Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5

Cab sounds without the mics

If you want to record your amp or send its signal to a mixer for live sound without using a microphone, there are a range of solutions that let you do just that. One of the longest-serving is the Hughes & Kettner Red Box: a DI box with speaker simulation, which has been around in various forms since the 1980s. This latest version adds new EQ options for recreating the sound of various cabinet characteristics.

In Use

"The sound is fat, tight and punchy just like a hard-working 4x12"

The Red Box can take its signal from a line out or effects send, but if you are using a valve amp it's best to get the signal after the output valves, either through a spare speaker output or by connection inline between the amp and speaker - a 'thru' connection will take the unadulterated sound to the speaker, while a balanced XLR delivers the processed signal.

That sound is fat, tight and punchy just like a hard-working 4x12, and with switches for loose/tight, vintage/modern and small/ large options you have access to eight subtle variations.

The Red Box has no power soak, so it's not designed for completely silent recording with valve amps, but in situations where mic'ing is inconvenient, where you want a signal without bleed from other instruments, or where you want an alternative signal to blend with a mic'd signal for more sonic options, it is exactly what you need.

MusicRadar Rating

4.5 / 5 stars

A good product improved. New EQs are great.


Doesn't offer silent recording capability.


If it ain't broke, don't fix it - just give it more tonal options. Take one to every gig: your soundman will love you.


113 x 38 x 60

Available Outputs

1/4 Inch Jack


Switchable filter for sound customisation - new filtering options for small/large housings, modern/vintage speakers, and loose/tight response of the cabinet

Battery/Adaptor Type

9V Battery

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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