Seeking alternative to the HT-5's dull sounding cabs

Discussion - HT-5 amplifiers.
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:00 am
Location: New Jersey

Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:59 pm

Totally agree...

TRM Cabs sells cabinets that are finished in Tolex if you want them.... so you would get the benefit of the "Pine" sound....just protected... or he'll do it in Tung Oil..

His main focus is just building the cabinets unfinished to sell to people with some time on their hands and are looking for a home project...

Yeah, to go through the whole painstaking finishing process only to be tossing the cabinet in and out of a car trunk doesn't make a whole lot of sense...

If I get it and do the finishing .. this would be the "home" cabinet.... If it leaves to go over a friends house once a year .. that would be a lot... .. that being the case... all this transtint stuff allows to make the cabinet blend in with the rest of the furniture in whatever room its going in....

The 2x12s either the regular ones or the vertical laid down on its side would make a good coffee table height in front of the practice couch... with the head on top....

Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:00 am

Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:54 pm

I thought I'd update after living with the new speakers for a few months, unfortunately I'm still not happy, the new speakers are a definite improvement but for whatever reason I just can't get the tone and feel that I'm looking for, I know a lot of people (though less nowadays) frown on modellers but I think Amplitube 3 might have spoiled me :|

I'm constantly aware of this boxy sound which is lacking in dynamics and high end sparkle, no jangly goodness, I never feel like my fingers are really in touch with the guitar but when I plug into one of Amplitube's better models I'm right there. I did think it might be because I can't turn the master volume up very far in my house but after testing I found that all the stuff I don't like just gets amplified while my small living room reverberates in a nasty way.

Obviously by now I'm thinking about selling my mini stack but I really don't want to, the only idea I have left is to seek out a high quality cabinet and see if that makes the might I suppose.

Any advice would be appreciated :)

Posts: 206
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:00 am

Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:44 pm

There is no replacement for displacement. Which is another way of saying, the HT-5 by itself, doesn't really have the fullness or complexity of a 50/100 watt head with 3-4 pre-amp tubes. It does a great imitation of some of those sounds and has a lot of versatility, to be me the sound isn't really as authentic and full as some of my other amps.

Now personally, I'm happy with the blackbird speaker in my ht-5 combo. Sounds better thru a 4x12, but too loud, and I like the "warmth" of the stock speaker for lower volume practice. And yeah, HT-5 does not mix well with Celestion 70/80 as you found out.

That being said, the ht5 combo and extension cabs are tiny. You get a slightly fuller sound out of a full size 1x12 or 2x12 or 4x12

Unless you are using the HTV cab, which is more of a full size 1x12 with the 70/80 stock speaker.

There's nothing wrong with getting a high quality cab you can use with any amp down the road. If it were me, it would be 75 watt celestions or greenbacks, or similar. V30s are just too loud and in your face for what I do.

It's possible you've outgrown the HT-5 anyway. it's not really about you not turning it up, as much as the HT-5 lacks the subtle, deep low end or balls of a full sized amp and also kind of lacks the dynamics of a traditional multi-valve pre-amp. I don't think it's noticeable in high gain...though I do think, if you want to get more dynamics, have to turn down the gain in any amp in the first place.

Granted our perceptions of this amp are very different. I find it warm but easily made harsh in the upper mids / treble area, and lacking low end depth. it gets brighter with volume, but never really gets a powerful low end or lower mids.

So, in summary, I think it's the amp, and not your speakers. Try running another amp thru them, something 40+ watts and you'll see a big difference in fullness, compression, detail, etc.

Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:00 am

Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:22 pm

Thanks for the detailed reply, It's the sort of reply that I feared in that it says what I've been suspecting myself :lol:

Strangely enough, fullness and balls don't seem to be lacking but maybe it's my room or the fact that my stack is in a corner, either way my bass knob is always turned really low. I can see plenty of people being really impressed by it, for hard rock/punky stuff it gives a nice wall of sound, aggressive and spiky but unfortunately for more dynamic bluesy stuff I just can't make it do what I want, it feels like I'm picking the strings with a blunt, wooden plectrum, I just don't feel in control.

Strangely enough the only times I really enjoy playing are when I'm pushing the amp with a Tubescreamer or DS1, it's not amazing but somehow I feel more articulate and I can get some of the sounds I want by changing my pick attack, but again it's no comparison to when I plug into one of Amplitube's models, all the responsiveness I'm looking for appears.

I'm using the 1x12 cabs that came with my stack, I know the quality isn't great because I damaged one of the cabs fitting my V30, the chipboard is very soft, either way I think you're right that the head is my problem, if I had another amp I'd test the theory but the HT-5 was my first :)

I think that ultimately my problem is feel, the HT-5 makes some really convincing sounds and I'm very often blown away by what I hear on YouTube but of course it's usually high gain, and the stickler is that YouTube can't tell me how an amp feels.

Posts: 206
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:00 am

Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:55 am

Yeah...Feel is something different. There's just a tone of compression and solid-state boosting going on in the ht-5, and that could make for some great metal or EVH tones, but not always as complex as I would like. It also gets a lot brighter, I think, when the gain is lowered.

I guess I had the same sort of feeling as you...that the HT-5 wasn't quite doing it for me. For me, the upper mids were a bit too plastic compared to what I'd expect from a marshall (I like the mids to be kind of ratty, like ac/dc or saxon, hard to describe...but the notes just blend in a raunchy way - low mid and mid mid emphasis I guess). I would give up the fx loop for presence or resonance controls.

