Blackstar HT-5R Mk II

Discussion in 'Guitar & Gear Reviews' started by jmkoeln, May 8, 2019.

  1. jmkoeln

    jmkoeln Electromatic

    40
    Mar 14, 2019
    Cologne, Germany
    Just last week my brand new amp arrived and i had some time to take it through the paces - here's my brief review....

    Unpacking:
    The box revealed a nice looking cabinet covered in black elephant-skin, with a well made pleather handle grip, a bag of native soil;-) and some customer-information about the main features.
    Stowed in an extra cardboard box there would be a 2-button footswitch with plenty of cable as well as a 2 meters mains power cable and a "Blackstar" sticker.

    Exterior:
    The entire amp is put together very well: Skin, fittings, handle grip, rubber feet.... no complaints. Very nice silverchain-piping and typical silver/grey grille cloth.
    Inscriptions are well readable, clearly understandable and at the right places......
    Everything appears worthy and well made.

    bl5foot.jpg

    bl5back.jpg

    bl5top.jpg

    The footswitch is made out of some sturdy kind of plastic and rather for home use, than for a Rock 'n' Roll road trip.... it's very light, so it tends to slide away or tilt if not attached (e.g. with velcro).

    In use:
    With a very reluctant bit of humming, the amp takes up work - accompanied by a blinding red light from the "Power" led. Dialed in at a sweet spot, the speaker delivers a rich and colourful tone, reacting quite responsive to the guitar.
    Both channels feature a "Voice" switch, which - once applied - makes the tones warmer and gives a little more pulse to the lower end. The clean channels "Tone" knob makes it easy to find a number of good sounds - it should be mentioned, that dialing the tone knob beyond 2 o'clock position, produces a bit of noise/static. Not annoying enough to call it a big deal but still worth to mention.

    Apart from that it just sounds great! Not as defined as typical guitar amps......more like a 400 Watt Hifi in a 30 sq yd apartment. With a good load of bass, harmonic mids and a sparkling high end it sounds just awesome at any level of volume. Cranked up, the clean channel will break up nicely and even holds some crunch if you turn up your guitar.
    Not too much of headroom, but a broad range of rich and vital tones.

    The od-channel, supported by a 3-band eq and an "ISF"knob, holds tons of good tones. You will find sweet spots at several gain stages. From here you just dial your guitar knobs to almost any tone you desire - from hardly overdriven to heavily distorted.... It's just fun, playing around with your guitar knobs and changing your sound from Atkins to ZZTop with a twist or two:D.
    The ISF - designed to tweak the sound from 'US' to 'Brit'- allows a decent change of character but creates some harsh sound-behaviour at the very ends of the dial.
    The eq does a clean job. Once dialed in at a good overall sound, you don't have to touch it any more. The eq bands don't influence each other very much, so it's very comfortable finding the perfect settings.

    As you start to crank up, there might occur some noise/static - but on those levels of volume you won't recognize whether it's tinnitus or your amp:cool:.

    You can crank this thing up completely without sounding totally crap - just bring a long guitar cable 'cause this is the loudest 5 Watts i've ever heard!

    But before damaging your ears you might get blinded by the leds aboard the amp and footswitch......do these things shine bright!!! Bring your shades if you wanna play guitar in your cellar! On a bright day there is still no mistakin' whether an led is on or off.

    Back to sound...... playing on lower volumes doesn't decrease the fun by any means. The power attenuator lowers the output level without cutting anything from the preamp stage. Set right, the amp delivers full distortion at bedroom-levels...... Even with full power of 5 Watts - though dialing in the volume knob can become a bit fiddly then.

    Another great feature is the built in reverb. It's capable to add the right amount of wetness to your sound. Turned up to 1 o'clock position it really takes you to a church.... beyond that you enter a cave. At that point it starts sounding less natural..... it seems like the speaker is a bit overstrained, trying to cope with characteristics of an echo.

    The line out with cab simulation works great with headphones. Both, 112 and 412 simulations sound decent on headphones.

    I neither tested the aux/mp3 in nor the usb out but they are there.

