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#1
Hi people- I yesterday got myself a blacksar HT-5R metal head after demoing it agains an orange Tiny terror, with a few different cabs, and ended up with the blackstar with a 1 by 4 8 inch driver cab.

Today, I was cranking it a bit more as I had more time-but I noticed something strange.

I tend to play fairly hard-just always have, but I noticed that with the gain around 2 o clock it would make a 'popping' sound if I hit the strings hard-played softer the pop did not happen.

I backed the gain off to around 11 o clock, and could play hard again.

This being my first valve amp, why is this? Was my hard strumming sending too much signal into the amp, causing the pop sound?

Or is there another issue-it was a noticeable pop, but I backed the gain off, and it sounds about the same at 11 O clock played hard, as it did at 1 o clock played soft.

I am using a clockface for example of my settings E.g 2 o clock would be about 7 on the amp, with 1 o clock being around 5.

Any advice would be great, as its my first valve amplifier, I want to make sure its perfect,as I already spent a lot of money on it. They forgot to include the footswitch-I have to collect it next time I go by the shop, its not far though so no biggie.

Thanks everyone, Conan.
Last edited by Warrior2014 at Nov 17, 2015,
#2
I would like to add the pop ONLY occured during hard strumming with the gain up-its not the lead, its not a crackle, it is a distinct POP when I play hard.
#3
Make a recording of what youre hearing to help people diagnose.

Are your pickups raised up too high? If one of your strings hits your pickup, itll make a loud pop sound. Make sure your guitar is set up well and it isnt something wrong there. In fact, try a few different guitars with your amp just to make sure. Its possibly something tube related, but i would be surprised if it was.
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#4
If you bought the amp new it’s still under warranty, so contact Blackstar support. If you bought it at a big chain retailer they should have more in stock and you can just return it. Don’t try to fix it yourself while it’s under warranty—Blackstar will pay a tech to do that for you (or just RMA the unit).
#5
Try plugging in to a different outlet / different room to make sure it's not a power issue. Try a different cable to make sure it's not that. And make sure you're using a speaker cable connecting the head to the cab and not a guitar cable. If possible try the amp with a different guitar just to make sure it's not that. Do you have any pedals in the signal path? If so take them out and plug straight into the amp. If it's still happening after all that I would take it back to the store and ask them to fix or replace it.
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#6
Quote by Watterboy
Make a recording of what youre hearing to help people diagnose.

Are your pickups raised up too high? If one of your strings hits your pickup, itll make a loud pop sound. Make sure your guitar is set up well and it isnt something wrong there. In fact, try a few different guitars with your amp just to make sure. Its possibly something tube related, but i would be surprised if it was.
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#7
Quote by Watterboy
Make a recording of what youre hearing to help people diagnose.

Are your pickups raised up too high? If one of your strings hits your pickup, itll make a loud pop sound. Make sure your guitar is set up well and it isnt something wrong there. In fact, try a few different guitars with your amp just to make sure. Its possibly something tube related, but i would be surprised if it was.


This.

Are you SURE that the string is not contacting the pole of the pickup when you play hard? i have noticed a tendency with students that the more gain, and the louder, the harder they pick. sounds stupid, but its true.

what guitar is this?

as stated, try a different guitar.

i DOUBT its the tubes.

to make sure the speakers are fine, i would turn the CLEAN channel loud (loud but don't be stupid), and hit the low E string muted and unmuted (making DAMN SURE that you aren't hitting the poles), and see what happens. if there is a bad speaker (which i doubt), i personally find it easier to tell if the speaker is distorting (speaker not amp here), when the signal is clean.

i am not a fan of 8" sspeakers though, they don't produce much bass. which i am guessing that your bass is set high.

if its not you hitting the pickup or a bad speaker, it could be a tube. However i am not familiar with blackstar.
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#8
OK my pickups ARE raised quite high, and it triggers a similar pop when you tap the pickup with something metal.

I have a boss CE5 in my signal chain.

I will remove that today and see if the unit still does it.

