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The USB sends four independent channels simultaneously: a fully processed left and right with speaker emulation and stereo reverb, a preamp out with no reverb or speaker emulation, and a dry, unprocessed guitar al as received by the amp. This new 6L6 option is really about taking a different tonal direction, and given its wide-ranging tone controls we were interested to see how much of a difference the valve makes.
All the features needed for home recording.
Image 2 of 2. Against It would be nice if the effects loop were foot-switchable, but at this price we can live with it.
For Boutique-quality tone at a competitive price. Our preference was the vintage voicing, which is tight and highly responsive with medium damping.
Compact but powerful. We tended to favour the American clean voice setting, which we felt was enhanced by the 6L6, with a sweeter treble and better-defined lows. Bring it on!
Ratings and reviews
Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. The USB can also receive audio in on a stereo pair, taken via the emulated output. The research was a success.
There are two channels each with two voices, and all four sounds can be accessed from the supplied footswitch. Swap to the Les Paul or Stratadd a little more gain and you can sound equally authentic playing any classic rock hit from the late 60s and early 70s. Guitar World.
Feel & sounds
Image 1 of 2. Inside the robust steel chassis, most of the electronics reside on a large high-quality through-plated circuit board, laid out with typical Blackstar attention to detail, minimising noise while maximising reliability.
The Clean channel offers volume, bass and treble controls, while the Overdrive channel has gain, volume, bass, mid, treble and ISF. Another push button selects between two reverb presets: one a bright plate, the other a warm room with plenty of jazz club ambience — nice.
Compared with the competition, either version is still hard to beat when it comes to bang for buck, with instant pro-quality tone for home recording or internet broadcasting. Currently, both valve options cost the same so the choice is simple — go for whichever sounds best to your ears.