JohnnyNash, on november 29, 2010 5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 634
Purchased from: Sam Ash-Nashville, Tn.
Features: 40 watts all valve amp. Has 2 ecc83's and in the preamp 2 Sovtek 12AX7's. A 12" Celestion Seventy 80 Speaker carries the load. This is considered a closed back amp and gives great tight tones. 2 Channels and 4 Modes. (2 Cleans, 2 Overdrives) with a footswitch. I was advised to "break-in" the speakers so I waited for this review. I know have around 25 hrs on it and I see why they say this. This amp as the "sweetest" clean sound I have heard in a mid range amp. I have used single and humbuckers and the clean is unreal. Throw in the overdrive and I can get some great heavy sounds. To get EXTREME DISTORTION put a clean booster in front of it and let it push the preamp. This amp can cover just about any genre of music. A great little extra is the ISF control. Turn left and you get USA type tones, turn right and you get British tones. Has external jacks to add another speaker if needed but trust me you won't need it. A nice reverb. Many possibilities inbetween. I have used this in my music room and also a small club. No mic was needed. More than ebough power. Dimensions are 2'x2'x1'.
As far as rating, I am very picky and to get a "10" it has to be the best of everything available. So please consider this with my ratings. // 9
Sound: I have used single coils and humbuckers. Mild and high outputs, DiMarzio's and EMG's. I have used my Strats, My ESP/LTD, and also my Custom built Soloist. This amp can cover ALL of the music styles I play. I have even tinkered with the heavy distortion and the windows were rattling. I would not have thought this amp could get a great distortion but I was wrong. I have only used a pedal with the amp about 25% of the time and very pleased with just the amp. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This amp is kind of heavy, (about 54 pounds) and appears to be very stout. It is well made and very nice looking. This amp can handle everything I throw at it and more. As far a reliability, I can only say that so far no problems. (Less than a month old) Once you get it you can register it at the Blackstar website and get a FREE 3 year Warranty. // 9
Overall Impression: I play mostly Classic Rock, Blues, and some 80's Metal. I am getting into country and this amp takes care of them all. I did alot of research into this amp prior to buying and tested several others in this "class". By far nothing was even close. Blackstar has already made a name for themself with the high end amps and came out with the HT series to make their amps more affortable for everyone. For the price I have yet to find an amp that could match it. Could this amp do more? Sure, Pop in a high end speaker and some top of the line tubes but after you play it you will see it is not needed. // 9
TornUp, on april 27, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 699
Purchased from: Zzounds
Features: Great versatile amp! I play in a cover band and we do everything from Tom Petty to Godsmack. This amp has all the tones covered, and nicely. Its a 2 channel amp, with 2 modes per channel so you can really get 4 different sounds anytime you need them. Love the tube sound! // 10
Sound: I use a Fender American Standard with a hotrails pickup in the bridge. I can get all the heavy tomes I need with this pickup and amp combo. Where the amp shines even more is the middle of the road rock and classic rock tones. Best tone I have ever had.
This is perfect for creating the wide variety of sounds I need to cover different artists music. // 10
Reliability & Durability: Tough to say just yet as I have only had them amp for a month or so. Right now I have no choice but to gig without a backup, but this amp seems really well made and I am not to worried about it. For the price it seems to be as well made as the higher end Marshalls, Mesas etc.
I still can; t believe I have an amp at this price that sounds so good and is so well made. Great job Blackstar! // 9
Overall Impression: I can't say enough good things about this amp. I love the tones I am getting out of it and can't wait to plug in everey chance I get. I wouldn't even consider any other amp at this time if this were stolen. I would replace it with the same model right away.
