HT-5R review by Blackstar

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.5 (37 votes)
Blackstar: HT-5R

Price paid: $ 449.99

Purchased from:

Sound — 9
I own an '89 Epiphone honeyburst Les Paul Standard which makes this amp sing and can also serve to produce that dark, heavy, face melting, distorted, metal sound. I play everything from clean to blues to straight up thrash and death metal and for all of the paces I've put her though this amp totally kicks a-s. My other guitar is an Ibanez RG350DX which SCREAMS in this thing howling solos and tremolo dives are as metal as it comes and I have no complaints. Once you kick the volume way up the clean kicks into a creamy overdriven bluesy sound and sounds beautiful. My only hang up is that the overdrive creates feedback like nobodies business when you hit certain volumes and to calm it down you have to sacrifice some gain. Overall a fantastic sounding amp. I've played Bugeras, I've played Egnators, I own an Orange Crush 35, the HT-5R blows it all away!

Overall Impression — 10
My overall impression is fantastic. This amp is mindblowing. I've never been more excited to play. Having been playing for about 4 years this is skyrocketing me to a new level of playing. With my Vox Tonelab ST which I also rave about this amp is unbelievable absolutely amazing. If it was lost or stolen I'd by an HT-20 if I had the funds because I love the amp and would love to gig it with out having to plug into a cheap cabinet. If I get a better cabinet I'll absolutely replace it with the same thing. I'm sold on Blackstar.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I don't have much to say about the amps durability. Its built to take bumps and bruises and keep on ticking. The tubes are partly enclosed and are surrounded by a padded insulation to keep them cool and protected. If it falls your cables will be fine because everything is situated to protect it. VERY VERY durable. I'd gig it with a cabinet for sure. No back up no problem.

Features — 10
This model began production recently (within the last couple of years). It is a dirty kicka-s solid amp with all of the features of the HT-5 1x10 plus stereo reverb. It comes packed with a 12BH7 and an ECC83 tube which are wired to be used lightly while giving the full power and quality of a tube amplifier. It is classified as an all tube push/pull 5 watt combo. It packs a 1x12 Blackbird 50 speaker which gets unbelievably loud and sounds smooth and fat when needed and also can get the twangy sound you desire. It has two channels a clean with a simple tone knob taking you from a thick bassy clean to a crisp trebbly sound and everything in between. The other is the overdrive which some complain doesn't get distorted enough but in my experience you can certainly take it to Slayer style death metal sounds. It also comes with a cabinet output, a headphone output with cabinet emulation, a footswitch, and an effects loop. To top it all off it has a line in for MP3 players and such. Oh and the ISF is to die for I'd explain it to you but their website and the amp itself says it all.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    the isf knob is great. going from mesa boogie rectifier sounds to british crunch like marshall.
    I've had one for over a year now and I still love it. The ISF does exactly what you'd expect it would, the reverb is very convincing and the overall tone is very good too. I play a lot of metal and don't think you absolutely need a pedal with it for a metal tone (only in very extreme cases), given that you've got the right guitar. The only downside I can think of, is that the clean channel doesn't get very loud (but hey, it's a practive amp )
    Van Guff
    I have this amp, it's amazing! Stick an EQ pedal in the effects loop, and you can achieve easily one of the heaviest distortion sounds there is!
    Having played Egnators i can honestly say i prefer this amp to high end Egnators any day. I'm constantly impressed by the sounds i can get with this.
    Bought this amp today and it is fantastic. The range of sounds you can achieve through the ISF is as good if not better than any of my previous modelling amps. I messed about putting a bad monkey and a metal master pedal through it and it distorts really well. Bad monkey + the built in drive gives a really good tone for pretty much anything you want to play. The metal master addition was purely to experiment. Expensive but worth the money.
    Thanks to everyone who had remarks about this amp b/c I have been debating on a purchase all of the remarks have helped with making my decision.
    I've had one of these for about 4 days now and I'm extremely happy with it. I haven't been playing long so this is my 1st tube amp, and it's perfect for what I'm trying to do. It has great tone at low volumes. I can easily find the sounds that I'm looking for. I was going to buy a used Marshall class 5 for about $330 shipped, but decided to drop the extra $120 for the extra channel and effects loop that come with the HT-5R. It was definitely worth it. I mostly play an Epiphone Les Paul Tribute Plus and it sounds great, while playing blues and classic rock. It actually screams nicely thru this amp with the gain cranked and coil tapping. I have a cheap strat copy (spectrum) that sounds OK, but I really need a better strat. Metal players definitely need a pedal. This is a nice low wattage amp for $450. The closest thing to it in my opinion is the Laney L5T Lionheart that runs about a grand, which is a bit much for 5 watts, but to each it's own.
    I just bought one of these this past weekend. Still getting to know her but it's a great amp so far. I too was originally looking at a used Class 5 but reviews for this were all great so I checked one out and it blew me away. Much more versatility than the Class 5. Once I have a good amount of hours logged on her I may try my hand at a full-review.