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More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby maccagakka » Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:53 am

Hi there,

Home alone this wonderful little amp is ear-shatteringly neighbour-annoyingly loud and i love it. Forever.

However, at band practise it's just ever so slightly not loud enough. I can't afford a new amp (it would have to be a blackstar in any case) but i live with a friend who has a large selection of pedals and I'm wondering how much extra volume I'd be able to get out of the amp by putting a boost pedal in the effects loop, and also if this would be safe and not explode the power amp with too hot a signal?

Does anyone out there have any suggestions, recommendations, or even just a "no no no definitely don't do this"?

Another option I'd consider is some form of hot rodding.

I don't need much more volume, just enough so i don't have to go through the arduous process of convincing the drummer to play softer after every song!

Glenn
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Re: More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby zenguitar » Wed Oct 14, 2020 1:01 pm

The FX loop is not really intended for gain pedals, it would typically be used for delay/reverb effects that often work best after the pre-amp and before the power amp. Blackstar amps are well designed and well engineered, but there is no guarantee that it would survive if you patch in a gain or boost pedal in the loop. It is a gamble, and repairing the HT5 will be relatively expensive.

Good news/bad news. There are devices you can use to attenuate the speaker output which contain more powerful amplifiers, but they are very expensive (you could buy a good valve 15W/30W combo for less).

Small combos have small speakers, so sometimes you will get more volume if you disconnect the internal speaker and use a larger extension speaker cab. A 2x10, 2x12, 4x10, 4x12 would all work. So if you have access to a speaker cab it is worth a try, the manual for your HT5 explains clearly how to connect them.

Finally, the whole point of rehearsing is to learn to work together. So while you might not enjoy conversations with the drummer, if he's playing too loud he needs to learn. When you move from rehearsing to gigging it is a skill he needs to have in his arsenal.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Oct 14, 2020 1:14 pm

zenguitar wrote:...the whole point of rehearsing is to learn to work together. So while you might not enjoy conversations with the drummer, if he's playing too loud he needs to learn. When you move from rehearsing to gigging it is a skill he needs to have in his arsenal

^^^^THIS!

And ... you only get one set of ears... It doesn't take much exposure to excessive sound levels to knacker them... but the seriousness of that damage might not become apparent for many years. So look after them!
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Re: More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby CS70 » Wed Oct 14, 2020 1:17 pm

Want a louder sound? Get a bigger cab!

I used to run my Tiny Terror at 7 watts mode into a 4x12 and it could cope even with the ghost of John Bonham if needed.

As of a boost in the FX loop - it's possible but unlikely that it's gonna work, it a line level signal out of the FX send so even if your pedal is can attenuate it enough, it will likely output a too weak signal for what the amp expects in them return (again, a line level). Certain boost pedals tough boost a lot so might be possible to put it there. But not sure how much more volume you can gain with the same speaker.. the speaker is probably gonna simply distort instead of getting louder.
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Re: More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby Luke W » Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:12 pm

Another shout for chatting to the drummer here, not being able to play to the room will end up causing way more problems than drowning out an amp during rehearsals.

Is it too quiet for everyone or just for individuals? Apologies if I'm stating the obvious but moving/pointing things around a bit can solve a lot of issues. I've been in a fair few situations where an amp thats sat on the floor pointing at someone elses shins isn't loud enough for somebody miles away next to a loud drummer...

Sometimes more power is indeed the answer, but more often than not I find that tilting an amp upwards and convincing whack-happy drummers to behave themselves a bit works far better, and it's free! :thumbup:
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Re: More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:46 pm

As above, a more efficient speaker will help but the limiting factor for max volume is the power amp clipping (a boost pedal in the loop will just drive the power amp into clipping sooner and you will gain nothing). 5 watts is not much and nowhere near enough if you need anything resembling clean, I use an 18 watt valve combo with a Vintage 30 ('cos it was the most efficient speaker I could find at the time) and it is, sometimes, not quite loud enough for gigs.

Definitely agree with Andy and Hugh about not rehearsing too loud, I have tinnitus presumably as a consequence of too much loud music.

And with Andy and Luke about chatting with the drummer, playing down to a level is a skill he needs to have.
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Re: More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby maccagakka » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:35 pm

I've had a word with the drummer and he's committed to contain his fervour, but it's all fairly academic now since I'm in Teesside and we can't practise :cry:

I'm still interested. Today I tried an MXR Micro Amp (single knob boost pedal) at conservative settings with extremely nice sounding results. A definite boost in volume, a bit of distortion when using the clean channel (power tube saturating I guess?) and there was a whole half turn of the knob still available!

Would/could this destroy my amp? As i understand it the first generation ht5 is pretty much indestructible, with the worst outcome being a blown fuse or burnt out tube?

Thanks a lot for the input folks!

Glenn
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Re: More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby maccagakka » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:37 pm

Also I have just borrowed a 4x12

Will report back!

Glenn
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Re: More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby Music Wolf » Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:38 am

Loud drummers are a pet hate of mine. I'm playing in two bands at the moment (technically I'm not playing in any due to lockdown), both have real drummers playing acoustic kits.

