Blackstar’s Dept. 10 range of tube-loaded pedals and pedal amps is becoming a serious force to be reckoned with. Launched with five star-rated Dual Drive Distortion and Dual Distortion pedals – as well as the Dept. 10 Boost – the lineup was expanded late last year to include the Amped 1 pedal amp.
Now, Blackstar has introduced its latest Dept. 10 unit, which looks to be every bit as innovative and game-changing as its predecessor – the Dept. 10 Amped 2.
As the name implies, the 100W pedal amp is effectively an expanded and altered version of the Amped 1, though brings to the table a range of drive, modulation, delay and reverb effects.
Like the flagship Dept. 10 pedal amp, the Amped 2 offers a total 100W output – which can be reduced to 20W or 1W depending on the setting – and comes loaded with three authentic power valve responses.
As a point of comparison, the Amped 1 offered five valve responses, but the Amped 2 seems to make room for its other accessories by streamlining the switchable power tube response options down to EL34, 6L6 and EL84 alternatives. It does, however, keep three preamp voices, just like its predecessor.
These arrive in the slightly different USA, UK and Classic options, which can be accessed through the Amplifier section of the pedal and sculpted via Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble and Master control knobs.
So far, it’s all fairly familiar, but the Amped 2 becomes a different beast altogether when the new specs and features are taken into consideration. Flanking the Amplifier section are control sets for a variety of new onboard effects, including reverb, delay, modulation and drive.
Notably, the Amped 1 only offered reverb – and even that was controlled by only one knob with no effect options – so the presence of the above marks a significant expansion in the pedal amp’s capabilities.
The expanded reverb section, for example, swaps the one-size-fits-all approach for independent Room, Spring and Plate modes, which can be tweaked via Time and Level knobs. Delay features a similar approach, offering Linear, Analog and Shimmer settings that can be molded by way of Time, Feedback and Level controls.
As for the Modulation section, Chorus/Flanger, Tremolo and Phaser effects are available, all of which answer to Time, Depth and Level controls, while the three-way drive section – composed from Boost, Drive and Fuzz effects – is dictated by Drive, Tone and Level parameters.
Each of the above is assigned a relevant footswitch, which, unsurprisingly, triggers or turns off the chosen effect. A tuner is also accessible by pressing the Delay and Reverb footswitches simultaneously.
Effects aside, the Amped 2 also comes equipped with Blackstar’s CabRig simulator technology, through which players can peruse countless cabinet and microphone combos to upload into three selectable preset slots on the pedal amp. CabRig outputs include Line Out, USB-C and balanced XLR, with a dedicated Level knob also making the cut.
Other connectivity options include an FX Loop, MIDI In and Thru, two 9V DC outputs with 500mA total draw, and speaker outputs for 8 ohm and 16 ohm cabs.
As per Blackstar, the Amped 2 was constructed with the goal of creating “a compact and powerful amp pedal that delivers the response and feel of a real guitar amp” – and judging by the spec sheet, it looks like it might have hit the mark.
Just like the Amped 1, the Amped 2 looks like a significant step forward for the pedal amp market, and is yet further evidence of Blackstar’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of classic-meets-contemporary gear.
The Dept. 10 Amped 2 is available to preorder now for $599.
Find out more at Blackstar.