Its NOT normal though is it? It was weird, I couldn't figure it out-untill I realised it was when I played really hard (I started playing acoustic as a kid learning classical, and played that quite hard too, so I guess that has carried over. I try to play more gentle-but then I can't play properly. Its just me I guess, I'm a hard picker)

When I realised it ONLY happened when I really went for it, I tried replicating it. Sure enough, every power chord played hard, with the strings really vibrating, made the cabinet pop.

I can kind of compare it to the pops you get in your monitors when you have a real old setup in your studio, and there is latency issues, the PC struggles to keep up and makes pops.

There is NO crackles though.

I only have one guitar, I thought buy the best I could afford and like instead of many? I do want another though, and out of my friends I am the only guitar player, most of my friends are into electronic music (apart from one. But unfortunately he doesn't play).

I REALLY hope its not the amp-first the have forgot to bring me the footswitch to change channels, now a potential tube/valve issue?

My grandad is unwell and me and my mum are his carers, he gets up around 10:45 so then I can test out my rig, if the popping continues with a different lead (leads are all new BTW) what could be causing the popping?

I could try to get a video if I can replicate it today. But I will be upset if I have to return it, as I really like it, and it will be the second electronic item that is expensive I have had to return this month-so I am hoping its my pickups. I will lower them. I will actually go over the whole guitar and give it a set up-its not had one in ages, think it could do with some love.

I will report back, but any one with ideas please let me know as well.

Thanks, Conan.
Last edited by Warrior2014 at Nov 18, 2015,
#9
OK I dialled the gain up to about 8 out of 10, and the volume halfway (Much louder than I needed) and played for about 10 minutes.

None of the pops.

Last night it started happening after about an hour of playing it fairly hard.

But, I pushed it harder and its not happening-the pickups aren't as high as I thought, there is no way the strings can touch the pickups, but I did remove my CE5 from the signal chain-although it was OFF when the problem was occuring.

It did seem that when it was on, the problem WAS worse though.

So I just tested for about 5 minutes-but am wondering if it will come back during real practice later today? It seems like the amp is performing fine-I managed to produce a sound very similar to it by hitting the pickup with my pick-and last night I was playing a song where the right pinch harmonic is right above the neck pickup-so it IS possible I was hitting/scratching the pickup with my pick.

If it happens again though-and I have ruled all these things out-what is it likely to be? Bad valve?

Thanks, Conan.
#10
I think I have the problem figured out-I had the 9V battery in the pedal that it came with-today it was dead. The battery must of been dying, causing the issue.

I've not experienced any pops today. I'l have to remember that funky stuff can happen when the battery is dying.
#11
two things.

get a power supply

and also (in case you didn't know) that pedals drain batteries when anything is plugged into the input. so if you aren't using, unplug the input jack.
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#12
Ok the popping is back WITHOUT the pedal.

I have recorded a movie of it, I don't know if it captures the sounds, some parts of the video are more pronounced than others.

It is just me playing power chords hard then the popping starts, then I play a simple riff it goes away, but then comes back with power chords.

It seems to start happening on the 5th string, (Ab) at fret 4 and 5 power chord with the 4th string seems to reproduce it the worst-I am just putting it on my computer, then will upload it to youtube and link it.
#13
Ok, here is the video, ignore the first 39 seconds its me trying to think of a place to put the phone(Sorry about all the vapes in front of my amp, I collect them and that is some of my collection). : https://youtu.be/i170DHJnBaI it starts popping around 40 seconds in. This is not sounding pretty-it is making the amp do the pop sound, and I found this the best way to recreate it.

It is most distinct just after my mum comes into the room quite early in the recording-a few seconds after I set my phone down, I say I am recording something, and then it starts "popping" at the start of each power chord.

Is this the amp, or is it a thing you get with tube amps?

If it is an issue-what is it? Thanks people, Conan.

EDIT: Sorry about the judas priest riff, I am brain damaged and I know I am not very good but I enjoy it, so I am happy to play however bad I am.
Last edited by Warrior2014 at Nov 23, 2015,
#14
It only does the popping thing from 40 seconds for a while-then later in the video it does it a bit also.

Any ideas? Or is it me playing and simple string noise lol?