So I went and got a Marshall class 5 head, hearing that the C5 is being discontinued, and it's a pretty good contrast with the ht-5. Much fuller sounds, better 1950s fender cleans (very warm and rounded), great dynamic light overdrive, but gets a bit muddy when pushed to high gain. Just a better platform in general for pedals and stuff. Having a built in attenuator (use the headphone output) allows bluesy power tube distortion at lower volumes.

I really like the warm cleans it has. And being a non master volume amp, with 4 knobs and a lower power switch, definitely a different art to using it, and definitely getting more use out of my pedals, now that I don't have to put them in the loop.

My theory is that the HT-5 + the small cabs have a lot of "dull" bass, but not so much in the broader bass. Hard to say, but compared to some 40 and 50 watt amps I have, and compared to the class 5 (which may push 9 watts...hard to say for me), HT-5 was a bit boxy, maybe very cutting, but hard to get it to warm up well.

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

Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:55 am

Just a suggestion, if you get a chance try a BBE Sonic Stomp Maximizer with your HT5.
It really helps to "take the blanket off" your amp, it's a very subtle sound processor. When you use it for the first time you think what's the big deal here but it's not until you turn it off you really notice the difference, dosn't colour your tone at all, just gives it a final "polish" before it hits the speaker.

I've had great results using it with a Vox AC4TV, HT1 and now my HT5-R, it's an "on all the time" kind of thing. There's loads of glowing reviews on Harmony Central to check out, and yes the price stings a bit but I wouldn't be without mine ever.

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Posts: 97
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:00 am

Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:47 am

I really appreciate the expereince I've had with my HT-5RS but I find myself wanting more. I play mostly 80's - early 90's hard rock and it does a decent redering of those general tones but I like it much better with a DS-1 pushing it. BTW, I can't get anything close to early EVH tones out of it, I think I get closer to Whitesnake (87), DIO, Cinderella (for examples) sounds no matter how I dial it in. Kind of strange cross between a Mesa MKII and a JCM900. I was hoping for more of a hot rodded 1959 to modded 2204 thing..... at much lower volumes of course. I had the chance to fool around with a DSL100 through a 1960 cab (original, not one of the new ones) and was really surprized that, IMO, it sounded better than my HT-5 even at bedroom levels. I thought the EVH 5150 III, 50 watt was better at very low volumes as well but I guess I'm not a 6V6 fan because that Marshall mid-grind just wasn't there. I'll probably keep the HT-5 head, sell the cabs and go with DSL or maybe even a 2204 w/ a good (alex, rivera) attenuator. Not right now, but that's the plan.

Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Dryden, VA USA

Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:33 pm

I'm pretty much in the same situation with my HT-5, I guess I've "outgrown" what it can do sound wise. Don't get me wrong, it's a good little amp (I have the HT-5C), but it's just not what I'm after sound-wise.....Even with a 1x12 Greenback cab, the amp's sound is too dark, & doesn't have enough high-end "bite" for me, no matter how I set the tone stack or ISF....

I bought a used Marshall MGMSII (15w micro-stack, with 2- 1x10 cabs), & to be honest, the little Marshall sounds better to my ears than the HT-5 through the 1x12 cab I have...

So, I've ordered an Egnater Tweaker 15w head, it should be here sometime next week. but I'll be keeping my HT-5 for now, it's a good little amp, just not what I'm after sound-wise....

If the Egnater gives me the sound(s) I'm after, I might consider trading/selling the HT-5 then, but that's a maybe. After I get the T15, I might even look into doing a few of the mods to the HT-5 to see if it'll help with my tone quest.....

I only do recording at home, no gigs, but again, the HT-5 is a good, low watt amp (which is really loud for 5 watts), but I expected the sound to be very different....And of course, the mic placement has everything to do with what the daw captures/records, but if the sound coming from the amp isn't what I want to begin with, it's not going to be in the recording either.....

Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:00 am

Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:44 pm

Thanks for the replies guys, I've pretty much convinced myself that I'm selling the head but keeping the cabs for a while, I've got my eye on a H&K Tubemeister 18 at the moment, even though I'm not crazy about the blue LED bullsh*t it really sounds like my kind of tone, very glassy and snappy, loads of headroom. I've seen people describing it positively as a "hi-fi" sound, which is what I always end up aiming for in Amplitube as I mostly prefer brighter, almost 3D sounds to the thick, raucous tone I get from the HT-5.

The integrated powersoak is the thing that totally won me over, I'd been wanting an attenuator for years and this amp only costs £100 more than a Hotplate...

I'll order one and compare it with my HT-5 through the Blackstar cabs, it'll be a good learning experience, plus I can send the head back within 7 days for a refund if I'm not happy, anyway I'm going to go write up a preliminary ebay page for my HT-5.


@minerman : I've seen the Tweaker on my searches, looks and sounds really tempting :)

Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:00 am

Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:28 pm

Well I ordered the Tubemeister 18 head, it should be here on Tuesday, I'm hoping it sounds good through my Blackstar 1x12 cabs, there's a V30 in one and a G12T in the other so I have a bit of tonal variety to play with, though ultimately I won't be surprised if I have to sell them and buy a more upmarket cab.

I'll report back on Tuesday night :)

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