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June 2017 Giveaway

Blackstar HT-1RH 1-watt Tube Head with Reverb Reviews

5.0 stars based on 17 customer reviews
  • from Washington, DC October 27, 2016Music Background:
    Studio Bum

    Wicked good little amp

    Really great sounding amp. Smaller than it seems in the pictures. I would say it's not bigger than a breadbox. Solid build though. Very good sounding reverb, but not a spring. Overdrive switch but I have barely used it since you can drive that 1w pretty easily by upping the gain. Produces a nice edgy crunch, which is exactly what it should do. The eq settings are a nice touch and with a turn of a dial you really do hear major tonal differences. Turned fully clockwise, you get a full, smooth, distorted chordy tone with lots of nice bottom end. Fully counter c/w, there is much more midrange and high-gain, wailing solo sound. I paired her with a modified Fender Princeton '65 that I removed the amp portion from, so it's a good mid sized cab with a 12" speaker. It's not loud. But it sounds great. Ideal for recording. Put your mic right up in front of the grill, you get that big cranked amp sound without much fiddling. The head is small enough you can put it right on your desk and run a long cable to the cab. Push your preamps all the way up and you get big fat waveforms with almost no work. I have not used the emulated output since it's soooooo easy to mic up. Love it.

  • from Springdale, AR August 5, 2016Music Background:
    Ex-semi pro player. No just for the love of music!

    GREAT transaction!

    Let's start with Sweetwater themselves. Packaging was better than expected and service was very customer focused! I work in the logistics field and these folks are top shelf! They have earned a loyal customer here! Arrived a day early and everything was "new in the box" condition! Thanks Daniel!

    Bought this amp with the HTV112 cabinet looking for low volume good tone. I've built a few amps that sound great, but at the volume the neighbors don't really appreciate. This thing fits that bill! Really good cleans and good grind without having to talk to law enforcement! Love'n it!

  • from United States December 25, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician, Recording Engineer, Piddler Supreme

    Amazing low volume tone

    I needed a versatile tube amp for both practice at home and recording. Since becoming older and having a family I've found it very difficult to be able to practice at home without disrupting everyone in the house with my tube amp. Even my 30 watt combo was simply too loud and intrusive, never mind the 100 watt stacks.

    The HT-1RH paired with a VOX V112NT cabinet solved everything. The Celestion G12M in the VOX cab pairs up wonderfully with the Blackstar head. Where other low power tube amps left be feeling like I was always searching for that best tone, this setup makes it difficult to find a tone that isn't good. This setup is very responsive too the type of guitar you plug in as well. Plug in a stratocaster and go to the clean channel with the ISF to the west and gain around 1pm and you have an incredibly rich Texas blues tone. Roll the gain off to 10am and crank the reverb and you have surf tone heaven. Plug in a Les Paul, pull back the reverb, and move the gain to 2pm and you are ready to rock all the early Zeppelin classics. Turn the gain all the way up and AC/DC and early hard rock tones pour out. And this is all just on the clean channel. Push a button and you move into the land of high gain madness. This little tiny beast gets there and does it with all the meat and potatoes tone I'd expect from my 100 watt heads. There is plenty of gain on tap as well. You can flat out thrash with this thing with the gain cranked to the max. The best thing of all is that this tiny little head does all of this while producing guitar tones you want to hear.

    I'd expect that cabinet selection can further vary the tones I can get out of this head. I'm so pleased with the the VOX cab that I won't be searching for something else anytime soon. However, I knew that a decent 12" Celestion speaker would be a necessity for me. I learned a long time ago that speakers are just about as important as the gear driving them. I cannot imagine how much better the tone will get once the speaker is broken in.

    The 1 watt of power is absolutely perfect for home practice or recording. You can really hear and feel that true tube tone when you start turning this little monster up. However, this amp simply will not work for gigs or jams. It simply doesn't have enough volume. Still, that isn't the point with this amp.

