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Blackstar Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp   

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The HT Studio 20 combo from the Venue series is the big brother of Blackstar's critically acclaimed HT-5, and offers huge versatility for home, rehea...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

Authentic cleans and super high-gain overdrives are combined in this innovative, versatile, and portable tube combo.

The HT Studio 20 combo from the Venue series is the big brother of Blackstar's critically acclaimed HT-5, and offers huge versatility for home, rehearsal or studio use. Coupled with a cathode-biased EL34 power amp, the carefully voiced preamp provides the user with the ability to create wonderfully lush tube tones through the 12" Celestion speaker.

The Clean Channel on the Blackstar tube amp provides a wide range of clean and moderately overdriven tones. The voicing is typical of many 'boutique' style amplifiers with a ringing Class A type performance. The overall character may be adjusted with the Tone control from dark and warm through to bright and sparkling.

The HT Studio 20 Overdrive Channel is characterized by a tone that's high in gain, but lacks any of the detached top-end 'fizz' often found in many similar designs. This is a result of unique preamplifier and power amplifier shaping techniques. The overdrive cleans up beautifully as the guitar volume is reduced, so even at the most extreme settings, the Overdrive Channel remains natural sounding.

The HT Studio 20 Overdrive Channel also has its own highly flexible EQ section providing a variety of overdriven tones. Blackstar's ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) control represents a major step forward in tone-shaping flexibility. The ISF control shifts the response of the three-control tone stack between a U.S.-type response at one end, and at the other a U.K.-type response. Between these two extremes lies an infinite number of alternative tone choices that would be otherwise unavailable.

The HT Studio 20's two-channel design has been optimized for either preamp or power amp overdrive, or a combination of both. The carefully voiced preamp and cathode-biased dual EL34 power amp configuration provides the user with the ability to create wonderfully lush tube tones. From mild overdrive, that cleans up by backing off the guitar volume control, to highly saturated distortion, this amp does it all.

The HT Studio 20 also features a completely natural sounding digital reverb, which is outstandingly musical on both clean and crunch tones and raises the benchmark for guitar amplifier specific reverb design.

FEATURES
  • 20 Watt tube combo
  • 2xECC83, 2xEL34
  • Two footswitchable channels
  • 12" Celestion speaker
  • Enhanced tone controls
  • Patent-Applied-For Infinite Shape Feature (ISF)
  • Master volume
  • Digital reverb
  • Speaker emulated output
  • Effects loop
  • One-way footswitch included
  • Cool vintage styling
SPECIFICATIONS

Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp

  • Power (RMS): 20 Watts
    Tubes: 2 x ECC83, 2 x EL34
    Weight: 45 lb.
    Dimensions: 22-3/5" x 20-4/5 x 11-1/2"
    Footswitch: FS-4 included
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
BlackstarVenue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp
 
4.3

(based on 23 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (16)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

75%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (11)
  • Excellent sound (10)
  • Good power output (8)
  • Portable (8)
  • Warm / comfy (8)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Home studio (7)
  • Amateur recording (6)
  • Performances (6)
  • Professional recording (5)
  • Outdoor events / games (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (12)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

If your a hobbyist or an active musician, buy this amp.

I bought this amp honestly expecting to be somewhat dissapointed. I had never heard of Blackstar until a few weeks ago, and after looking up several Youtube videos on their amps I decided to...Read complete review

I bought this amp honestly expecting to be somewhat dissapointed. I had never heard of Blackstar until a few weeks ago, and after looking up several Youtube videos on their amps I decided to take the leap of faith and buy myself one. I can say with 100% honesty that I am not dissapointed whatsoever. It's pretty safe to say that I've turned my entire band into Blackstar fans, seeing as to how now the rhythm guitarist and even my bassist wants one.

One thing I would recommend if you buy this amp, is to either already have a decent pedal board or to save up and buy a good pedal board (but this goes for all tube amps). This amp sounds phenominal with a Crybaby Wah pedal or a Plimsoul being pushed through it.

If you are a gigging musician or a flat out hobbyist, you need to buy this amp. Blues, Rock, Modern metal, old metal, this amp has it all.
Pretty standard set up. It has Bass, Mid, Treble and the very interesting ISF knob. To the untrained ear, the ISF is virtually pointless, but to a trained ear it has the potential to be one of the best things this amp has to offer. I can get this amp to sound just about any way I want it to. You can get that gritty early Metallica sound, to Iron Maiden, to AC/DC. You name it, you can get THAT sound, with a little bit of altering the EQ of course.
I havn't tried it obviously, but I'd say you could probably drop this amp off a two story building and it would still remain intact. It's built like a tank. Although, It would probably be easy to scratch but if you baby it like I do, you shouldnt have a problem.
For the price you can't find a more versatile and great sounding amp. Period.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Perfectly Pedestrian

The clean channel has a gain and a tone control. I found that it sounds fine with humbuckers, but I could not find a sweet spot with any of my single coil-equipped guitars....Read complete review

The clean channel has a gain and a tone control. I found that it sounds fine with humbuckers, but I could not find a sweet spot with any of my single coil-equipped guitars. The sound lacked definition and pop, and tended towards muddy or shrill, with little in-between. This channel did not take to high-gain OD/distortion pedals well, as it has insufficient bass response and the pedals I tried caused significant breakup from the speaker and possibly the amp itself.

