Blackstar HT Club 40 Amplifier

Blackstar amplifiers have become hugely popular so when I was looking for a new amp for my function band playing covers of classic dance hits, I thought I should try them out. A visit to a local store confirmed that the Blackstar have an amazing range of good-looking, powerful and great-sounding amplifiers.

I was looking for a used amp that was portable, compact and powerful enough for small clubs and after some research, I quickly settled on the 40-watt Blackstar HT Club 40 1×12 Combo Amp.  It is a valve amp with a versatile range of sounds and plenty of punch for pubs and small clubs and the big bonus is at only 25kg it’s not that heavy!

The amp is closed-back and really looks impressive in its black and white livery. The amp has two foot-switchable channels and 4 modes and features a Celestion 12 inch speaker and a digital reverb that is also foot-switchable. The valves are 2 x 12AX7 pre-amp valves and 2 x EL34 power amp valves.

Each of the two channels has separate EQ. On the clean channel there is a volume and tone control and the overdrive channel has gain and volume plus bass, mid and treble controls plus Blackstar’s patent applied for ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) control that gives an overall tone ranging from classic American to tighter British amp tones. The ISF control works impressively well and I found that one end of the scale really suited single coils and the opposite end adds a sparkle that really suits humbuckers. There is also an overall reverb level control and an overall volume control.

On the rear panel there are a range of facilities.  There are three speaker outputs one for the internal speaker and two for either one additional 1×8 ohm cab or 2 additional 16 ohm cabs. There is also a standard jack output for emulated output. I have found this really useful when Di’ing into the desk when we occasionally play larger venues. The tone is clean and very realistic and several sound engineers have commented on how easy it is to set up a natural tone. There is also a switch for toggling between the ‘dark’ and ‘light’ settings of the digital reverb. These tone differences are subtle but both are very useable and there is a definite and noticeable difference and I quickly learned to work out if a song needs the warmer subtler reverb setting or the brighter, more open qualities. The amp also has an effects send and return and an effects level switch.

The amplifier is solidly built and looks and feels very robust. Dimensions are 619 x 566 x 297 mms.

I managed to buy the amp on a popular classified ads website for under three hundred pounds and I have been using it for around six months and the overall sound quality, range of tones and portability are hugely impressive. I have owned a variety of the classic named amps over the years and nothing has the versatility and punch of this combo amplifier and the volume is sufficient for most small to medium venues. The clarity and natural tone of the emulated output makes it ideal for larger gigs when you need to DI it into the desk.

All in all, I am totally happy with the Blackstar and have no reservations at all about my purchase.