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Blackstar HT-1R combo Featured

The HT-1 is the perfect studio and practice amp, packing all the great tone and innovative features of the award-winning HT-5 valve amp into a 1 Watt format. - - The patent-applied-for ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) circuit gives you infinite adjustment over the characteristics of the tone control network and takes you from the USA to the UK and anywhere in between. Add a fully specified speaker emulated output, MP3 / Line Input, plus an 8? speaker output and you have everything you need for recording or practicing.

Price: $169 to $204 at 10 stores
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A tiny amp that packs a punch well above it's weight. featured

Sound The Blackstar HT-1R is the newest edition to the HT line of Blackstar amplifiers. This tiny little brother to the Blackstar HT-5 is a 1 watt 2 channel valve amplifier, sporting 1xECC83 and 1xECC82 valves, digital reverb, and an 8" speaker. The control set is slimmed down from the HT-5, and only has a gain, volume, ISF control for tone, and the aforementioned reverb. It is also equipped with the speaker emulated output and headphone jack, and sports an MP3/line in.

This slimmed down control set sounds like it could be fairly limited when it comes to dialing in a tone, but that couldn't be further from the truth. It seems that the Blackstar crew have really taken the time to dial in the perfect tone into the HT-1, which allows the ISF control to offer a wide range of tonal options to suit most people. I found that by setting the ISF control in the same 3 o'clock position that I set on my HT-5 to, that I had pretty much the same sort of tone I got with my HT-5, even with my personal 3 band eq settings.

An 8" speaker is always going to compromise your tone and volume in some way. The HT-1 did sound a little boxy, but as long as you are not cranking the volume it's perfect for a practice amp. The clean channel is quite nice, but breaks up very early. I'd imagine that playing the HT-1 through a 12" or set of 12" speakers would result in far more clean headroom, but once again for a practice amp it's up to the task. The cleans can be nice and chimey, or have a bit more grunt if that's your cup of ale. Just spin the ISF control around and you'll find some really nice clean tones to suit your tastes.

Just like I found with my HT-5 the dirty channel is just simply awesome. It goes anywhere from classic rock crunch through to a nice metal drive. It's not capable of extreme buzz-saw gain, but through an overdrive pedal in front of it and I'm sure it will return with the goods. I was playing the Ibanez RG465M, which sports a DiMarzio D-Activator and Air Norton S combo, and this guitar was able to absolutely scream through the HT-1.

The amazing thing with the HT-1R is that even with a single 8" speaker the amplifier sounds so much better than it has any right to. It really punches above it's class when it comes to tone, and I can imagine that it would only sound even better with a "proper" speaker cabinet setup.

The reverb, while not really my thing is a nice pleasant sounding reverb effect, and sounded pretty nice both with a subtle setting, and with it cranked right up. I think most players who like some reverb in their tone would be more than happy with it.

If you are looking at the HT-1R as a studio recording tool it should be perfect for you. With the speaker emulated output gives you the power to record with no external sound, and the 1x12 and 4x12 virtual cabinet options sound almost as good as the real thing mic-ed up with a quality microphone.

It would be nice if the HT-1R came with an effects loop, but at such a low price point it's probably not possible to have an effects loop, and keep the price so low.

Overall the Blackstar HT-1R is an amazing amplifier for the little money required to buy one. I would recommend to anyone looking for a small practice amp, or small studio recording tool to check it out. I'd even recommend people starting out on guitar to spend a little more on a practice amp and get a HT-1. The tone and quality of this amplifier is far beyond what anyone would expect from something of it's size. It will probably hold a far better resale than the usual Peavey, Roland, and Squire, etc type practice amps that most get when they get their first electric guitar.

Reliability The build quality of the HT-1 is as you would expect from any of the Blackstar HT line of amps. Everything feels nice and solid, and the quality of the materials used is up there with amplifiers that are far more expensive. I can see it lasting a very long time if looked after.

Customer Support I've had some good experiences dealing with Blackstar via email.

Liked about it The amazing tone of the Blackstar HT-5 crammed into an even smaller amp with a simpler control set.
* It sounds a lot better than an amplifier with an 8" speaker has the right to.
* Beautifully built for such a cheap amplifier

Didn't like Would be great with an effects loop, but probably not feasible at this price point.

Overall satisfaction:

By LonePhantom
Jan 25, 2011
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