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Over the past few years, the British amp company, Blackstar, has emerged as a formidable force in the world of guitar amplification by placing their unique spin on high quality British tone into amps that are more affordable. They’ve also become well known for doing something most amp companies don’t do so well, and that’s successfully scaling down the huge tone of their amps into something that can fit onto your pedal board.
The HT-Metal Pedal
Blackstar has quite an extensive range of distortion pedals, but still missing from that was a really high-gain, super saturated, metalhead’s wet dream kind of distortion pedal – that is until now. Metalheads rejoice! This year at NAMM, Blackstar announced the newest addition to its full line of valve distortion pedals: the HT-Metal!
Blackstar based this new model off of its popular HT-Dual distortion pedal. The HT-Metal has the same basic circuitry and controls, except with oodles more brutal, bone-crushing distortion. In that way you can think of the HT-Metal as the HT-Dual’s evil brother.
It has two distinct high-gain distortion channels driven by a whopping 300V valve circuitry, just like in a real high gain amp. Channel 1 and channel 2 each have their own gain and level controls. For the more versatile guitarist, Channel 1 is also equipped with a clean/overdrive switch. With this switch set to “clean”, Channel 1 operates more like a crunchy overdrive, allowing the user to achieve less saturated, classic rock tones. Off course for true clean, you can rely on an unaltered signal to your amp’s clean channel from the high integrity buffered bypass.
The HT-Metal has a three band EQ for further fine tuning of tone plus Blackstar’s patented Infinite Shaping Feature (ISF) control, which gives the user even further control of their tone. With the knob set right of center, the tone takes on a Brittish characteristic, like that of a Marshall amp. With the knob set left of center, the tone is more American sounding, like that of a Mesa Rectifier. The ISF knob control is fully sweepable too, meaning that one could go 100% to either setting or blend the two together.
The emulated speaker output is another extremely cool and unique feature, and makes the HT-Metal handy for both stage and studio. This output is specially designed to make the HT-Metal sound like it’s coming right out of a big ol’ speaker cabinet. So if you need the sound of an amp turned to 11 but don’t want to wake up the neighbors, just plug the emulated speaker output straight into your recording device.
There doesn’t seem to be a street price as of yet but the HT-Metal will likely be similarly priced to its less evil bother the HT-Dual, which is $249. At this price it would be competing up at the top in the world of high-quality distortion pedals. But there really isn’t anything like the HT-Metal in this range, with all its features and extreme high-gain distortion. Now the metal heads of the world should have something to drool over.
Check out the HT-Metal in action at NAMM: