Hiwatt, the British amplifier brand that once rivalled Marshall for the UK’s ‘top professional amp’ crown, has relaunched at this year’s Musikmesse, under new ownership.
Previously operating under an arrangement whereby the UK Hiwatt company was owned and run by the controversial Rick Harrison, while the US rights were owned by a separate company, the business has now been purchased by a Canadian entrepreneur who has assembled a team of leading amplifier and effects designers. Manufacturing of the key Hiwatt products remains in the UK, in new premises, and the company promises that UK built products will be assembled under the supervision of Kee Mayer, who will build custom shop amplifiers to the military specification that Hiwatt’s reputation and history was built on.
Music industry music industry veteran Mitch Colby was heading the Hiwatt team at Musikmesse, which saw the launch of a series of new products including the DR401 – a 400W tube bass amplifier head. Hiwatt also announced a partnership with legendary builder of the first 1960s UK ‘fuzz boxes’ Gary Hurst. The first re-issue pedals by Hurst under the Hiwatt brand are the Fuzz King and Octa Fuzz.
In addition to relaunching the Hiwatt brand, the new team has also revived the Maxwatt brand as a new “Hi-gain”, hand wired, sibling of Hiwatt. This new sound and direction is courtesy of new chief design engineer, Mike Fortin. The new Maxwatt Custom Super-HI 50, for example, is a four gain stage hand wired Fortin creation, ‘designed for maximum grind’. There is also the companion Maxwatt Custom Shop Super-HI 2×12+1×15 speaker cabinet for maximum bottom end – bass or guitar.
The company is currently seeking distributors world wide for Hiwatt and Maxwatt as well as dealers in the UK.