Artisan 100 review by Blackstar

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  • Sound: 3
  • Overall Impression: 4
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 5.3 Decent
  • Users' score: 9.3 (19 votes)
Blackstar: Artisan 100

Price paid: £ 1000

Purchased from:

Sound — 3
I've played the amp with two Music Man guitars, an Axis (high output pick-ups) and a Silhouette (low output) through a Marshall 1960 cab. It definitely sounds best with low output, since the amp itself is very loud. The clean sounds are crystal clean, but very sharp, even with the presence turned all the way down and with low treble. The crunch channel is the same, too sharp for my taste, but I imagine it would be good for AC/DC, but that's about it. There is also a hissing sound from the amp when you turn on the crunch channel. Overall it's a loud, sharp and popping sound. Definitely not "the sound in my head".

Overall Impression — 4
I play classic rock, metal, blues, but this amp really isn't suited for that kind of playing. Every once in a while I'll play some Hendrix or AC/DC, and for that the Artisan might be good, but for everything else, I'm better off with my Marshall or my Bugera amp. They're both cheaper, but are both better and more versatile. If this amp was stolen I'd wouldn't get another one. It's gotten a lot of good reviews on the web, but I can't see why. If you're going to spend a lot of money on an amp, go Marshall. This amp is just too old school to compete with the new ones.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I haven't used this amp for long, and I doubt I will. It looks like it's built to last, and according to other reviews it's very durable, but I really don't know. The chassis is covered in vinyl, and could get some scratches if you're not careful, but who's that reckless with their 1000 tube amp?

Features — 6
This handwired, all valve, 100 watt head features 2 channels and 4 inputs, 2 high-gain and 2 low gain. This means that your not able to switch channel without turnung off the amp and switching input, but it also allows you to blend channels using a patch cable, which is fun. There is a volume switch for each channel, 3 band EQ and a presence control, but the thing that makes this amp special is the voice control, a knob that allows you to change the tone control of the preamp, and the gain/damping of the power amp, making the amp sound like an early 50's american amp, late 50's american, early 60's brit and late 60's brit, respectivly. It's a nice touch, but not much more. There is no effect loop, foot switch or extra outputs, but there is an impendence selector on the back which allows you to switch between 4, 8 and 16 ohm, depending on which cabinet you want to use.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Horrible review of a great amp. And learn how to use the amp properly before making a review. The inputs, for example, are "high sensitivity/low sensitivity", not "high gain/low gain". "Hi" to connect the guitar directly to the amp, "Lo" for use with high output effects pedals. It's a shame to see such bog-standard reviews being accepted in UG on a daily basis.
    This amp is just too old school to compete with the new ones.
    I play classic rock, metal, blues
    I imagine it would be good for AC/DC, but that's about it.
    You sir, are a complete moron. You clearly don't understand the purpose and intentions of this amp.
    hm, a 3 at "sound" for a 1000 pounds handwired amp ?...
    Least he left his name. Wait he didn't leave a name. A hit and run review? Nothing he/she/it talks about makes any sense at all. Used two guitars but only one cab? Why not try it out with multiple cabs and guitars BEFORE YOU BUY IT. This review makes me believe he sat downa t a store for about 10 minutes with what ever was available and played a couple riffs. Pitiful review
    Just get a 6505 head and be done with it, for god's sake. Seriously, did you even research on the amp before buying it?