Price paid: € 375
Purchased from: xmusic dublin
Sound — 10
I primarily use my Epiphone G-400 with it, using the bridge humbucker, and occasionally I use my brother's fat start which is a hss with coil tap on the humbucker. It suits my music style perfectly by being able to do blues, all types of rock and some metal. For 5 watts this thing is seriously loud when I use the speaker I only have the clean channel on about 4 and the dirty channel on 2. When using a high gain setting is can get abit noisy with background noise, but you can easily put a noise gate in the effects loop to clear that up. The clean channel is based on the Artisan series of boutique amps, and on 10 it is still perfectly clean with no break up what so ever. The distortion can get brutal whilst not into the death metal shredders territory, still by having the distortion on 10 you can still get screaming harmonics out of it.
Overall Impression — 10
This is a perfect match for my playing style of blues, rock and metal. I've been playing since September 2009, with an Epiphone G400, Boss DS-1 and a Tenson Scream 15. Before I got this amp I had little ambition of constantly playing, after I got this amp it made me want to play more and more, instead of playing for about 30 mins 5 days a week, I now play closer to an hour 5-7 days a week. I bought this amp purely based on reviews and youtube and it has not disappointed me one bit. When I was looking at amps I compared this to the Marshall class 5, which is about the same price, and in terms of value for money and features this amp blows the Class 5 away, as for the sound they sound very similar, and after reading Blackstar's history it's clear to see why they sound similar. If this was stolen, lost or broken I would easily replace it with the same amp. There is not one feature on this amp I don not like, whilst a 3 band eq on the clean channel would be nice the whole amp makes up for that not being there.
Reliability & Durability — 10
By no means is this a gigging amp, it is designed for home practice and studio recording, but if you want to gig with it you will need to use a microphone especially on the clean channel, whilst I have no cranked the overdrive channel up to 10, judging by what it sounds on 2, you may be able to just hear it over a drummer. Whilst I've only had it about 5 months it has not once played up, as for the need to replace tubes, I've read in many forums that the tubes are barely used so never need replacing, whilst browsing forums a quote from Blackstar actually supported that claim, even in the manual there is no mention about retubing it.
Features — 10
The amp was made in Korea in 2009, after being designed in the UK. This amp is very versatile, it will go from a blues sounding amp to heavy rock/ light metal amp, as well as being able to sound like an American amp and a British amp. It has 2 channels 1 clean and 1 overdrive channel. The clean channel is controlled via a single volume knob that has no eq, whilst the dirty channel has a gain, volume, 3 band eq and an infinite shape feature (isf) knob, which along with the eq give both a British or American amp characteristics to the sound. It has a 10" Celestion G10N-40 16ohm speaker, effects loop, headphone output with a 1x12 or 4x12 cab simulator. I use this for bedroom practice and it is plenty loud enough for what I want. This is a 5 watt tube amp, with a 12bh7 in the power amp and an ecc83 in the pre amp.