  • from Lawrenceville, GA November 12, 2014Music Background:
    30 year of guitar playing

    Sweet little amp

    I can't find a reason not to love this thing. I needed something that I could play in a small room with unmiced acoustics. This really fit the bill. It's perfect as a practice amp and very loud with the gain up and a 4x12 under it.

    The ISF circuit is awesome. The controls are simple and the size is perfect for traveling light. I sold an Orange Micro Terror to get this and I do not regret it.

    To me it sounds best with volume past 12 o'clock. I'm playing into a single G12H-30 most of the time. I have another cab with a G10 that sounds pretty good at lower volumes. It just needs to be turned up enough to push the cone.

    Recording straight out of the emulated speaker out if good but it doesn't sound very good on headphones to me. But, I've never found an amp that really did sound lout enough in the headphones. I guess they are trying to protect my ears and keep the levels low for recording.

    Overall, a fantastic low power amp for practice and low volume rooms. Blackstar will get more of my business in the future.

  • from Georgia, USA November 3, 2014Music Background:
    30 year of guitar playing

    Whoa!

    Love this thing. Jacked it into a Marshall cab and it was incredible Into a single 12" G12H i was fantastic. The real kicker is the US to Brit tone. Nice. Getting the twangy US country sound is as easy as turning the tone to the left. Go the other way and you get a decent Brit tone.

    It's a good amp with a lot of flexibility. Perfect for practice. Good for recording. Love it.

  • from the woods somewhere in Maine February 13, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Really nice amp... and service!

    I purchased this amp and the 460 speaker setup from Sweetwater about a month ago. This is the cleanest amp I have ever used. Now I know exactly what my guitar sounds like. I didn't know what a nice guitar I have! If I want to dirty it up some I use my Tonelab.

    I use a bedroom type room to play my guitar. This amp is perfect. The clean sound is phenomenal, even at volumes so low that my wife can sleep in the other bedroom. I can't say enough about it. I believe that it has already improved my playing because I can't blame the fuzz on the amp any more. If I want to create something other than a clean sound I know exactly what is being changed. No more shots in the dark.

    One other thing about Sweetwater... Their free shipping is great! The amp head and speaker came in separate boxes. Fedex made two trips in one day (I am 20 miles from their terminal) to make sure I had my stuff within the second day!

    I can't say enough good about this amp and speaker setup or Sweetwater. Thanks, guys.

  • from santa rosa, CA July 26, 2013Music Background:
    geezer

    Wowza!

    Just got this today, after playing two hours I think this may be my favorite practice amp! Great tube tones and at a very low power! The headphone jack sounds terrific. Think I'm in love.

  • from Columbus Ohio June 1, 2012Music Background:
    Recroding Guitarist

    Great Amp

    Great little and you would be suprized how loud 1 watt is sounds like the tone ive been chasing for over 20 years

  • from Dallas, TX February 23, 2012Music Background:
    First gig 1963

    Tube tones

    Very impressive tube tones at lower volumes. What is more impressive is the stereo emulated output for direct input or for recording, this makes the reverb sound much better. I have never been more pleased with an amp purchase. My first amp was a 62 Silvertone. This is the perfect home or practice amp. Could also be used for a back-up as a direct input.

  • from February 20, 2012

    unique little amp

    In a world where amp makers are cranking out low wattage amps right and left, it is nice to find someone doing something different. So what makes this map different? First of all, this is 1 watt amp. 1 watt! This is truly a practice amp, with volume levels that are appropriate. That is not to say that it can't get loud, but compared to just about any other tube amp, this offers a much more usable volume level.

    The second, and perhaps most unique feature, is that tone/shape nob "ISF". Now realistically, it does not truly offer infinite shaping control, and it does not take you from a perfect analog Fender model to a perfect Marshall or Vox tone. With that said, it truly does take you from a more american/fender type tone to a more british tone. Most significantly, it does this, if I understand things correctly, through an analog control, and creates musical, usable tones. A lot of these little amps really do not sound that good. Most people who rave about them have frankly never heard a really good, classic small tube amp, like a classic Fender Princeton or Champ, and do not know just how a good a good tube amp can sound. This amp surprises in that regard. It is crisp, clear, and, and has some mojo. It is not as sparkly as an old school Fender, but does offer a lot of variety in tone through the ISF control. Without digital modeling, I do not know of any other small tube amp that offers this level of variety and control.

