HT-DISTX Review

manufacturer: Blackstar date: 07/28/2011 category: Guitar Effects
Blackstar: HT-DISTX
The HT-DISTX is a no compromise, ultra high gain, filth machine. The tone has been benchmarked against the best high-gain valve amps in the world and will transform your mild mannered classic into a fire breathing monster.
 Sound: 8.1
 Overall Impression: 8.4
 Reliability & Durability: 8.5
 Ease of Use: 8.4
 Overall rating:
 7.9 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.4 
 Users rating:
 7.4 
 Votes:
 42 
reviews (8) pictures (3) 24 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.3
HT-DISTX Reviewed by: WantzChas, on june 18, 2009
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 150

Purchased from: Used

Ease of Use: It is quite easy to use. Has 6 control knobs, gain which is the amount of drive/distortion, Bass, middle and treble knobs which is the normal EQ stuff, ISF(Infinate Shape Feature) which allows you to get pretty much any tone you want and level which controls the output. It has one input and TWO outputs. A standard output and a speaker emulated output which is really useful when recording. The manual is very insightful with lots of tips to get the maximum value out of your pedal. // 9

Sound: I'm playing an Ibanez 540S ('91 made in Japan) through a Randall RG50TC and add a Ibanez TS-808 Re-issue with the HT-DISTX. It gets noisy, buzzes, especially when cranking the gain. Nothing you can't Live with, but by all means this is not a quiet pedal. This is the closest you'll get to a boutique pedal for the price, as NO two guitarists using this pedal will sound the same. The ISF is indeed infinite, although I prefer the "British" type gain, which is from 6-10 on the knob. 1-4 is the "American" type gain which is way too bright for my personal taste, it has a tight bottom end and a more aggresive middel end where the "British" has a more woody sound. The amount of versatility you can get out of the HT-DISTX is insane. There is so much variations in sound. From blues Overdrive to bone crushing, eye bleeding Death Metal distorion you can get it. It uses an ECC83 pre amp valve, I have an Electro Harmonix 12AX7EH in, which makes this a very good pre amp. I bought it because of its ability to be used as a pre amp aswell. Another important feature is that this is a true bypass pedal. // 10

Reliability & Durability: It weighs close to 3lbs, so it is heavy for a pedal. The metal casing was made to withstand tremendous amounts of wear and tear. BUT being valve driven it will always have that unreliability to it. If something should go wrong using it, most likely it will be the valve. It doesn't get too hot though. No one should ever gig profesionaly without backups, but if need to I'm sure the Blackstar HT-DISTX will serve you reliably for many mant years. // 9

Overall Impression: I play hard rock and metal genres and I can't really see myself replacing this. I have had it for 4months and I still haven't stopped exploring the tone you can get out of this. Nothing is wrong, although I would've liked a metal casing (box) for it to protect the paint. I currently use the Original packaging. If you hate something about a pedal, don't buy it. The only thing that might influence someone to hate it, is the weight. I love the amount of tones you can get from it and the control each knob offers. My favourite feature is the emulated speaker output. If it was lost or stolen, well it won't be cause I take good care of my possesions. I will before I buy this pedal consider the Damage Control pedals as they are also of very high quality. Overall I can't give this a perfect 10, because nothing is perfect. Wish there was a 9,95 though. For the price I paid, this is really good value for money. Guys Who use solid state amps, that want the "tube" tone but can't afford a tube amp, get this pedal! // 9

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overall: 9
HT-DISTX Reviewed by: hellview_666, on march 22, 2008
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: Unbelievably easy to use; just set your gain level, adjust the Bass, mids and treble, then decide on the ISF tone (fully CW for a British, woody tone and fully CCW for an American, growling-mids tone). There are some default settings on the back of the manual provided: american high gain, british high gain and classic crunch. // 10

Sound: I am using a Parker P42 with stock Parker Stinger pickups, and playing through a Laney LX65R. The HT-DISTX beats the living crap out of the gain channel of the amp, giving off a great valve gain tone and reacting like it should. Turning it to the American sound gives off a very good Marshall default tone, whilst set to British it creates a brilliant Hiwatt or Laney sound, if not a little more woody. It does get a little noisy once the gain is set as high as possible, and rightly so. This beast packs so much gain, I can understand why it is labelled as 'Pure Valve Filth'. I've heard that it doesn't like Wah pedals, but I don't own one. Every other effect I have tried with it sounds fantastic, and it has given my amp a new lease of life. The only down side I had with this pedal is the claim in the manual that the mids will give a richer lead tone. For me it just made the tone sound too thick once hte mids were cranked. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I would depend on this and maybe gig without a backup. It's built like a tank, and about the same size and weight of one as well. As much as the weight is a factor, it is very much worth it for me, and it is understandable since the pedal houses a valve. // 8

