Price paid: £ 95
Purchased from: Local store
Sound — 10
I'm using it with a Schecter Hellraiser at the moment through a valvestate Behringer (which doesn't do the pedal justice). At first I used it with a strat copy - which is when I thought I could never get any gain out of the thing. Until I got my Schecter. Then the pedal had resivours of gain. You can play brutal Death Metal at half gain on the American voice easily. Gain is no matter for this thing, you'll probably never use the full amount of what this pedal has. When the gain and level are both set high, the pedal is quite noisy but it can be sored by turning down the level on the pedal easily. The EQ is quite good along with the ISF you can get lots of types of distortion. And the tube really gives a feeling to this pedal you won't get from non-tube pedals. I play thrash and Death Metal along with other types of metal and rock. You can easily get the sounds on this pedal along with blues crunch and rock leads sounds. Great bottom end to.
Overall Impression — 10
Thrash is my main genre. I also play death, progressive metal and other metal along with rock and hardcore punk types. Been playing for about a year but am at a high standard already. Its perfect. Does what it says on the tin. 'Pure valve filth'. Nothing stupid, just pure high-gain distortion in a metal casing. If stolen or lost I would definately buy another. I love the ISF and pure amounts of gain in the thing. Don't really hate anything about it. Very good price for such a good pedal. I tried it against the Sachurator, DigiTech Hardwire TL-2, Seymour Duncan Twin tube mayhem and EHX Metal Muff. It won over easily. Only thing I wished it had was an extra tube, but it sounds good enough as it is. Nothing enough to make me buy another pedal.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Its never broke down on me and I've had it for a few months. I would gig without a backup. Its heavy with is a good sign. Feels very solidly build, controls also feel sturdy. Metal casing, can't really brake it unless you really tried. The tube is protected by a metal cage.
Ease of Use — 8
As well as your 3-band EQ (bass, middle, treble), the Blackstar stomboxes come with a ISF control. This is used to voice the pedal from american to british. Its a bit fiddly at the start, you set the gain and levels, and start with the ISF at neutral. Then you set your EQ, after that you ajust the ISF to your liking. It takes a while to find your sound, but the pedal is so versitile, gain levels go from crunch to extreme gain. You just turn the level down as the gain goes up. It doesn't work on batteries, you need the adapter because its a very high voltage pedal. It also has an emulation output for plugging straight into an equalizer or recording equipment/computer. Useful for clean recording. 8 because of the time it takes to get a sound, and the fact that you need the adapter.