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Blackstar HT Series HT-5R Tube Guitar Combo Amp 

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The HT-5R guitar combo amp takes the tone and features of the HT-5C and adds the same stereo reverb used in the acclaimed HT Venue Series. Boasting t...Click To Read More About This Product

Available 07-09-2017

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OVERVIEW

Great for practicing at home or laying down tracks in the studio.

The HT-5R guitar combo amp takes the tone and features of the HT-5C and adds the same stereo reverb used in the acclaimed HT Venue Series. Boasting two channels, an ECC83 preamp tube, a 12BH7 power tube, and the award-winning preamp from the HT Pedal series, the HT-5R is perfect for any situation requiring raw tube tone.

The HT-5R guitar amp features dedicated tone control on the clean channel, a custom designed 12" speaker, and stereo reverb, making it the perfect guitar amp for the studio or home use.

FEATURES
  • Innovative 5 watt tube combo
  • 1xECC83 and 1x12BH7 tubes
  • Unique push-pull power amp design
  • Award-winning HT Pedal preamp
  • Two footswitchable channels
  • 12" Blackbird 50 custom-designed speaker
  • Enhanced tone controls
  • Patent-Applied-For Infinite Shape Feature (ISF)
  • Digital Stereo Reverb
  • Fully equipped for studio or practice
  • Speaker emulated output with 1x12 or 4x12 voicing
  • Effects loop with effects level switch
  • Footswitch included

Compact, affordable, and dripping with sweet tube tone. Order yours today!

Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
BlackstarHT Series HT-5R Tube Guitar Combo Amp
 
4.3

(based on 24 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (17)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

74%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Portable (17)
  • Easy to use (15)
  • Excellent sound (12)
  • Good power output (9)
  • Warm / comfy (9)

Cons

  • Poor sound quality (5)

Best Uses

  • Home studio (12)
  • Amateur recording (11)
  • Professional recording (10)
  • Performances (6)
  • Outdoor events / games (5)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (14), Professional musician (5)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

A practice amp that will surprise you!

I was really torn between choosing the HT-5R and the Hughes & Kettner 5W combo, finally settling with the Blackstar because MF had some restocks that were a great price. Unfortunately,...Read complete review

I was really torn between choosing the HT-5R and the Hughes & Kettner 5W combo, finally settling with the Blackstar because MF had some restocks that were a great price. Unfortunately, when the Blackstar arrived, I found out my "restock" item had a faulty overdrive tube, and no matter what I did to it, I just couldn't get it sorted. I made the dreaded call to MF, but the CS rep immediately generated a replacement order and shipped out another amp express ground for my trouble.

Needless to say I was VERY PLEASED when the replacement arrived three days later. The 5R has a warm natural sound on the clean channel, and really crunchy overdrive. The 12" Celestion speaker provides more than enough volume for practicing at home or just jamming with some friends. The included footswitch was an added value bonus with the 5R, but it wouldn't engage the OD channel unless the OD button was depressed on the control panel on the top of the amp. After reading through the handbook I found that little tidbit of information. I thought it was strange at first, but it works just as the handbook says it should. Depress the OD button on the top of the amp first, then plug in your footswitch, and switch back and forth between clean and OD all night long.

I've never played through any professional gear, but this is the loudest amp I've ever used. It's surprisingly loud for a small combo and sounds especially good for the great "restock" price I paid.

Kudos to Blackstar for offering such a cool-looking, sturdily built, quality amp, and kudos to Musicians Friend for solving an issue and pleasing a customer.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Great sounding amp but.....

