blackstar HT-5 review


Senior Member
ok so i promised a review of this little ripper, here's a quick one. any questions feel free to ask. i'll just do a basic pros/cons/ for now. i wanted to get a blacheart or tiny terror 'til i read about these 2channel babies. i'll try be as fair/straightforward as possible.

i'm playing a warmoth black korina tele with JB and Phat cat pups, wenge/ebony neck.

SPECS: Blackstar 2 channel 5 watt Ht-5 combo.

- small, light weight, CHEAP! (aus $800)
- basic, easy controls, doesn't take to long to tweak
- nice design
- nice fx loop, direct out
- both channels take pedals well
- speaker outputs (8ohm, 16 ohm, 2x16 ohm)
- included footswitch
- inbuilt speaker is a 40w celestion custom


- extremely versatile! the ISF control really does give a good sweep from "american" to "british". i think more in terms of "voxy/fendery chime" to "woody solid marshally" sounds.
- can get fairly saturated, i guess it can do metal/sweep-picking if you're into that (and have the chops). Doesn't get ridiculously over the top, and still retains a good clarity. Can get a good chunk chunk on palm muting etc etc. Don't think many metal heads would buy a 5watter anyway...??  :dontknow:
- i don't scoop mids (sounds like puss), but you can do the scooped/mesa thing. not as bassy as a mesa
- i play at full vol/half gain, ALMOST loud enough to play with a rock drummer, but not quite. so PRETTY LOUD! especially for a prac/studio amp
- interacts really well with guitar's vol pot
- has a really "organic" feel. i guess thats just a tube amp for ya. depending on settings (i.e. not ridiculously gain heavy) really responds to picking dynamics
- full sound
- mid-range has a good scope, interacts well with the treble and ISF pots

- AWWWWWWW WOW!!!!!!!!!! i almost find myself playing this more than the gain channel. and i'm a hard rocker!!! sorry for my enthusiasm, but i really love this channel. i just sit around for hours playing little blues licks and bouncing chords around. brilliant channel.
-breaks up around 6-7 on the dial, gets a nice tube clip (depending on pickups)
- HUGELY touch responsive. if you dime the vol (like me), you can really "dig in" to notes as they say. or back off the attack and get a nice, sweet, rounded sound.
- 3D sound: this amp doesn't have 'verb, but you could almost swear it does with this channel. i was showing a very good friend of mine (who is one of the leading guitarists in the area), and he couldn't believe the 3D feel of the sound. He's played for 20 yrs etc etc billion amps etc etc and he is not easily impressed.
- shares eq with gain channel, but it really doens't feel like you miss out. this channel has such a natural, back-to-basics sound
- NOTE: this channel will bring out sloppy chops very very quickly.
- i can't say enough good things about this channel.

- not quite loud enough for practice with a drummer (which is what i wanted it for; easy transport to practice)
- the knobs are really really shiny which really does make it hard to see your settings (i thought people on HC were being picky, but it really is difficult with stage lights around)
- included footswitch has a lead only about 3 ft long, rendering it nearly useless  :tard: once you plug it into the backand put it in front of the amp, you have very very VERY little room to move. i stretched it to it's max and only had about 2feet between the amp and the pedal. USELESS.  i connect an extension to it using a female-female 1/4" coupler and a 10ft normal lead, works fine. also doesn't have an LED. con for me, might not be for you. i like to know which channel it's on, which can be hard as i run it at the same time as another amp (H&K switchblade).
- outputs, fx loop, ac cord, footswitch ports are all located under and AROUND the back chassis. makes it painful to set up in a rush; nearly have to turn the amp upside down to see what i'm plugging into. its kinda annoying when you're used to everything just being on the backplate of the amp...
- still pretty damn loud when dimed, however you can get a good tube-driving sound at low volumes, as advertised. so i guess this isnt really a con.
- can feedback/gets a little noisey at high gain at high volumes. not any more than a normal tube amp though. some people may be pissed off, as it's supposed to be a "recording" amp. doesn't worry me, i have it set to a britishy-heavy crunch sound rather than uber distorted. my H&K is at a higher gain level, so the blackstar doesnt need to be.

OVERALL: i really love it! works well for what i wanted it to do (mix with the H&K to give a more in-depth sound, as i am the only guitarist in my band). not quite loud enough for practice for me (i haven't tried running it through a PA via the D/O so i dnt have an opinion there, i read its a little thinner sounding as it removes the output stage). i'd rate it at about an 8, maybe 8.5 out of 10. i really like it, does a lot of sounds very well IMO i definitely recommend trying one out if you can, they're way fun. if you have an extension cab of some kind (a single or 2x12 maybe) then i'd get the head instead of the combo. i got the combo thinking it would be loud enough to just turn up to practice with, but it wasn't loud enough over the drums. if it was stolen, i'd get the head instead and run it through my avatar 2x12. oh yeah, it sounds real nice through V30's!!!

i'm about to go to bed, so if anything seems out of place or sounds weird, put it to my lack of sleep  :icon_thumright: any questions i'll do my best to answer
I've been glancing at this one a few times, but thinking it was too weak a five watts. Thanks for your impressions! Very interesting.
i just realised how long it is for "short" review  :icon_scratch:

but yeah, i really dig this little sucker. in fact, i'm playing it right now  :laughing7: still can't decide whether i like the clean channel or the dirt channel better  :tard:  and i've NEVER been one to just sit around and noodle with a CLEAN sound! try one, they're tasty
thanks for the review! :icon_thumright:

Id trust the reviews here more than anywhere else on the web. :sign13:

Thanks for the review! I was considering one of these for a while. Too bad it's not loud enough for band practice though.
yeah i was a little disappointed. to be honest, if you put it on a chair on tilted it to face you, it would probably do practice. i've only tried it once to be honest. i may try it again over the weekend. and i may try running it through the PA too. mind you, i only tried it by itself, through a cab it would prob cut it  :dontknow:

i'll let ya's know if i'm more successful next time  :icon_thumright: