Blackstar Amps are a proudly British amp company that have garnered trust from users and a staunch reputation as one of the worlds pioneering guitar brands in their field.
With artists such as Gus G (Firewind), Neal Schon (Journey) and James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers) endorsing their gear, it’s clear that Blackstar are a brand meaning serious business!
History of Blackstar
Blackstar’s origins date back to 2004, when four aspiring bandmates decided to start designing their own amplifiers. Having all worked for other renowned amp companies, this forward-thinking bunch combined their knowledge and spent over two years on development and research.
What this spawned was the innovative Series One amplifiers. These immensely powerful tube amps became notorious for their scorching gain tones, and have been incredibly popular with metal players since their inception in early 2007. These amps also sported a unique feature that has been carried over to subsequent Blackstar products - the ISF (“Infinite Shape Feature”) control. This EQ control essentially lets you tweak the amp to have a more British or American voicing, giving a punchier mid-range or scooped tone respectively.
Now boasting a large range of guitar amplifiers, comprised of both valve-driven and solid-state powerhouses, Blackstar cater for many different players and genres. Recognised as a big name in the industry, Blackstar deliver a number of high-quality products covering all price-points.
The Blackstar Range
The Artisan series soon followed Series One, and these amps remain a strong part of Blackstar’s lineup. With more of a “British” sound, these amps provide bright cleans with lots of headroom. Regarded for being great platforms for running pedals through, these have been associated with many renowned blues and classic rock artists.
In order to appeal to a younger demographic, Blackstar unleashed their affordable HT amplifiers in the late 00s. Kicking off with the HT-5, this little beast was immensely popular for its great genuine valve-driven tones and portability. Blackstar later expanded the range with larger combos and head versions, catering for gigging musicians looking for versatile, roadworthy amplifiers loud enough to punch through any mix.
More recently, Blackstar have moved into the digital amp market, with an impressive line of inexpensive solid-state modelling amplifiers. The ID amps are capable of delivering convincing real amp emulations, and feature a number of onboard effects too.
Blackstar also have small line of effects pedals. Specialising in distortion, overdrive and boost circuits, Blackstar’s LT pedal range offer great value for money and awesome tones. The high-end HT dual pedals feature a real integrated preamp tube, closely replicating the sound of one of their full-fledged valve amps.
Blackstar Amps FAQs
Are Blackstar Amps good?
Blackstar amps are immensely popular, particularly their valve-powered HT Series amplifiers which combine affordability with unrivalled versatility - making them extremely gig-worthy. The British brand’s digital amplifiers are also acclaimed, notably those from the ID:Core and Silverline ranges which feature various amp “voices” and multiple built-in effects for ultimate flexibility.
Where are Blackstar Amps made?
Blackstar Amps are based in the UK. All of their amplifier models are designed and engineered at their headquarters in Northampton, with most of their manufacturing taking place in the Far East.
What do Blackstar amps sound like?
Blackstar amps are known for their versatility and can cover a lot of sonic territory. This can be attributed to one of Blackstar’s signature design features - the ‘ISF’ (Infinite Shape Feature) control. Found on most of their amplifiers, the ISF function serves as an additional EQ dial that lets you alter their tonal response to project a British or American voice. From compressed and mid-focused to open and smooth, the innovative ISF feature lets you attain sounds from both sides of the pond!
Is a Blackstar amp good for metal?
Blackstar Amps are used by myriads of metal guitar players. Their valve-powered Series One amplifiers are known for offering copious amounts of gain, with models from the more affordable HT Series also capable of delivering searing distorted tones. Blackstar’s digital ID:Core and Silverline amps come equipped with various amp “voices”, including specific presets designed for metal tones.
How do I connect my Blackstar amp to my computer?
Digital amps from Blackstar's ID:Core and Silverline ranges are compatible with the brand's ‘INSIDER’ software. Giving you access to more effects and sounds, the INSIDER software ultimately allows you to get the most out of your Blackstar amplifier. To connect your Blackstar ID:Core or Silverline amp to your computer and gain access to INSIDER, use a mini USB cable. The USB outputs on these amps can also be used for direct recording into a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).