I cant recommend the HT-5R combo so I returned it. Note: I normally buy most of my gear from MF but I didn't buy this amp from them. I figured the review...Read complete review

I cant recommend the HT-5R combo so I returned it. Note: I normally buy most of my gear from MF but I didn't buy this amp from them. I figured the review would be helpful if you like your amp to sound good! The Blackstar HT-5R combo is housed in a very small cabinet & as a result it sounds small/boxy. I tried swapping out the speaker with a Jensen P12R alnico for a bigger sound only to find that the baffle isn't even cut in a circle for a full 12" speaker...the top 3" of the baffle is cut straight across making 3/4 of a circle like this (_) but upside down thus blocking/covering up the top 3" of the speaker! It looks like they just took the 10" combo cabinet and stuck a 12" speaker in it without modifying the baffle nor moving the emblem. Blackstar cut corners to save $$ but they didn't cut the right corner...a circle is round!!! IMO the amp would sound 100x better in a slightly bigger combo cabinet with a full circle cut out in the baffle! That being said, for the money, the amp sounds amazing through a separate 12" cabinet. My suggestion is to buy the HT-5RH head and separate HT-112 12" cabinet and you will be in tone heaven for less than six bills!!!

Reviewed by 24 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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(24 of 24 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Tons of tone and very versatile!

By KingV911

from Eau Claire, WI

See all my reviews

Comments about Blackstar HT Series HT-5R Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

I just got this amp a couple weeks ago to use as a home practice and recording amp. I previously had the Blackstar HT-1R which was great in its own right, but I wanted the larger speaker and effects loop that is part of the HT-5R. Out of the box my first impression was that the built quality is superb. It's very slick, yet classic looking. I like the feel of the knobs, the switches, and all the inputs - all felt sturdy. All of the jacks (besides the main Input) are neatly tucked away in the back and keeps things tidy. Of course, none of this would matter if it didn't sound good; fortunately, it sounds really great! The clean channel sounds quite nice and has a nice chimey-ness to it. It has its own dedicated tone knob which is a nice improvement. The gain channel is where this amp shines however. You can get so many types of tones out of it. If you start with the Gain set at 0 and work your way clockwise you find basically any tone you could want. Blues, classic rock, jazz solo, 80's rock, to metal. The gain sounds nice and organic, with a lot of tube life to it. I will say that without an EQ pedal it lacks some low end for modern metaI, and it's hard to get those tight scooped mids. As for the other features the effects loop works great with my pedals. The emulated out works great for silent recording and headphone jamming. Also, I never played through the old HT-5 with the 10" speaker, but I can say this 12" Blackbird speaker sounds pretty strong and can handle loud volumes. Definietely recommend. Great amp for the price!

(18 of 20 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Best Value For Practice Amp

By BlackstarFan

from Virginia Beach, VA

About Me Experienced

Pros

  • Build Quality
  • Cabinet Output
  • Easy To Use
  • Effects loop
  • Good Warmth
  • Headphone Output
  • Portable
  • Price

Cons

  • Speaker Is Just Ok

Best Uses

  • Amateur Recording
  • Home Practice
  • Home Studio

Comments about Blackstar HT Series HT-5R Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

I've owned a JCM800 50w 4212 Combo, Vox Pathfinder 15R, Blackstar HT40 Club Combo, and this amp is my hands down favorite. Here's why: I live in an apt and the volume is very reasonable for any apartment sized space, though it will get loud if you crank it.

The tone is saturated and full sounding even at low volume levels and all the tone knobs are useful throughout their range especially with the ISF feature, I use it a lot to really dial in the tone I want.

The gain knob is very useful and goes from light crunch to full distortion an even when cranked doesn't have a cheesy sound like some practice amps do at high gain levels. This amp suits a variety of styles but I like it most for straight ahead balls to the wall rock n roll. But it would be very well suited for blues or just general practice for a music student. If that's what you want at this price range, look no further.

I play mostly hard rock and I think the OD channel sounds very lush and powerful for an amp of only 5 watts. The bass is very good for something this size and price range. No tinny or thin sound here. You'd be surprised.

As for the clean channel, I personally like it a lot. It gets dirtier in a very linear fashion and at about 2 o'clock (with an Epi LP Standard) on the volume knob it starts to break up very nicely.
Anything past that I can send a hot signal through my pedals, which I like a lot. Clean channel is simple with one tone knob; No funny business here. It does what I ask it to. If you want shimmery country cleans though, this is probably not the right amp.

The amp looks smart and the build quality is high.

My model is the HT5C *without* reverb. So I can't comment on that feature for this amp.

