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Rating and Reviews: Blackstar HT-1R Amp

Travel across the Atlantic for British and American tone with the incredibly studio-friendly 1-watt Blackstar HT-1R combo amp.

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"Superior Tube Amp for Pros and People Who Want to Get Better" submitted May 23, 2011

By a customer from above2.com
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: musician
Music Style: blues, classic rock, tamer metal
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
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Sound: This is basically a great sounding tube amp in a small size. Tube amps sound best cranked up. However, cranked up amps are not always the best for practicing and recording. And when I say practicing, I do not mean rehearsing. This amp can get loud (to give you great tube tone) but not terribly loud because it is only 1 watt with an 8 inch speaker. You can get fantastic cleans, crunch classic rock and some good metal tones as well. The "ISF" is very cool and you can change the overall character of the amp from a Fender-esque clean sound to a Vox chime to a roaring woody Marshall-esque sound. The reverb on the amp is digital and stereo. In reality, it sounds great and is very usable. It feels and sounds like a quality analog reverb. If you are looking for touch responsiveness, tube breakup (all levels), etc. this is a great amp and is very small and portable. Takes pedals well, but I have enjoyed using it without pedals for the most part. It is a high resolution amp, so if you play well, it sounds great. If you make mistakes, it will draw attention to them unlike some other amps. Punchiness, touch, all the tube hallmarks are here. My new favorite amp, sound-wise, for recording and practice. While it may seem like a beginner's amp in terms of size, it is not really made for beginners. It is a pro-level amp and does not disappoint. Also, this amp really brings out the good and bad in different guitars, pickups and even cables. Some amps make your gear sound generic, but this thing really lets you hear the differences, no matter how subtle, with your gear. For example, I have a Gretsch where the 2nd selector position (neck and bridge both on) pickup setting sounded the same, or mostly the same, to the neck pickup on its own, through my other gear (Vox amp, Digitech modeler, etc.). With the HT-1, you can hear the differences, as if someone took the pillow off my guitar in that instance, for example. Emulated output/headphones is stereo and sounds truly great. Feature: I only give it a 9 for "features" because it could be slightly better if it had an effects loop perhaps. But when using an amp this small, you probably would not want to connect a bunch of other gear in your signal chain and for recording, you can do your time based effects on the computer (delay, etc.). Otherwise, you defeat the simple portability of the HT-1. Having said that, it does come with stereo headphone/emulated output (the reverb effect is stereo) and also stereo input for MP3/other sound sources (to play along with for example). The headphone and line-in ports are both full-size 1/4" jacks, so you may need different cables or adapters depending on your existing gear. Ease of Use: Easy to use, but please take your time to dial in settings you like. Subtle changes to pre-gain and post-gain and ISF can give you a lot of different sounds. Same with reverb. Behind the simple knobs lies some delicious tone. Quality: Heavy for its size and very well built. The speaker, though small, is designed to take loud volume without farting out. High quality pro gear. I do not think replacing the speaker or the tubes is necessary whatsoever. Give the amp a few hours for the speaker to break in a bit. And make sure you use a really good cable. Believe it or not, different cables can improve your sounds because guitars send out tiny signals over the cable and that tiny signal is prone to changing over the length of the cable. Better cables will give you better resolution, high frequency, and sustain. Value: I think it is a 10 for "value", but I give a 9 because it actually is expensive for a small amp. However, it is fantastic, so you get what you pay for in that regard. A 1 watt boutique tube amp? This is the real deal. Manufacturer Support: Haven't had to ask for support yet - but I think Korg USA is the support department for the USA. The Wow Factor: I like the Blackstar asthetic, grill cloth and marketing. Look online for some of their videos. For example, if you like metal, look for Andy James playing the HT-1 using emulated output. Amazing. While it can do hard rock and classic rock, it has a great round and smooth blues tone too, and I personally mainly use mine on the clean setting with a bit of preamp tube breakup crunch. Overall: Great great amp, if you want to get better, this is for you. If you are already a pro, this is for you. Just starting out? Maybe, but it will not give you the instant tone gratification of a modeling amp and let you go from jazz to country to insane metal by pressing a button. It will amplify your personal tone and skill. If you are just starting out, just be patient as it will not gloss over unclean playing as a lot of amps will.
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Blackstar HT-1R Amp Customer Review submitted August 3, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Music Style: rock
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Sound: Bought this one as B-stock for $220, saving of $80. When the amp arived the clean channel sound ok, but the overdrive channel is very microphonic. I spend $10 order another preamp 12Ax7 tube. Open the back and the top rear screw on the handle, change the tube and everything sound great. Plug in my mp3 player and sound like I'm in concert.
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"Blackstar HT-1R" submitted September 7, 2013

By Larry R in Millersburg, MI
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Sound
Features
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Musical Background: Over 50 years of playing stringed instruments.
Music Style: folk rock, rock, country and blues
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Overall: For it size and portability this amp is good. It give a lot of bite and growl if that is what your looking for. It can also give you clean but with very little volume. I found the sound to be tinny or boxey. I add a HT-112 12" speaker cabinet and the quality of the sound improved dramatically.
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