Blackstar Amplification HT-5C

HT-5C, Tube Combo Guitar Amp from Blackstar Amplification in the HT-5 series.

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nickname009 03/22/2011

Blackstar Amplification HT-5C : nickname009's user review

« The best low watt all tube amp out there today!! »

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All tube 5 watt
2 footswitchable channels clean and dirty
1 12ax7/ECC83, 1 12BH7 power tube
FX loop w/ +4dBV or -10dBV
Emulated headphone/DI output w/cab switch
Clean: volume
Dirty: Gain, Volume, Bass, Middle, Treble, ISF (infinite shape feature)

I give it a 9 for features since the clean only has a volume knob.


Everything at noon already sounds great! The ISF knob is very dynamic and can sweep the midrange from a saturated marshall to a scooped boogie-like tone.

It really doesn't get any simpler than this. The clean has a single volume knob, while the dirty channel has your basic EQ controls with the added ISF. The EQ is passive and very usable.

The headphone/speaker out mutes the speaker for silent recording once it's plugged in.

The FX loop is located on the lower back of the amp, simple to use with the +4dbV/-10dbV switch for either rack effects or guitar effects like pedals.

The footswitch is a single button switch to change between clean and dirty channels.

Overall very simple to use and you can achieve great sounds in a matter of seconds!


As you read this you should know that these are my observations based plugging straight through. Playing the amp as is. I do not judge equipment based on adding/using external effects, it's just unfair that way.

Clean: Very usable and decent. Though there is only one knob for the volume so the tone is completely dependent on your guitar. If you crank it, it begins to break up and can get up to that ac/dc crunch.

Dirty: Very nice! Has enough gain on tap to get metallica tones. Great for blues or rock in general. if you want to get a death metal sound, it's not gonna happen without a boost. the ISF knob is a good tool to shape the midrange to how you'd want it, tight and scooped or saturated and 'bouncy' as I like to call it.

Headphone/DI out: This is hard to judge as most DI outs on amps never actually sound any good, they're too buzzy. This one is not buzzy at all, but more like, it's too smooth. The midrange flies out and thickens the sound which is good, but there isn't enough presence to make the emulated out sound convincing.

Picking dynamics are heard through the amp, the gain also cleans up well with the volume knob on your guitar.


I think this is one of the better low watt tube practice amps out there. Comparing this to the Tweaker and the Class 5, I walked out with the HT-5.

The Class 5 was limited in features, while the Tweaker had tons of features but wasn't foot-switchable and sounded boxy! The HT-5 fit just right. The ex-marshall engineers definitely thought this one out well. Yes it's made in Korea which shouldn't deter anybody as everybody knows the QC in Korea is GREAT. Just try out any Korean-made guitar!

I give the overall rating a 8. One point due to the clean channel being limited with just one knob, and the DI not sounding that great. In my opinion, DI outputs are the one of the most ignored things for amp makers. So why put one in? And if you put one in, why not try to make it sound convincing? Though most of them are not usable. The HT-5 is a stepping stone to hopefully one day, finding a GREAT DI out in an amp.