Sound — 8
I have three axes now, an LTD, a Burny Les Paul and a Fender. All of which are modded. The clean channel produces sparkling tones with single coils and really warm with humbuckers. Honestly, you can hear the tone differences per guitar through this amp, as compared to a solid state, for some reason, tube amps have the ability to voice all the personalities of a guitar. The distortion is BRUTAL. NO NEED FOR ANY PEDALS, I do however use a big muff on the clean and an overdrive on the dirty for solos, to differentiate the tone. Since the amp has 2 voicing, and that ISF dial, you can REALLY dial into that tone in your head, the only problem is when you like several tones, you cannot exactly save them for later... That is why it loses a point.
Overall Impression — 9
I play a wide spectrum on music, it suits all sorts. I am amazed with how gorgeous the clean channel is... Oh and the reverb... WOW. Thing is, it is insanely loud, and I have to wait for everyone to be out of the house to switch it on... But I am itching to take this baby out to gig with! I traded in an old ESP SV Std (I never used it) and my old amp, a Vox VT30, great little amp, but there was something missing in its tone. The Blackstar however, has brought me that much closer to finding my voice.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Well I just got the amp a week ago, no problems yet, it seems sturdy, I will update the review later on. Aesthetically, it looks gorgeous. Unfortunately, there is a jump in the volume, at 1 is dead, at 2, your ears rattle! I don't know if it is a tube thing or a flaw... 8 is fair for an untested product...
Features — 9
Not sure where it was manufactured. I love how simple it is, no nonsense two channels, 4 voices. Has an effects loop, comes with a foot switch, 2 channels plus reverb. I wish it had a third channel, but it is fine, I can finally use my pedals. It's a 40 watt, pure tube amp, it can be plugged into a PA system, but it's perfect for smaller gigs and can be plugged in for big ones.