Posts tagged ‘Blackstar Amplification’

28/05/2015

Review: Blackstar ID:Core BEAM

Blackstar ID_Core Beam – front

Blackstar’s ID:Core BEAM (current price in Finland: 299 €), which was introduced at this year’s NAMM Show, is one of a new breed of amplifiers:

The BEAM is a so-called ”lifestyle amp” that combines a practical solution for living room practising with a Bluetooth stereo system with a suitable Rock look.

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Blackstar ID_Core Beam – angle right

The Blackstar ID:Core BEAM is a genuine ID:Core-combo, which means that all its parameters are accessible via Blackstar’s Insider software.

The newcomer is a stereophonic amp with its 20 watts of power running into a pair of three-inch speakers. Blackstar’s Super Wide Stereo-effect – a feature taken from the company’s larger ID:Core combos – can also be applied to the BEAM’s music player, with its own, separate width adjustment.

Blackstar ID_Core Beam – back

Apart from the power switch, the ID:Core BEAM’s back panel features the input jack for the (optional) footswitch. The rest of the combo’s controls and connectors can be found on the top-mounted control panel.

Blackstar ID_Core Beam – control panel

The larger ID:Core combos are well-equipped practice amps, but the BEAM has a couple of additional aces up its sleeve:

The ID:Core BEAM offers you 12 amp models (Voices). The first set (the Voices LED glows red) deals with six amp models for electric guitar, while the second set (green LED) gives you two Voices each for acoustic guitar, electric bass, and acoustic guitar simulation.

The amp section has three physical knobs for adjustment – gain, volume, and Blackstar’s patented ISF-control, which control’s the amp’s overall tonal character. Using the Insider-software you will be able to access additional parameters for deep editing, like a three-band EQ-section or a noise gate.

The effects department features four different modulation effects, four delay types, and four reverbs. The two Voices for bass swap the reverbs for bass distortion. You can choose one effect from each effect section for a Voice (meaning up to three simultaneous effects).

The small combo also features a built-in tuner.

The music signal, sent to the BEAM from your mobile device via Bluetooth, naturally isn’t sent through the combo’s amp modelling circuits. It is fed into the signal chain just before the power amp section. The ID:Core BEAM allows you to play along to the Bluetooth signal, of course!

The USB-port isn’t only used to remote control the amp’s parameters via Insider – this lifestyle combo doubles as a full-blown USB sound card. The BEAM can be run in three different USB-modes, which allows you to either send a stereo signal of the amp sound to your sequencer, or send two discrete mono signals (with one channel completely dry, and the second channel with all the amp modelling and effects) to your recording software. The third USB-mode is called Reamping, and it’s used to feed a dry guitar signal off your audio sequencer into the ID:Core BEAM and record the effected signal onto a separate recording track simultaneously.

The signal level of the USB-audio can be controlled directly (and independently of the amp’s master volume settings), making it very easy to set the correct recording levels for your personal studio setup.

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Blackstar ID_Core Beam – front angle

Blackstar have really hit the bull’s eye with their new lifestyle combo!

Listening to music with a very critical ear you can hear a little bit of hiss, but it isn’t loud enough to spoil the fun. Remember, the ID:Core BEAM isn’t meant to be a studio monitor, but rather a nifty, compact music player for your bookcase – something this little combo handles with much aplomb. You wouldn’t necessarily expect such a full and strong delivery from such a compact unit.

The ID:Core BEAM also sounds great as a guitar and bass amp, which isn’t quite as surprising, considering this combo’s pedigree.

The guitar amp voices have plenty of character, and the effects have more than ample depth and width:

The high quality of the acoustic simulator was something of a positive surprise:

Despite its diminutive size, the BEAM also delivers when it comes to electric bass tones:

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Blackstar ID_Core Beam – angle left

The Blackstar ID:Core BEAM succeeds to combine a programmable practice combo for guitar and bass, a Bluetooth-player, and a USB sound card into a very enticing package. In addition to being a great living room amp, the BEAM could also prove a handy little amp for guitar instructors.

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Blackstar ID:Core BEAM

299 €

Finnish distributor: Musamaailma

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Pros:

+ well thought-out concept

+ value for money

+ feature-packed guitar and bass amp

+ adjustable Super Wide Stereo-function

+ USB sound card

+ full sound

Cons:

– high noise gate setting on default bass distortion

22/05/2015

Testipenkissä: Blackstar ID:Core BEAM

Blackstar ID_Core Beam – front

Vuoden alussa NAMM-messuilla esitelty Blackstar ID:Core BEAM (299 €) kuuluu uuteen, nopeasti kasvavaan vahvistinkategoriaan:

Se on niin kutsuttu ”lifestyle amp”, joka on samalla sekä hyödyllinen pikkukombo harjoitteluun että kitaristin imagoon sopiva Bluetooth-vahvistin musiikin kuuntelua varten.

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Blackstar ID_Core Beam – angle right

Blackstar ID:Core BEAM on aito ID:Core-kombo mikä tarkoittaa, että sen kaikkiin parametreihin pääsee käsiksi Blackstarin oman Insider-softan kautta.

Uutuuskombo on stereofoninen, ja sen 20 watin tehoa pusketaan ulos kahdesta kolmen tuuman kaiuttimista. Isoista ID:Coreista tuttu Super Wide Stereo -efekti toimii BEAM-kombossa myös musiikin kuuntelussa, ja sen vaikutusta voi säätää erikseen.

Blackstar ID_Core Beam – back

ID:Core BEAM:n takaseinästä löytyy sähköliittimen lisäksi jakki jalkakytkimelle (maksullinen lisävaruste). Kaikki muut liittimet on sijoitettu isolle etupaneelille.

Blackstar ID_Core Beam – control panel

BEAM:n isot sisarukset ovat jo todella hyvin varustettuja, mutta pikkukombo panee ominaisuutensa runsaudella vielä selvästi paremmaksi:

Vahvistinmallinnuksia löytyy tässä peräti 12 kappaletta. Ensimmäinen satsi (Voice-ledi palaa punaisena) on varattu kuudelle eri sähkökitarakanavalle, kun taas toisesta satsista (vihreä ledi) löytyy kaksi vahvistintyyppiä akustiselle kitaralle, kaksi akustisen kitaran mallinnusta, sekä kaksi ohjelmaa sähköbassolle.

Vahvistinosasto tarjoaa kolme fyysistä säädintä soundien muokkaamiseksi – gainin ja volumen lisäksi löytyy vielä Blackstarin patentoima, yleissoundiin vaikuttava ISF-toiminto. Insider-softalla pääsee säätämään sitten tarkemmin muitakin parametrejä, kuten EQ:t tai kohinaporttia.

Efektiosasto tarjoaa neljä modulaatioefektiä, neljä viivetyyppiä, sekä neljä eri kaikua. Bassovahvistimien kanssa on kaiun sijaan lisätty bassosärö. Jokaisesta efektityypistä voi valita yhden per vahvistinmalli, siis samanaikaisesti voidaan käyttää korkeintaan kolmea efektiä.

Pikkukombossa on myös kätevä sisäinen viritysmittari.

Bluetooth:n kautta vastaanotettu audiosignaali ei luonnollisesti kulje mallinnusosion läpi, vaan se lisätään ID:Core BEAM -kombon signaalitielle vasta kitaravahvistimen jälkeen. Bluetooth-musiikin kanssa voi tietysti soittaa mukaan!

USB-liitintä ei käytetä ainoastaan Insider-softan pyörittämiseen, vaan tämä lifestyle-kombo on myös täysverinen usb-äänikortti. BEAM:lla on kolme eri USB Audio -moodia – vahvistin pystyy lähettämään joko stereofonista kitarasignaalia efekteillä höystettynä sekvensserille tai kaksi monosignaalia, joista yksi on kuiva tulosignaali ja toinen koko mallinnuksen läpi käynyt monosignaali. Näiden kahden lisäksi on tarjolla vielä erittäin kätevä Reamping-tila, jossa sekvensseristä lähetetty prosessoimaton kitararaita viedään ID:Core-kombon läpi ja mallinnettu signaali äänitetään toiseen sekvensseriraitaan.

