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Microphone Month 5

Blackstar HT-5R 5-watt 1x12" Tube Combo with Reverb Reviews

4.5 stars based on 24 customer reviews
Questions about the Blackstar HT-5R 5-watt 1x12" Tube Combo with Reverb?

Questions about the Blackstar HT-5R 5-watt 1x12" Tube Combo with Reverb?

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  • from Grovetown, Ga March 11, 2017

    Blackstar HT-5R is awesome

    I have honestly owned many different amps throughout my life: Fender M80 chorus, Vox Valvetronics & Pathfinder, Marshall AVT150 and Blackstar ID20. This amp was a college gradutation present from my wife and man oh man is does it set itself apart from anything else I have ever owned. This is the first completely tube amp I have ever played and it sounds great. I paired it with a Marshall MG412 cabinet based on a recommendation from a friend and all I can say is wow.
    The clarity of tone, note for note, is breath taking, the wide variety of tones that are possible due to the ISF is incredible, and the punch from the 4x12 cab is inspiring. It is true that it is only 5 watts but it is clearly enough for a small gig, rehearsal, practice, or just home paying. The effects loop works great and the modulation of my different pedals comes in clear and with out any loss of power. I run my wah pedal through the front and the other pedals through the back, it works great.
    Overall I would highly recommend this amp to anyone who wants a moderately priced low watt all tube performer for small applications. You will not be dissappointed.

  • from Dallas June 28, 2016Music Background:
    Experienced Musician

    A lot of features and great sound for the money

    Effects Loop, 2 Foot switchable channels, reverb, low wattage, warm clean tone, array of distortion tones.

  • from STL March 31, 2016Music Background:

    Blackstar HT-5R

    This is the amp you want to practice at home with, take to jam with, and even do small gigs. I love it.
    First, I've been playing over 20 years and have played many amps. For the money I wish this thing was available a loooonnggg time ago. If you are a beginner and just going to play for fun THIS AMP WILL MAKE IT FUN. If you are like me and want something that is pleasant to the ears for practice, jamming, and small gigs this will do it. It's cleans sound nice and I love how the clean channel overdrives when pushed at this lower wattage. Don't be fooled by the 5 watts. Do your homework. Wattage doesn't neccessarily translate to overall volume.This amp is loud enough for small gigs and could be miked up for even larger gigs. The ISF knob is a cool feature. I tend to favor the British tone "Marshall guy"
    The overdrive channel has enough gain for both kinds of rock Classic and Hard and can get into the Metal realm a little if needed. It also has the footswitch which is awesome. Throw your favorite overdrive pedal in front and you have four channels. The effects loop works like it's supposed to. I've been running this through a 2x12 with V30's in it during practices but the stock speaker sounds good too. I just happen to have the 2x12 already.When it comes time to retube you only have two tubes to pay for and this amp is very light weight for the sound it packs. I would definately buy again. Hope this helps someone.

  • from Michigan City IN March 4, 2016

    Blackstar Rocks

    Heavy Metal to Smooth Jazz.....this amp does it all. Very Satisfied. Fast Delivery Too ! I got this amp the next day after I ordered it. Plenty of Volume Too !

  • from Pembroke Pines, FL February 1, 2016Music Background:

    Wow - 5W this Blackstar HT-5R is Pretty Loud!

    My sales engineer Derek Senestraro was very helpful and patient with me as I am a new guitar player (still learning) and I had the Fender Mustang I V2 which was a Solid State 20 watt and I was looking to get a larger "Tube" Amp. I had narrowed down after some reason between the Marshall DSL15 and the Blackstar HT20 Studio. I told Derek I was looking to use something only for indoors in a bedroom and I didn't want to be "that guy" who had to blast his amp and annoy everyone playing my guitar. I wanted something that I could play at low volume and get the gain sound I was looking for. Derek steered me towards the Blackstar HT-5R I was worried that 5watts wasn't going to be loud enough. Derek assured me this amp was the perfect amp for my particular needs. Let alone it has the tube it has 2 channels: Clean and Overdrive! Along with that it has a foot switch included too and an Effect Loop built-in! It seems like a lot of money but Blackstar from what I read started with 2 Marshal Amp engineers who decided to go out on there own. If you are on the fence and need a killer bedroom practice amp or studio amp look no further! Thanks DEREK!

