Blackstar come out swinging…
Hot on the heels of their Studio 10 amp launch last week, Blackstar are back at it with the release of the HT-20R MkII combo and HT-20RH MkII head amps. Anyone who has played Blackstar’s HT-5 or HT-1 amps will already appreciate the enviable valve power that they kick out. Well, they don’t disappoint and boast plenty of clout along with grand tube warmth.
Blackstar don’t mess about when it comes to packing their amps with the good stuff and these beauties have it up to the gills. Each one boasts ECC83 preamp valves for generating searing heat with a pair of EL84s in the power amp for a mighty output. Expanding the tonal potential at your fingertips, the HT-20R and HT-20RH feature Clean and Overdrive channels.
With regard to the Clean channel, to harness the versatile quality of the carefully voiced preamp alongside the uncompromising delivery of the power amp, Blackstar utilise two footswitchable voices. Voice 1 leans toward an “American” character with articulation and a tight bass response for awesome cleans. Voice 2 loosens out the low-end, which couples with a punchy mid-range energy and chimes in with a ringing high-end for a more “British” vibe.
Send it into overdrive
Looking toward the Overdrive channel, Blackstar switch things up somewhat. Voice 1 affords quintessential “Classic British” Blackstar overdrive, which likes to be given a nudge into a crunchy saturated gain. However, dial back the volume control of heavy pick strokes and you’ll find it cleans up beautifully. Voice 2 edges more toward the “High Gain” side, drawing inspiration from the legendary HT Venue MkII high gain tones, retaining a tight low-end and a snarling high-end aggression. If it’s palm-muted metal riffage you’re after then look no further.
On top of all that there’s Blackstar’s patented ISF tone control to easily tweak your amp’s character, a three-band EQ and studio quality reverb effect that will confidently fill any performance environment with lush textured tones.
Ready when you are
Across the rear panel you’ll be delighted to find a plethora of connectivity options to suit any occassion from home practise to jam sessions, from tracking in the studio to rocking out on the stage.
Touching on keeping things low-key when practising, there’s a power attenuation switch on the front panel for chopping the output to 10% (of 2-Watts to be more precise) and an emulated line output with switchable speaker cab options. Simply cut the power, pop on some headphones, and play until you can’t plays no more! The MP3/Line In connection means that you can jam along with your favourite tracks with ease.
Alongside the line output there’s a D.I. output, which is very useful for sending a signal directly to a mixing console/recording interface or PA desk when gigging. The speaker outputs give you greater output power options when you need it – the specially calibrated HT-212V MkII Vertical Cab would do the job quite nicely.
If you fancy laying down your next magnum opus and only digital will do, the USB audio out makes it a doddle to connect directly to your audio interface of choice.
And of course, there’s an effects loop for greater autonomy on where you place your outboard effects within the signal path.
HT-212V MkII Vertical Cab
Whichever option that you go for, combo or head, the HT-212V MkII verical cab would make a welcome addition to any setup. A pair of specially designed 12-inch speakers deliver an assertive 160-Watts output with 4 and 16 Ohm inputs at your disposal. The semi-open/closed rear panel encourages a hearty low-end to maximise a solid response across the entire frequency range. Whether you’re grinding out some beefy low-end riffs or trying to get the most out of each and every note, the HT-212V MkII cab translates the subtle nuances of your performances with the utmost transparency.
More boutique beauty
As with the Studio 10s, Blackstar are sticking to a distinctively cool yet understated aesthetic with the HT-20R, HT-20RH and HT-212V MkII models. Solid construction is at the heart of all the cans and enclosures, with corner bracing across the board and sturdy carry handles for added support. All are clad in black with grey speaker grille cloth and bear the Blackstar logo with pride.
What more can we say?
As ever, if you need any help or advice then our Customer Service Team are more than happy to help over the phone on 01925 582420. Our in-store specialists will guide you through the wonderful world of guitar amps and effects, just pop into your nearest Dawsons store.
Jon is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for inspiring others to get involved in making music. After spending many years playing venues here, there and – pretty much – everywhere, he joined the Dawsons’ Music Web Team before progressing into his current role managing the Dawsons Blog.