USB-signaalitasoa pystyy säätämään itsenäisesti ja riippumatta kombon masterista, minkä ansiosta usb:n kautta lähetetyn voimakkuuden saa aina omalle äänityssoftalle sopivaksi.

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Blackstar ID_Core Beam – front angle

Kyllä, nyt täytyy sanoa, että Blackstarin uusi lifestyle-kombo on täysosuma!

Musiikin kuuntelussa on havaittavissa pikkusen kohinaa, mutta se ei nouse lainkaan häiritsevästi esiin. ID:Core BEAM ei ole tarkoitettukaan studiomonoriksi, vaan kirjahyllyn musiikkikeskukseksi, ja se asia on kombolla suveräänisti hallussa. Musiikki kuulostaa yllättävän täyteläiseltä, ja myös sitä volyymin määrää on tarjolla kiitettävän runsaasti.

Myös kitara- ja bassosoundien osilta Blackstar-uutuus ei jätä mielestäni toivomiseen varaa!

Kitarasoundit soivat erittäin hyvin, ja myös BEAM:n efektitarjonta on varsin maukas:

Akustisen kitaran mallintaminen onnistuu pikkukombolla yllättävän hyvin:

Vaikka tämä Blackstar-uutuus on hyvin kompakti tapaus, jopa BEAM-kombon bassosoundit kuulostavat mukavan meheviltä:

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Blackstar ID_Core Beam – angle left

Blackstar ID:Core BEAM yhdistää erittäin onnistuneesti mallintavan harjoituskombon kitaralle (ja bassolle), usb-äänikortin, sekä tehokkaan Bluetooth-kaiuttimen. Ainakin omasta mielestäni tämä uutuuskombo sopii todella hyvin – olohuonekäytön ohella – myös opetusvahvistimeksi.

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Blackstar ID:Core BEAM

299 €

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

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Plussat:

+ toimiva konsepti

+ hinta-laatu-suhde

+ hyvin varusteltu, ohjelmoitava kitara- ja basso-osasto

+ säädettävä Super Wide Stereo -toiminto

+ USB-äänikortti

+ täyteläinen soundi

Miinukset:

– voimakas kohinaportti bassosärön tehdasasetuksissa

21/05/2015

Blackstar ID:Core Beam – Soundcloud

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

18/05/2015

Testi ilmestyy perjantaina – Blackstar ID:Core Beam

Blackstar ID_Core Beam – angle left

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

06/05/2015

Testi tulossa… Review coming soon… Blackstar ID:Core Beam

MM 2015 – Blackstar IDCore Beam

Blackstar ID Core Beam – controls – stock

beam-hub

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

29/01/2015

NAMM 2015 – Blackstar ID:Core Beam

Blackstarin mielenkiintoisin uutuustuote on nimeltään Blackstar ID:Core Beam – se on Bluetooth-vahvistin efekteillä.

ID:Core Beamilla (arvioitu hinta noin 299 €) voi soittaa akustista kitaraa, sähkökitaraa tai bassoa, sekä kuunnella musiikkia langattomasti suoraan mobiililaitteesta tai tietokoneelta! Uudessa Blackstarissa on 12 eri vahvistinmallinnusta, 20-wattinen stereovahvistin, tyylikäs retro-ulkoasu, 12 efektiä, ISF-toiminto, 12 muistipaikkaa omille soundeille, viritysmittari, usb-lähtö, linjatulo, sekä lähtö kaiutinmallinnuksella. Blackstar Insider -softalla voi jakaa omia soundeja muiden käyttäjien kanssa.

Maahantuoja: Musamaailma

blackstar_id_core_beam_bluetooth_angle

06/11/2014

Blackstar Fly 3 -pikkuvahvistimen voittaja on…

Blackstar Fly 3

Blackstar Fly 3 -pikkuvahvistimen voittaja on Veijo Kiuru Oulusta!

