NAMM 2019: Blackstar HT-5R & HT-1R MkII Series Overview
Upping the ante with scaled-down dimensions…
For the third Friday in a row Blackstar bring us some tasty treats to get stuck into with the HT-1R MkII Combo and HT-1RH MkII head, the HT-5R MkII Combo and HT-5RH MkII head, and the HT-112 MkII Speaker Cab. Building on the success of the first wave of HT-1s and HT-5s, these MkII models feature additions at the request of many guitarists, as well as a beautiful boutique overhaul. Whether you’re practising at home, jamming with mates, recording in the studio or hitting the stage, these amps kick out an exceptional energy that’ll knock your socks off.
HT-1R and HT-1RH MkII
This diminuitive 1-Watter punches well above its weight when it comes to raw power. Home to an ECC83 preamp valve and an ECC82 power amp valve, you’ll be surprised by how much clout this little beauty has got. Utilising Blackstar’s push-pull valve power amp design, the HT-1R MkII Combo and HT-1RH MkII head boast the dynamics and response of a 100-Watt stack in a combo or head that you can take anywhere the music takes you.
Across the front panel you’ll find a beautifully simplistic control layout with independent Gain, Volume, EQ (ISF) and Reverb chicken head knobs, as well as switchable Channel and Voice buttons. Along with the instrument input there’s an MP3/Line In connection for playing along with your favourite tunes from an external audio source. The emulated speaker/headphone output allows you to rock out whilst still appreciating the full effect!
Spin the amp around and you’ll find a pair of speaker outputs for connecting to the HT-112 MkII Speaker Cab for building your wall of sound. Topping the connections off there’s even a USB audio out for easy peasy recording. Bingpot!
HT-5R and HT-5RH MkII
Stepping things up wattage wise, the HT-5R MkII Combo and HT-5RH MkII head deliver (you’ve guessed it) 5-Watts of lush valve driven tone. Again, you’ll find an ECC83 in the preamp stage, but Blackstar opt for the 12BH7 as the power amp valve. As with the HT-1R/RH, Blackstar employ push-pull valve power amp design to ensure pristine dynamics and response.
As well as hosting the same controls as the HT-1R/RH, the HT-5R/RH has additional buttons and dials that further your tone sculpting possibilities. There’s Clean channel tone, a three-band EQ section as well as independent ISF control. At the push of a button you can switch the output power to a bedroom practise-friendly 0.5-Watts.
Across the rear panel there’s a trio of speaker outputs, an XLR connection for D.I. output, Line Out/Phones and switchable speaker emulations between 1 x 12 and 4 x 12. Blackstar include their Series Effect’s Loop for those who want greater options with regard to their effects and signal path, and there’s also a footswitch connection.
Four unique footswitchable voices
Blackstar push the boat out when it comes to tonal versatility and equip all four amps with two footswitchable channels, Clean and Overdrive. On top of that, each channel has two selectable voices to give you even greater tonal flexibility.
With regard to the Clean channel voices, Blackstar describe Voice 1 as a more traditional “American” sound with an articulate and tight character with dense low-end for an utterly sublime tone.
Voice 2 leans towards a “British” character with singing chimes that rings out beautifully. The low-end is less tight and allows you to push it into a subtle mid-range overdrive when you crank it.
Basically, between the two you get the best of both worlds, and who doesn’t want a bit of variety?!
Switching to overdrive, Blackstar went to painstaking lengths to create a raucous high gain tone without the unwanted high-end fizz. In this instance, Voice 1 is more “British” in character and offers a delightfully smooth overdrive that excels at delivering crunchy lead tones. However, dial back your guitar’s volume and it cleans up nicely.
Voice 2 takes inspiration from the critically lauded HT Venue MkII high gain tones and is a high-gain beast that is perfect for those who want an aggressive edge. For palm-muted ferocious riffage you can’t go wrong.
As if all that wasn’t enough, Blackstar’s patented ISF tone control allows you to easily tweak your amp’s character, and built-in studio quality reverb ensures that your tone will sound righteous in any performance environment.
HT-112V MkII Speaker Cab
The HT-112 MkII Speaker Cab perfectly matches any of the HT-1 or HT-5 MkII combos or heads. A specially designed 12-inch speaker delivers a breath-taking output up to 50-Watts at 16 Ohm. The compact design means that you can take it out and about wherever you go, and it tucks away neatly when you’re at home.
Beautiful boutique details
All amps and cabs across the HT MkII series are dripping with stylish adornments, from the black vinyl cover with reinforced corner brackets to the grey mesh vintage-style speaker grille cloth. All carry handles are thick and durable, reinforcing the high-quality craftsmanship seen across the range.
Once again, Blackstar do not disappoint!
Check out our other Blackstar gear over at the Dawsons’ website.
Check out our new releases as they drop in our What’s New section, which we update daily!
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.