So i have been waiting for my blackstar ht5r forever and they are back ordered so they sent me home with a loaner of the black star 1 watt head and 1 watt speaker , i plugged it in to my viper 300fm and an mxt fullbone pedal, and it sounds like crap, it sounds like a vox 30 watt amp, * this is a far cry from the original amp i tested out was the blackstar 20w with the fullbone mxr pedal , he assured me there wasn't gonna be much difference between the 20 and the five watt. I also realize that i need a better dedicated line in thats not just an mp3 jack cause i like to run through my duet and out to my amp and use my effects in reason and logic and that seems weak with the blackstar * the input thing. I also noticed when i did run in from logic to my duet through the mp3 it sounded better than the amp and pedal!!! which to me makes me wonder? I thought i was doing something right? i hope the ht 5R will be better or should i moe to something else i cant afford the 20 watt! i also realize the emgs are to muddy unless im in absolute distortion!!!
a couple things:

-EMG's don't sound muddy. they are extemely articulate. adding too much gain or bass is how to make them muddy.
-pull the pedal out of the signal chain and get used to the amp. a 1 watt amp is going to produce a fairly significant amount of overdrive (you are overdriving the tubes) at relatively low volumes, so you may not need the pedal too much
- back the gain off on everything. too much gain = mud.
i wasn't complaining about the pick ups except hitting a few chords they sound lost . * the main point is that i demoed the blackstar 20w with the mxr fullbone pedal and was in love with it the guy said the 5w would sound the same but it was on back order to take the 1w head and speaker and play until the 5 comes in. I hooked it up played my pedal through the clean setting on the amp and it just sounds stock and thin and the amps overdrive channel is not a tone im in love with. So that being said i put my reason rack into the mp3 line in and it sounded better than all three!!!! which pissed me off. So is there a big diff between the 5 and the 20 watt cause i sure dont like the 1 w.
Actually i the 1w head doesnt have bass mid treble eq and the lower wattage doesnt offer enough punch at lower volumes
I can't imagine playing through a 1 watt amp, it just doesn't seem like it would be good. EMGs aren't muddy, but you may need to roll the volume back a bit to play some nice cleans. Also, if you have regular EMGs, the 18volt mod will improve your cleans. And if you have an 85 in the neck, you might want to consider swapping it with a 60.
have you paid for the 5watt yet? if not, play it when it comes in and make sure you genuinely want it. i suspect it will be far better than the 1watt, but expecting it to be identical to the 20 is unrealistic (it could be close, but it will not be identically)
so i ended up getting the 20w *but can return it, to my ears it offers tons of options theres the clean, the clean plus tone, clean with a pedal, the overdrive on low , low w a pedal, just overdrive, the ISF shape it give so many flavors but!

Dam its loud i have the master on like .5 to 1 and volume on like 1 i still have to say the sound tone is better than that 1 wat cranked up to hell. but i feel like this amp is 2 much power for lil old me.

SO i still wonder about the 5R? i have a feeling even with a pedal or overdrive its more acdc sounding i like the thickness of the 20.

Then in the end i kinda wish i demoed the jet city for just one channel some overdrive and a pedal the price sure seems right. but i was all hell bent on blackstar.

im slightly lost 20w , 5R, even the jet city 20? but i think ive exhausted brand jumps from my shop!!!
I'll take a JCA 20 over any HT amp . They need a boost to do modern metal/Hi-gain but they are really nice amps.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
I really only like modernish metal or like a more modern old metallica sound , i really do like all the options of tones the HT 20 has tho and what it gives with a boost is pretty amazing. ex) clean, plus tone, plus boost, overdrive low with boost the isf channel with either.

BUT i have read that the jet city stuff can be played lower volumes??? and still sound pretty driven???
another issue is i need the effects loop to be a lin in +4 not sure if that is on the JC????
No the JCA 20 doesn't have an FX loop, but the new JCA 22h has 2 chanels (same lead ch as jca 50/100) and an FX loop.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
i saw that new 22 head u think the jet city speaker cab is better? do you think the 22 can be ridin lower in the bedroom???

I really thinkg the emulation output on blackstar is nice also as i run a ton of stuff through my computer and you can get so many tones out of it, clean, plus tone knob, ISF and the reverb is very very good..... plus a master volume. hmmm dilema.
Tone changes with wattage. That's why most metal amps are 100W+. It's not just a value for volume. It doesn't really even relate to volume all that much.

Of course a 1W amp will sound like shit when you're playing EMG's into it. You were probably getting some nasty clipping.

Get the size of amp you need to get the tone you want. So what if you can't turn it past 1? Would you rather have an amp that doesn't sound good, just for the gratification of being able to turn your volume knob up?
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X