Kitarablogi.com onnittelee!

05/11/2014

Blackstar Fly 3 -arvonta on päättynyt!

Blackstar Fly 3

Blackstar Fly 3 -arvonta on päättynyt.

Vahvistimen voittaja julistetaan huomenna kello 12:00.

30/10/2014

Review: Blackstar ID:Core 20 + 40

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Blackstar IDCore 20 + 60 – opener

Earlier this year, Blackstar Amplification have released their new ID:Core series, which comprises three stereophonic practice amps (at the moment of writing).

Blackstar’s ID:Core combos are powered by the same modelling technology used in the company’s full-blown ID-series. The ID:Core amps simply take this technology to a smaller format.

Kitarablogi had the pleasure of testing the new series’ middle model – the ID:Core 20 (2 x 10 W) – as well as the largest member of the ID:Core family – the ID:Core 40 (2 x 20 W).

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Blackstar ID_Core 20 – beauty 1

The Blackstar ID:Core 20  (current price in Finland: 149 €) comes equipped with a pair of five-inch speakers.

Blackstar ID_Core 40 – beauty 1

The larger Blackstar ID:Core 40 combo (current price in Finland: 195 €) uses two 6.5-inch speakers to get its message across.

Except for the differences in power amp-, cabinet- and speaker-sizes, the rest of the specifications are identical in these two guitar combos. To make this review more readable I will concentrate on the Blackstar ID:Core 40, and mention any possible differences found in the ID:Core 20.

idcore40-gallery-front-big

The new Blackstar combo has a very handy size, and it is easy to carry. In addition to the carrying strap, you will find the power supply unit and a quick start guide in the shipping box. You can download the full owner’s manual as a PDF-file from Blackstar’s website or HERE.

Even though the ID:Core series, naturally, isn’t really built to withstand the rigours of touring, these combo’s are rather sturdy little numbers. These may be mere practice amps, but toys they are most definitely not!

idcore40-gallery-top-big

The electronics have been installed into the ID:Core’s top.

All the controls, push-buttons and inputs/outputs are identical throughout the whole series, with the exception of the smallest combo (the ID:Core 10) not offering the option of connecting a FS-11 footswitch unit (not included).

fs11-gallery-big

The ID:Core 40’s factory default uses the FS-11’s left switch for switching between two Voice-channels, with the right switch functioning as an effect mute for the selected channel.

The free Blackstar Insider -software (PC and Mac) also lets you select a different footswitch mode that offers you all Voice-channels, and which uses the two switches to step through all the channels, either up (right switch) or down (left switch).

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Blackstar ID_Core 40 – control panel

The ID:Core 40 is very easy to use:

The Voice-selector lets you choose one of the combo’s six Voice-channels (= digital amp models). In Preset-mode calling up a channel automatically recalls all the stored preset settings, like gain, ISF or effects. In Manual-mode switching to a different Voice only changes the selected amp type, with the other settings staying the way you have manually set them.

Naturally, all presets can be adjusted by the user, and the changes can then be stored in the ID:Core combo’s memory, wiping the factory preset in the process.

The new Blackstar-combos also come equipped with a digital tuner, which springs to life when you hold down the Manual- and Tap-buttons simultaneously for a couple of seconds. In Tuner-mode the combo’s red Voice-LEDs represent the six guitar strings, while the LEDs in the Effect-buttons tell you whether the pitch is flat (REV), sharp (MOD) or right on the money (DLY).

Blackstar Insider software

By downloading Blackstar’s Insider-software you get access to additional features of the ID:Core combo via its mini-USB-port (Hey, Blackstar: Why isn’t a USB-cable included with the amp?):

The most crucial of the additional functions, in terms of the combo’s tone, is the access to its internal three-band EQ. The combo only offers you a physical knob for the ISF-setting, which lets you change the amp’s character from bright-ish ”American” (ISF = 0) to chunkier ”British” (ISF = 10). The Insider-programme also lets you fine-tune each preset’s Bass, Middle and Treble EQ-settings.