The tubes. Ah the tubes. Two little guys, a 12ax7/ECC83 & a 12BH7. Research and you'll find these to be less expensive to replace than the El34 power tubes that some competitors use for their practice amps. In my opinion the pair picked by Blackstar for this application saturate better and sound way more full than the El34 equipped Orange Tiny Terror for example.

The features list is extensive and I think very impressive for this price range. Do some quick research and I think you'll agree. I checked out the Marshall Class 5 (didn't like the sound), Orange Tiny Terror (not enough features and too expensive), Vox AC15 (the tone just isn't my style. It's very nice, just not for me) and the Fender Blues Jr. (not enough of a hard rock amp for my taste) before I decided on this one and I'm very happy with my purchase.

If I could change anything it would be the speaker. It is the only weak link. Don't get me wrong it doesn't sound bad or weak. I'm just saying compared to a G12M or Vintage 30 it just isn't as bright or defined. So there's an upgrade idea for ya. Only other thing I'd change would be the tubes (factory ones are Sovtek). While they operate quietly with no noise or hum I personally like gold-pin tubes.

That's it though. Everything on this amp from the knobs to switches has a high quality feel to it and the sound is great. You'll be impressed. Just go for it.

(16 of 19 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Super Sweet Little Rig; Awesome sound for the size and price; Blackstar will be a classic!

By Doobster6

from Exton, PA

See all my reviews

Comments about Blackstar HT Series HT-5R Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