I compared this with some high end Marshalls and this still blew them away. I put my delay, chorus, flanger and EQ through the effects loop and it sounds great. Out from I just run my Bad Horise Wah and Tuner. The all run great together. // 10
Unicronus, on may 23, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 761
Purchased from: Sam Ash
Features: The Blackstar HT-Club 40 is an amp made by ex-Marshall employees. This amp was made in 2010. It is a 40 watt tube amplifier. The amp is pretty versatile. It has really great clean sounds. It has a good crunch sound. But when you crank the gain all the way up it doesnt't sound that good. If you plan on playing heavy stuff, you will need to buy seperate distortion and overdrive pedals. It has two channels, clean and overdrive. For each chanel you can swith the tone of it with a button. You can also shape the tone to be more brithish or american. It has reverb with two types, light and dark. It has effects loop, it has an auxilary jack and a headphone jack. It also comes with a footswitch. // 9
Sound: I am using it with a Gibson Les Paul Traditional 1960 with 57 classic pickups (humbuckers). The amp is good for all of the stuff I play on clean, with reverb, and with crunch. The reverb is great, it has a very full tone and brings out the warmth of my les paul. When you hit the overdrive it is a little noisy. When you crank the gain all the way up, you get a very static sound. I don't like that, I like a heavy type of distortion that keeps the clarity to some extent. I does not have that good metal sounding tone. However with pedals you can get that tone. The crunch sound on it is good though. So if you are going to be playing blues, classical, baroque, or soft rock this amp is great. It can even do some hard rock like Guns N' Roses or the Scorpions. don't expect it to do stuff like Pantera or Slayer though. It has enough volume to play at small gigs and some medium gigs (depending on what you consider medium). At high volumes and low volumes, the amp has the same quality sound, it does not get more distorted at high volumes. // 8
Reliability & Durability: This amp is very sturdy, I don't think it will break. I would use it at a gig without backup. The amp has never broken down on me. However It is a very heavy amp and If you rely on public transportation, it may be difficult to take with you. The amp is kind of bulky two but It has a loud sound and is a tough amp. // 9
Overall Impression: I play many genres of music and It is a great amp for some of the things I play. It is good for anything that you play with clean, reverb, or even crunch. However just the amp itself (no pedals) does not have a good distortion. Its always better to buy pedals but this amp needs the overdrive pedal. The gain all the way up sounds like static and you lose the clarity of the notes a lot. Also, simply putting the gain on makes it buzz. On clean though, the amp is perfect. This amp was kind of a stepping stone for me, Its a good amp to gig with until you can get a Marshall. It is basically a Marshall knock-off but it is well woth the money. Personally I think this is one of the best tube amps for the money. I am not really a fan of Fender Amps although I tried some out. Also, I like this amp better then the Vox Amps I tried. Overall It is a decent amp and If you are starting to gig it is a good option to consider. // 8
jon.peebles, on june 30, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 699
Purchased from: Sweetwater
Features: Made in 2011, in Korea I believe. 40 watt 1x12 combo (Celestion Seventy 80 speaker), 2 12AX7's, 2 EL34's, 2 footswitchable channels with 2 modes in each channel, series effects loop, footswitchable digital (don't be fooled by the D-word!) reverb and a speaker emulated output. I play a reasonably wide variety of styles. Classic rock, 60s/70s blues/rock stuff, early progressive type stuff (Pink Floyd, Yes, etc), modern alternative type stuff (Coheed And Cambria, A.F.I., etc), metalcore type stuff (Underoath, As I Lay Dying, etc), a little post rock from time to time (Explosions In The Sky, This Will Destroy You, etc), and assorted random stuff that strikes my fancy. This amp excels at most styles, and I've yet to find a style this amp can't do at least moderately well in the 4ish months I've had it. At 40 watts it's just right in my opinion in terms of power. Small enough to turn up a little in a practice situation without killing anyone, and more than enough power to drown out even the loudest drummer. Any more power would be unnecessary and at times inconvenient. I'd give it an 8.5 for this section, and the only improvements that would be beneficial would be more tone controls for the clean channel. Don't get me wrong though, the clean channel is more than a 1 trick pony. // 9
Sound: My only electric guitar at the moment is an Epiphone G400 Custom, with a DiMarzio Steve's Special in the bridge, GFS Fat PAT in the middle, and DiMarzio Humbucker From Hell in the neck. The versatility of those 3 pickups in one guitar through this amp can get me any humbucker sound I could ever want. Even some single coil-esque sounds with the humbucker from hell. Whatever style of music I feel like playing at a given moment, this amp handles it with a little tweaking. The tone controls are straightforward, but incredibly well voiced. The clean channel has 2 modes: a "boutique" mode that's warm and sweet and breaks up nicely at higher volumes, and "modern" mode that's brighter with a little more focused low end and a lot more headroom. This channel has a single tone control, but it stays musical whether it's all the way up or down, or anywhere in between, while still providing a nice variety of tonal possibilities. The Drive channel is where this amp shines