Blackstar HT Amplifier Camas WA

Studio 20? Well, if your home studio happens to be Abbey Road, the Blackstar’s appellation might make sense, because this is one loud-as-all-hell 20-watter. I used it for a fairly large club gig— mated with the Blackstar HTV-112 open-back cabinet ($249 retail/$199 street)—and the amp was feisty enough to be heard across the stage and into the audience. Small wonder that when the soundman gave me a board recording of the performance, it was obvious the Studio 20 was not put into the house mix. This low-wattage titan filled the club all by itself, with just a little help from signal bleed into the vocal mics.

Thee Music Store
(360) 834-0899
205 Ne 21St Ave
Camas, WA
Types of Instruments Sold
Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Pacific Percussion
(503) 252-1934
359 Ne 167Th Pl
Portland, OR
Types of Instruments Sold
Drums & Percussion

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Eastside Music
(503) 491-2270
21977 Se Stark St
Gresham, OR
Types of Instruments Sold
Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Portland Music Company
(503) 667-4663
12334 Southeast Division Street
Portland, OR
 
Keyboard Engineering Inc
(503) 777-4266
3213 Ne Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Guitars & Fretted Instruments

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Beacock Music
(360) 694-7134
1420 Se 163Rd Ave
Vancouver, WA
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music, DJ Equipment

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River City Music Inc
(360) 892-8061
13215 Se Mill Plain Blvd
Vancouver, WA
Types of Instruments Sold
Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Dme Music
(503) 786-8742
9006 Ne Brazee St
Portland, OR
Types of Instruments Sold
Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Guitars & Fretted Instruments

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Portland Music
(503) 760-6881
12334 Se Division St
Portland, OR
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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African Rhythm Traders
(503) 288-6950
424 Ne Broadway St
Portland, OR

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Blackstar HT Amplifier

gp0610_gear0546Studio 20? Well, if your home studio happens to be Abbey Road, the Blackstar’s appellation might make sense, because this is one loud-as-all-hell 20-watter. I used it for a fairly large club gig— mated with the Blackstar HTV-112 open-back cabinet ($249 retail/$199 street)—and the amp was feisty enough to be heard across the stage and into the audience. Small wonder that when the soundman gave me a board recording of the performance, it was obvious the Studio 20 was not put into the house mix. This low-wattage titan filled the club all by itself, with just a little help from signal bleed into the vocal mics. But although the well-built Studio 20 is seriously road tough and gig ready, if you want to keep it as an “indoor” amp, its speaker-emulated 1/4" output and Master Volume let you record at low volumes if you’re miking, and silently if you’re going direct.

SPECIFICATIONS

CONTACT Blackstar Amplification, blackstaramps.co.uk

MODEL HT Studio 20H

PRICE $629 retail/$499 street

CHANNELS Two

CONTROLS Reverb, Master Volume, ISF, Treble, Middle, Bass, Overdrive Volume, Overdrive Gain, Clean Tone, Clean Volume

gp0610_gear0547TUBES Two EL34 power tubes, two ECC83 preamp tubes.

POWER 20 watts

EXTRAS Digital reverb, speaker-emulated output, Effects loop, footswitch included

WEIGHT 28 lbs

KUDOS Super-pristine clean tone. Ballsy overdrive saturation. ISF knob for blending American and British EQ voicings. Good value.

CONCERNS You better like it really loud if you want gritty clean tones.

Sonically, the Studio 20 is almost like the Batman anti-hero Two-Face. The Clean channel is as pristine and pure as Snow White, while the Overdrive channel is all about fury and aggression. Tested with a Guild X-160, a PRS Mira X, a Hanson Chicagoan, and a Fender Stratocaster, the amp’s dual nature was marked in each instance by either: (a) massive clean headroom that refused to get even slightly gritty until the controls were dimed to Godzilla volume levels, or (b) pretty ferocious saturation. There’s precious little sonic real estate flanking the two contrasts, which makes it difficult to dial up tones that evoke, say, roots rock or old-school rock and roll. Such styles seem to be “between the knobs,” so to speak.

Putting some vibey grit into the Studio 20’s immaculate Clean channel required adding some of my favorite overdrive pedals to the signal chain—a move that revealed this channel is perfectly tailored for those players who desire “hi-fi” amplification to best show off all the tonal colors of their stompbox armament. The Overdrive channel rages like a rabid boar, and as I couldn’t calm the roar for spiky or skanky tones, I used the channel exclusively for solos and riffs. The Tone controls are quite musical, and the EQ section’s exclusive Infinite Shape Feature (ISF) magically shifts the Bass, Middle, and Treble knobs between American (more precise center frequencies) and British (wider center frequencies) voicings.

The Stu...

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