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Blackstar HT Metal 1 review

The mini-amp turned little devil

  • £219
  • €309
  • $475
It's only got an eight-inch speaker, but the HT Metal 1 is capable of some pretty fearsome tones

MusicRadar Verdict

If you're after a combo for heavyweight bedroom jams and backstage warm-ups, this could be the HT Metal for you.

Pros

  • +

    Serious, bass-y tones. Digital reverb. Well made.

Cons

  • -

    Would benefit from an EQ control.

It's hardly the most intimidating of amps, but Blackstar's HT Metal 1 is still more than capable of delivering bucketloads of filth.

Based on the award-winnning HT-1 combo, it's an all-valve one-watt amp for bedroom-dwelling fans of heaviness, featuring a speaker-emulated outputs and mp3/line input, plus Blackstar's patented ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) control.

"The first thing you notice about the HT Metal 1 is the surprising amount of bass it puts out"

Two channels offer a wealth of overdriven options, but Blackstar hasn't forgotten about those cleaner moments, either, offering up a handy digital reverb.

Aside from its light weight, the first thing you notice about the HT Metal 1 is the surprising amount of bass it puts out, despite only packing an eight-inch speaker. That makes for tight and defined gained-up tones, which further defy the diminutive stature. Low E-string thrash and detuned riffs are no problem; the speaker never threatens to flub out or fail to deliver.

And with the ISF control, you can sculpt tones from British crunch to American grunt, letting you dial in your favourite sounds from metallers past and present. However, as much as we love the ISF control, an EQ knob wouldn't have gone amiss here, since the Metal 1 could be a little bassy for some players, especially if the amp's positioned on the floor.

Nonetheless, it makes for a seriously portable metal practice amp, complete with authentic valve tones, and it comes in handy in the studio, too - small combos give a unique, slightly honky tone that sits well in a mix, and the HT Metal 1 is no exception.

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com (opens in new tab), in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe (opens in new tab).