    Third and finally, this little guy offers two channels and digital reverb. This takes the level of versatility to an entirely different plane than most other small amps. While there are a lot of small amps that resort to digital modeling, this offers a genuine second channel of insanity. The second channel absolutely screams. While that level of gain and distortion is not my thing, for those who need it this amp is a monster.

    So all in all, the HT-1RH offers a super cool little bundle of fun that sounds great. If you want a great sounding practice room tube amp, this is the one.

  • from Waco, TX January 20, 2017Music Background:
    Openly Dilletante

    Versatile and Intuitive Practice Amp

    I've spent the last ~5 yrs bouncing between several practice amps. This is the best one I've found by more than a little bit.

    1 watt seems to be about right for filling 1 room of the house with satisfying sound without frightening the dog and annoying everyone else in earshot. For a while I was using an A/B switcher with a Smokey Head on one side for clean sound and a Hi-Gain Smokey Amp on the other side for overdrive sounds, both going into an Avatar GS112. I liked the sounds, but the setup itself was a real pain and I was having trouble with LOTS of noise in the signal chain when I used 9V power supplies instead of 9V batteries. It was also a drag having only the tone control on the guitar for EQ and only the volume control on the guitar to control volume and gain. The search continues.

    I have a Vox AC4C1. It is a one-trick pony, but WOW, what a trick. When that chimey sound that's always more or less broken up is what you want, nothing can compare. But it never really cleans up and it doesn't do a good hard rock crunch. The search continues.

    I also have an Ibanez TSA15 head that I run through the aforementioned GS112 cabinet. The clean sound is awesome. The overdrive sounds are also quite good although I still haven't really adjusted to the interplay between the EQ on the amp and the tone controls on the Tube Screamer circuit. It also seems to have a darker sound in triode (5W) mode than pentode (15W) mode. Playing by G&L ASAT through this amp on pentode mode with the Avatar GS112 with the rest of the band, it really opened up and had a great southern rock twang. I have yet to figure out how to reproduce that sound in my home studio at comfortable listening levels - in triode mode it just always seems a little too dark and muted, The search continues.

    The HT1RH does everything I could reasonably ask for at comfortable listening levels in my home studio. The clean sound is great and it's so nice to have reverb again; it really fills out the sound. I spent a lot of time exploring the boundary between clean and overdrive. With my G&L Fallout on the neck pickup, the transition is around 2:00 on the gain knob and there are awesome broken-up blues sounds in that range. Beyond that is a nice bright crunch that just gets fuller and more saturated with more gain. It is pretty easy to dial in sounds with this amp. I was concerned that one parameter on the amp (the ISF knob) wouldn't be enough. It forces me to pay attention to the tone knob on the guitar (on amps with more EQ controls, I tend to set the tone knob on the guitar and forget it) but between the tone on the guitar and the ISF I have been able to dial in any sound I was looking for. My only wishes for this amp would be a closer match of the output levels for the clean and overdriven sounds (unfair I know, it's a 2-stage amp so if you turn up the gain without turning down the volume - it gets louder, they all do that) and a good full-rectifier hi gain sound like Line 6 Insane (also unfair - for the few times I actually want that, I can hook up my Pod). But in terms of reasonable requests - this amp does it all with practically no learning curve. They really do make it pretty easy to dial in "the sound in your head."

  • from Sexsmith,AB November 18, 2015Music Background:
    Learning !

    Black star Ht-1

    What an amazing little tube amp this! It does every thing from singing clean to down right dirty distortion. I love it

  • from Horicon, WI June 10, 2013

    Truly "The Sound in Your Head"

    We've all been searching for that elusive tone. That sweet spot. Well, for me at least, this amp hit the spot.

    I needed something to that sounds great at low levels, easy to record, and simple to operate. This little dude hit all of that on the head.

