The Blackstar HT Venue MK III Series is the latest amplifier range from the UK-based amp company. It builds on their previous work and is designed for performance. Utilizing Blackstar’s ISF and CabRig technology
Blackstar HT Venue MK III
This new Blackstar HT Venue 40 MK III Series is a range of tube amps that are designed for performance and can handle being taken out and gigged with.
They combine both Clean/Crunch channels with Overdrive channels and are designed to handle most situations easily, with minimal fuss.
Each amp is based around a 12AX7/ECC83 preamp section and power amp with EL34 tubes.
Models in the new range include the HT Club 40 MK III combo, HT Club 50 MK III head, HT Stage 60 112 MK III combo, HT Stage 60 212 MK III combo, and the HT Stage 100 MK III head.
Plus, matching HTV-112 MK III, HTV-212 MK III, and HTV-412 A/B MK III cabinets. All the cabinets and the combos are loaded with Celestion speakers.
Clean & Overdrive
The MK III Clean is billed as being extremely versatile and offers a range of classic clean and crunch tones. Blackstar states that the two different voicings use both parts of an ECC83/12AX7 tube exclusively for producing any valve compression or crunch.
Whereas, the HT Venue MK III overdrive channels are described as part of an evolution from the original Series One range through to now.
Here, Blackstar describes the topology as sharing the same basic building blocks in the gain structure and tonal shaping and includes the cascaded gain stages of an ECC83/12AX7 dual-triode tube.
It will also clean up nicely when the user backs off the volume control on the guitar.
They all feature Blackstar’s ISF control which allows the amps to go between British and American voicings.
This Infinite Shape Feature has been a huge part of their amps for many years now and allows users to tune the amp how they want it and then use the Bass, Middle, and Treble controls to dial it to taste.
All the amps in this new range come with Voice switches that allow the user to further nail certain classic amp tones.
For example, with the Clean channel Voice 1 (LED off) offers an American Fender-like clean sound similar to a mid-’60s Twin Reverb. Whereas the Voice 2 setting (LED on) has a more vintage ‘Class A’ British tone, think VOX AC 30 in tone.
Then on the Overdrive channel switching on Voice 2 will add more gain, reducing power amp damping, and giving livelier highs and more resonant lows.
Plus, on the OD channel of the HT Club MK III models and the OD2 channel of the HT Stage MK III models, switching to Voice 2 also adds an extra pre-valve mid boost.
Each amp in the new series also features the ability to reduce the power to around 10% of the normal maximum output rating. This is great for when you don’t need to play to an audience in a large venue or for studio work.
Each amp also features an onboard Digital Reverb with two settings named ‘DARK’ and ‘LIGHT’. The Reverb Time can also be adjusted for Clean and OD channels independently using Blackstar’s Architect software.
CabRig allows the user to switch between the three currently stored CabRig settings, again using the Blackstar Architect software. CabRig is Blackstar’s next-generation DSP speaker simulator and allows users to shape the amp tone quite significantly, making it a powerful tool.
There are also over 700 combinations of rooms, cabinets, and microphones available to users.
XLR, Headphones & USB
Both the outputs have been improved for the MK III Series. The XLR now uses what is described as a professional-level ‘quasi-floating’ output that electronically simulates a transformer DI out.
The headphone driver amps have been changed to increase the available output power to a wider range of different headphone types and also work nicely as a Line Out.
Plus, the USB-C allows users to send up to 4 channels of their guitar signal (clean/dry, preamp out, and stereo emulated out) into a DAW setup.
All of the HT Venue MK III amps have two jack sockets for foot controllers. A simple 2-way (supplied) or a more sophisticated 5-way version (optional).
The supplied 2-way footswitch enables users to switch between the two Clean channel voices and two of the Overdrive voices, giving a limited type of 4-channel operation.
Whereas, the optional FS14 5-way footswitch enables users to switch between all channels and all voices. On the Club models, this gives full 4-channel operation, on the Stage models this gives 6-channel operation.
Plus, there is a Boost function that can be used on any channel/voice combination to give a 6dB solo boost and a Reverb on/off can be switched from this unit.
Blackstar HT Club 40 Combo MkIII
Blackstar HT CLUB 50 Head MkIII
Blackstar HT Stage 60 112 Combo MkIII
Blackstar HT Stage 60 212 Combo MkIII
Blackstar HT Stage 100 Head MkIII
Blackstar HTV 112 MKIII
Blackstar HTV 212 MKIII
Blackstar HTV-412B MkIII
Blackstar HTV-412A MkIII
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- HT Venue MK III Series: Blackstar
- Blackstar HT Club 40 MKIII: Blackstar
- HT Venue MK III Combos: Blackstar