HT-DIST Review

manufacturer: Blackstar date: 01/08/2016 category: Guitar Effects
Blackstar: HT-DIST
By allowing infinite adjustment over the characteristics of the HT-DIST tone control network, the patentapplied-for ISF circuit allows you to effectively design your own tone and find the sound in your head.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Reliability & Durability: 7.8
 Ease of Use: 9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (4) pictures (2) 4 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.3
HT-DIST Reviewed by: no_thing101, on march 31, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 182.4

Ease of Use: The HT-DIST is as easy to use as one would expect. It has a volume, gain, bass, mids, treble and an ISF knob. The ISF basically changes between american and British sound signatures and mixes the two. My only complaint in this area is that it needs it's power adaptor to run. This isn't really a bad thing since either wouldn't work or wouldn't sound as good if it ran on batteries. Overall, nothing out of the ordinary in a good or bad way. // 7

Sound: I play with a Ibanez RG350DX guitar and an Vox ac15 amp. The noise level on the pedal is surprisingly low considering the amount of gain I'm stacking on and that valves generally have more hiss than transistors. As for the sound signature, with all knobs at 12 o'clock it sounds dark and smooth. This setting is about the right amount of gain for classic rock. Compared to your average good overdrive/distortion pedal it is smoother and richer. The distortion itself also has a quality to it that is hard to describe. It is just slightly different. As you back the gain off it doesn't clean off perfectly but you can get some nice bluesy sounds out of it. In fact I prefer this to the distortion that comes out of my ac15. It is smoother than my amp. On high gain settings it sounds great. The gain smooths things out even more. The gain does not really reach heavy metal levels though. // 9

Reliability & Durability: cant comment on this much since it's pretty new. It looks pretty sturdy to me. It's valve as any will eventually need to be replaced which is a reliability issue. Because of that I have rated the ht-dist lower in reliability than I would if it was solid state. // 7

Overall Impression: Overall this pedal sounds very smooth, rich and full which is great for leads. I think it may be a bit too smooth for rhythm. It isn't very crunchy sounding. Despite this, imo it beats the other 20 or so dirtboxes I've tried in my time. I have to say it is only my favourite by a small margin. There are many pedals that I think do some things better than the Blackstar. The Blackstar is simply the best for my uses which are mainly blues, psychedelic rock and shred (fuzz for psychedelic rock please). As for the dirtboxes I've directly compared it to, here they are: Boss OS-2, Ulbrick 12axe, MI Audio Tube Zone, MI Audio Neo Fuzz, Catalinbread Silverkiss, Catalinbread Hyperpak, Catalinbread Supercharged Overdrive. I think the Blackstar HT-DIST is a great pedal and would recommend it to anyone wanting a serious distortion pedal. there's nothing I have about it. What I love most about it is flexible enough for everything I play. // 10

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overall: 9
HT-DIST Reviewed by: hobbit1066, on february 03, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 60

Purchased from: Ebay

Ease of Use: I was looking for a cheap way to get the great valve distortion sound my Tweaker hs plus a bit without having to keep switching from hot to clean. I had been told about these pedals and that they were good for valve Distortion, I looked at the DIST and DISTX and decided on DIST and it gives me all the sounds I need plus a few - its has more the classic rock/metal sounds without the bite of the DISTX - perfect for meHas to be left warming up as per a valve amp before use, so I leave it around 10-15 mins to warm up with the amp. // 9

Sound: I using a Gibson LP studio and an Ibanez RG42A thru the pedal into the front of the amp and its as quiet as anything, crank the gain and level and you start to get a bit of hum but nothing to intrusive or not as intrusive as I had been led to believe, gives great Black album and White Zombie sounds and the distortion is controlable - at least for a begineer. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Its built like a tank so can only assume its reliable and as I bought it used and there aint a mark on it. Everything is smooth and works perfectly, would reccomemd this for anyone with a single channel amp, can't say if its any good gigging as I don't gig but can say you could use it with any worries and no back up and any stuck up nails or stuff you could knock em in with it and carry on the gig. // 9

Overall Impression: Great match for what I attempt to play :D, sounds great and gives me the 2 channel ability that the tweaker lacks - no need for the hot channel switching on the amp :D, smooth cleans to Dirty at the push of a button. Its a bit large compared to other pedal specially the EHX nano's I have next to it and its weighty other than that I would not hesitate to replace it even at the full retail price. // 9

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overall: 9
HT-DIST Reviewed by: JLowU571, on april 18, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 85

Purchased from: eBay

Ease of Use: This unit is pretty simple to use with standard Gain, 3 band EQ and Level controls. It also has the addition of the innovative Blackstar Infinite Shape Feature (ISF) that allows you to sweep through from a scooped american sound through to a thicker, british style voicing. It also has a grill over the internal ECC83 Valve allowing you to see it glowing away as you play which is a cool feature. It came with a manual and a power supply, quite useful as finding a 16v power supply could prove a little difficult. The one proviso is that it is a hefty beast, taking up a lot of room on the board. // 10

