We are and become what we do!
- Sep 25, 2017
- Charleston SC Area
The lower output preamp tubes will likely change the character of the amp, because on many two channel amps, the preamp tubes get shared for various functions. So, change one, and you’ve not only changed the clean channel, but the gain channel.
The gain channel might be adjusted by simply cranking the gain higher, or might not work as well. In either case, tube substitutions can often change the tone character, too.
If it was me, I’d stick with the Blackstar and make it work, because it’s a good amp, and you already own the thing. If you have a buffer, or a buffered pedal, at the beginning of your pedalboard signal chain, it’ll help preserve high frequencies going to your amp. You might want to turn up the treble control or presence, or both, if you find rolling off the guitar volume not bright enough for your taste.
I use an EQ pedal sometimes so that I can get very crisp clean tones when I want the HXDA to be clean by rolling down the guitar volume (being a Marshall style amp, it breaks up and gets dirty pretty quickly) and it works great. There are times I’ll roll the volume on a PRS down to 3 or 4. You get a nice clean tone that way. So I’ll increase the highs a little, and also cut the bass, with the pedal.
However, I generally run the guitar at around 5-7 because I like a little grit in my clean tone. There are many times I’ll literally zero out the amp and start completely from scratch just to force myself not to be lazy when dialing in the sound I want. It’s so easy to forget that the amp controls are really quite powerful!
Point is, you can most likely find what you’re looking for if you’re willing to turn the knobs on the guitar and the amp and experiment a bit!
I do need to experiment more with the controls. I haven't understood the best way to do that, and frankly, am not sure of the sound I'm looking for, so I have been a bit lazy! And then, I'm not sure I hear sound differences that well. Guitarists on Internet sites make tone changes, and after doing so, I don't hear it. The tones sometimes sound the same to me. I'll work on alot of the ideas I've received from you and others on this thread. Thanks!