Blackstar HTV100 Review – Tone King Video
March 9, 2010 by Marc Johnson
One of the fastest up and comers in the amp building industry, BlackStar amps is seeking a place in every rocker’s arsenal with the HT Venue 100 head. Powered by four EL34 valves, this three-channel amp provides something that most amps lack – versatility. Blackstar promises a ‘boutique’ style clean channel with both a ‘British Class A’ and a ‘Dynamic US’ mode. The overdrive channels also include different modes and are both equipped with Blackstar’s own patent-applied for Infinite Shape Feature (ISF).
I took it for a test drive and right away I was blown away by the gain that this amp offered. This was the first amp that I didn’t need to max out my gain knob to get my neck harmonics and pinches to ring out. As I rolled the gain, it was like I was rolling through a library of tones that included everything from Zeppelin to Metallica.
The ISF technology on the amp adds to its versatility by bringing out its British tones. For those who have owned a Marshall in the past, you’ll know and understand the midrange circuit in the older JCM series amps, which is harmonically so much more than a simple Mid. With the ISF technology, the HTV100 nails Marshall tones with ease.
The clean channel isn’t a joke either. While the clean channels on most amps is just, well, there, while the clean on the HTV100 is warm and clear. I was quickly able to dial in to David Gilmour by just adding a bit of reverb. The ‘British Class A’ mode gave the clean channel clarity without sounding chimey, while the ‘Dynamic US’ mode beefed it up a bit without letting it get muddy.
Overall, this is a killer amp. Brutal gain and a warm clean become only more versatile by the inclusion of different the modes, and the innovative ISF makes it easy to nail the tones of a British gain amp. With all these features, Blackstar’s HTV100 is definitely going to be a quick addition to The Tone King’s own arsenal. Check for hot buys.
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Reprinted with Permission from TheToneKing.com
by Marc Johnson for TheToneKing.com