#1
I have read many articles, reviews and watched many videos about Blackstar's products.

I then had the chance to try three of their most acclaimed products last week:
1. the HT-5 combo (a 5W 1x10in practice combo) - £300
2. the HT-5 Mini Stack version (5W head and two 1x10in cabs) - £400
3. the highly acclaimed Series One 45 combo (45w 2x12in combo) - £900

All I can say is WOW. I was simply blown away by the quality of these amps. In comparison my Marhsall DSL 401 sounds like one of those toy amps you buy for £30.

I have decided that I am going for one of them and now need to decide which one.
The difference between the first two and the last is obvious - both in terms of price and in terms of power. The Series one also has a power reduction circuit, reducing the power to 5W for bedroom practice.

I play mostly at home, bedroom volume and have band practice once a week.

So the question is, which one is right for me?

Shall I get the 5W head and the two 1x10in cabs so that I can enjoy this at home and then just transport the head for band practice, where I can connect it to one of the studio's larger cabinets?

or

Is it worth spending double the money and get a 45W that I will be mostly playing at bedroom volume most of the time, but then I have the flexibility to have a high power amp for band practice and smaller gigs (where the 5W would be unusable)?
However, what I found with the 40W Marshall was that I could rarely take it above volume of 2 when at home and I'm wondering whether a 45W would be wasted.

Many thanks for your advice.
Last edited by Sirakov at Jul 27, 2009,
#2
Blackstar is indeed a good brand for amps, but i tink its too expensive...

Anyways, id say for you to get the 45watt combo, since you practice in a band (mostly in a garage), youll be needing alot of power, since the drums will be pretty loud. Also, i bet youre gonna start gigging anytime, so the 45watt combo should be perfect
#4
if you play the ht-5 head into a larger cab it would be loud enough to gig. don't go for the combo though.

it would be good if you could play it into the small cabs at home. it would be very easy to transport to so, yeah its probably worth getting the HT-5 head
Last edited by sammo_boi at Jul 27, 2009,
#5
Definitely the series one if you an afford it, not the ht5 combo, the 10 inch speaker isn't worth it imo.
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#6
Thanks for you answers!

I can (just) afford the Series One, but when I tried it in the shop, I could not even go beyond a volume of 2.

It's incredibly loud and my worry is that all this watta-ge would be wasted if I am to use the amp at bedroom level 90% of the time.

Any thoughts?
Last edited by Sirakov at Jul 27, 2009,
#8
Still go for the Series One. You will need the power one day and its a better long-term investment. Unless UK has changed a lot in recent years, most pub type venues don't have a house PA and despite the efficiency of the HT-5, it will get lost in a medium venue.
Naturally the type of music you play is another factor. If its quiet jazz or blues you won't need the power, but for anything else, you'll find a use for it and be glad you have it.
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#9
Series one combo

Most people on here know my opinion on the series one range so I won't say any more

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#10
Thanks guys. The verdict seems to be leaning more towards the Series One then (even if played at low volumes).

I guess at 29 Kg, The Series One is not the most mobile and lightest piece of equipment, but then from what I am hearing here, it is the one to go for over the HT-5, on the grounds of both tone and flexibility (ability to crank up when practicing and gigging).

Thanks again.
#11
The series one has a power reduction feature where you can turn the wattage down to 10% of its full power. So the 45W will reduce down to 4.5W & anywhere inbetween, I'm gonna get one of these soon myself as you seem to get the best of both worlds with it & off what I've heard these things sound amazing.
#12
Quote by benk1
The series one has a power reduction feature where you can turn the wattage down to 10% of its full power. So the 45W will reduce down to 4.5W & anywhere inbetween, I'm gonna get one of these soon myself as you seem to get the best of both worlds with it & off what I've heard these things sound amazing.


Yea but 10 watts will still be waaay to loud for bedroom pratice.
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#13
Quote by demitriv
Yea but 10 watts will still be waaay to loud for bedroom pratice.