It's quite an explosive pop-the kind of sound you would use a pop shield to stop the 'pop' of a word starting with P recording.

Also I know I suck, so please don't hate, I get enjoyment from learning simple songs and I don't want to become a superstar, I just want to play in my room, and figure out if my amp is dodgy or not .
Last edited by Warrior2014 at Nov 23, 2015,
#16
Quote by diabolical
Reseat the tubes. If you still have the problem, contact Blackstar and have them send you replacement tubes.


Is that what it sounds like to you? How do I go about reseating the tubes, I have never been in a valve amp before?

Thanks for helping me BTW.
#17
Pull them out and plug them back in.
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#18
Ok I have pulled the tubes up a bit, then pushed them both firmly back into place-is this reseating them?

I really don't want an issue with this amp, even if it is just the tubes it will leave me feeling disapointed .
#19
OK its back together-time to get the tubes hot and see if it still does it. It shouldn't though on a brand new amp should it?
#20
Yeah, pretty much. To do it properly, you pull them right out, spray some electrical contact cleaner (NOT WD40) onto the pins and then work the tube in and out of the socket a few times. ie. you are using the pins as the applicator.
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#21
OK-It sounds better than it did before, I don't know if thats just in my head or it really does-but I can't replicate the problem.

Is it likely a tube was seated loosely or something of the sort?
#22
Yes
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#23
Ahh for gods sake-its still doing it! This was a lot of money to me being classed as brain damaged and not working and it keeps doing this .

I will email blackstar-but doesn't changing tubes void the warranty on a blackstar for some stupid reason?
Last edited by Warrior2014 at Nov 23, 2015,
#24
I have emailed blackstar-its nearing midnight here though so I hope I get a response tomorrow-and sent some new tubes.

This is rather annoying as I have had another supposedly high quality item go wrong, and it had to be RMA'd to the USA and I am in the UK, I only just got that back this week. Really hope it is just a tube, and the replace them for me as it is less than a week old and brand new.
#25
Tubes are pretty cheap. I'd replace them anyway and if it doesn't fix it, pull them out and stick the old ones back in if you want to get warranty work done. How would they know?
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#26
Quote by Cathbard
Tubes are pretty cheap. I'd replace them anyway and if it doesn't fix it, pull them out and stick the old ones back in if you want to get warranty work done. How would they know?


That is a good point, there was no warranty seal or anything.

Where should I get the tubes, would ebay be a good place to look? Or from a actual guitar shop? I will order some right now, as then I have some spare for when I need them if its not the tubes, and if it is, hurray lol.
#27
The Tubestore, Doug's tubes, Valvequeen, Eurotubes, the Tube Depot, All good.
Buy JJ's.
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#28
Does it matter which pin on the tube goes in to the socket for each pin? Or can any pin go into any socket, and it wont matter?

I only ask as if it needs to be a certain way, the way the HT5 is designed you can not actually SEE the bottom of the tube where the pins go in-only about half of the tube/valve.
#29
They will only go in the one way. Just make sure that the right tube is in the right socket.
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#30
Quote by Cathbard
The Tubestore, Doug's tubes, Valvequeen, Eurotubes, the Tube Depot, All good.
Buy JJ's.

I am in the UK though, so not sure what shipping would be on them or the state they would arrive in via airmail lol.
#31
Quote by Cathbard
They will only go in the one way. Just make sure that the right tube is in the right socket.


Ahh that is good then.

I have found a set of replacements on Ebay for around £35 for the power and pre amp tubes for the HT5, I am waiting to try and get a set from blackstar first-I can't exactly RMA the amp to them its too big and would cost me too much to send.

First off the man in the shop says after I left, but went back in as I forgot something, so he thought I was not there 'I didn't expect to get 600 quid out of someone like him' pretty woman style, then they delivered it WITHOUT the bloody footswitch, I have to travel to collect that myself, and now this. It was meant to make me happy and enjoy the guitar-and I am enjoying the amp-just that the on/off popping is annoying, it happens when I play softly as well now. It doesn't happen at first, its when the tubes have been running for at least 20-30 minutes and are hot.
#32
They'll post just fine. Tubes aren't that fragile. No idea on the cost though.
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Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
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#33
Quote by Cathbard
They'll post just fine. Tubes aren't that fragile. No idea on the cost though.


