HT-Metal review by Blackstar

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (20 votes)
Blackstar: HT-Metal

Sound — 8
I tested the HT-Metal with a Carvin DC145M and through a Blackheart Little Giant (with the Bitmo Triple Bypass mod) and a Peavey Transtube 212 EFX to get a feel for how it works with tube and solid state. The pedal itself is 'high integrity buffered bypass', and while I don't know what that technically means, I don't get any interference when the pedal is off and there isn't any hissing or other extraneous noise when using the pedal as a distortion pedal. When recording direct from the pedal I did have to use a VST Noise Gate in Reaper when I was using the higher gain settings of the pedal. There was no noise on the line when switching channels. With some tweaking I was able to really get as close to nailing tones from Iron Maiden, Metallica and other bands as I've ever gotten with a distortion pedal from either amp I was testing the pedal through. It seemed like it was especially awesome at louder volumes with the Blackheart Little Giant. This is probably the best distortion pedal I've played with before. Before this pedal I was using mainly an EHX Metal Muff, which I still love for sentimental reasons if nothing else, but it really doesn't even compare. The HT-Metal is like the Cadillac of the distortion pedal market.

Overall Impression — 9
I play a pretty wide variety of music, but even though this is called the HT-Metal (and it definitely can pull off any genre of metal), it seems to be able to pull off just about anything else you throw at it, even if you are using the channel 1 clean as an EQ. I've been playing several years at this point 6 or 7 years since I picked the guitar back up after an absence. I have mainly used an EHX Metal Muff for my distortion before now, or I did use a BOSS DS-1 before I changed over to the Metal Muff. Really the Blackstar HT-Metal makes my Metal Muff sound like a toy... The same for the BOSS DS-1. If this pedal were lost or stolen I would absolutely replace it, but I would try out the other pedals in this series first as they all seem awesome. I love the amount of control and options this pedal gives me. If there is anything I dislike about it, it would have to be the fact that it is requires a lot of voltage to run. It comes with its own power supply, which is a 22 volt AC adapter, so I guess that is okay, but for my current pedal board and power supply I have to power the HT-Metal separately.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Okay, straight up, the HT-Metal is like a brick. The casing is metal, the knobs are metal, and it weighs a LOT for a pedal actually, about the weight of a couple of bricks. I trust this pedal to survive abuse including some falls, kicks, etc. I would hope I was never in a situation were I was gigging without a backup for everything just in case, but if I had to play without a backup, then I would trust this pedal it is a monster. I have a friend who has a few of the other pedals from this series, probably some of the earliest that were shipped, and he swears they are indestructible. He has used the HT-DISTX for gigs on numerous occasions and claims it is his favorite pedal. After playing around with the HT-Metal he was convinced he needed to add one to his collection. Based on what I've seen myself from this pedal since getting my hands on it, and from my friend's comments I would expect this pedal to last forever. I've not exactly sure how the Tube Works in this thing, but he says he's never had to change them out in his pedals.

Ease of Use — 9
The HT-Metal is pretty easy to use, mainly due to the fact that it looks like the control panel from a guitar amplifier. You have controls for bass, mid treble, ISF as well as stacked knobs for gain and level. There is a button small button for channel one to choose clean or overdrive. There are foot operated buttons for channel one and channel two. You can set up channel one to be anything from a clean channel to a cruncy AC/DC-esque channel using the gain, EQ and ISF. Channel two is for high gain metal, but can be pulled down with the gain to more of a early metal tone. The ISF control is a genius little feature that lets you give the pedal a more American or British voicing, or blend the two. There is a guitar input, an output to your amp, or an emulated output to record direct with the pedal or go directly out to a PA system. There is also an actual tube, that along with the true 300 volt tube circuitry allows access to cascaded tube gain stages. Basically, I was playing with the pedal out of the box getting good tones, and after a few hours went back and read the manual in case I missed something which I didn't then went back to playing some more. This is a fully featured pedal which basically acts like an Overdrive pedal, a distortion pedal and an EQ pedal all in one that's not counting the ISF control.