    Verdict:
    This amp is a versatile, good sounding home-use machine which fulfills all needs for everyday practicing - even at bedroom levels. It's power attenuator is the first i ever used, without being disappointed by what it does to the sound!
    For a little fun the amp can be cranked up to levels beyond any home-use!
    It has a unique sound which is nothing but fun to listen to ......and play with, since the amp responds so well to the smallest dials on your guitar knobs.

    The occuring noises will never annoy you while playing but might be an issue for professional recording.

    If it would get stolen today - i'd buy it again! *fourandahalfstarsoutoffive*
     

    Attached Files:

  2. thunder58

    thunder58 I Bleed Orange

    Age:
    60
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    I had a Blackstar HT-5 Mini Stack a few years back . It was overall a great little amp. Rumor has it that 5 guys left Marshall Amp Co . to start Blackstar . Blackstar is a great product .
    Congrats and enjoy the amp
     
    Charlie westside, Waxhead and jmkoeln like this.
  3. mandobandit

    mandobandit Electromatic

    37
    Apr 1, 2019
    Ohio
    68D9069E-737D-4E95-BEDE-4742108C01EE.jpeg Congratulations Blackstar makes very solid gear.
    I’m sort of partial myself.
    20 watt Studio for home, 40 watt at drummer’s house where we rehearse
     
  4. sh4rkbyt3

    sh4rkbyt3 Gretschie

    252
    Mar 8, 2019
    Elkton, MD
    Nice review. I especially like the old fashioned knobs on it. I have the Blackstar ID Core 10 and actually like it much better than my Fender Mustang V2.
     
    Charlie westside and jmkoeln like this.
  5. jmkoeln

    jmkoeln Electromatic

    40
    Mar 14, 2019
    Cologne, Germany
    It's more than a rumor - it's written history:)

    There are plenty of interviews with Blackstar/Ex Marshall guys on youtube. Very interesting - though very technical - stuff! These guys breathe and bleed guitar sound!!!
     
  6. Charlie westside

    Charlie westside Synchromatic

    812
    Jul 27, 2018
    Sylmar Califirnia
    20190508_181249.jpg Congrats on the new amp Great review. Thanks.
    I'm a Blackstar guy. HT Club 40 GenI
    absolutly enjoy this amp. It's my go to.
     
    thunder58 likes this.
  7. thunder58

    thunder58 I Bleed Orange

    Age:
    60
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    The HT-Club 40 was my first choice when I was looking for a new amp . Downside was no head phone jack as I'm in a small house with my #1 fan ( the wife :eek: ) Don't get me wrong , I love my Roland JC-40 . Enjoy that great amp Charlie
     
    toddfan and Charlie westside like this.
  8. Charlie westside

    Charlie westside Synchromatic

    812
    Jul 27, 2018
    Sylmar Califirnia
    I use the emulated out jack for the phones but it's not in stereo. Rolland
    also is a great amp. I once has a Jazz chorus. It was great.
     
    thunder58 likes this.
  9. thunder58

    thunder58 I Bleed Orange

    Age:
    60
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    I tried the emulated output at the store but it did not cut out the main speakers . The JC-40 is totally private . Yea , the JC models are great at no matter what size / wattage . If you're gunna go green board , Roland is the way to go
     
    Charlie westside likes this.
  10. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca
    I have the Blackstar HT60 Stage 212MKII. Sooooooooo good. I love the sound of it. Its like a cross between a Marshall and Fender amp.
     
    mandobandit and Charlie westside like this.
  11. strings4v

    strings4v Gretschie

    171
    May 5, 2014
    IN
    I like these. Nice little amps!
     
  12. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    53
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    Great and detailed review. Thank you for sharing this.
     
  13. pmac11

    pmac11 Country Gent

    Age:
    55
    Mar 4, 2018
    Toronto, Ontario
    Nice review, thanks for this!

    Sent from my SM-T560NU using Tapatalk
     
  14. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    You can't unplug the speaker?
     
    thunder58 likes this.
  15. mandobandit

    mandobandit Electromatic

    37
    Apr 1, 2019
    Ohio
    Using the headphone jack on both of my
    MK II club 40 and studio 20 I have to turn master volume off and use Chanel volume for control
     
  16. thunder58

    thunder58 I Bleed Orange

    Age:
    60
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    ..... you tell me now :eek: You got my wheels turning
     
    Henry likes this.
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