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Blackstar ID Core Beam Bluetooth Amp in Blood Red Reviews
Been waiting to get my hands on this for ages, was struggling to find this in red at a reasonable price and when I saw this bundled with free footswitch it was all the temptation I needed to pull the trigger.
Was really looking for a space saving amp that could combine bass and electric in one as space is limited in my flat. Mainly use this for practicing bass and recording bass/electric guitar so this seemed ideal for my circumstances. I had previously had bought a blackstar id core 10 which I liked but when I heard of this it sounded even better.
It's a really light and dinky little amp, a little lower than the id core 10 and perhaps a little wider. Tried it first with the bass and it sounds great, my main concern was that it wouldn't be "bassy" enough but it does the job admirably. The bass channels are definitely a little bit quieter than the electric channels at full volume but you still get them at a very reasonable volume with no discernible distortion or rattle. The distortion/fuzz/od/overdrive takes the place of the reverb on the bass modes rather than been dialled in using the gain knob. This is cool because you can use the foot-switch to turn the distortion on or off without changing channels on the amp. The bass modes also have an envelope filter that is really fun to play with and could be useful for recording.
Next I tried it with an electric guitar and was surprised that it actually sounds better than the id core despite having identical controls and features on these channels. Don't know if this is down to the extra wattage or due to better speakers being required for the bass and music aspect of the amp. Guitar seemed to have more low end and presence in general.
Hooking it up to your phone/ipad or laptop is when this really starts to differ from other amps. Fired up youtube and was jamming along to some music straight away. My friends and I have regular jam seasons where we do a bunch of covers and when we are struggling with timing or unsure of chords etc. someone usually pulls out their phone and we all strain to hear it. Next jam I'm taking this bad buy along and problem solved. Have also used this to listen to podcasts and music while I do the dishes and the sound quality is generally excellent. However there is a very slight background hiss on this amp which is barely discernible but obviously it would be better if it wasn't there at all. Perhaps this will be sorted with future firmware updates.
Plugged in an electro acoustic and the first acoustic channel is a little underwhelming but the 2nd channel sounds really good. Delays and reverbs sound awesome with acoustic.
I was familiar with the insider software from the id core beam and it works really well, allows you to put together and store patches, allows allows you to use eq not present on amp. Something i hadn't noticed before and might actually only be on id core beam is that you can output a clean un-amped output along with as well as a processed output. So for example you can record on two tracks on garageband simultaneously, one clean, one dirty. This is great if you realise the maybe that weird chorus and flange combination was over the top you at least have a clean track to fall back on. You can also blend a clean and distorted guitar and bass. Worth noting the slight hiss is not present when you record via usb
I really can't recommend this amp enough and it wasn't for the slightly annoying hiss I would have given it 10 out of 10.
pro's- Looks great
Very useful tool for recording and practising
Con's- Slight hiss