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Finally tried a Blackstar amp (HT Club 50 MKII)

Guitarjon

Member
Messages
1,853
I had never tried a Blackstar amp but I did see them around often. People kept telling me to try one so I figured I'd go ahead and finally do that! So now I have the HT Club 50 MKII in the studio. I wasn't sure what sort of tones to expect. Would it sound Marshall-y or Mesa-y? I guess these answer is: somehwere in between :)

The amp looks cool and the construction seems very solid overall. I'm not the biggest fan of the logo but it looks cool albeit slightly 'utalitarian'. The clean channel sounds really nice with it's 2 voicings. So quite versatile. The second vocing has enough gain for a nice mild drive ala vox and the first voicing sounds Fender-y. The reverb is a very nice addition to this channel too and cool that you can choose between 2 different voicings (room or plate).

The overdrive channel is thick and balanced, very cool overall! The first voicing sounds the most organic to me, warm, fuzzy and kind of loose in a good way! Sort of Marshall-y but with less bite, perhaps a bit more towards something like a Soldano or something. The second mode has more of a boosted tone and is great for metal. A touch spikey at around 2.8k but definitely a tight and 'gnarly' sounding mode!

So it's an amp that can do a lot and it does those things well! I made a little demo/review to showcase some tones and features:


Anyone else here have a Blackstar? I feel like I'm VERY late to the party haha!
 

Guitarjon

Member
Messages
1,853
Love your reviews......thanks!

And great sounding amp!
Nice looking and sounding head. Good review too. Thanks
Cheers guys! I really didn't know what to expect of the amp. To be honest, since they were a bit under my radar I was expecting the amps to sound somewhat 'cheap'. I know, super unfair and it turned out to be a wrong assumption indeed! Killer amps! :)
 

Tricerapotamus

Senior Member
Messages
470
I took one of these on trade with the matching 4x12 cabinet (stock loaded with Celestion Seventy-80 speakers) a while back and remembered liking it a lot. I think these were marketed as somewhat of a poor-mans Marshall, because it has that Brisitsh sound and the head and cab originally were sold together as a set for under $1000.

I also had a 50W Mesa Boogie head at the time, and couldn't believe how much quieter the Blackstar was... I mean that in a good way, because the Mesa was way too loud. The Blackstar was manageable.
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
11,135
I had never tried a Blackstar amp but I did see them around often. People kept telling me to try one so I figured I'd go ahead and finally do that! So now I have the HT Club 50 MKII in the studio. I wasn't sure what sort of tones to expect. Would it sound Marshall-y or Mesa-y? I guess these answer is: somehwere in between :)

The amp looks cool and the construction seems very solid overall. I'm not the biggest fan of the logo but it looks cool albeit slightly 'utalitarian'. The clean channel sounds really nice with it's 2 voicings. So quite versatile. The second vocing has enough gain for a nice mild drive ala vox and the first voicing sounds Fender-y. The reverb is a very nice addition to this channel too and cool that you can choose between 2 different voicings (room or plate).

The overdrive channel is thick and balanced, very cool overall! The first voicing sounds the most organic to me, warm, fuzzy and kind of loose in a good way! Sort of Marshall-y but with less bite, perhaps a bit more towards something like a Soldano or something. The second mode has more of a boosted tone and is great for metal. A touch spikey at around 2.8k but definitely a tight and 'gnarly' sounding mode!

So it's an amp that can do a lot and it does those things well! I made a little demo/review to showcase some tones and features:


Anyone else here have a Blackstar? I feel like I'm VERY late to the party haha!
I've had several blackstars. I currently have an HT20MKII 1X12 combo and an HT60MKII 1X12 combo. Great amps, IMO.
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
11,135
Just saw your vid featuring the EVH 5150 III 50w EL34 head (another fantastic review!). Is it bad that I like the tones from the Blackstar better?

What are your thoughts comparing the two?
I think you quoted the wrong person. I (unfortunately) don't have an EVH 5150 III and haven't made any reviews of it. But if someone's willing to send me one.....!!!
 

Guitarjon

Member
Messages
1,853
Just saw your vid featuring the EVH 5150 III 50w EL34 head (another fantastic review!). Is it bad that I like the tones from the Blackstar better?

What are your thoughts comparing the two?
Did you mean my demo or did rauchman also have a demo up?

If you meant me: those amps are quite different. The clean on the EVH is very clean and kind of sterile because of that. I like how with the blackstar you can get some mild overdrive on the clean channel which helps to smooth out the dynamics a bit. The red channel on the EVH is quite unique imho, very huge and tight sounding. The Blackstar can also do similar tones but not as huge and tight sounding as the EVH. The Blackstar is more of an all-round amp. Sounds a bit rounder but there definitely is some overlap tonally.
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
11,135
Did you mean my demo or did rauchman also have a demo up?

