Blackstar’s ID:Core V2 collection was an impressive entry in the compact, affordable guitar amp market, and the new ID:Core V3 line only ups the features and functionality, with versatile amps that promise incredible tone and super-wide-stereo sound.
To find out just what the newest iteration of Blackstar’s impressive design has on offer, we put one in the hands of guitar shredder and ace instructor Steve Stine.
“The new amplifier comes in 10, 20 and 40-watt versions,” Steve explains, adding that he’s trying out the 40-watt model, loaded with two 6 1/2-inch speakers, for us here.
“What makes this new model really, really cool is there’s a molded handle for easy carrying on the back,” he continues. “There’s also a new live-streaming feature where you can record yourself playing with the TRRS input.”
Steve then dives into some of the many sounds on offer from the ID:Core V3. As he demonstrates, there’s a lot of versatility here, with six familiar amp voices – Clean Warm, Clean Bright, Crunch, Super Crunch, OD1 and OD2 – and the ability to get creative with your tone via Blackstar's patented ISF control.
Offering a wide catalog of sounds ranging from the "boutique" Clean Bright to the "hot-rodded" OD1, the intuitive amp controls allow guitarists to choose a channel, dial in the gain, roll off the EQ and apply a number of immersive effects to achieve their desired sound.
Additionally, the re-voiced and enhanced effects include modulations such as chorus and tremolo, a number of delays, and a collection of room, hall, spring and plate reverbs. The reverb button also turns into a tuner when it is held down, further adding to the amp’s “all-in-one” feel.
Steve also runs through how to use Blackstar's Architect, a free editing and patch management software that gives you access to Cab Rig Lite, a state-of-the-art cab simulator that lets guitarists tweak nitty gritty specifics such as mic choice, cab type and even room environment. The extremely versatile simulator, Steve points out, only works with the new V3 iteration of the ID:Core series.
There’s also a four-channel USB audio turns the amp into an audio interface capable of easy recording, re-amping and editing, as well as the ability to livestream to your smartphone via an iPhone/Android-compatible cable, among other features.
Given its extreme functionality, it’s worth reiterating that the ID:Core V3 series amps are also incredibly compact and portable.
Just how portable? As Steve points out, there’s also a PB-1 Power Bank feature that enables you to play anywhere, any time. "Let’s say you do a lot of busking," he says. "You could go play without any power. You could plug the amp into your phone and play somewhere and you wouldn’t need an outlet to plug this into to draw your power. Which is pretty darn cool.”
Pretty darn cool, indeed.
For more information on the ID:Core V3 series, head to Blackstar Amps.