  • from January 10, 2016Music Background:
    Semi Pro


    Have Blackstar HT-40 wanted something smaller for practicing that sounded good.
    Love it. I run a GT100 into it and get great sounds. Am very impressed with it. I put a JJ 12AX7
    Preamp Tube in it and smoothed out the amp alot

  • from Reston, VA May 27, 2015Music Background:
    Hobbyist, Home Recording

    Great Amp!

    I received this amp a couple of weeks ago and am very happy with it. I live in a small condo and had been looking for a low-wattage tube amp that I could play my guitars through at "bedroom volume," without disturbing my neighbors and at the same time not degrading the quality of the amp's natural tone. I also do some amateur-level home recording, so I wanted a low-wattage tube amp that would have the basic features I need for my recording projects. The Blackstar HT-5R delivers everything I need - and more. Clean tones sound very bright and clear. The built-in reverb sounds great and is relatively close to the spring reverb you get with a Fender tube amp. The overdrive is where this amp really shines, though. I love the fact that you can adjust the ISF control to get anywhere from a USA amp tone to a British amp tone. I can crank up the overdrive channel on this amp at a very low volume and still get amazing tones. That is very difficult to find in a low-wattage tube amp - even one with a built-in power attenuator. Another bonus with this amp is that it comes with a footswitch, which allows you to switch from the clean to overdrive channel very easily. I consider the Blackstar HT-5R ideal for anyone, like me, who lives in a condo or apartment and is looking for an amp that delivers great tone at a volume that won't annoy the neighbors. At the same time, I believe this amp is more than loud enough to use for gigs at small venues. Overall, this is a great, versatile amp at a very reasonable price. As always, a big "thanks" to Mark Magdich and Chelsea Freistroffer for continuing to provide excellent customer service!

  • from April 17, 2015

    Holy amp!

    I cannot believe this amp is $500!! the tones are amazing. Great cleans, overdrives, and you can even dial in marshall tones with a knob. On the clean channel.. crank the volume all the way and the tone on bright, it's killer. I played a blackstar at guitar center about a year ago and it made me hate blackstar. When my sales engineer advised me to look into this amp I was turned away. Glad I let him talk me into it! As always, the amp arrived a day early and I can't imagine doing business with anyone but Sweetwater. Huge thanks to my sales rep Tyler, very satisfied!

  • from United States February 14, 2015Music Background:

    Blackstar HT5R Combo Amp

    This is the perfect practice amp for home use. I like the versatility to switch from American to British tones, including in between settings that are a versatility plus. It has a great clean channel which sounds great when using my Tele. The overdrive channel is perfect for my Epiphone Ultra 339. I use the effects loop to integrate my Digitech GSP 1101 rackmount processor.

  • from Charlottesville, Va USA July 10, 2014Music Background:
    Singer Songwriter/Student/Pro Musician

    Got it right!

    I have played guitar for 18 years and never got into electric, but now I am ready. I told Robbie about what sound I was looking for, something a little british, dark, and aggressive. Robbie recommended this, not necessarily for playing live, but for getting the tone right for recording or practicing. I really love this amp. Thanks again Robbie.

  • from St. Louis, MO December 20, 2013Music Background:
    5 bands, nearly 1000 gigs.

    Proof that a high Price doesn't always mean better quality

    When I was looking for a low-wattage tube amp for the bedroom, I compared every brand in the store, regardless of price, since a good tube amp will last a lifetime. The tonel qualities of the Blackstar HT-5R won hands down. Blackstar's ISF feature also gives this great amp even more flexbility. Then I came home and ordered the Blackstar.

