Topic: Blackstar HT20 Head
Its been 7 weeks since I got my Blackstar HT-20 so it seems like a good time to do a review. Its the head version which I play though a home made cab which is loaded with
Celestons Vintage 30 leads.
When I first played the amp I set the control on the clean channel and OD channel at 12 o'clock and it sounded good. On the back there is no 4 ohm output, 1 8ohms 1 16ohms 2 8ohms. There is a socket for a supplied foot switch to switch between the channels and a very useful emulated out. There is also an effect loops in and out and an effects loop boost switch
The Clean Channel.
This channel has a simple two knob function, tone and volume. It is very responsive to touch and has very good dynamics. With a single coil you can get good funk and I have been able to get a very warm jazz tone though humbukers. In all it does what it says on the tin. The clean channel has in my opinion a little to much head room and needs to be played nearly at full volume to break up.
The OD Channel.
This has the bass, mid, treble control and the ISF feature, which I will come to later.
First thing first the amp has a very nice vocal character to it that seems to be like a cross between a Marshall and a Vox. The upper mids are very throaty. The amp just makes the guitar sing and going into controlled feedback is a easy, (which me mate showed me how to do(. Then the gain, the amp has more than enough and there is no need for extra boost or OD pedals, especially if you have high output pickups.
This is the kind of tone that I've been looking for. It has a strong British flavor to it without sounding like a Marshall or a Vox
The bass response is tight and controlled. With the bass maxed out, you will not get as much bass as most amps as some amps (namely a Fender twin), unless you're trying to cover metal, this need not be an issue. In saying that, I think that Blackstar could have added a little more low end for those guitar players that like a chug.
The ISF control is a mint feature. It allows the user to re-voice the amp to get a more American or British flavor to the final tone. Those who say it goes from Fender to Marshall in my opinion are wrong, it sounds more Messa then Fender to me, yet on the other side is very Marshall sounding. The effect is nice. I tend to like the setting set at 2:00 O'clock, which just brightens it up when I find the right EQ. However, if you scoop the mids then you can hear the voicing effect in more detail.
There is a master control that controls both channels.
The emulated out works well with my line 6 UX2 and provides a good tone which is superior to modeling technology when recording. It seems to emulate a 4x12 cab as there appears to be, what I would call bass woof I associate with a 4x12 closed back cab. The emulated out also works well with headphones for playing at wife friendly volumes.
The amp comes with TAD tubes, 2xECC83, 2xEL34.
There is also a very useful digital reverb, yet it would have been nice if this was foot switchblade.
Overall, I'm very happy with the amp. It just sounds great. For the price it has more features and suited my needs more then any other amp I looked at.
Last edited by jamesd74 (24-02-12 00:36:42)