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After Dave Reeves died Hiwatt trudged on as a subsidiary of the Biacrown Company. Biacrown did some serious cost cutting (no more partridge transformers, damn man) and these Hiwatt Lead series amps of the 1980s are the culmination of the drastic decrease in quality.
That said, these amps sound really damned good! I tried one on a whim at a music store in MD while I lived there. WOW. This amp is what a channel switching JCM800 aspires to be. The clean channel produces straight ahead Hiwatt punchy clean until the amp is dimed to ear-bleed level, but the overdrive channel does a nice, Hiwatty "Live at Leeds" grind at reasonable stage levels. The switching works adequately well. But like I said, the whole JCM800 gain scheme works really well with Hiwatts unique tone section, I went back to the store to buy that Hiwatt amp but some wiser man had already scooped her up. Total bummer.
I think this was Hiwatts last ditch attempt to go toe-to-toe with Marshall in the era of big hair, crunchy guitars, and operatic shrieking. Look at those telltale rocker switches! But sadly This amp doesn't have the gain of an 800. It was never a competitor for hard rock amp of the year in 1981, That said, what it did accomplish is really wonderful for those of us who seldom 'shout at the devil' but often ask 'who are you?' I need to get one of these.