Review: Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 10 Guitar Amp —Video

Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes, but having a practice amp that always inspires you to play can be a make-or-break proposition for any guitarist’s path to success.

Blackstar’s new ID:Core combos are based on the company’s awesome ID:Series stage amps and provide incredible sonic power in a compact practice amp format.

The ID:Core Stereo 10 is the smallest ID:Core combo, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in sound and versatility.

FEATURES The ID:Core Stereo 10 is a 10-watt stereo combo with two three-inch speakers, six specially voiced channels, 12 stereo effects, Blackstar’s patented ISF EQ, an MP3/line input, a speaker-emulated line out, and a USB jack for direct digital recording or for programming sounds with Blackstar’s free Insider software. Internally, the amp stores six user-programmable presets, but an unlimited number of presets can be stored on a computer and accessed via Insider. The amp’s streamlined control panel has six knobs and five switches that make it easy to dial in sounds quickly. Controls consist of the voice selector (Clean Warm, Clean Bright, Crunch, Super Crunch, OD1, OD2), gain, volume, ISF EQ, effect type (1–4) and effect level. Switches are provided for selecting Manual mode, choosing modulation, delay or reverb effects, and setting tap tempo. The amp also features a built-in tuner and a jack for the optional FS-11 footswitch, which can be used for selecting patches or effects.

PERFORMANCE Programming sounds on the ID:Core Stereo 10 is easy. Just select the voice setting that most closely resembles the tone you have in mind, adjust the gain and ISF EQ, then add in the desired effect for sonic sweetening. I was able to come pretty damn close to most of the sounds I wanted in less than a minute, but for further and more powerful sonic shaping I found the Insider software indispensable, as it provides even finer detail and access to parameters that can’t be controlled from the front panel.

Don’t be fooled by the ID:Core Stereo 10’s small size—this combo delivers impressive volume output and sounds huge, especially with Blackstar’s Super Wide Stereo technology, which creates amazing three-dimensional spatial effects. The wide range of tones and effects it provides is also stunning, particularly for the dynamic feel and expressiveness they provide. Dollar for dollar, guitarists would be hard pressed to find another product that delivers as much value in terms of both sound quality and versatility, making it the perfect tool for practice and recording.

MANUFACTURER Blackstar Amplification,

Six voice settings provide instant access to various clean, overdrive and distortion tones, which can be saved along with custom effect settings.

Free Insider software allows users to connect the amp to a computer and program custom sounds in greater detail.

THE BOTTOM LINE An incredible bargain, the ID:Core Stereo 10 provides an impressively wide variety of awesome guitar tones and effects that are sure to inspire countless practice and recording sessions.

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Chris Gill, Video by Paul Riario

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.