36 comments sorted by best / new / date

    That guy's pinky is gonna put someone's eye out. Based on that video I'd give this pedal a run.
    I think they down voted you because you're acting like a twat, not whether you're right or wrong. I agree with you about tube amps and OD's, but you don't have to spit fire when you comment. just some food for thought.
    Well I didnt call anyone names or be rude, just stated that od and tubes only is what most musicians would say is correct. the other posters calle dme a dumbass, so in fact i was more mature than them.
    Joshua Garcia
    F.Y.I., saying "another run of the mill sh!tty distortion pedal. review is way off" is NOT something a mature person would say. Instead, a mature person would give a reason as to why they hate the pedal. Or, better yet, write their own review stating why its bad. You just said using distortion pedals with tube amps is a dumb thing to do. Which, as previously mentioned, has nothing to do with hating the pedal itself. Hence, the users mad hate towards your comments. You have now been schooled on maturity. Thank you! Come again!
    There is nothing immature about saying distortion pedals are shitty. They are crap, that is fact. pedal disortion is fake and tube distortion is real. They have buzzy crap distortion, why anyone would use a articifical distortion instead of amp distortion is beyond me.
    People use it for an unique sound. Everyone has his own favorites and a mix between tube and pedal can sound nice in some ears. its kinda experimenting with sounds and you should appreciate that. what you do is immature. its like "i like this so it cant be wrong! F++k you all!" just be tolerant man!
    Joshua Garcia
    No. it's YOUR OPINION, so don't get the two confused and cast judgment on anyone who disagrees with you. Because doing so makes you more than immature, it makes you a jackass. Also, when you say "review is way off.", you need to back up that claim more than by just saying distortion pedals in general are crap. THATS what made your comment immature. Just stop trying to justify everything you say. It's okay, you made an immature comment. It happens to the best of us. You'll make yourself look better by just stopping.
    Guys, let's stop. It's not nice to pick on the mentally challenged.
    "They are crap, that is fact." You still don't give us reasons and keep on trolling. And it's not a fact, there are many guitarists that use distortion pedals with tube amps. Again, it's the same if you use OD or distortion. They do the same thing. If you use it for boosting, then you are using a clean boost, not OD. OD pedals are capable of doing clean boost, yes, but that's not using them like they were originally meant to be used, you are using it as a clean boost, not overdrive. Also saying that something is shitty can be said in a less harsh way that is more mature. You don't need to hate anything, you can dislike it but there's no need to hate. At least give us reasons. And "it's a fact" is not a reason. Sound is (almost) completely subjective. It's all about opinions. I accept the fact that you don't like it but at least give us some reasons and don't be so aggressive and harsh. You can say: "I don't like this pedal because..." and not telling that you are an idiot if you use dist pedals with tube amps (that I can read between the lines of your comments even though you don't clearly state that).
    You are entitled to your opinion, but it is horribly biased and a bit uneducated. Everything you're saying can be refuted. There are great sounding distortion pedals and bad sounding distortion pedals. I prefer good tube amp distortion and have played Marshalls, Mesa Boogies, Peavey 6505s, Egnaters, Oranges, Vox, and so on, but I have heard GREAT sounding distortion pedals. Guess what, they never sounded better to me than through a tube amp. By that reckoning, they don't belong anywhere near a solid state amp. "Distortion pedal" does not equal bad. Secondly, there are too many pros who use distortion pedals with tube amps and have good tones to be saying that pros would never use distortion pedals. Not all of them are metal either. Coldplay, Radiohead, David Gilmour, Randy Rhoads, Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters, John Scofield, Kurt Kobain, Billy Corgan, John Fruciante, Josh Homme, Jerry Garcia, Metallica (in the past, but decent tones then), Jeff Beck, Joe Walsh, Gary Moore, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Switchfoot, Jimmy Eat World, and others must have all been wrong when they hooked up their distortion pedals. This is foolishness. Stop it.
    This pedal has a tube as do most if not all of the blackstar distortion/overdrive pedals... In other words tube distortion in a pedal. and the reason people would use [u]artificial [/u] stuff is because nowadays it's just as good as the original.
    Well the problem is, you state: "They are throwing a DISTORTION pedal onto a tube amp, that is blasphemy for anyone who knows squat about gear." Insinuating that you, in fact, know "squat" about gear, and everyone else on here is just a clueless 'tard. And then the: "Distortions dont belong near tube amps, thats what OD is for. Got it pal?" Wow. Condescend much? Fact is, many classic albums and guitar tones have been made with the very combination (tubes+distortion pedals) that you're claiming only an idiot would resort to. But you know better than Steve Vai, I guess (another tube amp player who prefers to get his distortion from pedals). And to say "distortion pedals" are shitty is a really ignorant blanket statement. Sure, there are plenty of shitty ones out there, but there are also some great-sounding ones as well, and I can guarantee you that some music you like has probably been made with those "shitty" pedals.