Overall Impression: I play a lot of high gain modern rock, alternative rock, grunge and metal, but this thing suits anything if you tinker with the settings enough, and since it reacts just like a valve amp it's well worth it. I compared this to a Boss Metal Zone, DigiTech Grunge and Boss Hyper Metal, and I felt the HT-DISTX was much better and more natural sounding of all of them. I have played a Boss OC3 Super Octave through this and instantly got a CKY tone, which I love. Defiantely a pedal worth owning. // 10

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overall: 9.3
HT-DISTX Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 30, 2010
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 130

Purchased from: Local Store

Ease of Use: Beautiful Sounds right from the start, its basically taking the Distortion channel from the HT-5, You got your usual ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) Which goes between what they call "british sound" and "american Sound" it basically just scoops the mid around. But with everything just out of the box and at 12 o'clock it sounded beastial. // 10

Sound: I used this with an Ibanez Gio(seymour Duncan pickups) and a Cort KX-5 (standard) and Ibanez S7420(standard) going through a Marshall stack, and I used the emulated output and tried it DI to laptop. The only downfall to this amp is its almost got too much gain, I cant go past 4(10,11 o clock) on the dial or it feedbacks like hell and I'm using an Boss NS-2. Well it is called "Pure Valve Filth". I wouldn't even turn this on without a noise suppressor, but as long as you got one you've got the heaviest tones I ever heard from a pedal. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Its built like a tank, pretty heavy too. It uses a ECC83 valve so it sounds amazing, but also like anything with valves they can break, rarely but it does happen. I'd be happy enough to gig with this alone. Maybe after a while invest in replacement valves and keep them handy. // 9

Overall Impression: I play hardcore/metal/and a bit of everything really. I've been playing about 15 years and I've gone through pretty much every Boss Distortion pedal out there and this pedal destroys them all. This pedal has definetly made me want to explore more of the Blackstar brand. Digital pedals could only go so far in terms of tone, This ECC83 valve Takes it to the next step. The only thing that annoys me is the adapter, Because it has a valve it needs a higher Voltage adapter than Boss so I need a different adapter going into my chain, also the adapter I got was only a 2 pin. Which doesn't really bother me considering im getting the most face melting tones ever. // 9

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overall: 4.3
HT-DISTX Reviewed by: heminder, on january 21, 2011
1 of 6 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 119

Ease of Use: This pedal is big, it's heavy, and it's big, and it's heavy! The controls are pretty much laid out like a channel on an amplifier. You have all the controls to (try) tweak the sound and also the ISF knob which... kind of varies the tone. It doesn't really do the Mesa on one side and Marshall on the other, but I'd suggest just using it to taste. It also has a tube running at high voltage so it DOES use the tube properly, unlike most tube pedals on the market. The knobs are all chrome, so your settings won't be visible AT ALL on stage. Another drawback is the unconventional power supply rating. // 6

Sound: I was very much looking forward to the sounds out of this pedal from all the raving reviews and demos I had read and heard about it. When I plugged it in, all knobs pointing straight up, the first thing I noticed was mud. Lots and lots of mud. I reach down to try to dial it out. I play with all the settings, and move the ISF knob from one side to the other, but I cannot get rid of it. I was playing my Jackson Kelly tuned to C standard so I tried switching to my Dinky which is in regular standard tuning. The mush is still there, and it seems this pedal's circuit is voiced specifically to sound mushy. It definitely has that tube warmth and feel but at the same time it sounds very processed and as if there's a 'blanket over the tone' or it's being fed through a low-pass filter. I tried sending it straight into the effects return on my amp (to bypass the preamp), but the pedal still sounds like it does. The emulated output also has the same character, but with some added fizz and even more compression. The gain knob also reached its max when it's half way. Turning it up further just adds compression and some noise. In summation to its sound, this pedal will do stoner rock, grunge, and core. No, it won't do prog, death metal, or heavy metal, and it definitely won't do djent. // 2

Reliability & Durability: Built like a tank, just like what it's trying to be. All the knobs are solid, and mounted well. With the tube, though, it's definitely not worth using it at a gig without a backup since tubes die and what not. I should point out that the grille also has this plastic sheet under it, which kind of defeats the point of it being a grille. Because of this, the unit gets quite warm when in use. // 6