    Straight out of the box this guy roared. The front panel features may look limited at first blush, but they are powerful. Simple tweaks of the available knobs can have some pretty awesome results. Having built in reverb is a plus as well.

    The only thing I wish it had was footswitchable channels. But otherwise this is the perfect amp for anyone who wants a TON of tone in small package.

  • from Northern Il February 6, 2013Music Background:
    Home Recorder, Hobbyist, Occasional Gigger

    A little powerhouse of an amp

    I wanted this for a late night, quiet play practice Amp. I disn't want another sterile, SS for that role. Wanted that good tube tone through. By far the best headphone tone I have found on a tube amp. Also works as a great studio amp getting as dirty as you want at reasonable volumes.

    It has very basic features. But, it has everything that is needed. Well, an FX loop would be nice. First company that produces an amp like this with an FX loop and perhaps a 3 knob EQ is going to clean up the home recordist/player market.

    Solidly built. Pots feel of the highest quality, and are quiet and a nice sweep. Extrmely high quality fit and finish. Looks very nice, Reminds you just a bit like a Marshall, doesn't it.

    This amp sounds very good, very very good. Don't get me wrong, 1w can still get pretty loud when you dime the master volume and gain, through a 4x12. GIGable loud? No, but can still rattle windows in a bedroom, easily.

    It is very responsive and articulate. As responsive and articulate as my Rivera? No. But, it is the match for my former Egnater, more than a match in this regard for my former Peavey C30. It REALLY sounds huge, like a much bigger amp, even at talk over volumes. And THAT is what I wanted, and what this is all about.

    Cleans are nice, clear, warm with just a little chime. Many think of Blackstar as Gain machines. But the cleans are very good. Not Fender cleans, not typical that is. TO me, it's Bassman meets Marshall with a little vox thrown in.

    Clean Channel can actually go from clean to a little past Blues crunch into light classic rock crunch. 1 Watt does not leave room for a lot of clean Headroom. But this little amp REALLY RESPONDS to adjustments on the guitar and/or attack. I am actually extrmely and pleasantly surprised by how well it does this.

    Roll this Channel's volume and gain up, then back the Guitar volume off and the Amp cleans up nicely. Can do this on both Channels. So you can get plenty loud and clean.

    The OD Channel is worth the price of admission. There is a decent amount of overlap between channels, which is great. you can actually go from clean, that will start to growl with aggresive picking at full guitar vol, to very modern gain levels. Definately into Marshall JCM900, DSL and beyond gain levels. IMHO you can do unaided metal. Distortion is really something special. Lively, responsive, articulated among the strings. It has a hint of wildness and a bit out of control, without being out of control. Really sounds like a 50w, or 100w tube amo, at very low levels. I expect it's the pushpull behind it.

    The 'EQ' on this amp is not a true EQ. This worried me at first. But, the Amp's basic tone is just good. So, it doesn't need a lot of tweaking. What it does, is really show the differences in different Guitar's tones. And, you have to work the guitar's tone knob to get more varied tone.

    What the EQ is, is their Infinate Shape Feature, or ISF. What it really is, is a Mid hump adjustment. Doc says it shifts between US and Brit voicing. To me it appears to lessen both the depth and width of the mid hump AND shift it to upper mids, while scooping a little bit of the lwer mids on the FULL "US" side. All the way to Brit side, it widens and deepns that hump and shifts it to the low mids, while reducing the upper mids.

    Now, we get to the Heaphone and Emulated out. It is good, almost great. It blows the Bugera away in this area. In fact, it's the best I have heard from a tube amp. It is more than useable. That said, it still attenuates towards the higher frequencies. It's not quite as deep and full sounding as the amp through a speaker CAB. However, if your first hearing of the amp was through this, you would think it sounded pretty darn good. I think it is about as good as your going to get for this.

    But, definately could use an off-board EQ for the headphone/emulated out. I ran that to my mixer with seperate Upper, dual mids and lower EQ adjustments. I was able to duplicate pretty close to the speaker tone, with minor tweaks.

