Comprising of mostly ex-Marshall employees, Blackstar Amplification is a proud Northampton based UK company. Widely considered as the New Marshall or the Marshall amps of UK, Blackstar is known to produce amps sounding like Marshall and have quickly made their name amongst the industry professionals, especially the musicians more inclined towards metal music. Despite being made in Korea, the Blackstar amps are designed in the UK and sound top notch. The Blackstar HT5R Combo is the best deal to break into the world of Blackstar amps and get accustomed with its sound.
The Blackstar HT5R is a small 5 watt amp, recently upgraded to a 12” speaker from 10”. With a bright and cutting sound, this 5 watt amp is surprisingly loud and best for room practises, whilst giving you clarity in sound even at the lowest DB. The ‘Blackstar introduced’ ISF (Infinite shape feature) is control also installed in HT5R. As claimed by Blackstar, it is everything from USA to UK. The ISF comes in the form of a knob. When the knob is turned clockwise, it gives the amp a more British accent and when turned counter clockwise it gives the amp a rather American accent (brighter and cutting with a mid-cut). The reverb is fantastic despite being digital. From old school crunch to the modern sounding overdrive, the Blackstar HT5R is capable of sounding either way. It’s all about how you play with the settings.
At first if it doesn’t sound right, don’t be too hasty! Like all good valve amps, it takes time to warm up. It comes with a footswitch for the two channels and has the award winning features of the HT valve pedals. Their dynamic sound generation capability facilitates all sorts of musicians and not just metal heads.
Bought this amp to replace my line 6 spider as I could not find the sound I was looking for amongst the hundreds of presets (it’s just too techy). I cannot recommend this amp enough.
I needed a good practice amp and I hate emulation amps like the line 6 spider. So on to the specifics it has a great gain channel that for its size it can reach big heights. I have never played a amp that does rock and old school metal any better for its price and size.
I had a 30 watt Laney. Way too loud for the bedroom. The 5 watt Blackstar is still loud. I play it at about 1.5 on the volume control, 5 on the gain, dirty channel. I still have to back it off on the guitar’s volume control. I love the tone. You can balance it so the way you hit the strings brings out the distortion or leaves it clean. And it’s as warm and rich as a villa in Tuscany.
I bought this amp for bedroom practice, and I chose this one because it was the only one in its class that had gain capable of metal stuff. The gain channel is quite awesome, if not a little dark. There is loads of distortion, and it cleans up SO nicely rolling off on the volume knob of the guitar.