HT5H vs. HT5R - Tone/gain differences?

Discussion - HT-5 amplifiers.
SonicExplorer
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:00 am

Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:54 am

Hi,

There's been some speculation on various forums about potential tone and gain differences between the legacy HT5H and the new HT5R. Anybody done any A/B comparisons or gotten any official statement from Blackstar on this?? Some people speculate there is mroe gain in the new HT5R, however that is opposite of what I thought I heard while testing the amps out local stores.

Sonic

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majikmojo
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Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:47 pm

i havent heard anything about gain differences - tone maybe with the additional controls it has
i was under the impression that the extra features were the only difference since that is what people were screaming for
:?:

Crunchifyable
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Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:14 pm

According to this vid, A Blackstar representative says the gain channel is "a lot hotter". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qm7qlZWCEQ&t=3m4s

I would sort of believe him. I've seen a vid of a guy playing Van Halen live with the old ht-5 with everything on 11. And another vid of a guy doing Van Halen and other 80s stuff with the gain on max in the old HT-5. There's no way now you could turn the gain to max and still play something like Van Halen, on the new HT-5s. For me, it really opens up after about noon on the dial, to a point of saturation on about 3 o'clock. After 3 o'clock on the knob there's very little change.

For me at least, it seems like the suggested settings on the paper on top of the amp needed to be toned down, gain wise, esp.on the "US Blues"
setting, or else you end up with too much distortion. I just wished they added a gain switch or whatever, to dial back the gain for a lighter, controlled breakup.

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majikmojo
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Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:52 pm

damn...havent being keeping up with the smaller stuff

SonicExplorer
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Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:00 am

Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:19 pm

I actually spoke with Blackstar today on this subject. A lot of things were discussed, some of which I will share:

- The tone controls and ISF no longer function for the clean channel, they are dedicated to the gain channel now. The clean channel has one tone pot that is now dedicated to the clean channel.
- The gain channel does indeed have more gain now.
- The voicing of the amp has also been altered.

It would be really hepful if some members on this forum could do some comparison testing, or maybe if there's someone who owns both versions, or maybe had the older version and now has the newer, would share their findings.

The only comment I can offer is that I compared the combo's - the original HT5 combo and the new version. I did not like the new version at all. The tone control on the clean hardly did anything, which I felt was too much a sacrifice for giving up the entire tone control of the amp just to have a dedicated tone knob. I did not notice a gain difference but then again I honestly wasn't listening for that. The voicing/tone I just did not care for compared to the older model, however I suspect much of this mght be due to the 12" blackbird speaker compared the 10" celestion in the older version. It is possible the reason they chose to alter the amp voicing is because now the HT5 heads and combos are being paired with 12" speakers, instead of 10" speakers.

We need some members to do some comparison testing with the older vs. newer HEADS, keeping everything else constant.

Thanks,

Sonic

Crunchifyable
Posts: 206
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:00 am

Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:47 pm

SonicExplorer wrote:I actually spoke with Blackstar today on this subject. A lot of things were discussed, some of which I will share:

- The tone controls and ISF no longer function for the clean channel, they are dedicated to the gain channel now. The clean channel has one tone pot that is now dedicated to the clean channel.
- The gain channel does indeed have more gain now.
- The voicing of the amp has also been altered.

It would be really hepful if some members on this forum could do some comparison testing, or maybe if there's someone who owns both versions, or maybe had the older version and now has the newer, would share their findings.

The only comment I can offer is that I compared the combo's - the original HT5 combo and the new version. I did not like the new version at all. The tone control on the clean hardly did anything, which I felt was too much a sacrifice for giving up the entire tone control of the amp just to have a dedicated tone knob. I did not notice a gain difference but then again I honestly wasn't listening for that. The voicing/tone I just did not care for compared to the older model, however I suspect much of this mght be due to the 12" blackbird speaker compared the 10" celestion in the older version. It is possible the reason they chose to alter the amp voicing is because now the HT5 heads and combos are being paired with 12" speakers, instead of 10" speakers.

We need some members to do some comparison testing with the older vs. newer HEADS, keeping everything else constant.

Thanks,

Sonic
You could also keep in mind that someone could run two of the combos or a combo and a head into the same test cabinet for comparison purposes. That might be more realistic, in terms of finding someone who has both, or someone who has a friend that has one, and they can do an A/B recording.

I will say that I heard a lot of quality demos (SM57 mics and good speakers) of the old HT-5, and the new one I got, to my ears, has the same basic tone I was searching for, just more gain. I assume the voicing thing was subtle, or maybe the "roar" sound was toned down a little (Hard to describe, but maybe it's a midrange spike characteristic of marshalls, etc.). I know the "roar"'s more prominent at higher gain settings, so maybe they had to tone it down a bit.

If you really wanted to know, maybe someone should compare the PCB on the new one, to the posted PCB / schematic of the old one, that you can find on the net. I'm sure someone with technical knowledge would know what was changed and how it affected the tone, although it is a complicated beast.

