May be as good as it gets for Import, Studio amps.
By: Steve D. from daytona usa
Would you consider this product to be made well? How dependable?
Seems well made...note: this amp is not made in South Korea...amp is made in a very, very, large asian country. My 20 watt HT Head was made in South Korea, and is about the best you can get. Appears, Blackstar has fallen to cheapest labor available syndrome...although warehousing, shipping, and distribution costs are fairly consistent throughout Asia.
How has it stood up over time?
Tubes took two weeks to break in. My HT5TH is factory loaded with an ElectoHarmonix 12BH7A pre-amp tube...used as push-pull AB power stage tube, and a Sovtek 12AX7...both are Russian tubes. After an additional two weeks of use (4 weeks total)...quality of distortion using drive/lead channel has become if-fy, when used at lower blues distortion levels. Rock lead distortion is still great sounding, and provides ample compression. The if-fy Blues tone is a tube issue, not an amp problem. I prefer a bit less drive distortion, and will replace the 12AX7 with a 5751, which is 70% gain rated (10% higher gain than a 12AT7 that is 60% rating), as opposed to the 12AX7 100% gain rated OEM tube. I will replace both tubes with Vintage NOS type...providing longevity, better tone, and very creamy distortion.
Your general opinion of this product.
Other than the simple tube issue, this is the greatest studio unit I have used. Also, amp will be great for Coffee Houses, (as I can't stand being forced to use acoustics at coffee houses). This amp can be cranked, yet your audience will still be able to chat during the show.
Playability and Feel
How does it feel, Heavy, Fast, Chunky? How was the neck? Are the controls easy to get to while playing?
Touch sensitive dynamics.
Bright and snappy? Dark and smooth? Were the pickups hot, mellow, thick, thin?
Useable tones, and quite a variety. As this amp is loaded with 2, 40 watt rated Celestions....unless you add a boost pedal in front of the amp....the speakers will take a very long time to completely break in. Even so, the Celestions sound great...and captures deep bottom end tones, (you may be tired of some Jensen 35 watt ceramic 10's that have a tendency to fail delivery on the bottom end).
How did the stain or paint job look?
How was the action out of the box?
Every Action Hero will need this in his or her living room.