Purchased from: Nevada Music
Sound — 9
I play using a Gibson Les Paul Studio with stock pickups and .009 gauge srings. As far as sound is concerned, this amp really has everything covered. Everything from Larry Carlton through to Dokken. I have the EQ set pretty much all at 12 o clock. Using the softer of the overdrive voices and rolling off the volume on the guitar a bit, you can really get some classy 70s rock tones. Think Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC and Status Quo and you're pretty much on the right wavelength. Turn the guitar volume back up and flick the harsh voice setting on if you want to make it scream. The cleans are very very nice too, even at volume they sound very clear. Not quite the same zing as you get from a decent Fender, but it gives it a good run for it's money. Don't be put off by the fact it's 40 watts either. It'll do bedroom practice and still sound fine. But of course live shows is where it really sings.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall I love it. The only thing that bugs me is the fact that it's a combo, I'd prefer a head and a meaty cabinet. The footswitch could do with offering a little more control, practicality shouldn't be restricted to the 60 and 100 watt versions of the HT range. I tried out an Orange Dual Terror and a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe before buying but in the end the Blackstar won out. The Orange was very nice, but in my opinion not very versatile and the Fender had a pristine clean channel but a muddy overdrive channel. The salesman's excuse was that people just buy a pedal for the overdrive... Sorry, I'm not paying through the nose for an amp and then paying another 100 or so to get a useable overdrive. Unless you have enough money to run two different amps to blend the sounds of the Orange and the Fender, get yourself one of these.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've had it for a year and a half now and it's never let me down. The valve failure recovery system thing on the Orange Rockerverb would really make it bomb proof, but the Orange is double the price of the Blackstar and in my opinion you get a lot more amp with the Blackstar for a lot less money.
Features — 9
40w valve driven combo with a single Celestion seventy 80 speaker. The amp has two channels, clean and overdrive, with two different voice modes and reverb with another voice mode. Global 3 band EQ with an ISF knob for some proper variety. Both channels and the reverb can be selected/turned on or off with the supplied footswitch, but the voicing for the two channels cannot. FX loop on the back too, but I haven't used that yet.