If you meant me: those amps are quite different. The clean on the EVH is very clean and kind of sterile because of that. I like how with the blackstar you can get some mild overdrive on the clean channel which helps to smooth out the dynamics a bit. The red channel on the EVH is quite unique imho, very huge and tight sounding. The Blackstar can also do similar tones but not as huge and tight sounding as the EVH. The Blackstar is more of an all-round amp. Sounds a bit rounder but there definitely is some overlap tonally.
One of my favorite tones from the HT20MKII is with the clean channel set to the Vox voice, channel volume cranked, overall volume controlled by the global volume. It's a very vintage type of breakup.
 

rauchman

Member
Messages
1,468
Did you mean my demo or did rauchman also have a demo up?

If you meant me: those amps are quite different. The clean on the EVH is very clean and kind of sterile because of that. I like how with the blackstar you can get some mild overdrive on the clean channel which helps to smooth out the dynamics a bit. The red channel on the EVH is quite unique imho, very huge and tight sounding. The Blackstar can also do similar tones but not as huge and tight sounding as the EVH. The Blackstar is more of an all-round amp. Sounds a bit rounder but there definitely is some overlap tonally.
LOL, no....was referring to your vid's.....sorry, quoted the wrong person.

Based on your vid's, totally agree, the Blackstar cleans are fantastic. I need to get to a guitar store to compare these.

Again, fantastic vid's, and great writing / playing in these vid's.
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
11,135
I always use the Fractal Audio LB-2 Reactive Load. Sounds very solid!
Cool. That's not an IR loader though right? I'm starting to get into home recording and IRs and such and am trying to figure out what will work for me. What is your signal chain between the amp and your recording interface and DAW? At what point do the IR's come in?
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
11,135
Wow! This is not the consensus view at TGP, as far as I can tell...

I have an HT Stage 60 2x12 Mk I, which I adore, But i've been quiet about that around here, maybe this could be a paradigm shift. Thanks for the review, great video!
TGP is the internet's "Anti-Blackstar" black hole. All Blackstar haters seem to somehow land in here. There is a HUGE and very hypocritical double standard on this forum when it comes to Blackstar. I chalk it up to internet lunacy.

But when I do see the hypocrisy, I can't resist and usually point it out.

Anyway, the Blackstar HTs are excellent amps, imo. I used to have one of the previous model HT5R combos and actually gigged it for a couple of years. Now I have the HT20MKII and the HT60MKII. Both awesome amps.
 

Guitarjon

Member
Messages
1,853
One of my favorite tones from the HT20MKII is with the clean channel set to the Vox voice, channel volume cranked, overall volume controlled by the global volume. It's a very vintage type of breakup.
Yeah it sounded Vox-y to me indeed, very cool since I currently don't own a Vox! Lovely sound! That's the led on voicing right?

LOL, no....was referring to your vid's.....sorry, quoted the wrong person.

Based on your vid's, totally agree, the Blackstar cleans are fantastic. I need to get to a guitar store to compare these.

Again, fantastic vid's, and great writing / playing in these vid's.
Thank you! :) Yes, the cleans are stellar!

Wow! This is not the consensus view at TGP, as far as I can tell...

I have an HT Stage 60 2x12 Mk I, which I adore, But i've been quiet about that around here, maybe this could be a paradigm shift. Thanks for the review, great video!
Cheers! I'm not aware of what people think of these amps to be honest so I went in with a very 'blank slate'. I always was a little bit underwhelmed by the overall looks or logo so I didn't have any expectations. Now that I know how good these amps are I'm starting to appreciate the looks more.. Odd how that works!

Cool. That's not an IR loader though right? I'm starting to get into home recording and IRs and such and am trying to figure out what will work for me. What is your signal chain between the amp and your recording interface and DAW? At what point do the IR's come in?
No it's not an IR loader, I load my IRs either in my Axe Fx or daw. So the signal chain basically is:

Guitar > sometimes pedals like a whammy > Axe Fx front input (this is where my DI track is recorded to USB along with the amped channel > loop with amp and loadbox (humbuster cable for lower noise and gnd/lift switch ON on the loadbox to avoid ground loop) > Axe Fx for IE processing.

For my video's I usually add all the post and/or pre fx in my daw with helix native which can also load IRs. Super convenient setup!
 

Darkness

Member
Messages
2,252
I don’t think TGP hates blackstar amps. The abundance of SS circuitry in them is what folks complain about.
 




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