Finally, I think these amps and speakers do break in, so it's hard to get an exact 1-to-1 comparison. Either my memory is bad, or these amps can lose a bit of gain after the first few hours. Oh... And I guess you can still play Van Halen on these things with everything on 11 ;)

Thanks for filling us in on the details. I guess this is the way its always been...new versions and older versions, and differences in evalutation.

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majikmojo
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Location: hollywood florida

Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:15 pm

seems like to me if you need a sparkling clean channel with some room (which is an important need for me) you need not even look at
anything less than the 20 and even that doesnt have enough for me...probably why i dont pay much attention to the small amps
i have to have as much tone versatility on the clean side as i do on the gain side thats why i like the 3 channel HT 60

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VENTGtr
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Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:31 am


Keep in mind, also, the instruments used. Pups, active, passive, etc., any other pedals in a chain, and other factors.



SonicExplorer
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:00 am

Sat Oct 15, 2011 3:13 am

Ok guys,

So, I drove quite a ways tonight to the only store around to try and get to the bottom of things. The store did not have the heads in stock but they had the combos (new and old versions ), and a Blackstar 12" cab with Celestion that I was able to route them through. While the testing wasn't perfect, I was able to determine a few key things:

1) The new version definitely has more gain, no question. Is it "lots" more? No. But it's noticable.
2) The voicing is different on the new model but the difference is slight and can be dialed to match the old. HOWEVER, having said that I cannot vouch for what happens at louder volumes, I was only able to play the amps about half volume. I got a sense the old version is probably a hair more organic sounding, and this would transpose mostly in the higher volume levels, and lower gain levels, which I was not able to blast at the store tonight.
3) The Blackbird speaker is an absolute PILE, which confirms what thought the first time I tried it. I would not recommend that speaker/cab for hard rock or metal. Maybe it will work for other styles though.

I need to decide now whether I want the new or old version of the head. LoL

One thing is absolutely irrefutable: Anybody who likes the mild break-up or overdrive on the clean channel, or likes to pedal-boost the clean channel needs to go with the old version and steer clear of the new. Reason being, there is almost no EQ control any more, just the one tone knob, which acts basically like a guitar tone pot, ranging from dull to full open (so to speak). So there's no true tone-shaping anymore via ALL the amp controls on the clean channel.

Will post more if I learn anything else...

Sonic




Crunchifyable
Posts: 206
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:00 am

Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:00 am

SonicExplorer wrote:Ok guys,

So, I drove quite a ways tonight to the only store around to try and get to the bottom of things. The store did not have the heads in stock but they had the combos (new and old versions ), and a Blackstar 12" cab with Celestion that I was able to route them through. While the testing wasn't perfect, I was able to determine a few key things:

1) The new version definitely has more gain, no question. Is it "lots" more? No. But it's noticable.
2) The voicing is different on the new model but the difference is slight and can be dialed to match the old. HOWEVER, having said that I cannot vouch for what happens at louder volumes, I was only able to play the amps about half volume. I got a sense the old version is probably a hair more organic sounding, and this would transpose mostly in the higher volume levels, and lower gain levels, which I was not able to blast at the store tonight.
3) The Blackbird speaker is an absolute PILE, which confirms what thought the first time I tried it. I would not recommend that speaker/cab for hard rock or metal. Maybe it will work for other styles though.

I need to decide now whether I want the new or old version of the head. LoL

One thing is absolutely irrefutable: Anybody who likes the mild break-up or overdrive on the clean channel, or likes to pedal-boost the clean channel needs to go with the old version and steer clear of the new. Reason being, there is almost no EQ control any more, just the one tone knob, which acts basically like a guitar tone pot, ranging from dull to full open (so to speak). So there's no true tone-shaping anymore via ALL the amp controls on the clean channel.

Will post more if I learn anything else...

Sonic



Wow thank you so much for your report! I would be interested in what you think the difference in voicing is? is it in the character of the distortion, or simply a minor equalization thing?

And as far as the clean channel goes, I mostly agree. The new ones have no break up (only power amp distortion, which is something else). I wish mine had a clean channel that broke up, but I guess I can live with knowing mine has great reverb and a slightly larger speaker.

I would disagree with the guitar tone pot analogy, because most of us run our guitars with the tone on 10. On this, 10 is unbearably bright, and 0 is moderately dark (ok, I agree it could go darker). So I think the knob does the trick just fine. But it seems like I'm outvoted here :)

I can see where Blackstar was going though, from traditional rock to a more metal orientation (squeaky cleans, high gain, etc.).

If I had known all this, I might have bought an older model. But yea, the reverb and speaker was the main selling point for me, esp after having a Marshall with no reverb and a thundering 4x12 cab.

If I didn't care about the reverb, I'd say you should buy the old model, hands down. More gain is an easy fix with a boost.

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