in my opinion. The 2 modes for this channel are: "classic" mode that is very warm with a slightly spongy bottom end, and a nice round sounding top end, and "modern" mode that is higher in gain and much more aggressive sounding, with a much firmer bottom end and a high end that cuts like nobody's business. I use the modern mode exclusively when using the Drive channel. The Drive channel is incredibly vocal. Even in the more aggressive modern mode playing high gain modern music, it has a musical midrange that is very "cocked-wah" sounding, especially for lead playing. For rhythm playing, the vocal quality is still there, but it doesn't muddy up even the most aggressive high gain chugging. I typically set the gain just shy of 9 oclock, with the channel volume at about noon. This gets me a good base dirty tone with just enough gain, and I use a Hardwire CM-2 as a boost when I want to get into real high gain territory. This combination makes for a beast of a go-to distortion sound. It sounds absolutely fantastic. With the channel volume as high as I set it, most master volume amps would have to be pretty damn loud to sound their best, but the master volume circuit on this amp is very... Transparent. Of course, there is nothing like cranking it up and getting some power tube breakup, but even at bedroom levels it retains it's attack and bite that many master volumes take away. The Drive channel is clearly the best part of the amp, but the clean channel is no slouch either. It may not be a Vintage Deluxe Reverb, but it sounds damn good. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I haven't gigged with this amp, but I have no doubt it would be an outstanding live performer. Obviously a backup would always be ideal for a live situation, but with this amp it would basically by a formality. This thing is a workhorse. I've had the map for about 4 months and put probably 2-3 hours of play time on it per day, virtually always pushing it hard enough to compete with a drummer, and have never had a single problem. The footswitch is sturdy and feels like it could withstand years of enthusiastic stomping without missing a beat. // 9
Overall Impression: As I said before, I play a pretty wide variety of music styles, and this handles all of them well, many of them exceptionally. I've been playing for about 3 years, and this is by far (for me) the best amp in it's price range. I tried out roughly 10-12 different amps in this price range, and kept coming back to this one. At one point I considered getting a Carvin V3M for the versatility of having 3 distinct channels, but to be honest it just didn't sound as good as the Blackstar. Blackstar's clean channel is very solid, and it's Drive channel is stellar. I use some pretty standard effects (delay, chorus, wah, vibe, TS style OD (as a boost), reverb) but the core of my sound is this amp, and very little would make me happier with it. The constant shuffling happening on my pedalboard is another story, but I've found the amp that's right for me. There's no way I'm ever going to lose this amp but if it were stolen, may God have mercy on the poor, poor soul who chose to take it because I sure as hell won't. // 9
the_elements600, on september 22, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Features: 40w valve driven combo with a single Celestion seventy 80 speaker. The amp has two channels, clean and overdrive, with two different voice modes and reverb with another voice mode.
Global 3 band EQ with an ISF knob for some proper variety. Both channels and the reverb can be selected/turned on or off with the supplied footswitch, but the voicing for the two channels cannot.
FX loop on the back too, but I haven't used that yet. // 9
Sound: I play using a Gibson Les Paul Studio with stock pickups and .009 gauge srings.
As far as sound is concerned, this amp really has everything covered. Everything from Larry Carlton through to Dokken. I have the EQ set pretty much all at 12 o clock. Using the softer of the overdrive voices and rolling off the volume on the guitar a bit, you can really get some classy 70s rock tones. Think Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC and Status Quo and you're pretty much on the right wavelength. Turn the guitar volume back up and flick the harsh voice setting on if you want to make it scream.
The cleans are very very nice too, even at volume they sound very clear. Not quite the same zing as you get from a decent Fender, but it gives it a good run for it's money.
Don't be put off by the fact it's 40 watts either. It'll do bedroom practice and still sound fine. But of course live shows is where it really sings. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I've had it for a year and a half now and it's never let me down. The valve failure recovery system thing on the Orange Rockerverb would really make it bomb proof, but the Orange is double the price of the Blackstar and in my opinion you get a lot more amp with the Blackstar for a lot less money. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall I love it. The only thing that bugs me is the fact that it's a combo, I'd prefer a head and a meaty cabinet. The footswitch could do with offering a little more control, practicality shouldn't be restricted to the 60 and 100 watt versions of the HT range.
I tried out an Orange Dual Terror and a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe before buying but in the end the Blackstar won out. The Orange was very nice, but in my opinion not very versatile and the Fender had a pristine clean channel but a muddy overdrive channel. The salesman's excuse was that people just buy a pedal for the overdrive... Sorry, I'm not paying through the nose for an amp and then paying another 100 or so to get a useable overdrive.