Overall Impression: I play lots of different music. Classical, flamenco, funk, 80s rock, and of course heavy metal. I bought this pedal to cater for my metal needs, and it hasn't fulfilled them in the slightest. As such, this pedal will be going back into the box and back to the shop that it came from. // 3

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overall: 9.3
HT-DISTX Reviewed by: CrimsonBizzare, on july 13, 2009
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 95

Purchased from: Local store

Ease of Use: As well as your 3-band EQ (bass, middle, treble), the Blackstar stomboxes come with a ISF control. This is used to voice the pedal from american to british. Its a bit fiddly at the start, you set the gain and levels, and start with the ISF at neutral. Then you set your EQ, after that you ajust the ISF to your liking. It takes a while to find your sound, but the pedal is so versitile, gain levels go from crunch to extreme gain. You just turn the level down as the gain goes up. It doesn't work on batteries, you need the adapter because its a very high voltage pedal. It also has an emulation output for plugging straight into an equalizer or recording equipment/computer. Useful for clean recording. 8 because of the time it takes to get a sound, and the fact that you need the adapter. // 8

Sound: I'm using it with a Schecter Hellraiser at the moment through a valvestate Behringer (which doesn't do the pedal justice). At first I used it with a strat copy - which is when I thought I could never get any gain out of the thing. Until I got my Schecter. Then the pedal had resivours of gain. You can play brutal Death Metal at half gain on the American voice easily. Gain is no matter for this thing, you'll probably never use the full amount of what this pedal has. When the gain and level are both set high, the pedal is quite noisy but it can be sored by turning down the level on the pedal easily. The EQ is quite good along with the ISF you can get lots of types of distortion. And the tube really gives a feeling to this pedal you won't get from non-tube pedals. I play thrash and Death Metal along with other types of metal and rock. You can easily get the sounds on this pedal along with blues crunch and rock leads sounds. Great bottom end to. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Its never broke down on me and I've had it for a few months. I would gig without a backup. Its heavy with is a good sign. Feels very solidly build, controls also feel sturdy. Metal casing, can't really brake it unless you really tried. The tube is protected by a metal cage. // 9

Overall Impression: Thrash is my main genre. I also play death, progressive metal and other metal along with rock and hardcore punk types. Been playing for about a year but am at a high standard already. Its perfect. Does what it says on the tin. 'Pure valve filth'. Nothing stupid, just pure high-gain distortion in a metal casing. If stolen or lost I would definately buy another. I love the ISF and pure amounts of gain in the thing. Don't really hate anything about it. Very good price for such a good pedal. I tried it against the Sachurator, DigiTech Hardwire TL-2, Seymour Duncan Twin tube mayhem and EHX Metal Muff. It won over easily. Only thing I wished it had was an extra tube, but it sounds good enough as it is. Nothing enough to make me buy another pedal. // 10

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overall: 9
HT-DISTX Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 06, 2010
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 89.99

Purchased from: Aroundabout sound

Ease of Use: Very easy to use, plug in play, needs the power supply that comes with it, decent length on the power supply, bass treble and mid havn't got a fantastic range, but on the bright side it stops you useing all three in excess. Fantastic with seymore duncans. // 8

Sound: Sound is fantastic with good pickups, using with Hughes And Kettner stack with Jackson kelly with seymour duncans and Ibanez ART 120. WOW, the loader you crank it, the better it sounds, Not too much feedback even at gig level, supreme tone and power! Fantastic pedal for metal rock and blues. It's hard to pin point the sound of your fave band with the lack of range on the EQ, but the sound it does give is enough to give a unique sound with plenty of tone and power on the palm mute and lead notes. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Built like a tank, this thing is a Solid Metal brick, the base is solid heavy duty rubber that keeps it anchored to the floor and giving maximum protection, buy this and you'll never need another distortion pedal again. Don't bother with back up, you'll die before this thing does. // 10

Overall Impression: I play mostly metal and blues, also like a good clean lead jam, great for metal, blues and rock. Been playing guitars about 5 and half years, by far the one of the better pedals I have owned. Also own a metal muff with top boost, give much better tonal range and control due to the valve, but yet the metal muff has a much greater EQ range and added top boost, but still far more hiss and feedback with metal muff and less tone. Personaly some where inbetween the two would be perfect. I play Jackson kelly (seymour duncans), Ibanez ART 120 (Ibanez lz active pickups), Epiphone black beauty (bare knuckle painkiller pickups) and Fender strat (bare knuckle single coil sinner pickup). All have much diferent sound and range with the black beauty, all equally fantastic and different. If it was stolen would definatly buy again unless any one could point out a better pedal... Any know of a better pedal? // 9