Sound: I play an ESP LTD EC 401 FM into a Fender Super Sonic 60 1x12 Combo. I use this pedal for most of my playing which consists of Metal, Alternative Metal, Post Rock and a bit of punk. This pedal handles them all with ease, the valve circuitry provides a warm, organic distortion that can be either gritty for alternative styles or tighter for more traditional heavy styles. The one thing I am not sure about is the ISF. I've played a few Blackstar amps with this control and it seems to work well in that setting, but on this pedal it needs a bit more work. When firmly in USA territory it can sound quite over-scooped, when back in the UK it can sound muddy. The best setting I found is to have the ISF in the middle with the Bass rolled off to about 10 or 11 o'clock, the Treble boosted to 1 or 2 o'clock and the Middle set to 12 o'clock, thus setting keeps the Bass in check without sounding muddy and adds in enough Mids to avoid over-scooping. The gain has a good sweep from OD style breakup to barely-in-control aggression, mostly I keep it at about 2 o'clock. The emualted output doesn't really impress on its own, but through some delay in post and it sounds convincing. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Like most Blackstar products this pedal is made of top-quality components, the chassis is comprised of durable, high quality steel and the pots are solid as a rock. All-in-all I would depend on this pedal totally. // 9

Overall Impression: This pedal provided me with exactly the distortion I was looking for, masses of gain but with a true, valve powered and organic tone. Again, the ISF needs some work but this is by no means a disqualifying fault as, admittedly, I am a 'find a setting and stick with it' kind of player and there is a fantastic sweet spot on this pedal that, no matter what you do with the Gain and Level controls, it sounds fantastic. Before this I has a Boss MT-2 and truth be told, I don't know why I didn't buy the Blackstar sooner, it provides the rich, warm over-tones that give your tone the authenticity that digital distortion just can't provide. This pedal is likely to remain with me for many happy years to come. // 9

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overall: 9
HT-DIST Reviewed by: rolands.majors, on january 08, 2016
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 168

Purchased from: Ebay

Ease of Use: IFS switch helps to "calibrate" it with different amplifier natural preamp tones, if you are going to the venue and available amp model would be a surprise for you, when you'll get there. Sounds good on solid state amps. It has a speaker emulated output, but I haven't used it, sometimes, changing output signals, you can change your tone. You can experiment with changing tube manufacturers and see what happens. Easy to get the right sound, leaving amp eq knobs on 12 o'clock. Boost pedal fits well together without getting noisy. Adapter comes together with pedal. It runs on Diesel, it has V18 engine... Just kidding, it runs on 22 volts and that also makes it special, the Blackstar HT means "High Tension," and that's the first thing that draw my attention. Instruction describes what ISF does and offers three main patches to start with, but I guess you won't need any other more. // 10

Sound: This pedal totally suits hard-rock/heavy-metal and some alternative rock style needs, you can get simmilar tones starting from AC/DC and ZZ Top to Whitesnake and Iron Maiden. The main thing that I like, it's classic, it sounds good with the band and I haven't heard such an amount of bass from any pedal-type effect box what I have tried before, that means you can use it with small amp as well. I am using Fender DeVille 4x10, Peavey Valveking Combo version and Peavey XXX. Guitars - Telecaster Deluxe (I don't play single coils), Gibson Les Paul, Ibanez JEM 77, with DiMarzio Breed humbuckers. Also, the chords sound good and clean in all registers, even when using maximum gain settings. I hate "glassy" sound, but for this pedal I don't have to use any additional eq to make it sound nice and fat. I'm using Suhr Koko boost with it on solos.

Many people have said to me, that it could have some more gain, but the amount of level used adds some more kick, without ruining the sound. The knob settings responds well and it totally makes sense, what it does. Infinite Shape Figure (IFS) feature actually makes a two different pedals in one, it's all about the mids, the contour. Imagine opposite sounds Peavey and Marshall... or maybe two different mics. Also, it's quiet as my girlfriend after misunderstanding a dirty joke. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Hard to say... I trust it enough to make it my main pedal. But I have few doubts on knobs, they started to get "scratchy", but I will change them. The bypass button looks fishily, because it's easy to push it, there is no "strong contact" switch like CryBaby or Peavey footswitch has. Another disappointment is the protecting "glass" above the valve. Actually it's plastic piece holded by just glue and it came off during temperature changes. Now my valve is not protected from dust. When I opened the protecting bars, I broke one screw, because the holes font fit the size of part. Looks like they made it as cheap as possible, but at least it's in metal hard case. If all parts would be super quality, it would cost a lot more. Hardware is hard and it's heavy enough (~1.2 kg) to not roll all over the stage if you accidentally pull it with guitar wire or kick it. My girlfriend can use it as dumbbell, when training her shoulders or crack walnuts with it. // 6

Overall Impression: I play mostly hard rock, blues rock, country rock, fusion and alternative, actually turns out that I'm a session guy, but also I have my own rock band. When going to studio, where the "raw, unprocessed" tone is most important, recording concerts and perform without other bands in the same event, when it's time to do long soundchecks, I prefer analog. For other needs I use Line 6 HD500X and also taking effects from it. I'm using Koko Boost or Majik Box Rocketfuel, based on amp being used.

I own HT Dist for two weeks now. When I was deciding to buy it, I wasn't able to make my mind between HT Dist and HT DistX. But the thing how "metal" this pedal is, doesn't affect the sustain of the one single note. The tone is being made from all the things together - gain, level, amp master volume and additional boost/overdrive pedals being used. I don't buy "metal" pedals anymore, because they start to sound "too metal" when working all together, and you never play a classic love ballad hard song with Pantera-kind-of drive. But I would buy HT DistX for studio playground.

I forgive the manufacturers for a few bad parts as I'm forgiving my girlfriend her behavior. At least it does what it's meant for. ;) Looking forward for some improvements from Blackstar, this pedal has potential! // 10

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