power configuration and it's in more or less working order.

Kitty Hawk was a German production of the 1980s, and it did much to destroy the notion that Germans don't make crap from time to time and foist it off on an unsuspecting world. The build quality was indifferent and low quality components led to the exit from the market of Elektroakustic GmbH from what should have been a cakewalk.

I do not see how the fellows who built this amp with the components they used thought it could survive the rough and tumble world of the traveling musician. Woody's Quad Reverb survived a tumble down a flight of stairs and soldiered on for another ten years before he ever got the idea of fixing it up and sent it to me. The damage was truly astounding.

All that having been said, it's got some good features that should make for some interesting noodling on the tonal fringe. The tone's clear and bright, but volume is a little less than I expected which makes me think it needs some massaging. The old RCA glassware I plugged in last night is a start but more is needed.

Film at 11, as they say. If you stumble over this blog and you've got some technical information on these things, like a complete schematic diagram, you have earned some coffee. Please drop me a line.


At 2:10 PM, Blogger ZigZagNuts said...

wow! really surprised to hear these comments about this great little amp. I have owned one since they were introduced and I am sonsistantly blown away by the tone that this thing brings to the table, just for the record (context) I own many Amps, several very old Marshall Plexi heads, some later master volume variations, i also own a Mesa Boogie studio .22 and a very cool ROSK 50 watt head (Paul Rosk) and yet it is this little amp that has been a staple for me on all gigs and recording sessions, the glassy transparent crunch that this thing delivers is just incredible as is it's unique definition, the notes seems to explode of the strings, i have used this for very hard rock and blues. have you tried a fresh set of tubes in this thing? I wish I could find another one on Ebay (never see them) as i would buy it in a heartbeat. Blows away my boogie for sure. One thing that I will say as a negative is that the control Knobs are pretty horrible

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Robert Luedeman, attorney at law said...

The Rosk is something of a rarity. My M5 is sort of sidelined until I find a source for pots that fit. Other than that it's pretty decent. I had heard that it was something of a Boogie knockoff and it bears a lot of resemblance to the three MKIIs I have worked on.


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