I wish the clean channel did have a voicing button but really, this is a nit. The story behiind this company is that it's four or five of the top-most guys who left Marshall to 'do it better; do it right'. So even though they're a new company, they've got THE heritage behind them. I dare say, two or three of these guys were Marshall. So you've got something better than the original, all-tube, at a can't beat price. Destined to become collectible classics, in my opinion. Get a couple of 'em now, while they're still reasonable!!!
I've been playing now for about 43 years (on and off). Did the whole band thing back in the day and owned tons of great guitars and gear, most all of which was eventually sold off to finance a growing family. But I kept my fingers limber throughout and my passion on the boil.
My early forays into 'good stuff' began with MusicMan amps back in the late 70's. Then I went all tube with a short-lived Boogie clone manufactured by Acoustic. I loved it right up until the night it went microphonic during a gig and left me high and dry. The next day I had a solid-state rig and swore I would never again go back to the unreliability of tubes. Decades later, in 1996, I bought Line 6's first modeling amp, the AxSys, in an attempt to get closer to the tube holy grail without going backwards in reliability. Not long after I first got it I then upgraded the firmware to the AX2 which is what I've had since. I REALLY, REALLY like that amp but felt that, while it could do a great job with crunch and high-gain, it just didn't quite do it for clean tones; reasonably close but no cigar.
So my next move, just this past Christmas, was to try Fender's new Mustang IV modeling amp, assuming that they of all companies would nail their signature clean tones I craved. Not so much. But when I returned it to the store I heard a guy playing through a Blackstar, and at the reasonably low volume levels I'm now forced to play at, and I was floored. After some on-line research I decided that the HT-5R would be perfect for my basement noodlings and so about a week later I bought one.
It is AWESOME. As others have said, it is built extremely well with great attention to details like the carrying strap for instance. It is solid and everything has a great feel to it. But it's the sound that has me smiling. The clean channel has what I was looking for. That clean, glassy sound at lower volume settings that breaks up real nice as you crank it into its higher ranges. I will add here that even though the amp can get impressively loud for its size and wattage, the clean channel does not stay 'clean' as you demand more of it. At max crank, you'll be breaking up nicely, heading towards light crunch, so if you're hoping that it will allow you to play clean surf music at its loudest setting you might be disappointed. On the other hand, if you're looking for some nice breaking-up blues tones at those levels you'll be in heaven. And the fact that it has a celestion 12" speaker means that the sound is full and big, sorta like a tiny stack. Also, the clean channel has but a single tone control and none of the 'voicing' options its bigger brothers have, so don't look to this amp for that kind of flexibility/variety. But it's still a great clean tone for practicing or recording. I can't imagine it being improved on very much if at all.
But for most of today's styles, the real fun starts on the gain channel. This channel has a master volume so you can go from very slightly dirty to full gain and still control the volume levels. Now then, as much as I love the 'gain' results Line 6 achieved with the AX2 there is a clear and distinguishable difference between total authentic tube distortion and 'modeled' gain, at least compared with what Line 6 achieved back in 1998. Blackstar's IFS knob is no joke either. It's somewhat more subtle than the 'shape' knob Crate introduced on their solid state amps back when; same idea though and much better voiced. You can tune this knob and the other tone knobs get re-voiced in the process to emulate the 'country-of-origin' tone you've dialed up with the ISF.You can really optimize the result for whatever native tone is being delivered by the guitar driving it. Totally sweet. I guarantee other manufacturers will copy it. The 'sound in your head' indeed!
It's an interesting conundrum I now have. On one hand I have an insanely capable, if somewhat complicated, piece of computerized gear that's like a guitar tone chemistry set. I think the AX2 is still a relevant piece of kit but it really does have too many laters of 'stuff' you can fiddle with and it probably drove many of Line 6's early adopters crazy. But if you sprinkle in just the right amounts of this and that, you can create gorgeous tones. I still use it constantly and still love it; even some of the clean tones, albeit dressed up with a bit-o-verb, delay and chorus. You create your recipe and then you can save it to one of 128 patch locations for instant recall. Nice.
In contrast, the Blackstar is absolutely 'old school'. I had to dust off some old pedals and buy a couple of new ones and still have only a fraction of the tone-shaping potential of the Line 6. Then again though, the simplicity of it is a thing of beauty in its own right. You twiddle a knob until you like how it sounds, and play on! And of course, it sounds so much different, I guess 'authentic' truly is the best word, and so is so rewarding in its own way. Regardless whether I have my Strat or my humbucker guitars driving it, I love what it does and I'm completely inspired by this little thing and absolutely hate to put my guitar down once it's got me in a groove. I'm back to feeling like the 14-year old who played eight hours a day and fell asleep holding his guitar.
So now I have tubes again. Since the thing literally never moves from its spot in my basement, I'm not concerned about the whole reliability thiing. I can't, and won't comment on its reliability in a normal gigging style of use since that's no longer my thing. But it does look up to the job however, for what that's worth. I'm completely sold on the Blackstar line and think it's incredible bang for the buck. For my purposes, getting something this loud (or soft!), with authentic tone this great, in a carry-able package for the price, is an absolute no-brainer.
I'm a manufacturing/design professional now for nearly 40 years and this thing looks state-of-the-art. They didn't cheap anything out. It should stand up to anything resaonable and probably fairly abusive too; probably as good as anything else out there.
As I said, the bang-for-the-buck is unbelievable. Even the bigger amps look like class-leaders to me, at least in the 'all-tube' world.

(15 of 15 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great Value - Excellent Tone

By b7string

from Canada

About Me Professional Musician

See all my reviews

Pros

  • Easy To Use
  • Great Value
  • Lots Of Gain On Tap
  • Manageable Volume
  • Portable
  • Warm Sound

Cons

  • Clean Only Has 1 Eq Knob

Best Uses

  • Amateur Recording
  • Home Studio
  • Professional Recording

Comments about Blackstar HT Series HT-5R Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

Amp has a traditional "British" voicing to it. With ISF knob you can dial in a bit more of a "Mesa-Boogie" sound to it, but overall it still sounds more like a Marshall than anything else.

OD channel is amazing. Great for all levels of gain, totally usable EQ, and its pretty quiet too.

Clean channel sounds very good, a nice "chime" to it, you can keep it really squeaky clean or have it break up a little bit depending on where you set the gain/volume. Only downside is that it only has a "tone" knob so you have a limited ability to adjust EQ. This said, it still sounds very good, just not totally customizable.