The overdrive channel has treble, mids, base and ISF controls. So, it's possible to tweak your sound much more. While this channel sounded better than the clean and there a plenty of usable tones with humbuckers, I again found playing with single coils to be disappointing.

The amp comes with a Celestion Rocket speaker. I've never changed (or had the desire to) an amp speaker in over 20 years of playing, but I tried using it with a Celestion Vintage 30, and it significantly improved the sound.

For the money, this isn't a bad amp. It is certainly fine for gigging (as long as you're mic'd up) and rehearsals. It's also pretty light and looks great. Though there are certainly other options you should seriously consider before committing to this one.

I returned the amp.

Reviewed by 23 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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5.0

Awesome Little amp

By Clarky

from Leitchfield, KY

About Me Experienced

See all my reviews

Verified Reviewer

Pros

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

Cons

    Best Uses

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

    Comments about Blackstar Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

    I bought this amp as a back up for my others. Main thing that drew me was the possible voxish sound. Well, when I got it, I was blown away. Sounds great. Has vox type sound, but the overdrive is killer. The knob from american to british is great as well. Reverb is not too much and the tones and knobs are easy to understand and use. The foot pedal is also a nice touch. I would definitley recommend it to any one.It's also very light compared to other amps as well.

    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    3.0

    Mehhh coulda been ok

    By DrRockso

    from The mothership Il.

    About Me Experienced

    See all my reviews

    Ask me a question

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

      Cons

      • Weak

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Home Studio
      • Practice

      Comments about Blackstar Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

      I got mine at a great price. Otherwise I wouldn't have been so content initially. It's nowhere near 20 watts. Build was fair. Tone was fair. I liked it. But not all it was hyped out to be. Mine did regrettably go back. Only over a what may have been a faulty Led which faded in out on and off. I didn't want to mess with it or take chances... If u can get it at a gooood price it's ok. Unless miked your not gigging or keeping up with a drummer. And it will get u most places you need to go for any style. May want a pedal for some things. But it's fairly versitle. Give it a better build all around and it would be awesome. Things happen. Mine could have been an easy fix. Don't know. My rating was my price based. Full price or near. No. Even if my led didn't bug out after 3 days.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Tube goodness in an versatile, good-value package

      By HooliganGorilla

      from Vancouver, Canada

      About Me Experienced

      Pros

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

      Cons

      • Made In China
      • Speaker could be better

      Best Uses

      • Home Studio
      • Performances
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about Blackstar Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

      Versatility is perhaps this amp's greatest strength. You can dial in excellent tones in seconds -- from beautiful Vox-esque cleans to super-warm verge-of breakup crunch, to flat-out high-gain saturation... then, with the turn of the ISF knob, switch from a bright Fender-ish scooped sound to a more Marshally British vibe with more prominent mids.

      The only real downside is the Celestion Rocket 50 speaker, which is notoriously thin-sounding and also rather inefficient. I quickly replaced mine with an Eminence Private Jack (similar to a Greenback; U.S.-made) and the difference is dramatic. A better speaker like this also makes the amp louder and better able to keep up with your drummer. I can't figure out why Blackstar wouldn't use a better speaker to begin with... it's the difference between this being a good amp and an amazing amp.

      A final note that's worth clearing up here is that with this amp you are getting true tube sound, contrary to some popular rumours out there. Blackstar's technicians have been adament that on both the clean and dirt channels (yes, clean as well) all clipping is accomplished by the tube section (preamp tubes especially), not the op-amps which are present only to regulate the amount if signal being driven into the tubes. The fact that the phase inverter is solid state is not really worth noting. It sounds like an all-tube amp, it breaks up like an all-tube amp, because for all intents and purposes it is exactly that: an all-tube amp. If you hear it you'll see for yourself.

      (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      Perfectly Pedestrian

      By LKNJ

      from NJ

      About Me Experienced

      See all my reviews

      Ask me a question

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Portable

      Cons

      • Limited Functions
      • Poor Sound Quality

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Performances

      Comments about Blackstar Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

      The clean channel has a gain and a tone control. I found that it sounds fine with humbuckers, but I could not find a sweet spot with any of my single coil-equipped guitars. The sound lacked definition and pop, and tended towards muddy or shrill, with little in-between. This channel did not take to high-gain OD/distortion pedals well, as it has insufficient bass response and the pedals I tried caused significant breakup from the speaker and possibly the amp itself.

      The overdrive channel has treble, mids, base and ISF controls. So, it's possible to tweak your sound much more. While this channel sounded better than the clean and there a plenty of usable tones with humbuckers, I again found playing with single coils to be disappointing.

