It’s been over two years since I started this thread, coinciding with my discovery of the HX/DA. I thought I should chime back in and update my impressions and experiences with this amplifier.
First, I’ll cut to the chase and say I still love the HX/DA. Not like it… love it
. I don’t know that I can say it’s the best amp I’ve ever owned, because that answer would have to be qualified with “best for what?” If I’m playing a covers gig with a lot of focus on “match the record,” I’ll likely use the Axe Fx or Mesa Road King II combo. But for anything where I’m freer to create or just use a more cohesive range of tones, and especially when those tones are classic “Plexi“ in nature, the HXDA is the weapon of choice. The best amp of its kind. It’s always the first amp I grab at home for vacuum tube-fired fun, and a great grab-and-go companion for jams that has not disappointed, ever. That the other players I jam with express a preference for the HX/DA is testimony to the quality of sounds. It makes the band
sound better. How cool is that?
While the HX/DA sounds nice plugged into anything, I love it with Greenbacks. It just sounds natural there. But even connected to an Ox Box and running through IRs, it still punches through with that quality tone. Flexibility, because of the switches and interaction between the HX and DA controls, is much better than on a classic Marshall head.
As mentioned earlier in this thread, I had a chance to trade for a special paisley-covered head, also a 50 watter, and jumped on it. I still have both. That is new for me. I regularly get matching model guitars for gigging, as I always have a backup (or just a switch between) guitar at paying gigs. But I’ve never had two electronically identical amps before. While I consider any PRS CAD amp build to be eminently reliable, as much as any amp can be made to be, I simply thought having more than one HXDA was worth it!
That alone was a ringing endorsement, and is particular to this amp only in my guitarsenal.
I’d still like to find a clean 2x12 or 4x12 paisley cab for the HX/DA #2, although it sounds pretty killer with the Marshall 1960A I rebuilt with Celestion GBs for it. Finding mint paisley cabs that you don’t need access to the US Mint to buy is a challenge, but I’m in no rush. I have plenty of cabs to alternate in and out. It’ll happen one of these days.
Summing up where I started: the HX/DA is a true keeper. I mean “like a favorite guitar” kind of keeper. Familiar, friendly, welcoming, empowering. It is a stellar example of amplifier craftsmanship that sounds as good as it looks inside and out. In my guitaring history, many amps and guitars have come and gone without fanfare. A few made an impression and are clearly different from the average great guitar or amp. They are the ones you keep, or the ones you regret having sold. I’m trying to avoid regrets these days, so like I said, the HX/DAs are keepers.