Blackstar HT1R Speaker swap - Blackbird 15 =>Jensen C8R

Discussion - HT-1 amplifiers
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floo_fighter
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:52 pm

Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:25 am

Hallo Everyone!

Today I changed my internal speaker to a Jensen C8R, and I want to share my first impressions with you :)

First of all, i bought my used Combo about 6 Months or so, and I like it pretty much.
My Signal Path is a Hagstrom Super Swede into a few pedals (EHX Nano Overdrive, sometimes a VOX Tonelab ST, Boss RC3 Looper, Digitech Band Trio) into the Blackstar HT1R Combo.but most of the time i play just pure guitar to the amp.
Today I learned, that my Tubes are Sovtec and EHX :D
This afternoon I received my new speaker, and after 10 mins the swap was done :D everything fitted perfectly, anyone who can handle a screw driver can do the job ;)

Long story short: An Update with two faces...

Clean Channel

Oh my god, what a difference! I'm not the best in explaining sounds, but I'll try.
Pretty good low end for that small closed cabin, if you position the combo in the corner of a small room, the bass is imo too much, and the ISF doesn't change that anyway, but more of that later. The mids and highs make the biggest difference, it sounds so much clearer, it seems that the frequency response in the high end is the major difference to the OEM Blackbird 15.
When you turn Vol to max, and the gain up to the point between leaving clean and getting crunchy, you will find your gain settings between 1 to 2 o clock(Humbuckers) and 2 to 3 o clock (Coil Split on), depending on your picking.

The volume level seems to be louder, so i would call this a plus in headroom 8-)
You can hear so much more details compared to the OEM Blackbird15, so it will definitely reveal my mistakes even more :mrgreen:
When you turn the gain to max, it already sounds like a soft overdrive or a fuzz, you can change that with the ISF knob. US left means overdrive, UK right means fuzz.

Overdrive Channel

Oh my god, what a difference as well, but actually to the worse (imo) or my ears are still used to the stock OEM?!
The overdrive sounds fuzzy when you turn the gain more than 12 o clock. Turning it up just adds fuzz and high frequency noises, at least it sounds like that.
Actually I was wondering if my OD channel is broken, but that fuzzy sound comes with the EHX Nano Overdrive in front of the clean channel too, when you turn the gain more than 11 or 12 o clock.
In this category i actually prefer the stock speaker right now, maybe i get used to it or i'll find a good setting.


So these are my impressions on day 1 of my upgraded Combo, tomorrow it may occur different to me :lol:
Some questions came up:

So why is that? :?:
Do I hear my tubes dying? Or do they simply don't fit to the new speaker sound?
I don't know if the preowner has ever changed them, I haven't yet. any suggestions?
Or has this rasp overdrive sound always been there, and the blackbird speaker was just hiding that?? :lol:
Or is the Celestion 8-15 the better choice?

The speaker upgrade is a win in the clean channel, and "just ok" in the OD Channel, as long as the gain knob stays low.

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Uffingdon
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 12:00 am
Location: Far Side Of Nowhere

Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:32 pm

Thanks for sharing your findings, I fitted a Celestian 8-15 to mine and find it a vast improvement over the Blackbird.
I also changed out the valves using the Watford Valves upgrade kit which you may want to check out, they now have a choice of two kits depending on what tone you're going for.
I went for the Classic kit which has smoothed out the grainy fuzz you get from the stock valves.

Can't comment on the overdrive channel as I never use it, the cleaner channel has way more gain that I need.
Epi Casino with Gibson P90's, gain around 1 o'clock no pedals.

floo_fighter
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:52 pm

Mon Dec 19, 2016 6:51 pm

Its's time for an update!

I recently changed the tubes, because I was thinking I have to. Actually it was a one to one swap, I put exactly the same tubes in: 12AU7/ECC82 by EHX and a 12AX7WA by Sovtek. My dealer also offered the
A first optical check on the used tubes didn't show any obvious damage for my unexperienced eyes.

I didn't make an A/B Comparison, because I have no discharger or multimeter around. My amp was off for 2 days, so I didnt have to worry about high voltages :D

What happened?
As I expected the sound shape is still the same, brilliant in the clean channel, and too much hiss in the OD, when the gain is 12+
Actually I think in the clean channel is even more brilliant, my Les Paul shaped Hagstrom neck pickup (splitted) sounds similar to a Tele :roll:
So maybe the old tubes are still ok, I keep them as a backup.

Fun fact:
Sometimes I plug an old modded '78 1x12 Solton cabinet into the HT1R. I only use the 12" Speaker, the built in 40W Transistor Amp is bypassed and unplugged. Unfortunately I can't find anything about the speaker on the web.
Compared to the stock speaker Blackbird15, it has a more balanced tone, and sounds clearer.
But when I compare the 1X12 Solton to the new Jensen CR8, the Jensen wins it all! You can hear any single detail, the attack is incredible and it sounds just "true".
But when I like to play in OD channel, i prefer the external Cabinet, because of the less aggressive sounding.

The new tubes were a slight improvement, but its definitely not the sound I am going for. My dealer offered me a Tuning Sol as well, but afaik they are too bright for a Jensen loaded Blackstar.
I was also suggested to try a ECC81 in the Preamp section to have less gain (and as a consequence less hiss, I think???). An ECC82 has a 1:100, and a ECC81 only 1:60 ratio
Any experiences with ECC81 in the HT1?

Rough justice 123
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu May 09, 2019 11:46 am

Mon May 13, 2019 12:19 pm

its great that you have the option to change the valves to effect the sound.
Something you cant do with solid state ;)

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