      The amp comes with a Celestion Rocket speaker. I've never changed (or had the desire to) an amp speaker in over 20 years of playing, but I tried using it with a Celestion Vintage 30, and it significantly improved the sound.

      For the money, this isn't a bad amp. It is certainly fine for gigging (as long as you're mic'd up) and rehearsals. It's also pretty light and looks great. Though there are certainly other options you should seriously consider before committing to this one.

      I returned the amp.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Great All Around Amp!

      By Roofdesigner503

      from Portlandia, OR

      About Me Experienced

      See all my reviews

      Ask me a question

      Pros

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

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Events
        • Home Studio
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about Blackstar Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

        Wanted a amp that has a Voxy Clean and a Marshall heavy chunk. Videos with sound samples were close to actual, but you do need to upgrade a few things.

        I play a Fender Tele, MIM strat and a stock PRS SE singlecut. Most all styles of music from contemporary to punk.

        Bought amp used and noticed the high end shimmer was missing on the gain side. Videos show the ISF and the benefits and thought adjusting that would do the trick. While it helped a little, IMHO this amp would benefit from a 'presence' control for the gain channel.

        Clean side sound is incredible. While only one tone control (actually two if you use the ISF) it really shapes your sound well.

        Installed JJ 12ax7 preamp tubes and a Eminence Private Jack (Clone Greenback) speaker. Stock power amp tubes. Now this amp sounds killer!

        Takes pedals well. Run a stock Boss Comp/sustainer, keeley mod Boss super overdrive and a Way Huge Analog delay in the front and a TC HOF reverb pedal through the loop. My set up gets me tones from a Brian May to STP high gain.

        Direct recorded through the emulator out and mic'd into Presonus Studio One Producer. Like sound of the mic'd amp over the emulator.

        Plenty of volume in my home studio, probably enough for a small group if mic'd, underpowered for a loud rock/metal band.

        (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        BEST AMP I'VE EVER OWNED

        By jwill89

        from Charlottesville, VA

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

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

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about Blackstar Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

            Very very versatile, very easy to use, so much bang for buck. Gotta be the best value for money for a 20W amp. Only had it a few days now, but I fell instantly in love.

            (2 of 24 customers found this review helpful)

             
            1.0

            Black star Black out

            By Vortex generator

            from San Diego

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Excellent Sound

            Cons

            • Epic Fail

            Best Uses

            • BOAT ANCHOR

            Comments about Blackstar Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

            Unfortunatly this amp did NOT survive its first jam. Played it a few hours at home then at our bands practice it sounded great for the first 4 hours then the clean went out. Played for another hour on the other channel and it went out. Sounded great till it died. It was a factory restock so maybe they didn't get it right. MF was awsome and said they will ship me a new unit. Hope this was a fluke and I will be able to give a full report soon. Thanks Musicians Friend!

            (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            No questions great amp.

            By Geo

            from Lond Island , NY

            About Me Experienced

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Excellent Sound
            • Good Warmth

            Cons

            • Could Use Stand By Switch

            Best Uses

            • Events
            • Home Studio
            • Performances

            Comments about Blackstar Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

            I bought the HT 20 combo and it never dissappointed me. I did buy an extension speaker for fuller sound. Looking back should of bought the 20 amp head with two extension speakers. Lession learned. 20 watts is loud. For my home music it's perfect and you should be able to gig with it, if need to.I enjoy the way the amp keeps the integrity of the guitar. The guitar will sound the way it was made to sound like. My Les Paul sounds incredible, from crunch to the Les Paul growl. I am a Tele lover and it makes it sound extra special. O/D is voiced but very good. The clean is were the amp shines. My son played his 8 string with active pick ups and loved the sounded with O/D (his style of playing). He now is a fan. The effect loop makes the effects sound as part of the system, instead of the line in from the guitar. It just sound better. Kudos to all the other amps. You can't say enough how great they are, but If I wanted to sound like a Marshall or a Fender, I would of bought one.

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Dark, punchy, clear !!!!

            By Atom X

            from Detriot

            About Me Experienced

            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 Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

              I was most impressed with this little monster. It screams !!!!! Dark, warm, punchy, clear. Clean tones are very nice. The overdrive channel has a wide spectrum of tones from high gain metal, to classic rock, to blues tones. It also likes pedals. Im very impressed !!!!

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great amp and even better price

              By Gtrgy27

              from Columbus, Ga

              About Me Experienced

              See all my reviews

              Ask me a question

              Pros

              • Easy To Use
              • Excellent Sound
              • Portable
              • Powerful

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about Blackstar Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

                  Ive owned this amp for a year and it is a great amp suited to almost any style. Sounds great with my Les Paul, HSS Strat, EC1000, and Ibanez S Series.Great for classic rock and metal. However, i haven't been able to get that insane metal sound, yet. Takes pedals very well. ISF is the best feature. Very easy to dial in the sound you want. I've heard recommendations to swap out the speaker but the stock speaker sounds good IMO. 20watts is a great size for recording and will get plenty loud if you are micing at a gig.If your not micing you may want to consider the 50w combo.

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