The Ataris Tour Blog: "Tubes? We Don't Need No Stinking Tubes!"

The Ataris just wrapped a tour that reunited the classic lineup that created their 2003 major label debut So Long, Astoria. Guitarist John Collura documented this reunion. Check out the first installment of his report below.

I just got home form being out on The Ataris, "So Long, Astoria Reunion Tour". Prior to leaving for tour I was debating which amp I would take with me. We performed our record So Long, Astoria in its entirety so I was consciously making an effort to take the most versatile amp that I own.

I have been playing in bands for almost 18 years and I've become a bit of tone snob. I currently own four different amp heads and all of them are amazing tube amps. The problem is, they are all great at producing their own tone. Doesn't sound like a problem until you have to perform an entire record that was produced using multiple types of amplifiers.

Weeks before I left for tour I was extremely lucky to be introduced to the fine folks at Blackstar. They had me come down to their showroom and try out all types of wonderful amps, all of them being tube heads. The last amp that we tried out was the Blackstar ID 100 TVP head. When we fired this baby up everyone in the room turned their heads with their mouths open.

The power, bite and bottom end out of this amp was incredible. It was then brought to my attention that this is not a tube amp, it's all digital. I couldn't believe it so I needed to test it out some more. I was already sold on the massive amount of distortion and gain the amp had but I needed to see if this thing could produce some natural breakup. Here's where things get really interesting.

The amp is basically a tube emulator, it models 6 different types of tubes (EL84, 6V6, EL34, KT66, 6L6, KT88) which they call True Valve Power or TVP. The ID 100 also has 6 different voicing features Clean Warm, Clean Bright, Crunch, Super Crunch, OD1, OD2. I tried the Super Crunch channel matched with the KT66 and pushed the gain to about 1 o'clock and now the amp sounds like a Vox on steroids!

The possibilities are endless and there's no shortage of tone or versatility, there's just no tubes. I asked Blackstar for one amp and they gave me 36! I challenge anyone to a blind test that you will never believe this amp is all digital. Sorry you elitist tube snobs, the Blackstar ID 100TVP is the real deal.

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