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Blackstar HT-5 v Marshall CLass 5 - which is the loudest?

preben

Member
Messages
21
Hi Guys,

well, the title pretty much says it all :)

I already have a Blackstar HT-5 which I'm very happy with it but I'm considering adding a Marshall Class 5 for slightly cleaner and more classic tones.

Now, I've read that the Marshall Class 5 is a loud 5-watter but does anyone know how it compares in volume with the Blackstar HT-5 when both are running flat out?

Both are obviously specced at 5 watts but one has a 12BH7 in push-pull (the Blackstar) and the other one a single EL84 in class A (the Marshall) so I'm thinking that the specs might not tell the whole story.

I'm running the HT-5 into a Rivera Silent Sister equipped with a Celestion Greenback and whilst it sounds great it's not quite a silent as I expected so if the Marshall Class 5 is much louder than the Blackstar I might be in trouble.

Also I'm slightly annoyed that the Class 5 only handles a 16 Ohm load as all my speakers are 8 Ohm but that's another matter entirely.

Any comments on the sonic difference between the two amps are also highly welcome.

Thanks for the input.
 

oasis02

Member
Messages
441
I've had several Class 5's in my quest to find one that does not rattle.

No luck in that endeavor, yet.

By chance, I tried the Blackstar when GC had them clearanced at $499. I was so impressed, it was a no-brainer. I was also able to apply the 15% trade discount, so it was almost like getting the cabs for free (they have already been sold and replaced with an inexpensive vintage Marshall 4 x 12).

Volume: Class 5 by quite a bit. However, no gain control limits the Class 5 playability in a home setting.

Tone: The Blackstar does the Marshall thing at studio/home-friendly volumes as well as anything I've tried, including many boutique amps. The main gripe is a lack of clean headroom, but in the home studio, it seems to be plenty loud (and clean) at 12:00. That's with a Les Paul. I compared the Star cleans to my '73 Vibro Champ cleans with humbuckers, and it was no contest: Blackstar. Single coils are certainly debatable.

It all depends on your needs. Gigging/Band Practice: Class 5 if you can find one that does not rattle. Home Studio: Blackstar is one of the best you can have. I had to give mine some cosmetic enhancement! I wanted to see if the Marshall logo added mojo, so that's a paper prop until my actual logo arrives...

 

grungebob

Member
Messages
875
The class 5 distorts too soon to get a loud clean sound. I'd wait if i was you for the Blackstar HT-20, was in my local store here in England saturday and the owner showed me some press release he had for 15 and 20 watt versions, didnt say if it was head or combo's though.
 

preben

Member
Messages
21
Thanks for the info guys - I really appreciate it.

Grungebob, my problem isn't that the class 5 might not be loud enough - or that the Blackstar isn't loud enough - it's the opposite; the quieter the better in this case :)

Oasis, nice setup. VERY nice. Sorry for being a bit slow here, but when you write

"Volume: Class 5 by quite a bit" do you then mean that it's quieter OR louder than the Blackstar by quite a bit?

Cheers.
 

grungebob

Member
Messages
875
oh right got ya!

The class 5 i found louder but didn't stay clean long with increases of volume. I personaly think it sounds better the the HT5 (just sold mine).
 

preben

Member
Messages
21
OK - thanks for that. I'm totally fine with it not being clean at loud volumes - that's kinda what I want - but if it's A LOT louder than the Blackstar at full volume (where the Blackstar isn't all that quiet either) that could be a problem.

I really want a Class 5 though... it's G.A.S. - and I've got it BAD :) But obviously I have to remain sensible and mature cough cough cough
 

oasis02

Member
Messages
441
Thanks, Preben.

If you're looking for quality Marshall-esque tone at reasonable volumes, it's very difficult to beat the HT-5. The Class 5 is quite a bit louder when you finally get to the volume level where the gain is desirable.

What did I own en route to the HT-5? Drum Roll...
Fender Blues Jr NOS
Blackheart Little Giant Stack
'73 Fender Vibro Champ
Fender Princeton Reverb
Carr Mercury
Reinhardt Storm 33 w/Power Scaling
Vox AC15
Vox Pathfinder 15R
Fender '57 Champ
Victoria Regal II
Victoria 518
Marshall Micro Stack MG15

I've tried quite a few at varying price and quality levels.The Blackstar HT-5 is my most-usable overall amp in the home studio. The headphone jack also provides quality sound.

I also swapped the Sovtek 12AX7 with a Tung Sol with some nice results.
 

preben

Member
Messages
21
Oasis, you're confirming my 'fears' in the volume department and to be honest, I'm actually not unhappy with the HT-5 it's just that the Class 5 looks SOOOO sweet.

And generally I tend to prefer super simple non-master volume amps - with all the problem THAT gives... Yup, there's NO such thing as a win-win situation when it comes to gear - not for long anyway hehehe.

I've got a General Electrics 12BH7 and an old but sound Mullard 12AX7 in my Blackstar - and that DID improve the overall response by quite a margin. As well as the warmth. I suppose we're always looking for new and better. Par for the course.

That is a GREAT list of amps you've got there - some of which I've owned myself (Champ and Victoria 518, Princeton Reverb) but my main experience is generally with bigger amps - a few highlights being the Marshall 2553 Jubilee (if you know this amp you'll know why I like the Blackstar, I'm sure!) and an Ampeg V-4 (now THAT'S loud..!!!). Also a few Boogies (Mk. I, IIB and C and IV) but I never really got on with those. The Deluxe tweed had something but was almost too meaty in the low mid - there's no real crunch there for me and that's one thing I can't do without.

