NAMM 2023: Blackstar unveils its most powerful entry-level amp yet, the Debut 50R

Blackstar Debut 50R
(Image credit: Blackstar)

NAMM 2023: Blackstar has bolstered its Debut range of entry-level practice amps by introducing the lineup’s most powerful and versatile addition yet: the expanded Debut 50R.

Joining the Debut 10E and Debut 15E, the Debut 50R is said to be a “simple and elegant” guitar amp that specifically caters to pedal players who might not be interested in all the “unwanted bells and whistles” that come with conventional modeling amps.

With that in mind, the 50-watt combo amp – available in Black with ‘Biscuit’ Basketweave and Cream with Oxblood fret colorways – is said to have been carefully constructed to cover all practice and gigging needs, featuring an expanded control set that promises to provide an array of tones.

In operation, the Debut 50R features two channels for Clean and Overdrive tones – an additional Clean Bright button for extra voices is present – with the latter tweaked by dedicated Gain and Volume control knobs. 

Tones can be fine-tuned through a three-band EQ section, which comprises Bass, Middle and Treble, as well as Blackstar’s patented ISF control. This Infinite Shape Feature knob can be found throughout the brand’s range, and is used to navigate – and find a desired middle ground – between two distinct amp formats: American and British.

At the American end of the spectrum, you have a tighter, more focused and percussive tone, while the British end is said to be “woodier, warmer” and with a “softer crunchy breakup”.

Final controls for the Debut 50R include an onboard Reverb level knob, which dictates either digital Plate or Hall reverbs, as well as a power attenuation control that changes between five watts and 50 watts.

Another key factor behind the Debut 50R’s apparent tube-like amp sound is the preamp section, which incorporates a MOSFET design. According to Blackstar, its R&D team went beyond standard MOSFET implementation in a bid to harness genuine tube tones that are “virtually indistinguishable from the chosen valve references”.

Other notable features include a 1x12” custom-designed Blackstar speaker, a series effects loop, dual footswitch control for channel switching and a Line In for playing along, or listening to, music. There’s also a Line Out for headphones for silent practice or for recording.

The Debut 50R is available to preorder now for $249. Visit Blackstar to find out more.

We’re only in March, but 2023 is shaping up to be a memorable year for Blackstar, which recently released the potentially game-changing Dept. 10 Amped 2 – a feature-packed pedal amp that crammed an entire guitar rig into one unit.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.