Unless you have enough money to run two different amps to blend the sounds of the Orange and the Fender, get yourself one of these. // 9
unregistered, on october 28, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 850
Purchased from: Sam Ash
Features: This amp is a monster to be completely honest. It is an all tube (EL-34), 40 watt master of tone and versatility. It comes with foot-switchable clean and overdrive channels, each with their own respective voicing switch, as well as some astounding built in reverb. There are 2 types of reverb on this amp (Light and Dark), the light one giving much more definition to the high end, and the dark focusing on the lower sound spectrum. The reverb can also be turned on and off by the footswitch.
I was very pleased by the way the amp was configured in terms of EQ (Treble, Bass, Mids, OD Gain & Volume). The EQ is kept solid and simple and applies to both the clean and OD channels. For those sceptical about wanting to have separate EQ parameters on clean, the single tone knob on the clean section is all you need. Trust me. The most impressive feature about this amp is the Blackstar ISF knob, which can change the amp's sound from a traditional British tone to a brutal American amp tone. The Celestion speaker in this thing can really push air, and the more you break in the speaker the more rich the tone sounds. I don't even play this thing 2/3 on the master volume, and when my window is open during practice my neighbors say they can hear it from at least 30-50 yards away.
The voicing switches are amazing as well, adding moree dimension to the already insane amount of tones you can get out of the amp. Seriously, this amp is sensitive to any change in EQ, Gain, and ISF, meaning that you can sit there for hours and just punch in tones to recreate classic sounds and find your own. But finding a great tone is just as easy as turning it on. The only thing that I wish this amp had was a way to toggle between channel voices without actually having to pushg the button on the amp itself. I have yet to gig with this amp, but I know for a fact that it is more than capable for a live performance. The louder you crank it, the better it sounds. It keeps the cleans squeeky clean even at high volumes, and keeps the distortions as soft or brutal as you want. // 9
Sound: I use a Jackson RR3 with a DiMarzio Super Distortion in the bridge and a decent Duncan stock in the neck. I play mostly classic rock, bluesy type stuff, and some 80's metal. All I can say is about the sound of this amp is that it sounds better than the sound in my head. This amp can do almost anything, any tone and any genre with the right settings punched in. I was surprised to see that this thing could even pull off pretty brutal metal tones without a distortion pedal. The HT-40 can reproduce a Fender-esk sound with sparkling, glassy clean tones with the tone knob set at about 7, and fatter/darker tones with less tone dialed in. These tones can be further tailored by playing with the clean voicing switch. To be totally honest, I don't spend a whole lot of time on clean for the simple fact that I am ADDICTED to the distortion channel. It can reproduce almost any sound you want or could ever need. Dialing back the gain cleans up the distortion surprisingly well, and playing with the EQ adds onto the fun of tone hunting.
The ISF knob is awesome as well, changing the shape of the sound from everything between fat, chunky British to tighter American tones. With the voicing switch in the out position, the sound is much more suitable for rhythm/ crunch. I'm not saying you can't wail on this channel, because you definately could, but with the voicing switch engaged, it kicks this amp into f--king overdrive. This thing SCREAMS, allowing for some amazing lead tones that can't be described as anything less than astounding. I can't say I've done a whole lot of playing around with the amp just because I can't get enough of the tone I have currently set in.
The best part is that I know that if I ever get bored with the current tone or need to cover a song, I can just make a few adjustments and bang, almost totally different sound altogether. This is a lead guitarist's dream, especially for the price range. I've only had it for about 2 and a half months, but I know I won't need anything else until I start playing substantially larger venues, but even then there is a jack for additional speaker inputs. To be frank, if you love anything that is rock n' roll, you will adore this amp. // 10
Reliability & Durability: Haven't gigged with it yet, but it had a sturdy build and looks very strong and durable. The footswitch looks like it can also take a beating. I would trust this amp to pull off any kind of club gig with no backup, and has more than enough power to keep up with even the loudest drummer and cut through the band with distinct definition. // 9
Overall Impression: I love this amp with all my heart. This is my step up from a shitty Marshall MG-30, and I couldn't be happier. I've been playing for about 5 years, and I have spent more than my fair share of time trying out different amps/guitars in music store all across New York City. It took a lot to pry me from my dream of buying a combo JCM 900, but after playing through this thing and with a lower price tag, I couldn't imagine owning anything else. If this was stolen or lost, I would cry my eyes out because of the fact that I am a broke college student without the fund to replace it, but I definitely would in a heart beat if I could. I know this amp can dish out anything I throw at it, and I have absolutely no desire to buy any kind of distortion pedal because to me, there is no enhancing this superb tone. The only thing I would do to this amp is maybe buy a couple of effects pedals like a wah or flanger or some shit like that just for the hell of it. // 10
tiyfs, on january 06, 2012 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Features: Not sure where it was manufactured. I love how simple it is, no nonsense two channels, 4 voices. Has an effects loop, comes with a foot switch, 2 channels plus reverb. I wish it had a third channel, but it is fine, I can finally use my pedals. It's a 40 watt, pure tube amp, it can be plugged into a PA system, but it's perfect for smaller gigs and can be plugged in for big ones. // 9
Sound: I have three axes now, an LTD, a Burny Les Paul and a Fender. All of which are modded. The clean channel produces sparkling tones with single coils and really warm with humbuckers. Honestly, you can hear the tone differences per guitar through this amp, as compared to a solid state, for some reason, tube amps have the ability to voice all the personalities of a guitar.