The drummer in my more established band is the less gifted musician but he can control his volume. He is also easy going, totally reliable and has a great attitude. "Am I still too loud? No problem, I'll use rods". Will he come in on the beat after that break? We'll have to wait and see but be ready to recover if he doesn't.

Band number two was put together this year and so haven't gigged yet. The Drummer and the other guitarist, both of whom I was in bands with 30 odd years ago, were playing together in a Prog Rock instrumental band but decided that they'd also like to try playing in front of an audience for a change. I had my doubts about the drummer but the other guitarist was adamant that he’d matured. “He’s a great drummer, but…………………”

He is very loud
He won’t damp his kit
He spat his dummy when I suggested using rods
We were picking or vetoing songs based on whether or not he found them interesting
He was the least available for rehearsals

This week he’s thrown in the towel (for us and the other band he plays in) as he’s depressed by not being able to play due to lockdown and he thinks that he’ll be too rusty when things unlock and he’s selling his kit etc. I feel uplifted.

A drummer who cannot, or will not, control their volume is not a good drummer, even if they can play in 15 / 8 time.
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Re: More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby maccagakka » Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:57 am

I've played with many drummers over the years and this lad is one of the best. I think it's mainly enthusiasm that's his problem, but we'll soon beat that out of him.

Glenn
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Re: More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby ef37a » Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:02 pm

maccagakka wrote:Also I have just borrowed a 4x12

Will report back!

Glenn
Please do! I know of at least one guy who gigs with an HT-5 head and 4x12 and finds it more than adequate. Depends of course what the four by is loaded with. Greenbacks, nice but not loud. V30's not to everyone's taste but probably a 6-8dB gain in SPL over the stock speaker and directional to boot.

I am assuming you have the Mkll Five with the 12" speaker? If so you could swap that for a V30 or another 100dB/W/mtr speaker.

Yes, the Five will struggle for cleans in many band situations, if total distorted mayhem is your bag it will deliver around ten watts and keep up with most drummers. Do not BTW be worried about 'breaking' the amp. It will take any degree of drive so long as the speaker load is correct* I doubt you will be as nasty to the amp as I was! Not sure what "hot rodding" means but the output stage already runs at over 400V so not much room for improvement there.

Do however take heed of Hugh's and others warnings about hearing damage. I doubt a couple of hours, twice a week at the Jolly Sausage will do any lasting harm but it is as well to keep your "dose" of 85dB +SPLs as low as you can.

*A modest 'mismatch' of 2 to 1 is harmless for home widdling and tune up but if you are going to drive bits off ANY valve amp better get the right speaker in the right jack.

Dave.
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Re: More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby maccagakka » Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:54 pm

I don't know what speakers are in this thing, but it's a Marshall JCM900 Lead 1960. I'm not sure it's from 1960 it doesn't look that old. Gonna fire it up this evening :bouncy:

I have the ht5 mk1 which has a smaller speaker so might be limited by that, but interesting to know it can be driven up to 10W. Before hooking up the 4x12 I'm going to turn it up and see how much extra volume I can get out of the power amp using this mxr in the effects loop, also gonna try a guvnor2 pedal that's taken my fancy. Will report back.

Glenn
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Re: More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby ef37a » Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:46 pm

maccagakka wrote:I don't know what speakers are in this thing, but it's a Marshall JCM900 Lead 1960. I'm not sure it's from 1960 it doesn't look that old. Gonna fire it up this evening :bouncy:

I have the ht5 mk1 which has a smaller speaker so might be limited by that, but interesting to know it can be driven up to 10W. Before hooking up the 4x12 I'm going to turn it up and see how much extra volume I can get out of the power amp using this mxr in the effects loop, also gonna try a guvnor2 pedal that's taken my fancy. Will report back.

Glenn

The 1960 cab (the number has nothing chronological about it!) is loaded with G12-75s and they have a sensitivity of 97dB/W/mtr, not the 'knock 'em dead' 100dB V30s but 2 dB hotter than the G10N-40 in the Mk1 amp. Might not look a lot on paper but that 2dB plus the 'obstacle effect' of the big cab will deliver a significantly bigger sound with more bottom 'heft'. (but DON'T point it at the drummer...just make him play louder!)

Don't know where you are chap but that Mk1 could probably use a new output valve at least and some factory mods to bring it up to snuff. Blackstar's service charges are very reasonable.

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Re: More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby maccagakka » Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:58 pm

I appreciate your input Dave, you clearly have expertise in these matters.

I'm not sure of the amps provenance. It was a gift bought from cash converters. What were the factory mods (more volume? :D ) and is there any way I can tell if they've already been done?

I'm not shy about poking around in amps. I'm an electrician and I've replaced and biased the power valve myself. Think it was was at 440V across tube and 56mA across R29 but this was about a year ago so don't take me to task if those details are wrong off the top of my head lol, I'm just letting you know I'm aware of safety factors in amps and happy with a multimeter if that will help me find out if the factory mods have been done

Glenn
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Re: More volume from blackstar HT5

Postby Fishnish » Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:23 pm

I have an HT5, also a couple of 2x12 cabs. I actually use the cabs for another purpose but the HT5 delivers quite a lot more when I use it with a satellite cab than it does via the combo's own speaker.
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