    I've got the Gus G version, it's probably the ballsiest distortion pedal I've ever owned. Very full and thick-sounding, not tinny and digital-sounding like most distortion pedals.
    Leather Sleeves
    I know people with plenty of experience who use distortion pedals with tube amps, it just depends on the sound you're looking for. Personally, I don't see the point but there's no need to crap on people who do. Besides, isn't this basically a tube pre-amp? Most modern tube amps use pre-amp distortion anyway.
    another run of the mill sh!tty distortion pedal. review is way off
    Wow, thanks for that incredibly helpful and insightful comment. I'm glad that you could share your obvious expertise on guitar gear with the rest of us in a way that is informative, intelligent, objective, and thorough.
    Well there really isn't reason to. They are throwing a DISTORTION pedal onto a tube amp, that is blasphemy for anyone who knows squat about gear. Distortions dont belong near tube amps, thats what OD is for. Got it pal?
    Well, I have a Vox AC30VR sitting in my dorm, and while I love it for everything blues and rock related. the overdrive just doesn't cut it when I play anything metal. I think this is a great pedal coming from some great tube amp manufacturers that would just add a bit of diversity to a tube amp setup.
    Distortion pedals were originally designed to be used with tube amps (because back then there were hardly any solid state amps). Amps back then (in the 70s) had only one channel so you couldn't switch between clean and distorted. That's why distortion pedals were handy. You could set your amp to a clean tone and when you needed distortion, you could use the stompbox. Nowadays people use OD pedals as a clean boost (gain at near zero and volume at near max) because we have multi channel amps. And really OD and distortion pedals do the same. They work the same way but OD is usually lower gain and distortion pedals are more designed for metal. You can use OD pedal like distortion pedal (run it through a clean amp). That's what it was originally designed for.
    I mean, I know that you're a bad troll and all, but couldn't you at least try to be a little bit more creative than that?
    Gilmour himself said you NEED a pedal in front of your amp to get that big rock sound because the amp's overdrive alone will never cut it and even with today's high gain amps the added compression afforded by a pedal really does make a huge difference. I use a Blackstar HT-5 and a HT-Distx and the difference between the overdrive on the amp and the overdrive from the pedal is like the difference between a sports car and a formula 1 despite the HT-5's high gain output.
    I have owned a couple of different stack, some was made for metal. But the Amps distortion has never been enough or good enough for me. With a Pedal you can "fine tune" your settings in a whole other way, than only with the amps built in dist. Im gonna buy this Pedal as my next one, since I havent heard anything that has such a good sound as this.
    My Dad owns the HT-Blackfire and it is probably the best distortion pedal I've played through. It is very good. If you're after something with a decent metal tone then that or this HT-Metal will do the trick perfectly. They rock! Also the clean/warm overdrive feature on the HT-Metal is a cool feature too.
    Agreed ! i have the blackfire too and it is amazing. thats the reason i want the ht metal. it has got a rave review in total guitar and thats enough for me.
    Wow look at all the downvotes all the metalhead children on UG have me. Go ahead, keep using distortion pedals with tube amps, everyone else witha lick of experience will laugh at you. One day you guys will learn the error of your ways
    Your first comment stated it was "another run of the mill sh!tty distortion pedal". Okay, so you hate the pedal. Now you say "Distortions dont belong near tube amps". So, you just hate using distortion pedals on tube amps, and NOT the pedal itself? For someone to talk down on others, you sure don't know what the hell you are talking about. Just shut your retarded dumbass up.
    You need to give Joe Satriani a call and enlighten him with your wisdom. I'm sure he'll smack himself in the forehead for being such a dunce all this time and kiss your feet.
    not everyone owns a high gain tube amps you know, someone earlier mebtioned the vox Ac series, and there's alot more low gain 1 channel tube amps, tell me what are we supposed to do with such amps when we need high gain distortion? let me answer that, distortion pedal!
    Inspite of people informing you in a nice way, you still choose to be hostile. You sir are a qualified dumbass.
    Or, better yet, write their own review stating why its bad. You just said using distortion pedals with tube amps is a dumb thing to do. Which, as previously mentioned, has nothing to do with hating the pedal itself. Hence, the users mad hate towards your comments.Luxury Goods Store
    Or, better yet, write their own review stating why its bad. You just said using distortion pedals with tube amps is a dumb thing to do. Which, as previously mentioned, has nothing to do with hating the pedal itself. Hence, the users mad hate towards your comments.