Blackstar HT5 Amp Review

Most of my guitar playing is done through Amplitube but I picked up a Blackstar HT5 for my students that I give private lessons to use during their weekly lessons. I was looking for a low wattage amp that had dual channel and this fit that bill and was also reasonable priced.

The Details-

The HT5 is a straightforward two-channel design with a shared three-band EQ and an extra control called Infinite Shape Feature or ISF for short. This voicing control allows the player to dial in more of a US sound, British voicing and somewhere in between.
The HT5 also includes a choice of eight- and 16-ohm loudspeaker outlets, enabling hook-up to a wide range of external speaker cabinets. There's a series FX loop with two preset levels to suit stompbox type pedals and rack units. In addition, on the front panel there's a headphone socket which also doubles as a speaker-emulated line out, with two different EQ settings that can mimic 1 x 12 and 4 x 12 cabinets.

The HT5 comes in a 1 x 10 combo, mini-stack comprising a head and two 1 x 10 closed back cabinets and just the head. I picked up the head and added a 2×12 mini stack loaded with a Celestion V30 and a Celection Greenback.  The head can be purchased for around $325
Overall Impression-
Build quality seems pretty good. Everything seems solid and if taken care of should hold up well. I’ve seen people complain about the lack of headroom on the clean channel. Its 5 watts people! There won’t be a lot of headroom. I found there to be enough for my application. This amp even at 5 watts is loud! I found the clean channel to be a bit sterile and lifeless. Nothing exciting, warm or rich about it which can be a bit of a good thing as it takes pedals well. The overdrive channel was decent but not inspiring. The amp feels boxy and closed in like it wanted to breathe but couldn’t.
One thing that I do like about this amp is the emulated cab out. It’s easy to plug in your headphones and be able to jam with your already connected pedal board late at night when the family is sleeping. This is a big feature for me as that is when I get a chance to do my playing.
Final Conclusion-
It serves its purpose for now. I’m still on the hunt for that perfect low watt amp though. When I find it, this little HT5 will make its way to Craigslist.
I give it 3 out of 6 strings mainly for its ability to take pedals well and the emulated out.
What do you think? Have the Blackstar HT5? Love it? Hate it? Know of a better low watt amp? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.