Blackstar Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp
Tube Combo Guitar Amplifiers
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Authentic cleans and super high-gain overdrives are combined in this innovative, versatile, and portable tube combo.
The HT Studio 20 combo from the Venue series is the big brother of Blackstar's critically acclaimed HT-5, and offers huge versatility for home, rehearsal or studio use. Coupled with a cathode-biased EL34 power amp, the carefully voiced preamp provides the user with the ability to create wonderfully lush tube tones through the 12" Celestion speaker.
The Clean Channel on the Blackstar tube amp provides a wide range of clean and moderately overdriven tones. The voicing is typical of many 'boutique' style amplifiers with a ringing Class A type performance. The overall character may be adjusted with the Tone control from dark and warm through to bright and sparkling.
The HT Studio 20 Overdrive Channel is characterized by a tone that's high in gain, but lacks any of the detached top-end 'fizz' often found in many similar designs. This is a result of unique preamplifier and power amplifier shaping techniques. The overdrive cleans up beautifully as the guitar volume is reduced, so even at the most extreme settings, the Overdrive Channel remains natural sounding.
The HT Studio 20 Overdrive Channel also has its own highly flexible EQ section providing a variety of overdriven tones. Blackstar's ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) control represents a major step forward in tone-shaping flexibility. The ISF control shifts the response of the three-control tone stack between a U.S.-type response at one end, and at the other a U.K.-type response. Between these two extremes lies an infinite number of alternative tone choices that would be otherwise unavailable.
The HT Studio 20's two-channel design has been optimized for either preamp or power amp overdrive, or a combination of both. The carefully voiced preamp and cathode-biased dual EL34 power amp configuration provides the user with the ability to create wonderfully lush tube tones. From mild overdrive, that cleans up by backing off the guitar volume control, to highly saturated distortion, this amp does it all.
The HT Studio 20 also features a completely natural sounding digital reverb, which is outstandingly musical on both clean and crunch tones and raises the benchmark for guitar amplifier specific reverb design.
- 20 Watt tube combo
- 2xECC83, 2xEL34
- Two footswitchable channels
- 12" Celestion speaker
- Enhanced tone controls
- Patent-Applied-For Infinite Shape Feature (ISF)
- Master volume
- Digital reverb
- Speaker emulated output
- Effects loop
- One-way footswitch included
- Cool vintage styling
Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp Specifications:
- Power (RMS): 20 Watts
- Tubes: 2 x ECC83, 2 x EL34
- Weight: 45 lb.
- Dimensions: 22-3/5" x 20-4/5 x 11-1/2"
- Footswitch: FS-4 included
Reviewed by 1 customer
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Comments about Blackstar Venue Series HT Studio 20 20W Tube Guitar Combo Amp:
After about 30 minutes of playing the tone would fade out, I'd adjust and then it would fade or get brash again. Comes with TAD's (EL34B) and Sovteks (12ax7wa) tubes so I ordered some JJ's. While waiting I played and took it to practice. After about 7 hours of play, the amp broke in (tubes, speaker, both, whatever). The sound smoothed and was consistent. So if you like the sounds your getting but it starts flipping moods, turn up the volume, have some patience and let it find it's voice. I've had to do this with other tube amps with low miles so I don't think it's brand specific.
The clean on this thing is fantastic. Clear and articulate, warm and punchy. Simply beautiful and worth the price of the amp. One volume, one tone. Push the volume past 3 o'clock and you get a vintage tweed/blues sound. The TAD's are warm, break up pretty quick and are are great for this. And the master volume lets you do this without being at earsplitting levels. The reverb sounds great on this channel too.
The overdrive channel different than what I expected from the youtube clips. This is what I've found. It has a vintage high output vibe that you get with EL34's think Sabbath with Ozzy or old Rush to warm Journey and then it jumps to modern grunge/alternative range. It will not do rectifier sounds and isn't as dry as modern high gain 6L6 amps. The ISF is supposed to swing it from a British (Marshall) sound to an American (Fender/Mesa) sound. I find useful from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock. At about 2 o'clock on your getting a JCM 900 to modern Marshall sounds. Tight compressed, grainy and bass heavy. Turning to the left opens up the mids and loosens it up and, to me, gives it more of a vintage feel with Fender/Mesa qualities somewhere in the Orange territory. At the 10 o'clock position your getting a Nickleback type crunch. The reverb works well on this channel but warms up the overall sound quite a bit and it doesn't get muddy until about 2 o'clock. The gain with the Sovteks engaged early and was saturated about 12 o'clock.
The master volume (attenuator) allows for great pushed tube tones at low volumes and makes it pretty easy to approximate output levels between the channels. The amp takes pedals well. The effects loop is ok, nothing stellar, but it has a cut/boost switch on it, which is nice.
I got the JJ's (ecc83 and KT77) and put them in and the amp is now dryer, and a touch brighter. The gain is much more usable and has a wider range. I liked the TAD EL34B's once the amp was broken in. They have a vintage feel to them and are pretty warm tubes that breakup early. The KT77's have a 6L6/EL34 hybrid feel and aren't as compressed as the EL34's on the overdrive channel. I may wind up putting the TAD's back in if the KT77's don't warm up after a few hours of play. I'm playing an Epiphone Joe Perry Boneyard Les Paul, and a MIM Fender HSS strat with Duncan Custom (SH-5) at the bridge. The amp brings out the qualities of each guitar. The LP sounds like an LP and the strat has that clacky/straty Hendrix gypsy eyes kinda sound.
Overall I like the amp. The clean is just great, I throw on an overdrive for a crunch 3rd channel and solo boost. It's plenty loud enough for small to medium gigs, practice, or recording. Don't be put off by the 20 watts, the saturated tube tones are much more achievable than with higher wattage amps. Great tube tones at very low volumes (thank you, thank you, thank you). Very nice tones with a bit of versatility. Would recommend experimenting with the pre-amp tubes to give you a wider range in regards to the gain. I found I didn't need to replace the EL34's.
Hope this helps.