HT-Drive Review

manufacturer: Blackstar date: 06/11/2014 category: Guitar Effects
Blackstar: HT-Drive
High voltage valve design for true valve dynamics and feel. Two cascaded ECC83 triode stages for gain from warm boost to screaming saturation. Unique A-Class' tone control retains your guitars natural character. Emulated output is a new benchmark design for pro direct recording sounds. High integrity bypass for silent switching and driving long cables.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Reliability & Durability: 8.5
 Ease of Use: 8.5
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reviews (2) pictures (1) 10 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.5
HT-Drive Reviewed by: deadlydunc, on october 23, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 162.87

Ease of Use: This pedal is fantastic. It's really easy to use and has great tone. There is a manual with a couple of suggested settings for valve boost/classic drive/hot drive but there are three knobs! How hard can it be? Every twist of every knob gives new valve driven delight. // 8

Sound: I play an Epiphone Les Paul with standard Gibson designed pups which is quite a dark and mellow sounding guitar or a Kramer Focus 6000 with single coils that sounds really trebly. They both sound really lush and warm with the settings pretty much anywhere. Literally. From low end break up to screaming hot bluesy valve drive. It does the lot, well. It's not as gainy as the some other models in the range, I tried a HT-DISTX but it was far too gainy for me, it sounds more like a single channel valve amp with a similar level of grittiness. It's good for any electric bluesy stuff like Hendrix or SRV and will push even up to some slash or Aerosmith style sustain/compressed type blues/rock. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Well. I have only had the pedal a few days but it's built like a tank. It's quite big, maybe 2 and a half times the size of a single Boss pedal as a frame of reference. And appears to be made of a fairly light metal so it's heavy but not back breaking. Very well put together and I would definitely rely on it for a gig. Not that I am likely to gig in the near future. // 10

Overall Impression: I like and play anything from supergrass style britpop through Hendrix and peter green via slash and some brian may and even some punk. Nothing too heavy, no nu metal or anything-core. I've been playing for 18 months now and have an Epiphone Les Paul and a Kramer Focus 6000 a Boss DS-1 which is retiring for a while as this pedal is so good and a Boss GE-7 graphic equaliser fed off a power bank to save on batteries which I put before the pedal to boost the signal into the valve a bit. All this runs through a Roland VS-840 8 track disc recording mini studio and then out to my computer for various software recording and manipulation options. If it were lost or stolen I would go and get another one straight away. I really like the way it's built it's smooth and solid. You can see the valve glowing through some bars on the top which is reassuring. I did try a HT-DIST in the shop and bought a HT-DISTX home to try but they were just too gainy for me. I found I was using the gain between 0 and 1 so I went back and swapped for the Overdrive. This one just makes my LP sound creamy and it sings like slash in full swing mid solo bending and sliding away, well it would if I played a bit better. The tone is there though. // 10

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overall: 8.8
HT-Drive Reviewed by: rlewishughes, on june 11, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use: This pedal is extremely easy to use. 3 knobs and your set, be it if your using it as i am to push your tubes and preamps to tighten it up and add some tightness and resonance or using it for an all out overdrive pedal as yes it can be used as a simple overdrive/distortion pedal and is capable of some hi gain. It does come with its own 22 volt proprietary AC adapter which is always a plus but if this was lost it'd be hard to find a replacement. To sum it up it is an extremely easy to use straightforward pedal. There no wondering if in can do overdrive. Yes it can do that and more. So if your looking for a damn good pure tube high voltage overdrive pedal look no further than this unless your looking to use it as a distortion pedal and I would recommend the Ibanez Tube King if you want a tube overdrive with a complete 4 band eq. // 9

Sound: This is more than just a simple overdrive pedal. It can be used as a simple boost like I am using it into my Blackstar HT Stage 100 and Spider Valve MkII which from the factory the more modern metal sounds are to bassy and this pedal really tightens it up. I use it with the tone and volume maxed out and the drive barely going, just to add crunch to the clean channel. But you can also use it like a regular overdrive distortion pedal with tones from Zeppelin up to nu metal. I will add this the Ibanez Tube King is a better pedal if your looking for an all out tube distortion for your solid state amp as this will make a solid state amp act similarly to a tube amp but I run it into tube amps so like I said I use it as a boost. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Well I have to start off saying I don't think they used the best hardware. The on off button actually came out but I was able to rig it to work still reliably but that was an "oh sh-t" moment. Other than that this thing is a brick due to the onboard transformer than takes the input off 22 volts and steps it up to 300 to run the single double cascaded diode tube. It is about the size of 2 boss pedals side by side but IMO it is worth it. The casing is aluminum and it weighs about 4 pounds due to the onboard transformer. So far I have used it for about a month and there have been several times I forgot to unplug it (it has to be unplugged to power down the tube/pedal) and it has about 100 hours on it and she's still running strong. // 7

Overall Impression: Like I said recently I mainly use it to push my preamps in my HT Stage 100 and Spider Valve MkII and like I said earlier the Line 6 lacked a lot of bass in the Insane channels and too much in the high gain but using these with the blue high gain setting really tightens up the low end for a nice new metal sound. It is incredibly simple with only a drive (gain), tone and volume. The tone is very articulate and can really change the tone by turning down the highs and mids. And the volume is just that a volume. // 9

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