Hiwatt SA212 questions

HIWATT amps from the Hylight Electronics era

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Hiwatt SA212 questions

Postby MSG57 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:13 pm

Hi to all - I am a new member, based in Surrey in the UK.
Here is my Hiwatt story...

In the 1970's i was friends (and still am) with Nigel Collins one of the original Hylight team. Nigel was a massive advocate of Hiwatts and used to sneer at the likes of Marshall that he considered fragile and under engineered. Nigel's nickname in our circles was 'Hiwatt' - he would be happy to talk of nothing else.
Nigel did the live sound for a band called National Flag, who featured a couple of local (Kingston/Epsom) guitarists that we went to see a number of times from 1974. They were using Hiwatt gear. I ended up buying the one of the guitarists' SA212 through Nigel. I loved it, it had the (rare i believe?) low power switch on the back panel, was very heavy,built like a coal bunker and loud as hell.
In the 1990''s post Hiwatt Nigel had his own sound /light business and his guys added an effects loop for me and replaced the valves with a stock they were holding for Thin Lizzy - apparently Phil Lynott was interested in using Hiwatt as his alternatives at the time kept blowing up on the road.
A few years later a rodent damaged one of the original Fane speakers. I had lost contact with Nigel and took the amp to a local shop for repair. Without my knowledge they binned the Fane and stuck a Celestion G12k -100 in there, they thought it was a good alternative as replacement Fanes weren't available. They also replaced the mains cable which has been chewed through.To my ears the amp still sounded good, but not the same or as good as before. I have used the amp on and off since, but also a Fender 'The Twin' and more recently small low wattage combos - Fender Pro Junior and Marshall Class 5. Both of which are loud enough for rehearsals and the pub gigs we do nowadays.They are both great sounding amps in my opinion.

So a few questions if i may...
1) The Hiwatt is in need of attention, probably just new valves but i would like it looked at by someone that knows their stuff. Chandlers in Kew, used to have (may still do) Jesse the guy who owns/builds Lazy J amps doing repairs one day a week. Some say that when it comes to valve amps , he is The Man. Has anyone any suggestions or experience?
2) The guys at Hi-Tone have recommended their DR-F 231 as a replacement for the Celestion, they say its a replica of the original Fane - any comments thoughts?
3)Once the amp is 'right' I may consider putting it up for sale, reluctantly, as its just too heavy for me to move around nowadays. I have little idea of its value in the UK, anyone have any thoughts?

If you have got to here then you are patient indeed!
Thanks everyone


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Re: Hiwatt SA212 questions

Postby mhuss » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:10 pm


I would recommend replacing the speaker to get a better match for the original Fane. The DR-F is of course really good :D :D :D but there are other alternatives as well. I never liked Celestion speakers with Hylight amps.

I'm in the US, so I unfortunately can't help with a shop recommendation or a current UK price.

I have an SA212R, and it weighs as much as a coal bunker, lol. Sounds great, but never leaves the studio.


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Re: Hiwatt SA212 questions

Postby Dr.HI-TONE » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:29 am

I have some funny pics of Nigel around here somewhere. it sounds like a cool amp!

Mark hasn't heard the new '231 yet, but he was involved in the development of the DR-F. Yes, there are lots of alternatives, they just don't sound like 1970's fanes.

I just received the first 100 '231s so no one will be able to comment on them, but like our other speakers they are tonal clones of the target speakers.

as for value, it helps to have good pics internal and external.

HI-TONE, when only the best will do.


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