The Audio Museum


Valve Amp

Blackstar HT Series

The HT Studio 20 head offers huge versatility for home, rehearsal or studio use and can be used with a variety of cabinets including the matching HT112 and HT212. The carefully voiced preamp coupled with a cathode-biased EL34 power amp, provides the user with the ability to create wonderfully lush valve tones. From pure boutique cleans, to mild overdrive that cleans up by backing off the guitar volume control, up to highly saturated distortion, this amp does it all.

Here is a review from MusicRadar “Round-up: 4 great low-powered tube amp heads“, it’s worth checking out the whole review at their website…good stuff.
~What really swings it is the flexibility of the ISF (from brittle to booming) and the gig-friendly option of stomping between dedicated channels, cementing the impression of an amp that’s sweet enough for the studio, but practical enough for the road.

Previously regarded as plucky British upstarts, Blackstar is fast becoming the A-lister’s choice, with everyone from Opeth to The Gaslight Anthem rolling out the flagship Series One and Artisan.

The HT Studio is less swanky, but might break the deadlock in a tough test with twin channels, EL34 valves, its tone-shaping ISF, onboard reverb and a monster 20 watts. If it had no trimmings, we’d still love the HT Studio.

At 20 watts, it’s loud enough to crack the earth’s crust, but this isn’t just a racket. When you play clean, it’s got depth, body and soul; add reverb and you’ve got killer atmospherics; hit the Gain for a punishing tone with more muscle than the rivals (probably due in part to the EL34s).

Overall: this is a bulletproof head, with buckets of tweakable tone, imaginative features – and no obvious weak points.

  • 20 Watt valve head
  • 2xECC83, 2xEL34
  • Two foot switchable channels
  • Enhanced tone controls
  • Patent-Applied for Infinite Shape Feature (ISF)
  • Master volume
  • Digital reverb
  • Speaker emulated output
  • Effects loop
  • 1-way foot switch included
  • Cool vintage styling


Blackstar Venue Series HT Studio 20H 20w Tube Head

The Blackstar Series One S45 45W 2×12 Tube Guitar Combo

Classic Valve Amp – Now that’s Old School

II-classic Photo


15W Valve mono power amplifier


A faithful reproduction of the original, the new Quad II-classic offers audiophiles the chance to recreate the spirit and atmosphere produced from one of the most famous amplifiers in audio history. The original Quad II was first launched in 1953, designed by Peter Walker. At the time, many of his contemporaries were also producing good quality valve amplifiers. The Quad II looked, in comparison, very simple and unassuming, but its performance was far beyond that which its diminutive dimensions might suggest. The property which set the Quad II amplifier apart from other amplifiers of the time was its output stage. It was arranged such that the cathode coupled circuit emulated the performance of triode operation, but with the size and efficiency characteristics of pentode operation. It was this breakthrough that ensured the Quad II was to remain in continuous production until 1970. Peter’s circuit, notably the design of the output transformer, has become the stuff of legend amongst electronics engineers. Studied and analysed by the finest minds in the industry, the elegance and coherence of the design is still regarded as a reference today.

Given the quite modest components of the day, he was able to engineer something which was quite literally greater than the sum of its parts. The Quad II-Classic has been recreated accurately with output valves and input valves the equivalent of those used in the original design. The same balancing act has been employed to ensure the same wealth of detail and gentle tone of the original. The output valves produce around 15watts per channel, operating in Class A which, although slight by modern standards, allows a gloriously sweet and refined sound with appropriately matched contemporary loudspeakers.

See more here.

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