  • from Willoughby Ohio August 26, 2012Music Background:
    Pro Musician / Recording Engineer

    The Best Little Practice Amp That Ive Ever Owned

    I,m a professional musician and i own a lot of different amps, Marshalls,
    Line 6, and Blackstar,s I own 2 the HT Stage 100 and the HT-5R,. but the HT-5R Has become my favorite goto practice amp.it sounds great
    and i like that i can play at low volumes and still have the distortion that i need. and the clean channle is nice and chimey the way i like it. Also
    makes a great studio Amp, for recording

  • from United States January 1, 2012Music Background:
    gigging musician

    Great for live settings too!

    I usually don't review products but this one impressed me so much that I had to. Although advertised as a studio and practice amp, I needed an amp to play live and I didn't have the cash to spend to get a 20 or 40 watt version of this. Rather than go with a higher wattage but lower quality brand, I went with the HT-5r and man am I glad I did. When mic'd up, this amp has more than enough volume to cut through the mix and it sounds wonderful. The cleans don't break up when pushed and the overdrive can get down right nasty. When you combine the portability, the sound, the superb quality, you have a great amp for studio, practice, and even small venues. I'll probably upgrade eventually to the 40 watt version but Blackstar has a fan for life in me.

  • from Columbus, Oh September 12, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Musician

    Fat Bang for My Skinny Buck

    I bought this amp for recording in my apartment. I needed something small and this fit the bill. It sounds great mic'd up and the emulated output sounds great as well. I usually record a track of each.
    What really impressed me with this amp was the live volume. I jammed with some friends and this is all I had to play through. It was loud enough and I had it cranked to 10 even though this baby goes to 11! So I had a little volume to spare. I did not expect this and am very pleased with it.
    The sound is fat and phenomenal. Highly recommended!

  • from Abilene, TX September 9, 2011Music Background:
    Retired gigging musician with over 35 years of practice.

    Backstair HT-5R Combo studio amp

    If you haven't read the backstory of the four bald guys from Marshall who decided to take a shot at making their own brand of British vibe, start there.
    This amp's utilization as a professional tool is evident as soon as you open the packaging; well constructed case, sturdy leather carrying handle, well protected corners, and an overall heft of a quality piece of equipment.
    Top panel layout is clean with enough room between controls for accurate adjustment. Switches are sturdy and input jack well mounted.
    Back panel has a useful layout schematic for all plug ins, switches and mains. Access to the 12BH7 and ECC83 tubes requires removal of the back panel held in place by 10 screws.
    Yeah, but how does it sound?
    Well, I began with the diagramed setup on the top cover sheet to try the American clean sound. I was met with rich bass and mid tones. Treble was accurate and didn't sound thin like several other low watt amps of competitors. Gain settings drive well offering a great range from mild break to very pleasing distortion. The Infinate Shape Feature was a pleasant surprise. many times these coloration switches try to be too much with too little. This one has a relatively narrow range that moves you gentle towards Vox on the right and Fender on the left. This amp does not sound like either and I don't believe that was the intent. What you get is a measurable amount of color change like you would get by moving from one preamplifier to another. I like it.
    Another welcome feature was the 12 in speaker. I have several low watts with 10 in and one with an 8 in speaker. Again, the overall tone is smoother and driving the amp a little doesn't result in tin or crushed glass sound coming from the box.
    This amp was purchased as both a bedside and additional studio amp. It is not in my opinion a gigable amp.Again, I don't believe that was Blackstars intent. They have many other choices for that kind of work.
    Overall I was very pleased with the quality, sound, and value. I think one of my Fender Twins may hit eBay to fund a larger hardwired Blackstar. These guys are innovation at its best.

  • from Skokie, IL March 22, 2016Music Background:
    Intermediate guitarist

    Great Amp!

