HT-DIST Review

manufacturer: Blackstar date: 04/18/2011 category: Guitar Effects
Blackstar: HT-DIST
By allowing infinite adjustment over the characteristics of the HT-DIST tone control network, the patentapplied-for ISF circuit allows you to effectively design your own tone and find the sound in your head.
 Sound: 8.7
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 8.3
 Ease of Use: 8.7
 Overall rating:
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 Users rating:
reviews (3) 4 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.3
HT-DIST Reviewed by: no_thing101, on march 31, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 182.4

Ease of Use: The HT-DIST is as easy to use as one would expect. It has a volume, gain, bass, mids, treble and an ISF knob. The ISF basically changes between american and British sound signatures and mixes the two. My only complaint in this area is that it needs it's power adaptor to run. This isn't really a bad thing since either wouldn't work or wouldn't sound as good if it ran on batteries. Overall, nothing out of the ordinary in a good or bad way. // 7

Sound: I play with a Ibanez RG350DX guitar and an Vox ac15 amp. The noise level on the pedal is surprisingly low considering the amount of gain I'm stacking on and that valves generally have more hiss than transistors. As for the sound signature, with all knobs at 12 o'clock it sounds dark and smooth. This setting is about the right amount of gain for classic rock. Compared to your average good overdrive/distortion pedal it is smoother and richer. The distortion itself also has a quality to it that is hard to describe. It is just slightly different. As you back the gain off it doesn't clean off perfectly but you can get some nice bluesy sounds out of it. In fact I prefer this to the distortion that comes out of my ac15. It is smoother than my amp. On high gain settings it sounds great. The gain smooths things out even more. The gain does not really reach heavy metal levels though. // 9

Reliability & Durability: cant comment on this much since it's pretty new. It looks pretty sturdy to me. It's valve as any will eventually need to be replaced which is a reliability issue. Because of that I have rated the ht-dist lower in reliability than I would if it was solid state. // 7

Overall Impression: Overall this pedal sounds very smooth, rich and full which is great for leads. I think it may be a bit too smooth for rhythm. It isn't very crunchy sounding. Despite this, imo it beats the other 20 or so dirtboxes I've tried in my time. I have to say it is only my favourite by a small margin. There are many pedals that I think do some things better than the Blackstar. The Blackstar is simply the best for my uses which are mainly blues, psychedelic rock and shred (fuzz for psychedelic rock please). As for the dirtboxes I've directly compared it to, here they are: Boss OS-2, Ulbrick 12axe, MI Audio Tube Zone, MI Audio Neo Fuzz, Catalinbread Silverkiss, Catalinbread Hyperpak, Catalinbread Supercharged Overdrive. I think the Blackstar HT-DIST is a great pedal and would recommend it to anyone wanting a serious distortion pedal. there's nothing I have about it. What I love most about it is flexible enough for everything I play. // 10

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overall: 9
HT-DIST Reviewed by: hobbit1066, on february 03, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 60

Purchased from: Ebay

Ease of Use: I was looking for a cheap way to get the great valve distortion sound my Tweaker hs plus a bit without having to keep switching from hot to clean. I had been told about these pedals and that they were good for valve Distortion, I looked at the DIST and DISTX and decided on DIST and it gives me all the sounds I need plus a few - its has more the classic rock/metal sounds without the bite of the DISTX - perfect for meHas to be left warming up as per a valve amp before use, so I leave it around 10-15 mins to warm up with the amp. // 9

Sound: I using a Gibson LP studio and an Ibanez RG42A thru the pedal into the front of the amp and its as quiet as anything, crank the gain and level and you start to get a bit of hum but nothing to intrusive or not as intrusive as I had been led to believe, gives great Black album and White Zombie sounds and the distortion is controlable - at least for a begineer. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Its built like a tank so can only assume its reliable and as I bought it used and there aint a mark on it. Everything is smooth and works perfectly, would reccomemd this for anyone with a single channel amp, can't say if its any good gigging as I don't gig but can say you could use it with any worries and no back up and any stuck up nails or stuff you could knock em in with it and carry on the gig. // 9

Overall Impression: Great match for what I attempt to play :D, sounds great and gives me the 2 channel ability that the tweaker lacks - no need for the hot channel switching on the amp :D, smooth cleans to Dirty at the push of a button. Its a bit large compared to other pedal specially the EHX nano's I have next to it and its weighty other than that I would not hesitate to replace it even at the full retail price. // 9

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overall: 9
HT-DIST Reviewed by: JLowU571, on april 18, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 85

Purchased from: eBay

Ease of Use: This unit is pretty simple to use with standard Gain, 3 band EQ and Level controls. It also has the addition of the innovative Blackstar Infinite Shape Feature (ISF) that allows you to sweep through from a scooped american sound through to a thicker, british style voicing. It also has a grill over the internal ECC83 Valve allowing you to see it glowing away as you play which is a cool feature. It came with a manual and a power supply, quite useful as finding a 16v power supply could prove a little difficult. The one proviso is that it is a hefty beast, taking up a lot of room on the board. // 10

Sound: I play an ESP LTD EC 401 FM into a Fender Super Sonic 60 1x12 Combo. I use this pedal for most of my playing which consists of Metal, Alternative Metal, Post Rock and a bit of punk. This pedal handles them all with ease, the valve circuitry provides a warm, organic distortion that can be either gritty for alternative styles or tighter for more traditional heavy styles. The one thing I am not sure about is the ISF. I've played a few Blackstar amps with this control and it seems to work well in that setting, but on this pedal it needs a bit more work. When firmly in USA territory it can sound quite over-scooped, when back in the UK it can sound muddy. The best setting I found is to have the ISF in the middle with the Bass rolled off to about 10 or 11 o'clock, the Treble boosted to 1 or 2 o'clock and the Middle set to 12 o'clock, thus setting keeps the Bass in check without sounding muddy and adds in enough Mids to avoid over-scooping. The gain has a good sweep from OD style breakup to barely-in-control aggression, mostly I keep it at about 2 o'clock. The emualted output doesn't really impress on its own, but through some delay in post and it sounds convincing. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Like most Blackstar products this pedal is made of top-quality components, the chassis is comprised of durable, high quality steel and the pots are solid as a rock. All-in-all I would depend on this pedal totally. // 9

Overall Impression: This pedal provided me with exactly the distortion I was looking for, masses of gain but with a true, valve powered and organic tone. Again, the ISF needs some work but this is by no means a disqualifying fault as, admittedly, I am a 'find a setting and stick with it' kind of player and there is a fantastic sweet spot on this pedal that, no matter what you do with the Gain and Level controls, it sounds fantastic. Before this I has a Boss MT-2 and truth be told, I don't know why I didn't buy the Blackstar sooner, it provides the rich, warm over-tones that give your tone the authenticity that digital distortion just can't provide. This pedal is likely to remain with me for many happy years to come. // 9

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