These amps may be new, but the brains behind them certainly are not. With a design team boasting nearly 50 years experience between them, headed up by two of Marshall’s most experienced designers, it’s no wonder they have so many artists on their side. They boast Brit indie stars such as James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers), Steve Cradock (Paul Weller) Gaz Coombes (Supergrass) as well as some amazing international hard rock acts such as Opeth, Ozzy’s new flame Gus G and Devildriver.
So, let’s have a look at the HT5R head, the smallest head in the Blackstar arsenal. It’s a simple two channel all-valve head, with a shared EQ and Blackstar‘s patented ISF control. The head pumps out a nice 5 watts making it perfect for recording or practising in the house. Any valve amp fan will tell you, all valve amps need to be turned up to sound good – so a 100 watt valve amp in the house is not ideal. That’s where a 5 watt valve amp has its advantages: you can turn it up loud so it sounds good without making your ears bleed.
The clean has all the sparkle you need, working particularly well with single coil guitars. The drive can give you anything from a nice crunch, raunchy blues through to all out metal. The three band EQ helps you shape your sound, but it’s the ISF pot that really helps you get the sound in your head – turn it one way and you’re as British as a cup of Earl Grey; turn the other way and you’re an all-American burger with the trimmings.
Loads of power and loads of tone in a small box. You can buy it with two small matching cabs but if you want to hear the sound in my head, hook it up to a 4×12 and have it blow your head clean off. A must for all studios and serious tone hounds who don’t want to bug the neighbours. I reckon it could hold its own any day of the week.
Get your hands on one HERE.
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