All tube 5 watt
2 footswitchable channels clean and dirty
1 12ax7/ECC83, 1 12BH7 power tube
FX loop w/ +4dBV or -10dBV
Emulated headphone/DI output w/cab switch
Dirty: Gain, Volume, Bass, Middle, Treble, ISF (infinite shape feature)
I give it a 9 for features since the clean only has a volume knob.
Everything at noon already sounds great! The ISF knob is very dynamic and can sweep the midrange from a saturated marshall to a scooped boogie-like tone.
It really doesn't get any simpler than this. The clean has a single volume knob, while the dirty channel has your basic EQ controls with the added ISF. The EQ is passive and very usable.
The headphone/speaker out mutes the speaker for silent recording once it's plugged in.
The FX loop is located on the lower back of the amp, simple to use with the +4dbV/-10dbV switch for either rack effects or guitar effects like pedals.
The footswitch is a single button switch to change between clean and dirty channels.
Overall very simple to use and you can achieve great sounds in a matter of seconds!
As you read this you should know that these are my observations based plugging straight through. Playing the amp as is. I do not judge equipment based on adding/using external effects, it's just unfair that way.
Clean: Very usable and decent. Though there is only one knob for the volume so the tone is completely dependent on your guitar. If you crank it, it begins to break up and can get up to that ac/dc crunch.
Dirty: Very nice! Has enough gain on tap to get metallica tones. Great for blues or rock in general. if you want to get a death metal sound, it's not gonna happen without a boost. the ISF knob is a good tool to shape the midrange to how you'd want it, tight and scooped or saturated and 'bouncy' as I like to call it.
Headphone/DI out: This is hard to judge as most DI outs on amps never actually sound any good, they're too buzzy. This one is not buzzy at all, but more like, it's too smooth. The midrange flies out and thickens the sound which is good, but there isn't enough presence to make the emulated out sound convincing.
Picking dynamics are heard through the amp, the gain also cleans up well with the volume knob on your guitar.
I think this is one of the better low watt tube practice amps out there. Comparing this to the Tweaker and the Class 5, I walked out with the HT-5.
The Class 5 was limited in features, while the Tweaker had tons of features but wasn't foot-switchable and sounded boxy! The HT-5 fit just right. The ex-marshall engineers definitely thought this one out well. Yes it's made in Korea which shouldn't deter anybody as everybody knows the QC in Korea is GREAT. Just try out any Korean-made guitar!
I give the overall rating a 8. One point due to the clean channel being limited with just one knob, and the DI not sounding that great. In my opinion, DI outputs are the one of the most ignored things for amp makers. So why put one in? And if you put one in, why not try to make it sound convincing? Though most of them are not usable. The HT-5 is a stepping stone to hopefully one day, finding a GREAT DI out in an amp.
This is one beast of an amp for being only 5 watts. This amp comes with two channels, one being dedicated to a clean tone that give some volume can produce a solid classic rock dirty tone, and a distortion channel that can get very beefy and thick.
The interesting thing about this amp is the ISF control knob that acts sort of like a voicing knob. Helps shape the tone in interesting ways.
Blackstar HT-5 Tube Combo Amplifier Features:
* 5-watt tube combo
* 1 x ECC83 and 1 x 12BH7 tubes
* Unique push-pull power amp design
* HT Pedal preamp
* 2 footswitchable channels
* 10" Celestion speaker
* Enhanced tone controls
* Patent-applied-for Infinite Shape Feature (ISF)
* Fully equipped for studio or practice
* Speaker-emulated output with 1 x 12" or 4 x 12" voicing
* Effects loop with effects level switch
* Footswitch included
I like this amp with just about any guitar you decide to throw at it. I particularly like this amp with a solid Gibson Les Paul. I feel that the two were fit for each other. It seems like perhaps the builder of this amp voicing the amp towards the Les Paul because the tones of it are just flat out amazing!
The clean channel is very good and very reminiscent of an old Fender deluxe amp. When You crank up the volume you get a great classic rock tone ala AC/DC or Led Zeppelin.
The emulated speaker output is kind of weak in my opinion. It doesn't sound that great compared to speaker that's inside the amp
Overall this is a very solid amp for the money. At new these amps come in at around $400, which isn't a bad price for this high quality amplifier. I would recommend this amp to anyone who wants a great sounding tube amp that doesn't want to pay an arm and a leg to get one. This is a great amp to record with and and excellent amp to practice with in the home or office.