Howdy! We often get questions about the differences in tone from one design to the next, but in the case of the Nighthawk things get even more interesting because there are a number of flavors just within the varieties of Nighthawk you buy.
So, we have
the Nighthawk 35 with 5881s -Early 5F6 Tone
the Nighthawk 40 with 6L6s – Later 5F6 Tone
the Nighthawk 45 with KT66s – 45w British Tone
the Nighthawk 50 with EL34s – 50w Plexi Tone
We also use different transformers, coupling caps, etc. depending on the tonal flavor we are seeking.
The above amps are available in 1×15 or 1×12 combos or heads.
The KT88 amp (Night Drive) is only available in a head.
The 1×15 combos come with an Eminence 1518. The 1×12 combos come with a Celestion V-type. The 1×12 cabinet is a little smaller but not so small that it sounds boxy.
The difference in tone between the 1×15 and 1×12 is hard to describe. But, the 1×15 cab has a beam diffuser built into the baffle so the sound is spread evenly.