Hey there, So I'm currently saving up some money for a used Blackstar HT-5R, preferably, the head(I'm still in high school and don't have a job, so yes, it does take a good amount of time and effort to get money together, which is why I'm aiming for used).

My reasons for wanting the head over the combo:

I've got 3 combos, two Marshalls, one, an old Lead 12, and the other, an MG10 (which I'm selling to get money towards the blackstar), and an epiphone acoustic amp, which I use for cleans(sounds surprisingly good.

The Epi amp has controls mounted on the top, like the Blackstar combo. I keep my amps on top of my dresser in my room, and it's much more convenient to have controls on the front, like on the marshalls.

The most accessible place for me to buy the amp is guitar center; normally I buy used equipment through craigslist, but in my area, the only amps people ever sell are either cheap solid state beginner amps, or Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifiers (which, as I'm sure you know, are rather pricey). I've found the head on guitar center's site used for between $200-$250USD, without a cabinet. The big question:
Do you personally think I should still go for the combo (which is roughly in the same price range used from guitar center), or should I buy the head, and build a 1x12 cabinet (the blackstar cabs are pretty expensive from guitar center, even used, I saw the HT112 for about $180, which I know is the cab that matches up with the HT1 head, but I believe they used the same speaker they use in the HT5 combo[can't seem to find any information about the cabinet that matches up with the ht5 head])

If you think I should go for the head and build a cab, what are some recommendations for speakers? I want to keep the price pretty low, but I definitely want something that sounds good. How about types of wood? (definitely going to use a switchcraft jack for the cab)

I play in a metal band, So I'm looking for a speaker/wood combination that can handle high gain, but also something that can mellow down with the amp and play glassy cleans, maybe get a bluesy sound (I need an amp with a footswitch for the channel select)

Thanks for reading, and thanks for any help in advance!
Last edited by guitar42697 at Feb 12, 2015,
Thought you posted over a week ago i hope you still see this. I personally own a Blackstar HT-5 Combo. I also play in a metal band. Before i owned the HT-5 i played with a 100W Solid State Peavey VYPYR. The HT-5 Combo absolutely blows away the peavey, both in volume and tone quality.

Anyway, the combo amp HT-5 can act as a head. It has an output and switch for either 1x12 and 4x12 cabinet. If you run the HT-5 combo through a 1x12 and turn the standby switch to the on position you can utilize the 12" speaker built into the combo as well. Essentially making it a 2x12 amplifier or a 5x12. I've compared the Head to the Combo in a Guitar Center. Blackstar did a wonderful job making them exactly the same (In my opinion).

So here's the moral of the story. If you're just looking for a gigging/practice amp that will surpass your expectations in both volume and breakup, I'd go with the combo. However, the Head is of equal quality. And if you want the experience of building the cabinet then that's the way to go. For speakers you might want to consider the brand Celestion. They're commonly found in many Marshall amps.

I'd hate to see you buy the Head and spend the extra money to build a cab and end up with the same sound and volume capabilities as the Combo. That kind of project is hard to fun, especially in high school. I hope i didnt sound like i was a sales person for blackstar. This HT-5 Combo is the best amp i've owned and i absolutely adore it. Id recommend it to anyone looking for a low watt tube amp.

And by the way. The combo comes with a channel select foot switch. Hope this all helped. I've been playing it for sever year so if you have any questions about it, feel free to ask.
I always go for the head/cab option mainly because I like how it looks, but also it gives options for using lots of different cabs with it.....

I have owned the HT5 and personally didn't really like it, the sound was kinda boring to me....sold it and got a jet city jca 22h and man it kills the blackstar on every level
I'll always go head/combo. BUT before you buy the HT-5 TRY IT AT THE STORE. I bought it being an idiot without playing through it and I'm not impressed by it one bit. I use a mxr 10 band eq to make it sound decent, but I wish I had gone with something else. I play metal (thrash) and the amp is WAY to dark/bass sounding. The eq controls on the amp do almost nothing. Not trying to bash the amp, just my 2cents :P

But if you stuck on the blackstar definitely get the Head and a cab (I have a orange 2x12). It'll be a lot cheaper to upgrade just a new head than a new combo in the future