You could say that ever since the dawn of time, the guitarists of this world have been craving for that lean and mean sound of tube driven amplifiers. The tubes still stand out as the single best way to deliver a clear, powerful and immensely strong, yet all natural guitar sound.
So acquiring such a sonic output at an affordable price and decent wattage strong enough for live shows is a bit of a mean feat. We’ve done our homework and singled out this baby as one of the best tube amp heads for the money – the Blackstar HT 20. Review is available in full below.
Blackstar HT 20 Features
What we have here is a 20 watt all-tube guitar amp head that sports a couple of ECC83 (12AX7) tubes, and a set of two EL34 power tubes. Much like any amp driven item, this amp delivers an amazing load of power and grace, strong enough to have you covered during small and medium live shows, and of course during house practice and jam sessions with the band.
The amp features two channels – a Clean channel with Volume and Tone knobs for clean guitar sound, and the Overdrive channel with Gain, Volume, and OD Select knobs for a dose of distortion, crunch and punch. The mix also includes a three-band EQ for minute tonal adjustments, an exclusive ISF control, a series effect loop, an emulated speaker output, and a footswitch controller used for switching channels.
The durability of this item is quite high, making the little Blackstar more than capable of sustaining any amount of standard minor damage caused by transport or frequent use. Just tend the tubes and you’re set to rock. The head’s total weight is 13 pounds (6 kg), making it a lightweight product within its niche and a breeze for transportation.
Stellar is the word of the day here. Not only is this amp bound to impress you with raw power, but with how controllable that power is. The bass is rich, the mids are punchy and the treble section is bright and clear to round up the final outcome, just the way as it should be.
Every sonic aspect is covered and every sound frequency can be as strong or weak as you like, meaning that this is a very versatile item, perfectly capable of adapting to any musical style you prefer, whether we’re talking about mellow pop or a full-on heavy metal blast. Country, rock, jazz, blues, you name it, it’s covered.
What we like
We like the fact that this is one of the best tube guitar amp heads for the money and we like the sharp, clear, powerful, lean and mean sound. This is also a very sturdy package that does not break easily, so all you have to do is tend the tubes and that’s about it when it comes to maintenance.
We also love how adaptable this amp is and how easily you can adjust it, especially when you need less of something. These days, amp heads are made to brag with excessive power, but this one actually offers top-notch performance when certain aspects are toned down, and that our beloved readers, shows class.
What we don’t like
It is a mid-range price item after all, so what we don’t exactly like is the fact that if you want this amp to truly shine, you will need an extra pedal or two.
However, very few amps on today’s market can brag about being able to deliver the ultimate sound without pedal help, so not much of a drawback, really.
Blackstar HT 20 Review – Conclusion
In a nutshell, this is a great item and without a doubt one of the best 20 watt amplifiers on today’s market. If the given strength suits your needs, and if versatility is what you are after, do not hesitate to invest into this amp.
This product is a true bargain, and if the specs it boasts are what you are after, than you’ve found the perfect deal. If your question is “Should I buy the Blackstar HT 20 guitar amp head?”, the answer is yes, yes you should. Highly recommended.