It's actually 4.5W you are going down to (10% of 45W)
But your point is valid in that anything above that would be completely unusable at bedroom volume... which kind of defeats the purpose of a 45W.

Hence my original question - isn't it a bit of a waste to buy a 45W for it to mainly be used at bedroom volume and seldomly for practice?

Mainly I want to know this - are the tonal characteristics of the Series One hands down better than the HT-5 EVEN at such low volumes?
#14
Quote by sammo_boi
if you play the ht-5 head into a larger cab it would be loud enough to gig. don't go for the combo though.

it would be good if you could play it into the small cabs at home. it would be very easy to transport to so, yeah its probably worth getting the HT-5 head
No, sorry. 5 watts won't magically produce more volume simply because you throw more drivers (speakers) into the mix. Sure you'll get some different sound characteristics, and from certain angles the volume might appear to increase, but you're still not actually any louder.

As for the whole bedroom practice thing. I've got an HT-5 (see my sig) and 5 watts cranked is still too loud. With the volume up past half my ears start to hurt after 15 minutes and I need to stop.
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#15
Quote by ch0

As for the whole bedroom practice thing. I've got an HT-5 (see my sig) and 5 watts cranked is still too loud. With the volume up past half my ears start to hurt after 15 minutes and I need to stop.


Leaving aside the question of loudness, do you think that the tonal character of a 45W amp will be reduced when it's only run at volume 1?

In other words, is a good amp going to sound like an average one at such low volume, given that its full potential is not used?
#16
Quote by Sirakov
Leaving aside the question of loudness, do you think that the tonal character of a 45W amp will be reduced when it's only run at volume 1?

In other words, is a good amp going to sound like an average one at such low volume, given that its full potential is not used?
Tube amps sound best when you're pushing them a bit. Running them at really low volumes typically leaves you with a kinda flat tone.

Of course, if you're playing that quietly it's probably because you aren't able to make noise anyway, so tone really isn't of paramount importance. I play with my HT-5 on whisper quiet all the time just because I'll be learning something new and I don't wanna have all my mistakes pounded into my ears. When it's time for some fun I just turn it up and let the tubes stretch their legs; so to speak.
Quote by Marty Friedman
Because I bend in such an unorthodox fashion; the notes kinda slide up and slide down...
#17
ive got the ht5 combo (the mini half stack was sold out)

it is plenty loud, at least for me. with the volume at 2-3 i could wake the neighbors if i had my window open. thats with high gain settings though.

if you can turn down the wattage like that, you should be able to get it to reasonable bedroom volumes. i dont think you'll be missing out on a good sound either, cause with the wattage at 4.5 you can run the volume at higher then 1. like i said, i keep my 5w at around 2-3.
#18
id get the series one, ive played one and i was blown away with it, im saving up for it too after im driving, i love blackstar stuff and they are just amazing amps and worth the money tbh,

series one 45watt combo FTW
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#20
Quote by IbanezPsycho
What type of music do you play? Knowing that will pretty much lead you in the right direction..


Hi

I play Chili Peppers, Spin Doctors, No DOubt, Lenny Kravitz, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Queen - that sort of stuff. I don't really care about the metal tones.... I just need great cleans and a big crunch, which the Series One does very well, but I'm just not sure I'll ever need all the wattage (except for gigs).
#21
Quote by Carrot
id get the series one, ive played one and i was blown away with it, im saving up for it too after im driving, i love blackstar stuff and they are just amazing amps and worth the money tbh,

series one 45watt combo FTW


That's what I thought too. In your opinion is the Series One that much better than the HT-5 at low volumes to justify more than double the price?
#22
Quote by Sirakov
Hi

I play Chili Peppers, Spin Doctors, No DOubt, Lenny Kravitz, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Queen - that sort of stuff. I don't really care about the metal tones.... I just need great cleans and a big crunch, which the Series One does very well, but I'm just not sure I'll ever need all the wattage (except for gigs).


