Sound — 9
Sounds just great, I've owned or played through some high end Marshalls, Laney, Trace Elliot, Engl and ADA and this one is a winner! I play mainly rock / pop / blues and 80's metal, this does it all. The distortion cleans up fairly well with the guitars volume to give those in between rock tones and the boost is great for solo's, couldn't do without it. Cleans are good too, a little bass heavy maybe with only the one tone control on this channel but still a great sound. Master volume is great to keep things sensible but still be able to crank that OD volume to get it singing. Cuts through a band mix very well too. Very much like a HOT rodded Marshall but way more versatile. Worth a 9 rating? I think so, maybe a 10 if the clean had a bass knob but don't let that put you off.
Overall Impression — 9
Love it! Best amp I've owned. If you are looking for a gigging amp this should be on your list, the solo boost is a superb feature for gigging and that's why I chose it over the HT-40. Even though it's 60 watts with the master volume you can get a good sound at lower volumes but it's not a bedroom amp, if that's what you want get the HT-5. As with any amp sound is a personal thing so try one first, but for me it beats anything else I've tried.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It seems solidly built but I've not had it long enough to pass judgement on reliability, not had any problems with the HT5 but that doesn't get moved around much really so time will tell. I had to enter a rating for this section so am judging it on my HT5.
Features — 9
2 Channels with 2 voicings on each channel plus a boost which can also be set up as a third channel. Reverb with 2 different voicings and ISF for fine tuning your sound. Master volume, presence and body and an FX loop. For full list of features see the Blackstar website. It is big and heavy for a 1x12 but the handles on the side help to carry it around, also has sockets for castors to be fitted.