    Reverb is good. As good as a real Spring reverb? No. But it is good enough, can get fairly lush, and is quiet.

    All of my guitars sounded very nice through it. It REALLY loves humbuckers.

    THis is the perfect practice/quiet use, tube amp in my opinion. I also think it will make a great recording amp. If you want great tube tone, crunch and distortion, for home/bedroom/low levels and home recording, this is your amp. You can get nice cleans all the way to metal tones at these volumes.

    Good amp at any price point. Awesome amp at this price point. Of what I have, or have had, only my higher end amps beat this out as far as tone, responsiveness and playability.

  • from Grayslake, IL January 11, 2013Music Background:
    Home player and recording

    THe perfect, Tube Practice Amp!

    I am giving it 4.5 stars based on it's intended use. That is, as a practice amp for quiet and silent practice AND as a recording amp.

    Headphone use is mandatory for a practice amp. Though, the Blackstar still isn't 100% accurate reproduction in the phones, as there is still some attrenuation of frequencies, it is by far the best out there in this regard (for Tube Amps). I replaced my Bugera V5 with this Blackstar mostly for this reason.

    This amp has the Tone though. Awesome, awesome tone. Extremely responsive to your right hand AND guitar settings. Not a lot of tonal variety ON the amp, but what there is is just wonderfull. From Mesa-ish/Soldanoish US to Marshall Brit tones. But, you REALLY hear the difference in each PUP AND each different guitar, while maintaining the flavor.

    So Different strength Humbuckers, P900s, Filtertrons, Single coils will all sound and react a little differently with this amp (in a great way), specially under Gain.

    2 Channels, overlap nicely. Can get right up to a nice 60s, 70s classic rock crunch on the clean channel. The Dirt channel goes through that, right into 80s and 90s rock, right into modern gain tones. Amp sounds SO big in this regard. I have 2 boutique high end Amps, a Bugera V5 still and sold an Egnater. Only one of the boutique amps (A Rivera), has, or had better driven tones. Even better than the Egnater Tweaker with NOS RCA 6V6s I recently sold.

    IF this amp had a full 3 knob EQ with the ISF and an FX loop, it would be 5+ stars and THE perfect home practice and recording amp. As is, it's the best thing out there right now.

    I do recommend either an outboard EQ pedal for Headphone use. As mentioned, Headphone tap ius very good, but you do still lose some lows and low mids. Running the Headphone/Emulated line out to a mixer with EQ works for headphone use as well. Very minor tweaks and I had it matching in my phones, exactly what I heard in the CAB.

    I also recommend getting some Florescent paint and dabbing on the black dots on the knobs. When the super bright LED is on, it is hard to tell where the knobs are set.

    Now, stop reading this and go order one of these.

  • from New York, NY, USA October 16, 2012Music Background:
    Weekend warrior :)

    Awesome practice/recording head

    Living in an apartment makes playing an amp even at a low volume a possible noise complaint. I just wanted something I can plug headphones into, and since I never owned a tube amp, I thought I'd give this a shot.

    Wow, probably won't go back to solid state, ever! I'm very impressed with its sound. To be fair, it's a practice amp, but it sounds damn good for such a small, lightweight, low-watt amp.

    A footswitch would be nice, but again, it has to keep its small footprint somehow. Highly recommend!!

  • from Haddonfield, NJ USA June 7, 2012Music Background:
    Sax, harmonica and blues guitar

    Great practice and small gig amp

    This amp sounds great through the 12" speaker in my Fender Blues Junior III. I like the sound better than the Blues Jr. Being able to practice at low volume and still have the sound of a good tube amp is a plus for me. This is also a good amp for small gigs

    I would have rated this a 5, but there is a difinate hum in the speaker output. The hum remains even without anything connected to the input. You can't hear the hum when you play, but I am a bit of a perfectionist. My electrical engineering education makes me wonder why a low power amp has to have hum.

Questions about the Blackstar HT-1RH 1-watt Tube Head with Reverb?

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