The best tone description I can give would be that it sounds like Opeth. Very rich but cutting and punchy overdrive, and warm woody cleans with a bit of top-end chime (almost fender-like, but with more mid presence). The in-between tones (bluesy crunch, light breakup) sound impeccable as-well.

Reverb: Nothing special, but it sounds good, natural, and I find it doesn't over-soak the sound when you use it with the OD channel.

Build Quality: Very solid construction. Knobs don't wiggle, everything is nice and tight, no vibrations.

It sounds GREAT at low volume levels. I play it at bedroom levels not to disturb my upstairs tenants, and it sounds warm and rich. I can't comment on how loud it can go as I've never used it outside of my bedroom or a quiet jam space.

Overall, this amp blows away anything I've tried in this price range, and I prefer it to many pricier amps out there too. I have already purchased one, and I'll be getting a second one for my other jam space. Great unit and amazing value.

(14 of 14 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great Amp !

By A Mac

from Undisclosed

About Me Experienced

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Pros

  • Excellent Sound

Cons

    Best Uses

      Comments about Blackstar HT Series HT-5R Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

      After messing around with all the modeling amps and not being satisfied I finally decided to buy this amp. It is everything I want in an amp and perfect for what I do. It's a straight forward rock to metal machine. I'm so happy with this amp I can't stop playing it. If you're a rock or metal player you'll be very pleased with this amp. Highly recommend.

      (11 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Best hi gain practice amp you can buy. Decent cleans.

      By emainge

      from Chicago, IL

      See all my reviews

      Comments about Blackstar HT Series HT-5R Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

      Wouldn't hesitate to buy this again.
      I've owned a fair number of high-end amps (including a Bogner Ecstacy, Soldano Lucky 13, Bogner Shiva, and Tone King Meteor II of late), and this amp has gain tone that can hang with the best of them. Cleans tones are passable as well. It's amazing for a little practice and recording amp. Nothing compares with it in this price range.

      (11 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Big tone in a studio sized package!

      By LOOPMASTER

      from ASHEVILLE NC

      See all my reviews

      Ask me a question

      Comments about Blackstar HT Series HT-5R Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

      I am only holding back on a 10 rating because I would personally like a clean channel with bass, mid, treble contols.Other than that it is a 10+ for tone. Each time I switch it on I am grinning from ear to ear.It is truly top dog in tone and value, I am a Blackstar player for life now!Dont wait, buy one now.I also got this amp as a used (level1) from MF and got a great deal paying under list price for it! It is flawless and works perfectly. Thanks again MF, you guys rock too!
      This amp is something that has truly surprised me and exceeded my expectations. I have been in several bands and now I have a home recording studio where I produce music for various purposes as well as a weekly podcast that showcases local bands nationwide. I have owned and played though everything from a full stack with 300 watts to modeling amps like Line6 to tube combos. I sold my Fender Mustang 3 to get this amp and have no regrets! I am 48 and have played guitar since I was 6, my life has been all about searching for the perfect tone... My search has ended with this amp. It is worth every penny ( maybe more lol). My only complaint is the limited tone shaping on the clean channel. One knob is not enough Blackstar, come on guys... how about a real clean channel with bass, treble, mid knobs. The clean channel does sound great and most people add some kind of effect to a clean signal so its not a deal breaker.Massive tone is on the overdrive channel. If you cant dial in the tone you want your not doing it right. Simply put , its so good its scary!All in a package thats portable, affordable, and easy to use. The amp looks great too. The ulated out sounds dang good. IMO it sounds better than the speaker. I would rather have a Celestion in there but the speaker it has does a fine job. Just note there is a tone difference between speaker out and emulated out. Thats where the value is however, this is the most versatile amp out there. Live, Direct,headphones, both at same time,thats incredible!Sell what you need to and buy it.you wont be sorry.
      This thing is rock solid.At 32 pounds your getting a sturdy cab that will produce serious thunder at 5 watts. The knobs are solid and have great feel.The in/out jacks on the rear are well laid out and keep clutter to a minimum. They are also well marked so even a novice is good to go.It has a very nice leather handle too for what thats worth. Mine does not leave the studio.
      I think Blackstar hit a home run with this one. No other amp in this wattage / size range comes close. I was seriously considering the Vox Lil night train but it did not have many of the features you get with this amp and was more of a one trick pony. Yeah the chimey cleans on the vox are great but it cant match the tonal possibilities of this amp on the overdrive channel. The ISF knob works just like Blackstar promised with Brit to American and everyting in between.Plus you get a 12" speaker with this amp and Vox wimps out with a 10 inch. If you are wondering, this thing gets LOUD. I would compare it to about a 30 to 40 watt solid state in terms of volume. I was quite surprised myself. Bottom line is it is THE best value out there.I bet Marshall is kicking their own rear end for letting these guys go!

