S1-50 Series One Review

manufacturer: Blackstar date: 11/12/2012 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Blackstar: S1-50 Series One
So whatever kind of music you play, I think this will meet your requirements in any way.
 Sound: 8.5
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 9.5
 Features: 8.5
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 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (2) pictures (1) 2 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.8
S1-50 Series One Reviewed by: AugDdd, on september 24, 2012
0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Features: Bought it new. (Writing this review after using it for about 2 months). - 4 channels, footswitch ofc. Nice thing with this (it didn't work that way on my previous amp) is that when you plug footswitch it doesn't take over control over channels completely but you can still use channel switching on head itself, which is nice while you r shaping tone. - effect loop, works great (I use it for solo boosting with Boss EQ) - some ppl might QQ for not having reverb, personally even if there were reverb I'd never use it and spoil GREAT RAW sound of this thing // 9

Sound: I tested it with few different guitars / pickups. Tried Strat, Tele, Ibanez, LTD with all kind of pickups like Duncans, EMG's. And basically it can't SOUND BAD, just different types of sound. It can do ANY kind of music from cleanest clean up to any kind of brutal metal. I think I can say its almost noiseless, even on hi gain and no matter how loud you r it still provides exactly what it should without any unwanted noise/hum/buzzing etc etc. It's veeeery versatile, I'm not going to go into ISF thingy since there's already a lot of demos on this. Btw I play this through "Blackstar HTV-112 1x12 Celestion loaded cabinet", and I must say that this cab is also GREAT. At first I was sceptic about this Celestion since I like V30 but this work just as fine (I tested V30 also, just to be clear). // 10

Reliability & Durability: As I said in the beginning I use it for 2 months now so I can't say much about reliability but I can say that is very well made, very solid construction (also looks awesome!). // 10

Overall Impression: So whatever kind of music you play, I think this will meet your requirements in any way. I'm extremely happy with this thing so far and I'm not planing to change it for a loooooooooong time (well maybe after looong time I change it for 200w version). // 10

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overall: 8
S1-50 Series One Reviewed by: Jamesrt2004, on november 12, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 800

Purchased from: Andertons

Features: Ok so my personal s1-50 Made end of 2011, purchased in 2012. Essentially a four channel amp with 2 different voiced cleans and a crunch + super crunch for the OD channels. You start off with the "Bright Clean" channel, now this is a great clear and of course bright channel which takes to pedals oh so very nicely. You then have a "warm clean" now this is epic, I love this setting to be honest, just gives it a bit of balls and some big low end which can really fill a room when messing around live which is always nice. Crunch: Pretty nice channel, nice and tight I mess about on this one mostly as its tight for rhythm work can cope with rock, and some light metal maybe going into super high-gain core it will struggle. Super-Crunch: To me, super fizzy... Could be nice but I always find I have to dial the gain back a damn lot. Now it could just be the way I'm dialing it in. But with lower gain settings it does sound pretty good and tight (kinda like 5150 boosted but a bit less gain). The amp has a Shared EQ which is a shame as personally I'd like the the setup from the 200 to be in the 100 and the 50, the extra freedom would just be nice, especially when changing channels. EQ: standard, Treb, Mid, Bass, Resonance and Presence. I find the EQ quite subtle unless you are quite harsh with the settings, but I believe that Blackstar went this direction so you can't make a 'bad' sound as such. ISF: good feature, I just tend to leave it alone to be honest, can make quite a big difference and I'm sure everyone will have somewhere they like it set at. DPR: Dynamic Power reduction, brilliant, Nice power tube breakup at bedroom levels? Blasphemy. Actually works really really well, for live I tend to max channel volume, and dial back dpr so I can get a decent level out the master too. Midi switching: Haven't used, nice feature though then the standard foot switch. Has a line out which is after pre but before power, so can sound a little thin, but recorded with some cab impulses you can get something useable for a demo or to get ideas down onto your computer. Summing up: A decent amount of freedom with the amp, I can't help but think adding the tonestack from the 200 wouldn't have been too hard and would make the price difference from the HT series -> series one more justifiable. People often complain about not having the reverb from the HT, but using that.It's not brilliant anyway... So for me that's a non issue and can't help but thinking anyone wanting reverb would be better off with a decent pedal. So for people that don't know basically Blackstar hand out contracts to certain amp techs so that they are "certified" and they are the only people meant to carry out servicing etc. Now this is a complete and utter joke. there's amp techs that will be building amps etc. Anyway... Biasing, there's a 2 pin connector inside the amp which makes it really easy... But I can't help but think if they went for the trouble of that then they should have just included bias points and bias knob on the back of the amp or something. A note: New the Bias was quite cold and I always thought it sounded thin. Def bias the amp HOT if you are finding it a little thin. // 8

Sound: So I've tried and Ibby-RG, ESP Horizon and current; mostly use an LTD MH-1001 with EMG's in drop B. I generally play metal core and similar genre's though I do dabble in the occasional rock song and poppy sorta stuff, I.e 3 Doors Down. Now the amp for the most part is super quiet, it's really nice in the regard and cuts through live brilliant as it has quite a middy tone to it not too unlike Marshall's. With the ISF controls and the 4 channels its really good for a variety of styles and can hold it's own against some more expensive amps. The clean is great, is clean pretty much all the way unless you have the gain on max then you get some very slight breakup. Distortion for me is where this amp is let down. Now don't get me wrong. It does sound great, but being so tight I find then sometimes you want that big low end thump live just to feel the br00talz... (you know what I mean). It feels this amp has a great sound but would be more suited for a studio environment. I compared to my invader and can get some balls out of it with some pretty extreme EQ'ing and some KT77's but really it always just seems like there's something missing. It sounds too fizzy and thin and I haven't been able to get a "perfect tone" whenever I think I have one, I put the Engl one with everything at noon and it's night and day. Summing up: Good amp, brilliant versatility and can do all most all genres from clean acoustic to metal, but can seem a tad fizzy when doing super high gain stuff. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I gig the amp regularly and even recorded it at studio with no backups as it's built like a tank it seems. Now saying that one of the screw's on the headcase bolting the chassis to it was striped and wont go back in but apart from that it all works just hunky dory and never had (touch wood) a problem and feel comfortable using it as a main rig without a backup. // 9

Overall Impression: So the Blackstar is a great versatile amp, that works well in a number of situations. I can't help but think of it of a jack of all trades amp which just sounds good everywhere but doesn't really have it's own sound going on. Blackstar's stance on doing anything with the amp (even biasing it yourself kills the warranty even if you are a tech.. Etc.) is pretty pathetic and restricting to people who like trying out tubes and things. It's a brilliant studio amp being so quiet and tight just takes the hassle out of recording. It is essentially a better ht series amp which is what you'd expect but for the price increase it's hard to justify as its 200 more (ht100 -> s1-50..) Only place for me it falls short is the super duper high gain stuff, again it just didn't wow me... Now I don't know if its me or what. But I just didn't get on with it, playing something like a 5150 now that has some balls.. So much balls you need a tubescreamer to tuck it all in... This amp just needs the opposite, just a slight loosening up and it'll will shine in all genre's. KT77's certainly helped with the thump but I still think it sounds fizzy and slightly processed (like a cheap OD pedal). All in all I'd say 8/10 for me... For someone more into less heavy genre's I could say 9/10 (only caveat being the no dual EQ) Thanks, James // 8

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