Blackstar HT Studio 20 Reviews3.8/5.0 based on 6 customer reviews
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from cleveland, Oh.
June 19, 2012Music Background:
amazing tonedon't wait to pull the trigger on this amp... its more than worth it. the tone on this amp is sweet, fat, warm searing.and all points in between. you're not gonna find a better amp in this price range. it is a huge step up for me... been playing fender 65r solid state... now i wonder what i was thinking... even if you play for fun, you have to treat yourself to the luxurious tone that the blackstar produces...you'll never regret it.
from Pennsylvania, USA
August 14, 2012Music Background:
43 years as a pro musician. Also recording.
Blackstar HT Studio 20I am so impressed by the tones I get from this amp, very clean or great overdrive tones. Nothing compares with this amp when you consider the sound quality and the price is very low compared to other vintage, boutique amps that usually cost thousand of dollars that are not any better then the Blackstar Amps.
from Pittsburgh, Pa
June 20, 2011Music Background:
Musician 20+years, Recording Studio Owner
Sweet Sounding Amp!This amp lives up to the hype. For the last couple of days I have been putting this amp through it's paces in my studio. I LOVE the clean sounds this amp produces. The reverb is great up to about 12/1 o'clock after that it becomes more of an effect. On the gain setting it delivers as well. Very nice focused chunky distortion when the ISF is dialed more towards the American side. Dialed more towards the British side the sounds takes on a really dark and muddy tone but still very usable in the right type of song. My best sounding results were found with the ISF set at about 10 o'clock. I didnt give this amp a 5 due to the stock Rocket 50 speaker. I swapped it out for a G12T-75 that I had lying around and it certainly kicked it up a couple of notches. The stock Rocket 50 sounded good and it would make most folks very happy but a better speaker will certainly bring out more of the dynamics this amp produces. The other reason for the 4 rating is that you cant achieve early breakup from the gain side when rolling back your guitar volume. However if you throw an OD pedal in front of the clean channel its sounds beautiful. From beautiful clean bell tones to bluesy grit to full on modern hard rock this is a great amp. When an amp makes me want to keep playing it's a keeper!
from New York, NY & New Haven, CT
July 8, 2011Music Background:
Almost greatI wanted a tube amp with glistening, bell-like cleans and tight, heavy distortion, with a budget of $600. On paper, this amp seemed to be absolutely perfect. In reality, this has turned out to be half true. The clean channel is absolutely gorgeous - crystal clear and smooth like butter. Honestly, I preferred the clean channel to even the Fenders in this price range. One of the few amps with which my guitar actually sounded great using the neck pickups (for some reason in most amps, my neck humbucker ends up sounding too muddy to be useable). That said, it can be difficult to get a crunch out of the clean channel at all but the higher volume settings - something to keep in mind if you were going for touch sensitive breakup. The overdrive channel on the other hand, has ultimately disappointed me. From the demo videos it seemed that the HT Studio 20 had a searing, cutting distortion that projected well and handled gain without becoming loose and undefined. No matter how much I fiddled with the EQ and ISF tone-shaping feature, the overdrive sounded like it was coming from under a blanket. The EQ and ISF changed the shape of the tone *under* the blanket, but for the life of me I couldn't get rid of the **** blanket. To my knowledge (and from my research) this unit was not defective and exhibited none of the signs of defect noted by other users. With my Schecter Omen-6, this amp sounds squashed and compressed and muffled. It sounds like there's a great tone hiding under the blanket, but it simply has no presence. The overdrive has been heartbreaking, because the build quality on this amp is absolutely superb, up there with some boutique manufacturers. It's a very manageable weight, and boy does it get LOUD if you need it to, though it can also back down to a bedroom level and still have workable tone. Additionally, the digital reverb on this baby is pretty sweet sounding, ranging from a subtle spring to some Edge-like, cavernous echo. Honestly, I couldn't tell it was digital. My suggestion would be to try it out for yourself, and compare it to other amps in the price range, and even high-end models to get your bearings. The problem with the overdrive could potentially be the speaker - I tried an HT 20 head with a Traynor cab at a local music store, and it had the exact opposite problem - the cleans sounded muddy, and the overdrive sounded much clearer (but still squashed relative to other amps...). Hard to say really. Give it a try though - maybe you'll have better luck.
from CA, USA
December 6, 2012Music Background:
Hobbyist to the point of professional?
Not Quite ThereI believe another reviewer mentioned that it often sounds as if this thing is under a blanket and I concur. Some of the clean tones can be nice, but to me, this amp sounds solid state about 75% of the time. Not always a bad thing, I've used solid state amps and have a '79 MusicMan that's hybrid tube/ss. Good tone can be gotten from them.
The problem with this amp is presence and character. It's lacking in both. I do a stereo amp setup (this amp and a Vox AC15) and the difference couldn't be too much more glaring. The Vox shimmers and rings whereas this one plays sounds like I'm playing pre-recorded music through it. Yes, I'm aware they're two very different amps, but I just can't anything to bite through the Blackstar. I even replaced some of the tubes with newer, crunchier ones and still couldn't get what I wanted.
However, it's not a poorly made amp. Although I don't care for the sound, it's still a high quality sound that you can shape quite a bit. If you're looking for a very middle of the road, non-polarizing amp, this would work for you. For me it seemed to be a basic workhorse amp for those that don't get too finicky. Guess I'm a diva.
December 4, 2012
Almost what I wantedThis is a fine amp in many ways and I think for many players it will live up to their expectations. The clean channel is quite nice but not quite as nice as my vintage Fender Deluxe. My problem is with the overdrive channel. Why couldn't this have more range and subtlety? With no gain, there is no volume. As soon as you advance the gain to get some volume the distortion kicks in immediately in a rather big way. So the options are limited. You can have quite a bit of distortion or a whole heck of a lot of distortion. Why couldn't this have been designed to grade more slowly into the distortion? If it had been designed that way I would have given it 5 stars and been very happy with it.