HX/DA Head Report


Too Many Notes
Apr 26, 2012
The HX/DA is truly a professional's instrument. It's just a great amp, easily comparable in versatility and quality of tone to anything out there.

The amp is dead quiet. Turn your guitar’s volume all the way down, and there is no noise. None.

This isn’t just about not having to hear background hums and buzzes when you’re not hitting a note or chord. It’s about the quality of that note or chord standing out against a black background and really coming to life.

The amp’s clean tones are pure class. I say tones, because you aren’t stuck with one sound. Not only can you tailor the tone with the switches, but the two gains, the tone controls, and the contour can all be manipulated to help carve great cleans, and again, these controls are useful throughout their ranges, not just in one narrow sweet spot! The detail in the note is tremendous, you really hear the guitar, the pickups, the wood, the whole thing.

There is a huge range of usable gain here at every turn of the knobs. There have to be infinite good tones in this thing. The tone controls work extremely well. You can dial in pretty much anything to accent some frequency of the guitar that you want to. This is not an amp where the tone controls only do something good in a small part of the knob’s travel. It sounds good pretty much everywhere you turn a knob.

And even with the master pulled down, the amp doesn’t get fizzy.
So, just a beautiful tone all around.

It’s also a forgiving amp to play, with a controllable, slightly elastic feel throughout its volume range.

I’d like to mention the quality of assembly. PRS does a really nice job. Everything’s neat, there’s a tube chart, and they even thought of a slot on the bottom to have a place for the power cord.

The controls and switches feel great; that is, they feel like the pots and switches on high end studio gear or hi fi gear. They’re smooth, and there aren’t any sticky controls or jumps in level as you rotate the pots. As always, with PRS gear, someone put a lot of thought into the overall feel!

I've played lots of amps in the studio that claimed to do the things this amp actually does, and couldn’t find one in a Plexi style that ever truly sounded as good as it claimed to. This one does.
Do you have an MDT as well, Les?

I don't, Hans.

I was all set to get an MDT, but at the last minute I went back and listened to every clip of both amps that I could find. And I decided that while both amps sounded great, I really dug the HXDA sound, and had never owned a Plexi style amp. So I figured it would be a good thing to try after all these years (I mean, I go back to when I could've had the originals new!).

And part of the reason is that I had a project come in that really called for a Plexi sound, though that was a lesser consideration.

Anyway, I'm glad I made the choice to get the HXDA, I am absolutely flipping over this amp.
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Just want to add that the HX and DA switch positions really change the character of the amp. It's like getting a second amp free. Plus, they don't all have to be switched in at once, so the amp can be voiced differently in multiple ways to suit different songs, styles, guitars, etc.

I've just been playing it through a Mesa Recto 2x12 closed back cab with V-30s. I'm guessing that the PRS cabs would be even better.

Finally, I've been experimenting with very low volume sounds (for an amp!) and I can get really useable tones at levels averaging around 86dbA. For reference, the OSHA maximum for an 8 hour day of noise exposure is 90 dbA. So, pretty safe levels even without hearing protection.

I do use hearing protection at louder levels, by the way, it's something I think's pretty important to my livelihood!
So...here's a very low volume semi-clean, edge of grit setting I use for practicing, that still sounds good, controllable with guitar volume, and not fizzy like some amps get at low volume:


I am really enthusiastic about how this amp sounds and responds. I would write more about it, but I'd bore the heck out of everyone. I think the amp looks great with the black tolex, too!