The distortion is BRUTAL. NO NEED FOR ANY PEDALS, I do however use a big muff on the clean and an overdrive on the dirty for solos, to differentiate the tone. Since the amp has 2 voicing, and that ISF dial, you can REALLY dial into that tone in your head, the only problem is when you like several tones, you cannot exactly save them for later... That is why it loses a point. // 8
Reliability & Durability: Well I just got the amp a week ago, no problems yet, it seems sturdy, I will update the review later on. Aesthetically, it looks gorgeous. Unfortunately, there is a jump in the volume, at 1 is dead, at 2, your ears rattle! I don't know if it is a tube thing or a flaw... 8 is fair for an untested product... // 8
Overall Impression: I play a wide spectrum on music, it suits all sorts. I am amazed with how gorgeous the clean channel is... Oh and the reverb... WOW. Thing is, it is insanely loud, and I have to wait for everyone to be out of the house to switch it on... But I am itching to take this baby out to gig with! I traded in an old ESP SV Std (I never used it) and my old amp, a Vox VT30, great little amp, but there was something missing in its tone. The Blackstar however, has brought me that much closer to finding my voice. // 9
ShaneCallaghan, on january 25, 2012 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: € 580
Purchased from: Reynolds Music, Letterekenny
Features: Got this amp in 2010 from my local music shop, built in the same year. This amp covers nearly every genre I can think of. It's excellent for rock and metal though. This thing has 2 channels but 2 different voice settings for each channel, a bright switch for the clean and what can only be described as a MORE! Switch for the overdriven channel. It has an effects loop, an emulated out which allows for direct recording and amp emulation. This thing has all the controls you need and can help you get any sound with the EQ and ISF control(this has been covered a lot so may as well just leave you to read it yourself). I use this amp to gig and practice, it's very versatile and can play low enough to practice in a bedroom and loud enough to rock the rafters of any venue. The only reason I'm giving it an 8 is due to the electrical supply. From what I hear this is a common valve amp problem, if the power supply fluctuates it creates some serious hum and buzz. No matter where I put my noise suppressor, it doesn't work. So I'm gonna have to fork out 100 to get a new power adapter. Thank you Irish ESB. // 8
Sound: I use active and passive pickups through this amp, I get a similar tight response from it. It's a bit noisy, but hopefull I will get it sorted when I get my new power adapter, but it's only noisy on the overdriven channel. Thanks to the ISF control, this thing can sound like anything from a Marshall chug to a Fender sparkly clean. And yes, the distortion is quite brutal. // 9
Reliability & Durability: As it's a Valve amp, I'm quite cautious with this thing. I bought a hardcase just in case to move this thing around safely. I would depend on it alone to use at a gig, but if it cocked up, I always have my pedal buffers to run straight into a PA. I would recommend buying spare tubes for this thing though, just in case so you can swap them out and be back to playing in afew minutes. // 6
Overall Impression: I play heavy metal and heavy rock and this thing suits it perfectly. It's small enough to move around in the back of a car but equipped better than some stacks and a damn sight more reliable. I've been playing for ten years, this was my first valve amp, had solid state Marshalls and Line 6's before this and the sound out of this is better by a country mile, sure it doesn't have the tight response or effects of the Line 6, it's not as light or bulletproof as the Marshall but it's just better. It's beautiful, classic piping and cool as hell sound. If this thing were stolen, I'd be goin a stabbin till I found the thief and then I'd make the remainder of his life a long and painful death. I'd buy this thing again and again, it's got so many things to like. When I was buying it, I compared it to some of the Orange models, I wanted to get a Laney amp, but my local shop doesn't stock Laney. // 8
gerrygtr62, on march 26, 2012 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 603
Purchased from: Guitar Trader, San Diego
Features: Made in South Korea 2011/2012... This thing is way versatile to cover anything, literally, I'm using this for my classic/modern cover band... It has 2 channels, each with 2 modes... Wish it had a EFX loop switch for activating the loop and boosting solos, but no prob got a BBE Boosta Grande in my pedalboard... The power/headroom is fantstic, will cut through drums, bass, guitar and vocals easily! // 9