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overall: 7.5
HT-DISTX Reviewed by: sscustom 419, on november 05, 2010
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 300

Purchased from: new zealand rockshop

Ease of Use: Hey, this pedal is easy to use but takes a bit of tweaking. I was worried when I took it home because it didn't sound so good out of the box. Till a made an amazing (if not obvious) discovery. You can tweak the eq from the pedal as well as the amp. This makes the possibilities endless. Theres a manual included but that only has basic details. // 7

Sound: I use this with a Fender 212 frontman. Schecter synyster custom. Boss ns-2 noisegate and Boss cs-3 compressor. I got this because my amp used to sound real bad when the volume was turned up and a little amunt of gain was put. So I got this. Its got a built in tube but I haven't had much time to crank it without pissing everyone off (takes a lot of volume to heat). but in a gig situation this should not be a problem. I have got many distinct and diverse sounds out of this including: blink 182 avenged sevenfold blues mesa dual rectifier bullet for my valentine. As you can see this list is big so no doubt is there a lot of choices with this. The distortion is awesome but I suggest to set everything to twelve o'clock and use your amp as an eq and then use the pedal to tweak it out. This makes it sound more organic. I'm very impressed with the range of tones and this is undoubtedly the best sounding distortion pedal I've ever heard and owned. // 8

Reliability & Durability: There is one problem. Theres a tube inside this pedal. You drop it. bye bye tube. otherwise its built extremely solidly. Extremly. Weighs about 1.3kg. Its a real tank. I'd depend on it without a backup. But I'd ditch it once I got a decent amp. Its knobs are awesomely durable. Made of metal or steel or whatver. Very high quality. Some guys say change the tubes. Quite honestly I don't know how much of a difference it would make. // 7

Overall Impression: This pedal is amazing. I coulnt ask for a better one. If it were lost I would buy it or something similar to it. Mabye with not so much gain :). I love the way you can pretty much get any sound out of it. From ac-dc to deathcore. Very good. Very solid.but it doesn't beat the sound of a Marshall or any decent cab. I would get rid of it once I purchased a good amp. But highly recommended for all styles. // 8

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overall: 9.3
HT-DISTX Reviewed by: ryryalexander, on july 28, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 80

Purchased from: gumtree

Ease of Use: This pedal with its its simple but effective EQ that uses the standard bass/mid/treble knobs makes this pedal incredibly easy to shape the tone to a required taste. Also its has the normal gain and volume control with the added feature or the ISF (infinite shape feature), I think the best way to I'd describe it as left is you more Marshall Drive tone and right leaning towards a more Messa Recti tone. The manual does give you most of this information anyway. I haven't used the emulated output some I can't really make a fair comment on it. // 9

Sound: I'm using this pedal as my primary gain for my setup, going though a LTD MH 103QM with DiMarzio pups fitted and a PRS SE Tremonti, the Dist X is before my Boss GT8 (used for delays/modulations) into my Kustom Quad stack. With this setup it produces a great metal tone ala lamb of god and classic metal, depending on how you are using the ISF. Roll back the distortion to 9 o clock and the tube saturated classic rock/ blues tones become readily available. One feature that I like is that this pedal really responds to the volume control and cleans up surprisingly well considering its primary a metal pedal. However, this pedal does rely on the pickups allot, my LTD with a Dimarizo breed with its high output suits this pedal allot better then the more medium output pickups in my PRS. This has great clarity for a metal pedal, great string separation even at high gain. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The Blackstar Dist X is very reliable, having a Solid Metal casing. The grill while it lets you see the tube, it has some sort of plastic sheet behind it, this is very useful (I've spilled beer on it) and this pedal keeps on going, you can drop it and this pedal will carry on, I gig this with out a backup (cant really afford 2 of these) nevertheless I wouldn't need a spare, I think the only downfall of this live could be that it can't be powered by a battery and the lead is a little flimsy. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall, this pedal suits my style very well and is great for NWOAHM type bands. I have owned a Behringer Ultra-Metal pedal, EHX Metal Muff and the various distortions of the Boss COSM range. I'd say this is probably the closest to a Tube amp type tone out of a pedal, that I have got in my 4 years of playing. If this pedal was stolen I'd be saving up for another one or the HT Dule. I have to say my favorite feature has got to be how this pedal is more than a metal pedal and gives an authentic tone. Though the fact that this pedal gets warm means you don't want to be leaving this plugged in all day, I think maybe if it have a standby or off Switch to resolve this. Overall this is a premium distortion pedal. // 9

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