The Cream Machine is basically a low wattage high-gain Marshall valve amplifier in miniture and is used to produce that classic over-driven British rock guitar tone. Just crank the controls around to the level of distortion required, from a very smooth cream mode to when cranked a full sounding mini Marshall.
The Cream Machine is a 1W - two valve (12AX7 & 12AU7)
low-power pre-amplifier & amplifier combo in a super compact enclosure designed to produce guitar distortion tones. It was the first small recording tube-base amp produced. The Hughes & Kettner electronics construction is top-rate German quality.
The Cream Machine is not best for clean tones - it is designed to produce Marshall style amp distortion. For clean tones use a Cream Machine in sequence with a Crunch Master (Blues Master) and have the Crunch Master provide the clean tones and act as the power amp to drive the speakers.
This little marvel is a small powerhouse that will surprise you
with its apparent volume from just 1 watt, which has enough power to drive a 4 x 12 speaker cabinet. The advantage of the Cream Machine is that it drives when cranked a speaker cab around 20 decibels quieter than a 100 watt Marshall amp.
It is very difficult to get a good guitar sound in a recording
studio from a 100 watt Marshall amp because recording gear downstream of microphones can get overloaded when the amp is operating at distortion sound levels. The Cream Machine does a great job of emulating Marshall tube amps at reasonable volumes, which makes it ideal to record British cranked tones. The sound produced is in a range that fits in perfectly with recording and is more pleasing for sound engineers.
The Cream Machine has many interfaces compared to low power amps in current production, such as the Nano Head, which makes it better suited for use in recording environments than most current alternative products.
It also has the right interfaces to function as a over driven tube effect unit in a live playing environment. On the other hand, for miked low power guitar amps there are quite a number of brands on the market that are very nice, but they tend to be much more expensive than purchasing a Cream Machine on the used market.
Preamp Tube (Valve)
The amount of overdrive into the "tube amp" section
Master Level Control
Controls the overall output volume
Tube Amp Control (On Back)
Works with the two other controls to sweeten the sound
Connections (1/4" Jacks)
The Cream Machine is meant to sound like a heavily over-driven Marshall valve amp and it indeed creates great valve distortion tones. At low volume levels, with the gain set high you can get feedback normally requiring very loud amplification.
At high gain control settings the Cream Machine is very sensitive to input gain and a slight touch of the strings will produce an over-driven growl if the volume on the guitar is set too high. It works best to control gain using the guitar gain knob to drive the level of the Cream Machine effect required. In this setting the Cream Machine volume is set to the desired level speaker output level. Then the gain control is brought up until it produces the desired crunch. The trigger point is then controlled with the guitar volume.
Cream Machine Manual