HT 100 tubes - improving the sound

Discussion - HT Venue amplifiers. Inspiration from Studio to Stage.
nkay
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 12:00 am

Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:11 pm

Have had a my Blackstar HT 100 for a few months now. While I really like its features, I'm still unconvinced on the sound. Clean channel is fantastic, but I feel like the overdrives sound a little flat, muddy, & a bit harsh to me. Sound wise I guess I'm trying to dial-in that JCM 800 sound. When I crank the gain, the amp just seems way too muddy and bassy. The only way I've gotten around it is using a Boss SD-1 overdrive with the OD 1 channel and keeping the amps gain at noon which gets rid of the bassy mud.

I just recently got a Marshall 1960a lead cabinet with G12-T75 speakers which greatly improved the sound from my cheapo cabinet I was using before, but I'm really thinking of just pulling the plug on the Blackstar head and getting a Marshall JVM 410 head instead even though more pricey.

My last resort is to change the tubes (seems to be the common recommendation), but I'm worried that after blowing $120 on a new full set of JJ tubes + the $50 or so to get a tech to put them in an bias it, I might as well use that money to bump up to the real Marshall.

The option to just change the pre-amp valves seems the cheapest way to go to see if it will improve my sound without having to get a tech, as I assume I can just pop them in myself with no biasing.

Any thoughts or anyone with similar struggles? Which pre's should I try? Everyone seems to say Tung-Sol, but I was told they are just rebranded cheap valves, while JJ's are better? I'm not experienced with tubes so don't know which to try. Thanks for any help.






User avatar
VENTGtr
Posts: 397
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:00 am
Location: Central PA/US

Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:53 pm

The different pres, ya, just drop them in.

Is a common topic/discussion/recommendation here, true.

I've never played through a 100, but as far as tubes....

TungSols are good. They'll give a bit earlier breakup and can sound good doing so. JJs are great (GTs are similar nowadays), Mullards will be nice and smooth. Personally, I'm not huge on Sovtek, Ruby, EH, or a few other common ones. But, that's personal taste.

At the moment, I'm liking the idea of the 5751s (12AYs were great in the HT20, but are limited options. One I tried was an old GE. Was great, and crazy Marshall-y, in the good way, and I could hear where a "better" one would be awesome) or Mullards. Have been putting off Mullards since, while the sound is great, I've been thinking it wouldn't exactly work for the stuff I, generally, play. The 12AY tests have done a good bit on making me rethink that.

REALLY, the changing pres helps a good bit, but it, in conjunction with the new power tubes really made a huge difference.

What tubes you prefer is all personal taste, I currently have JJs all around and am pretty dang skippy happy. First time I've liked an amps gain channel in a long time.
Last edited by VENTGtr on Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
majikmojo
Posts: 1329
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:00 am
Location: hollywood florida

Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:09 pm

i pretty agree with "vent" on the tube compliment choices

i can honestly say that i have tried to get my JCM800 sound from the blackstar with and without pedals
and i can get close but not quite there - if i had to spend a bunch of money and down time to accomplish
the marshall tone your looking for - i would probably just buy the marshall rather than make a blackstar
sound like that - that's one of the reasons i bought the blackstar (it has its own sound even with a valve change)

the features are nice - three channels is nice - that was enough for me to add it to the stable


nkay
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 12:00 am

Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:31 pm

Ya, otherwise its the perfect amp for me, I don't need more than three channels, it has a great emulated out for home recording, clean channels (break up clean and boutique clean) sound awesome, the head itself aesthetically looks fantastic and well-built...

My only beefs are trying to Marshall-ize my OD channels and it doesn't say Marshall on the head. :P

From what I've read I'm going to try out 2 Tung Sol 12AX7s and an EH or JJ 12AU7 and see if it helps the sound get to where I want.

Geoff J
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:00 am

Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:37 pm

Two (2) questions

1. Pickups ?
2. Speaker / Cab Config ?

nkay
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 12:00 am

Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:39 pm

Main guitar is a new Les Paul Trad with 57 Classics, also have an 80's HSS Japanese Strat (stock pickups).

Cab I just got is a Marshall 1960A with G12T-75s.

Geoff J
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:00 am

Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:47 pm

If it's harsh with your Les Paul (which I believe are alnico, low output - NO ?), I would try the Paul through the HT through a friend or music store cab of other speakers WITH THE PAUL. Your other axe most likely has ceramic, high output, & just about anything will sound harsher than the Paul, so it wouldn't be a good test axe.

In my opinion, GT-75 typify a harsh tone, as no matter what I plugged through those, it sounded harsh

I am partial to EVM12L's, FYI, but there other speakers which I like for crunch, such as the Eminence Man-O-War

Def stay away from V-30's. The Celestion heritage greenbacks are sposda be awesome. If you need more headroom, look into the Scumback H75's
http://www.scumbackspeakers.com/h_series.html

pricey - but why skimp on one of the 3 most important parts of tone - speaker/cab config ?
Last edited by Geoff J on Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

nkay
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 12:00 am

Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:53 pm

I had been using a Bugera 4x12 and it sounded like ass. The switch to the Marshall cab with G12t-75s was a big improvement I found, and the sound from that shouldn't be too far off the stock Celestion Seventy 80's in the Blackster HT 4x12 cabs.

I'm going to experiment with the pre-amp tubes, that is a quick, relatively inexpensive test, and if I'm still not happy, I think I will go for the Marshall JVM.

Trust me, I'm dying to LOVE this amp, I think I just need to play around with it a bit more.

Geoff J
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:00 am

Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:58 pm

nkay wrote:I had been using a Bugera 4x12 and it sounded like ass. The switch to the Marshall cab with G12t-75s was a big improvement I found, and the sound from that shouldn't be too far off the stock Celestion Seventy 80's in the Blackster HT 4x12 cabs.

I'm going to experiment with the pre-amp tubes, that is a quick, relatively inexpensive test, and if I'm still not happy, I think I will go for the Marshall JVM.

Trust me, I'm dying to LOVE this amp, I think I just need to play around with it a bit more.
I wouldn't be so quick to jump ship on the HT if this doesn't work - I edited my post above to include a speaker suggestion

Check the LHDC version, too

regardless of amp quality - a wrong speaker/cab choice will make or break it

User avatar
majikmojo
Posts: 1329
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:00 am
Location: hollywood florida

Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:12 am

i would agree with Geoff on this also - speakers obviously will make a bigger difference than valves - tubes are subtle
speakers can sound like heaven or pure crap depending on the cab and configuration

i still say though you will probably spend some time and $$$ looking for true JVM tones

hell - i say buy the JVM and keep the blackstar - its only money :lol: ;)

Post Reply
  • Information
  • Who is online

    Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 17 guests