The Blackstar HT-5R combo is small but beautiful, loud and with plenty character, just like Britain really
The Blackstar HT-5R combo is one of the critically acclaimed models from the British guitar amp new kids. I say ‘new kids’, but as the company’s team consists largely of ex-Marshall employees, they could hardly be described as ‘wet behind the ears’… In the short time since the company was formed, it has created a huge stir, with seemingly every product a hit with players and press alike.
The Blackstar HT-5R combo is a great example of what the brand is about, providing superb real tube tone, in a small package that is full of features, making this a very versatile little box.
Real valve muscle
The HT-5R combo is a diminutive beast. Measuring around 45cm in width, and just over 20cm in height and depth, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was an average practice amp. However, despite the small stature, this combo packs some serious muscle under its outerwear, a bit like a martial artist… At its core is a 5-Watt, all-valve amplifier. This is equipped with an ECC83 and a 12BH7 tube, but configured in a unique push-pull circuit. This allows the break-up tonal characteristics of a much bigger amp, but at much lower power-levels.
A two-channel design provides the Blackstar HT-5R combo with ability to switch between clean and overdriven channels. The clean channel can be driven up to a ‘classic’ crunch tone, whilst the overdrive will go well beyond. One of the unique features of many Blackstar amps is the ISF control. This passive circuit allows the contour of tone controls to be adjusted in varying degrees from a US style response to a British style response. This vastly increases the tonal potential of the amp.
A 12” Blackstar Custom Speaker provides the outlet for this combo, but for situations that require a bigger sound or more volume, there is an output for an additional cabinet. This is a valve combo, however, so whilst it say 5-watts on the box, the volume that this is capable of is on a completely different scale to a standard solid-state valve combo.
The Blackstar HT-5R combo is an ideal amp for studio or home use, but could probably be pushed into use for small gigs or rehearsals. Versatile, with great tone at a price that shouldn’t break the bank, this is a great British practice amp *Elgar’s Nimrod plays in the background…* If you’d like top celebrate the Jubilee with a beautifully voiced riff, call our stores or customer service team (01925 582420) or order online today.
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Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.