Yeah it seems it will cost me around £30-40 for a set of preamp and power amp tubes for it.

I fully unseated the power tube, and reseated it-was a bit of a nightmare as I couldn't see the pin holes and had to go by feel, luckily I got the feel right on the third time, the 1st an second times pins got bent (I bent them back, and it is working, thats when I also realised they are not that fragile.)

I have lifted the preamp tube now far enough out that the pins will of come out, and put it back in.

I doubt it will make a difference, but lets see what blackstar have to say.
#34
Talk to the shop you just purchased this from. They will probably just exchange you.
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#35
Usually tubes on a new amp are covered first by teh store you buy from and then manufacturer, at least it is this way in the US. If there was an issue with the amp usually you have 1 month to return to store for full refund or replacement and then from there on manufacturer warranty. Most manufacturers have 3 month tube warranty. I am not sure what is happening in your case?

How about buying tubes from the store? I'd take a guess that it is one preamp tube that is faulty, but not sure. So I'd start rotating one until that is fixed, but the store/manufacturer should replace it for you.
#36
Quote by diabolical
Usually tubes on a new amp are covered first by teh store you buy from and then manufacturer, at least it is this way in the US. If there was an issue with the amp usually you have 1 month to return to store for full refund or replacement and then from there on manufacturer warranty. Most manufacturers have 3 month tube warranty. I am not sure what is happening in your case?

How about buying tubes from the store? I'd take a guess that it is one preamp tube that is faulty, but not sure. So I'd start rotating one until that is fixed, but the store/manufacturer should replace it for you.


Hi there, I can't do that as its only 1 preamp and 1 power tube, as I said in the OP its a blackstar HT5R metal.

I fully took the power tube out, gave the contacts a quick clean, and reinserted that, but I gather its the preamp tube causing this? All I have done with that (12BH7) is reseated it-I have not tried the amp today properly, but the missus goes home when this show finishes then I can practice some stuff.

I am hoping the full removal of the power tube and quick clean has helped if it was a contact issue-the shop told me the warranty is for everything EXCEPT tubes. I think they knew I was a bit vulnerable, and palmed me off with a amp that has been used loads.

They even forgot to deliver the bloody footswitch, I don't drive-I have to pick it up 'next time I am round that way' they won't deliver it, which was the first thing that annoyed me.

Another annoying thing was I left the shop, but realised I needed a cable for my pedal, and went back in. All the staff were talking, obviously about me as the man who dealt with me said "I didn't expect to get 600 quid out of him that easiliy", at first I took it OK, but thinking back that was rather rude. He shut up as soon as he realised I was back.

It only happens after 20-30 minutes, so I guess when the tubes are fully hot-and does not happen on single note riffs, it happens during power chords/chords.
Last edited by Warrior2014 at Nov 24, 2015,
#37
Is it possible the valve is simply microphonic? As it seems to only happen at 4th and 5th string power chords, 4th fret A and 5th Fret A is what starts it usually.

I can live with that as long as I know its not a major problem.

Blackstar have not got back to me-I am phoning them tomorrow-I do not expect help from the shop, they will want to take it in and I have no way of carrying it down there on the bus, plus I want to be able to actually USE my new amp, and just replace the valves if that is all that is wrong.
Last edited by Warrior2014 at Nov 24, 2015,
#38
Sorry I reseated the pre amp tube fully, not the power tube. I get confused easily as I have some damage to the old noggin.
#39
Ok I have had about an hour session with the gain at about 2 o clock, volume about 10 o clock, and its not happening.

I think pulling BOTH valves and cleaning them and reinserting them has solved it-but I will watch over the next few days to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Over the moon is an understatement, and I finally got that priest riff down, I am adding in pinch harmonic on the 3rd fret A, and second fret A, but know there is more than that-but it sounds good . Just need to figure out where the other pinch harmonics go and I am sorted.
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