      (9 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      A practice amp that will surprise you!

      By ColsTiger

      from Columbus, GA

      About Me Experienced

      See all my reviews

      Ask me a question

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Excellent Sound
      • Good Looking
      • Good Warmth
      • Portable
      • Powerful
      • Reasonably Priced

      Cons

      • Restocks Can Be Iffy

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Home Studio
      • Small venues

      Comments about Blackstar HT Series HT-5R Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

      I was really torn between choosing the HT-5R and the Hughes & Kettner 5W combo, finally settling with the Blackstar because MF had some restocks that were a great price. Unfortunately, when the Blackstar arrived, I found out my "restock" item had a faulty overdrive tube, and no matter what I did to it, I just couldn't get it sorted. I made the dreaded call to MF, but the CS rep immediately generated a replacement order and shipped out another amp express ground for my trouble.

      Needless to say I was VERY PLEASED when the replacement arrived three days later. The 5R has a warm natural sound on the clean channel, and really crunchy overdrive. The 12" Celestion speaker provides more than enough volume for practicing at home or just jamming with some friends. The included footswitch was an added value bonus with the 5R, but it wouldn't engage the OD channel unless the OD button was depressed on the control panel on the top of the amp. After reading through the handbook I found that little tidbit of information. I thought it was strange at first, but it works just as the handbook says it should. Depress the OD button on the top of the amp first, then plug in your footswitch, and switch back and forth between clean and OD all night long.

      I've never played through any professional gear, but this is the loudest amp I've ever used. It's surprisingly loud for a small combo and sounds especially good for the great "restock" price I paid.

      Kudos to Blackstar for offering such a cool-looking, sturdily built, quality amp, and kudos to Musicians Friend for solving an issue and pleasing a customer.

      (9 of 27 customers found this review helpful)

       
      2.0

      Ok, but overpriced for the tone

      By RBinNH

      from NH

      About Me Experienced

      See all my reviews

      Ask me a question

      Pros

      • Portable

      Cons

      • Poor Sound Quality

      Best Uses

        Comments about Blackstar HT Series HT-5R Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

        I honestly don't understand the glowing reviews for this amp. It hides your guitars tone. I tried it with a Strat, LP with P90s and LP with humbuckers. Sure, you can get an overdriven tone, but you lose your guitars tone, pick dynamics, etc. even after swapping in a 5751 for the 12ax7, you get fizzy sound.

        My main amp is a Mesa Boogie LSS. i collect tube based practice amps. I have a Jet City Picovalve, Kustom Defender 15h, Vox Lil Night Train as well. They all have different sounds for different purposes, but the Blackstar is the only one I really have no use for. Throw a 5751 in the Lil Night Train, and although it only has one channel, you can dial in tones that rival my Mesa. The Jet City allows you to swap in any tubes without biasing, the Kustom is super clean. You can do better than this.

        (9 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        All I can say is wow!

        By tpw66

        from Akron, NY

        About Me Experienced

        See all my reviews

        Ask me a question

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Excellent Sound
        • Good Warmth
        • Portable
        • Powerful

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Amateur Recording
          • Events
          • Home Studio
          • Performances
          • Professional Recording

          Comments about Blackstar HT Series HT-5R Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

          I've been playing for a few years and always played a solid-state amp, but I decided to give tube amp a try.

          All I can say is get this you won't regret it, perfect for bedroom or even for recording awesome awesome tone!

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