Insider also allows you to create you own ID:Core-presets, save as many as you like, and send them to your combo for use. But note that each preset is always tied to the Voice-channel used as its basic ingredient. This means that an ID:Core combo will always offer six different Voice-channels – you cannot load six different Warm Clean patches, or six OD1 Metal sounds, into the combo’s six Voice-channels.

If you want, you can set up an Insider-account, which enables you to share your own patches with other ID:Core users around the globe.

The Blackstar Insider software also includes some tools for practicing. There’s a simple rhythm box, as well as a music player (looking like an old cassette recorder), which even allows you to change a music file’s tempo and/or loop a certain part.

Insider’s tuning section gives you an on-screen, graphically-enhanced version of the combo’s internal tuner.

Thanks to its USB-connectivity you can also use the ID:Core combos as an external sound-card for direct recording to your audio sequencer. You can even configure the combo for re-amping (using the Insider-software), but I wasn’t quite satisfied with the way the ID:Core performed as a sound-card (at least with the tested firmware version). I’d like to see an even shorter audio latency, as well as a hotter audio signal, before I would seriously consider using the ID:Core for direct recording.

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idcore40-gallery-angle-big

Blackstar’s advertisements are placing quite a lot of emphasis on the ID:Core series’ Superwide Stereo function. With Superwide Stereo turned on (factory default, you can also switch it off via Insider) especially the delays and reverbs sound impressively lush. You feel enveloped in a cloud of sound, with some of it seeming to even come from behind you.

Actually, the ID:Core’s effects aren’t really stereophonic at all – you shouldn’t expect ping-pong delays, or anything of that sort. In reality, these Blackstar combos have a signal path that is completely monophonic, up to the point the signal reaches the power amp section (and headphone amp). It is only at this point that a stereo signal is created from the mono by splitting the mono signal in two, and by changing the phase of one of the signals. The result is a lush, broad, and fairly natural ”stereo” sound.

This method of creating ”fake stereo” has long been used in analogue modulation effects. There’s nothing ”wrong” or ”deceitful” in doing things this way, and Blackstar’s Superwide Stereo sure sounds impressive, but I’m not sure I’d want to trumpet this amp series’ ”stereo-ness” so loudly.

But now to the most important aspect of an amp – it’s tone:

I could sum it all up by saying that the amps sound great! Regardless of the fact that we’re talking about very pocket-friendly practice amps here, the sounds and dynamic response Blackstar’s excellent ID-modelling technology dishes out will leave you with a big grin on your face. Six well-chosen Voices and 12 quality effect types shouldn’t leave anybody wanting.

The ID:Core 40, naturally, sounds noticeably ”bigger”, compared to the ID:Core 20, with its smaller speakers and cabinet. Nonetheless, you get the feeling that both combos make the most of their respective wattage. Miked up both combos sound virtually the same.

The following sound clips have been recorded with the Blackstar ID:Core 40, using the factory presets as a basis, which I then fine-tuned to my liking. I played these clips on my Kasuga (a Japanese ES-335 copy from the Seventies), recording the sound with two dynamic Shure microphones.

Clean Warm:

Clean Bright:

Crunch:

Super Crunch:

OD1:

OD2:

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Blackstar ID_Core 20 – beauty 2

Blackstar have successfully managed to transfer the great sounds of their ”grown-up” ID Series amps to the ID:Core practice combos. Together with Blackstar’s Insider-software, the ID:Core 20 and ID:Core 40 combos are fully-spec’ed and inspiring tools for practice, home recording, teaching and warm-up. You get genuine Blackstar tone in a handy package!

Blackstar ID_Core 40 – beauty 2

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Blackstar ID:Core -kombot

ID:Core 20 – 149 €

ID:Core 40 – 195 €

Finnish distributor: Musamaailma

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Pros:

+ workmanship

+ versatile sound

+ up to three simultaneous effects

+ built-in USB sound-card

+ Blackstar Insider -compatible

Cons:

– latency in USB-recording

11/09/2014

Kitaravahvistimen mikittäminen –– Miking your guitar amp