But it's actually very nice 'know where you're coming from' sonically - obviously not a million miles from where I am myself - although my choice of guitar is a Telecaster... but what a sweet flame on that Paul. Lurvely.

Again thanks for your help guys.
 

oasis02

Member
Messages
441
I can say that I had no problem with the Class 5 tone.

I personally tried or owned several different pieces from several different sources, and they ALL rattled like a 6-pack in the trunk! I'd still consider one when the rattle issue is fully resolved (as a backup).

It is a loud amp when you go past noon on the volume knob. Considerably louder than the Star, even with the 4 x 12 cab. The Blackstar can certainly hurt the ear at 3:00 for long sessions, but the Class 5 at 3:00 is very painful if you're in a small room.

A friend evaluated the Blackstar stack this weekend in-store, and passed because he only felt "the thrill" when he used a Les Paul, and he doesn't own a Les Paul. I also use a CV60's Strat, and I think it's extremely nice on the clean channel with pedals. I've never heard a better Knopfler-esque (Sultans) tone when you use a reverb and juicer with any other amp, including the Storm (that Knopfler toured with). I'm still amazed by that.

I should mention that I use a Line 6 M13 for "sweetning" (analog delay & reverb) solos. That probably improves any amp performance twofold.
 

preben

Member
Messages
21
Oasis, I know what you mean about the clean tone on the Star. Despite it getting a rough deal on the web I actually find it remarkably juicy (good word!) and springey/spongey.

I think that one of the reasons some people are put off by it is that it doesn't quite feel as steely and taut as one is used to fron a bigger amp - it's almost more like a very old, small Gibson amp, but I am always amazed about how well it records (which is all I use mine for anyway - see below).



Talk about LOUD..!! The ENGL is now retired - believe it or not, I actually much prefer the tone of the Star. (Flame-suit ON)



And this is where it sits now - easy to get to without having to leave the comfort of my chair. Happy Days!!
 

oasis02

Member
Messages
441
Sweet studio Preben! That cab really looks substantial...

Every time I play it's with the intent to try to find a weakness. I really can't come-up with anything I do not like about the amp from a tonal or feature standpoint. It always seems to pass every challenge I lay upon it.

Although...the lovely old cab that fits perfectly in its designated spot...makes the things on a nearby shelf rattle when I use the R9 neck pickup!

 

preben

Member
Messages
21
It is indeed a sweet studio.

Sadly not mine but I do spend quite a lot of time there - enough to get a HT-5 installed there permanently so I've got one for my personal studio rig and one for this as well.

The cab is an ENGL monster - NOT anywhere as sweet sounding as your Marshall cabs I can assure - but probably more able to handle a Triple Rectifier on heat (not my thing anyway - I prefer a cab that can sing a bit).

I know precisely where you come from; I've REALLY tried to find a lot of reasons NOT to like the Star - too small, too cheap - but it keeps fighting off everything I throw at it.

I use primarily Greenbacks with mine - and sometimes the odd Vintage 30. What do you keep in your cabs?
 

Audioholic

Member
Messages
2,573
LOOOOVE my Blackstar HT-5. It sounds incredible with the right cab. excellent for recording. I may look into the slightly higher wattage versions coming out soon, just for live play.
 

oasis02

Member
Messages
441
My cab has G12-Ls in there.

At 35w, I feel they're really well-suited to the amp.I'm pretty certain the VS412 was a budget amp in its day. For what I paid, it could have been empty. I figured as long as I'm not pushing a 100w head, I'll be fine.

The 10" Celestions included in the stack were not at all bad, but I suspected what Audioholic just suggested - a better cab would really let the amp sing on both channels. I also had a 28" space to deal with and the cab I found is 26.5", it was meant to be ;).

For kicks, I played a Tiny Terror combo in a quiet room over lunch.

It's louder...That is all.
 

69mojostrat

Member
Messages
386
I played a blackstar, nice vol and reasonable volumes, could be loud. But man the Marshall is soooooooooooo much louder, no comparison, with a les paul it starts to break up slightly, but its still the same loudness at 6 as its on 2, it just starts to get more overdrive. but its not useable at bedroom vol, no way. its loud and gig worthy with the right cab. Great amp, just loud, you have been warned. hahah.
 
Messages
191
I've been looking at getting a Blackstar but recently came across the marshall Class 5. Do you know if the Marshall has an attenuator similar to what the Blackstar & Vox amps have? I ask because sometimes I want to play loud but other times I don't. But I'd like the amp to sound the same regardless of volume.

Don't know if I described that correctly. Hopefully you'll know what I'm talking about.
 

69mojostrat

Member
Messages
386
No way that thing is loud, and very loud at that for 5 watts. you would have to buy a attenuator. good luck, cool looking amp but way too loud for home use.
 
Messages
191
No way that thing is loud, and very loud at that for 5 watts. you would have to buy a attenuator. good luck, cool looking amp but way too loud for home use.
Awww, that's too bad. But thanks for the reply!

I have to say, I've loved the attenuator on my Vox (let's me go from about 1 amp all the way up). Looks like the HT-5 is next on my list.
 




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