NAMM 2024: Blackstar Amps has upgraded its beloved practice amp, the ID:Core. The fourth-generation offering adds some key features whilst keeping hold of what made the compact amp praise-worthy in the first place.
Granted, many players will eventually grow out of little box practice amps, but they play an essential role in the guitar-playing journey. That, and they make for convenient playing companions for casual strumming sessions.
Blackstar has clearly understood that with its ID:Core range: four generations in and the British amp builder is continuing to build on the ID:Core’s formula.
Chief among its features is Blackstar’s revised speaker simulation, CabRig Lite, which is accessed via Blackstar’s free Architect software. It offers tweakable elements including cabinet and mic placement, which are emboldened by Blackstar’s ever-evolving super wide stereo sound technology.
Continuing from earlier versions, it’s also adorned with Blackstar’s patented Infinite Shape Feature (ISF). Common across Blackstar amps of all sizes, it works by shifting the whole tone stack response of your bass, middle and treble settings.
Dial it all the way to the left and you have a more American-sounding amp, whilst going all the way right provides a British amp tonal palette – tea and biscuits not included.
Like its predecessor, it offers six amp voices: Warm, Bright, Crunch, Super Crunch and two Overdrive channels. These can be paired with 12 built-in effects, which include four delay and reverb types alongside phaser, chorus/flanger, envelope filter and tremolo. All but the reverbs and envelope filter can be further customized with tap tempo parameters.
There’s a power reduction feature, meaning you can drop it down to a single watt for playing at neighbor-friendly volumes without hurting the beauty of your tone. USB-C connectivity sets the amp up for home recording and live-streaming from your phone or computer. That makes shredding Stairway... on TikTok live quicker and easier than ever.
It’s a savvy upgrade from Blackstar, which is no doubt aiming to give this amp a much broader and practical appeal. Its four-channel USB-C audio allows for low-latency recording and top-quality re-amping, turning the amp into an audio interface in the process. Blackstar even goes so far as to brag that its linear speakers make it ideal for hooking up to your gaming or movie set-up.
Further still, the amp offers an built-in tuner, and comes busking-ready thanks to its power bank compatibility. It also arrives with Blackstar’s patch editing software, Architect, which allows players to dive deeper into tone and effects parameters.
To those ends, you can save up to six patches for quick tone changes. These presets can be shared via Architect, which is available on Windows and Mac.
There are three versions available, offering 10, 20 and 40 watts, respectively. The speaker sizes within go from three and five inches in the smaller amps to six-and-a-half inches in the 40-watt edition. It's worth noting too that only the 20 and 40-watt models are footswitchable.
Says Blackstar: “The ID:Core range is developed by the research and development team behind Blackstar’s St. James and HT Venue Mk II amps. Our design philosophy has always been to deliver the ultimate playing experience for guitarist without compromise, no matter their ability or budget.”
Pricing sees the 10-watt at £139 (approx $175), the 20-watt at £179 (approx $225) and the 40-watt at £215 (approx $275).
For more information about the ID:Core V4, head to Blackstar.
To stay up to date with all gear releases ahead of NAMM 2024, head over to our guide to the latest NAMM 2024 news.