    I've had this amp for about two months now, and I'm still discovering new sounds every day. This thing gets loud for my apartment, but I can turn it down just enough to where it's comfortable to listen to but still breaks up a bit. And when this happens, this small tube amp sounds awesome! This is my first tube amp so I may be easily swayed, but when you add Blackstar's style and material quality, I am in tone heaven! Of course, I'd like to thank Ian McGhee, my extremely helpful guitar man. Super nice and knowledgeable. I bought my PRS S2 (which I LOVE), and all my sound stuff from him. Thanks man!

  • from Missouri September 24, 2015

    Great Tube Amp, Best In Price

    What can I say? It's a great all tube amp that sings. This amp has plenty of gain on tap and takes all my pedals really well. The clean channel is very basic but very useful, and the overdrive channel speaks for itself. Great little amp for practice and recording at home. She can get load (for home use that is) and is very light weight. I have two pedal boards, one with traditional stomp boxes and one that is the POD HD500X and this little beauty takes both just fine. If you're looking for a tube practice amp for home recording and jamming then this is your last stop.

  • from Louisiana June 2, 2015

    Great tone

    I've had the ht5R combo for about 4 months now and use it for small gigs and bedroom practice. The speaker emulated output setting on the 412 setting is a very good sound coming through the mixer. Channel 1 is about as simple as it can get - I could use an EQ with it though. Channel two is super saturated BUT it works very well with my single coil tele. I am very happy with this amp because it is very small so it will fit anywhere, has two foot switchable channels, reverb, speaker emulated out, and a very good sounding speaker - I've already done comparisons between a celestion elite80, seventy80, and blue marvel; I'm happy with the blackbird. I have gigged this amp with a full band and had no problems hearing myself because I had monitors of course, and I plan on doing that more often just because I can and NOBODY else does it. Hats off to Blackstar, I love their products. Thanks to Dan VanAmerongen at sweetwater.

  • from Western, NY December 11, 2014Music Background:
    Gigging musician

    Great Amp!

    This is a cool little amp that sounds great! Perfect for small venues, recording or jamming and not torqueing your family off! I can get some really cool sounds out of it w/o pedals. Awesome cleans and some serious crunch. There are many ways to alter the tone. I found some I really like. Might even mic it for some of our big shows. It's that good! Yeah, there might be a better speaker out there but this one is adequate.

  • from April 6, 2012Music Background:
    krautrock/psychedelic musician

    Blackstar HT-5R

    I had been doing research (FOR MONTHS) trying to find the perfect versatile bedroom amp that could also be used for jamming. One thing i believe should be covered more thoroughly in reviews is what you look for. (got to be able to judge the judge here..)
    I, love reverb, use chorus, echo and a looper. I really only use one channel, driven pretty well to get some good break up and feedback. (roll my strats volume for clean.)
    Therefor, in a amp I needed an effects loop, low enough wattage to get breakup, and the ability to get the screeching marshall and the fender like verb cleans.

    Pros: you can play this in an apartment. you can get good tones at low volumes. beautiful breakup. the ISF tone knob to go from fender to marshall does make a noticeable difference. EQ actually changes your tone a lot. has effects loop and two channels. comes with foot switch for channel switching. It comes with a reverb that would please many blues players. If you like modern gain this amp will blow your mind.

    cons: vintage cleans are hard to get out of it. The reverb turned all the way sounds like a fender half way. its gain is very modern, its not messy at all.

    The big comedown: It's extremely versatile and isn't missing anything. This amp really gives you the tube tone well. It has weak digital reverb, but would get the job done (well) for your average player. If you play any tool or stoner rock, its great. you can nail the Hey Joe tone perfectly. I would say it is the best apartment/studio/jam/small gig amp you can get below 2000 dollars.

