“Ideal first amps, loaded with features for hours of fun and inspiration”: Blackstar ID:Core V4 Stereo 10, Stereo 20 and Stereo 40 review

Blackstar has introduced a timely update to its award-winning programmable guitar amp range, but how do these combos stack up?

Blackstar ID Core Stereo V4
(Image: © Future / Phil Barker)

Guitar World Verdict

The ID:Core V4 combos are obviously ideal first amps, loaded with features for hours of fun and inspiration, while the sound quality means they’re suited to players at all levels.


  • +

    New up-to-date connectivity.

  • +

    Slightly better effects and amp voices than V3 amps.

  • +

    One-watt low power setting is useful for quiet practice.

  • +

    They’re insanely affordable.


  • -

    After three updates, there’s not much to improve on.

  • -

    We’d like to see more onboard patches with the flexibility of using the same amp voice in more than one onboard patch location.

  • -

    A retaining clip for the DC power cable wouldn’t be a bad addition, either.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Chaucer’s famous quote ‘time and tide wait for no man’ could easily be expanded to include technology in today’s fast-moving and constantly changing world. 

In the relatively small but significant market of guitar amplification, digital signal processing has made it possible to condense hardware analogue effects and amplifier voices into software, which can either be used in a computer as a standalone plug-in or loaded into a convenient digital amplifier platform. 

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Nick Guppy

Nick Guppy has been a regular contributor to Guitarist magazine for over 20 years, mostly writing reviews on guitar amps and related products. He built his first valve amplifier at the age of 12 and has since bought, sold and restored many more, with a particular interest in Vox, Selmer, Orange and tweed-era Fenders, alongside Riveras and Mark Series Boogies. When wielding a guitar instead of soldering iron, he’s enjoyed a diverse musical career playing all over the UK, including occasional stints with theatre groups, orchestras and big bands as well as power trios and tributes. His favourite musical genres are ‘anything that’s good’.