Sound: My herd consists of a Gibson Les Paul Custom Classic loaded with '57 Classics, an Epiphone Elite Les Paul Custom and finally, an Epiphone Elitist '57 Gold Top Les Paul, loaded with a Duncan Jazz/Neck and Duncan '59/Bridge... This totally suits my style perfectly... So far, it's pretty quiet... On the clean channel, the 2 modes--'boutique' can get some crunchy sounds when the gain is turned-up, the 'modern' mode is pristine clean... Now the overdrive is something else... 'classic' can cover most classic hard/heavy rock and alternative while 'modern' can cover Metallica and newer metal territory and beyond, it totally rips! // 10
Reliability & Durability: Looks like I can rely on it, I also have the HT20 1x12 combo, and it performs pretty damn well... I did slip in after-market tubes on the HT20 [Mullard EL34s and JJ ECC83s], I may hold-off until I rehearse more with my band with it, so we shall see! This thing is built solid like a friggin' tank, woohoo! // 9
Overall Impression: I play alot of wide-ranging stuff, from classic rock to alternative power pop to heavy metal to pop-country to everything else in-between... Been playing for well over 35 yrs +, I go through amps like water [Marshall, Mesa, Randall, Laney, Carvin, Peavey, Crates, Line 6]... Luckily for me, I knew already firat-hand how great and awesome Blackstar products are, so choosing this was a no-brainer and a slam dunk [and to thin, I almost bought a Mesa Stilleto Ace 1x12 combo, LOL!] Overall, great purchase for me, looking forward to hitting this onstage really soon! // 10
rr690, on july 28, 2014 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 399
Purchased from: Ebay
Features: It's a two channel amp. Shared EQ and the ISF feature (a mid shift). The clean channel has voice feature which gives you a clean sound similar to a fender. Its the closest to a fender that I have heard. On the dirty channel you also have a voice switch. It only changes the mids and tightens it up a bit not adding more gain or volume. There is also a reverb and master volume. The FX loop takes pedals very well. It does lack a resonance switch which is my only complaint as the bottom end on this thing is non existent. you can also blame the cheap Celestion for that too. // 9
Sound: I play alot of jazz and heavy metal and this amp does suit those genres pretty well. This is the best clean on any amp that I have heard. It is now what I judge all combo amps by and the voice switch really gives this thing a glassy tone similar to a fender. The gain on this amp was really a surprise. It has a ton of gain on tap and it nails that '80s sound better than anything I have played on. I am into heavy metal (death, thrash and black) so the amp does not quite do justice to the extreme side of metal. The bottom end on this thing is lacking which was the biggest disappointment. I tossed an EQ pedal in the loop and boosted the low frequency and that problem was solved. The EQ controls on the amp were not that responsive and the ISF feature is useless if the mids are not at least half way on the amp. The amp sounds amazing at low volumes and pinch harmonics are effortless on this thing and the sustain is just perfect. I wonder if some sort of diode clipping is at work here. It sounds like a cranked amp even when the volume is under 1. The HT 5 is essentially a hybrid amp so I would not be surprised if Blackstar used some solid state technology in this one. I'm not bothered by that though whatever they are doing the amp sounds killer. // 9
Reliability & Durability: The amp does feel light for a tube amp so I wonder how it would handle the rigors of the road. It does have a cheap feel to it actually and the Celestion speaker that is in it is GOD AWFUL! Its a shame that some of the cost were skipped in the building of this thing because that is what hurts it. I have also heard horror stories about the customer service at Blackstar and with many local authorized dealers jumping ship I wonder where things are going for this company. Hope we don't have another Krank situation on our hands. // 6
Overall Impression: It is a decent amp overall, but I would not pay retail for it. It has a cheap construction and that will probably show more if I were a gigging musician. If it were lost or stolen I would just get another used one. It does fit my style of music for the most part, but the lack of bottom end requires that you have some sort of EQ or boost to get this thing to give you that extreme sounding distortion. It is not a perfect amp, but it is one of the best on the market right now and for the actual retail price it is not that bad of a deal... you could do worst. // 8