  • from New York, NY September 5, 2015Music Background:
    decades-long classic rock guitarist and vocalist

    Amazing Overdrive, O/K Clean

    I'll start by saying that this may be the best low wattage amp for playing in a NYC apartment. The overdrive channel gives you so much tailoring option to dial in (and the ISF knob is a wonderful thing) from edge-of-breakup to heavy gain, all the while with the rich, organic quality of true tube amp tone. No fizzy or harsh artifacts. I even found that plugging a cable from the 1X12 or 4X12 cabinet emulated headphone out going into the back of my desktop speakers allows me to sound massive at whisper quiet volume (and this works in standby-once you come off standby,the speaker comes on so no disconnecting the cable. Brilliant.) It's built beautifully and truly worth the money. All that being said, I need to say that the clean channel is just o/k. It's not bad, it's just not as detailed in tone as the overdrive channel. I guess at 5 watts its only going to be able to produce a basic clean tone, so don't expect a lot of sparkle-y top end or rich midrange here. I found adding pedals like the EHX Soul Food as a clean boost helps give up more tone. In any case, you'll make it work for you, just know that it's never going to be a Fender Twin Reverb. All in, I am very happy with my purchase and I would recommend this amp to anyone needing a professional quality tube practice amp like I did. And buy it from Sweetwater. They are the best in the business!

  • from Akron,Ohio September 27, 2013Music Background:
    i am part owner of a boutique guitar company. I'm also in a band and have recorded and released one CD.


    i really enjoy low wattage tube amps and the Blackstar HT-5R optimizes both the strengths and weaknesses of an amp in this class. Cosmetically this amp is very pleasing on the eyes and finished quite tastefully. The controls are logically placed and easy to get accustomed to. I really think this amp shines in the overdrive channel. It starts to breakup quite early and with a little tweaking gets down and dirty. The clean channel also breaks up ,but much later in the game and is not very loud until pushed to almost 3/4 of the way. This little amp is loaded with features and several well done youtube videos depict them. All-in-all this amp shines when compared to its competition at this price point. I would disagree with those that say you could gig with this amp. It's a great amp for recording or practicing ,and if you experiment a bit quite fun too.

  • from St Robert, MO October 2, 2015Music Background:
    21 years playing, bars, clubs, fairs, basement, and bedroom

    Great sounds, but has problems

    I have been a Blackstar owner for only 5 1/2 months. I was very happy with the amp. I've written a previous review after 3 months, and was ready to though away the boxes it was shipped in, then one day it just stopped working. I hit a chord and the amp got really loud for a second then when dead silent. I thought it might have been a tube issue (I wasn't sure because I hadn't owned a tube amp for over 16 years) and baby I know why. I bought two sets of replacement tubes ($80 bucks for two little pre amp tubes and two little power amp tubes). I swapped out the stock Ruby branded tubes for the exact same tubes of another brand (Russian made Electro-harmonic power tubes and Mesa/Boogie pre amp tubes). All was well for about 30 seconds, the. It went silent again. I've sent it in to the techs at sweetwater and I'm sure they'll fix it up and have it back good as new, but the point remains, I shouldn't have had too. I looked on the Blackstar forum and this is a VERY common problem! Why can't anyone make a quality product that simply does what they say it does? I know it's Korean made but that doesn't mean it has to be common place to malfunction within the products life time. I am very disappointed in Blackstar. I would bet that the British made amps (Artistian series) wouldn't be breaking down in the first six months.

  • from May 15, 2017


    Got this amp from my brother. Was pretty stoked at first but later found out that the Bass, Mid and Treble EQ only works in the 'Gain' Channel with only a 'Tone' knob for the clean channel as EQ.

    When trying to hook it up to the 4 cable method with my POD HD500X, it switches to the clean channel as default, I'm unable to run 4 cable method in 'Gain' Channel. It just doesn't engage. What's the point of effect send and return circuit if I can't run it in the 'Gain' channel?

    Speaker-emulated output with 1 x 12" or 4 x 12" voicing doesn't work when engaged.

    Instructions included in Blackstar Manual is not detailed.

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