Sounds like you need something with a bit of headroom and a good crunch.. So I would go higher wattage and the Series One..
#23
Quote by Sirakov
That's what I thought too. In your opinion is the Series One that much better than the HT-5 at low volumes to justify more than double the price?


well with the reducer its gonna be the same volume ish, but its still all the punch of the 45 watt sound, i dunno on that, but if you can handle the money for one then id go for it tbh cuz its a really good allrounder amp
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#24
I guess I'll go against the grain and tell you to go for the HT-5. Honestly, If you are going to be playing in your bedroom 90% of the time, it wouldn't be worth double the price. And the HT-5 sounds great to boot.
#25
Thanks very much for your advices, guys!

I finally made a choice and.... took the plunge on the Series One 45.

It is an absolutely amazing piece of equipment, and whilst it is very loud indeed, I think and hope that it will be a good long term investment if I ever started to gig more frequently.

Cheers
#26
If you gig infrequently then I'm confused as to why you would even consider the HT-5 in the first place. Blackstar themselves advertise the amplifier as being for bedroom and studio use.
Quote by Marty Friedman
Because I bend in such an unorthodox fashion; the notes kinda slide up and slide down...
#27
Quote by ch0
If you gig infrequently then I'm confused as to why you would even consider the HT-5 in the first place. Blackstar themselves advertise the amplifier as being for bedroom and studio use.


Well, I'm not really gigging at the mo (gigging is not exactly easy when you have a 3 year old at home ), so the reason why I considered the HT-5 was for home pleasure (when the little one has gone to bed). I'd been wanting to upgrade to a boutique amp for some time now, so I just wanted something that sounded great at low volume.

But, eventually I really want to be in a position that I can use my own equipment if I ever was to start gigging. Plus, the 45W will handle a loud practice much better than a 5W... and we do practice once a week at the mo, so that's why I went for the 45W....
Last edited by Sirakov at Jul 28, 2009,
#28
Well, I finally took delivery of the S1-45
What can I say, except

I expected it to be heavier than what it is, but boy does it look nice. What they say about how these things are put together is true. The thing is just beautiful aesthetically, with meticulous attention given to every little detail. Also, it has some very classy touches that they don’t even advertise (like the fact that the amp goes in standby mode automatically when you unplug the cable from the mains.

But who cares about aesthetics, right?

Well, what I expected about the volume was true. This thing is VERY loud. Even on the clean channel I can’t play it on volumes of more than 1, so I have not even given it a proper baptism so to speak. All I can say, is that my existing 40W all valve Marshall sounds like a pale, distant imitation of an amp. Honestly, the comparison is staggering. I have not played many boutique amps, but I can’t imagine something sounding sweeter than the S1-45 combo. Even without any effects, and guitar plugged straight in, this thing is capable of reaching some frightening sonic heights.

The clean channel is clean as a bell, but when you add some gain, the resulting crunch is just heavenly, so organic and smooth. Things get increasingly dirtier (but nicely so) on the crunch channel and the super crunch is just metal heaven (not my type of style, but once cannot fail to appreciate a good metal sound). The progressive reduction of power form 45W down to 4.5 is a very useful feature because it gives you the best of both worlds – a small amp (mind you – one with a 2x12 speaker cab ) and a lovely 45W combo (and anything in between). The ISF is fantastic – a truly useful tool for making this beast sound like… ANYTHING frankly. Great Fender type cleans on the left (US), great Marshall darkness on the right (UK) and anything in between.

My only worry is the original one – this is just too loud for home usage, but then again the DPR (power reduction) allows you to really tweak the tone for home practice (by keeping the same valve tone as when cranked). Great!

All I can say – I am a happy man!

My advice - try one when you can and get one if you can!
#29
wow sounds like a very nice amp to me

hmmm

amp or car
*ponders*
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