Blackstar Id Series, A Guitar Amp Revolution

Many amplifier makers have made solid state guitar amps that they claim to give the great sounds from some of the most famous valve guitar amps ever made. But up and till now I have to say that in my book no company has achieved this. Then came along the Blackstar Id series. This intriguing series of solid state amps are a revolution in guitar amplifier design. There are plenty of great reviews on the internet to read so I am not going to do a full blown review of the Id series. Instead I am going to delve into part of the amp settings called (TVP) True Valve Power. TVP does not try to emulate different types of valve amps but instead it characterises the many types of valves that have been used in guitar amps over the years. Me being a jack of all trades guitar player, having a guitar amp that changes it’s spots with a click of a switch really appeals to me.

The first time I played through one of these fine amps was at the open day for Crazy Train Music’s new bigger premises and Steve Marks the Blackstar product trainer plugged me into the 60 watt 2×12 combo for a jam and straight away my old Fender sprung to life. Steve did a great demo of the Blackstar Id Series amps and he knows them like the back of his hand.

I have a liking for small combos and as all the Blackstar amp ranges have great emulation out on them I went for the Id 15, part exchanging everything but Grandma to get it. It may be only 15 watts but man it has some power. Very loud for a small amp.

I am not a guitar amp collector and I don’t have access to an array of valve amps old and new. So how do we test TVP. Well TVP is about the valves not specific valve amps, but more about types of guitar amps that have used various types of valves over the years to the present day. So I decided to research each valve listed in the TVP settings using the internet as reference to see if the description of the valve in question fits the TVP valve setting.

KT66 is one the oldest valves around. The general consensus on the internet is that the KT66 gives a more bell like tone with thick mids and more bottom end with more head room. Remember this not a description of a guitar amp but of a valve that can be wired in to one. Does this description of the KT66 fit the sound you are looking for? Well it does for my Tokai ES 175 Jazzer. So lets set the TVP to KT66, a slice of reverb, the voice setting to clean warm and just set the the gain to almost the point of clip. Remember that even if you had a guitar amp with KT66 valves in it you would not set the eq the same as anyone else. You would set to it the guitar, speakers and of course the type music you would be playing but you still be looking for the characteristics of the KT66.

The video below is recorded with a Blue Yeti Microphone through my Logitech webcam software on the laptop. The Tokai jazzer is what you would describe as bottom end in jazz guitars. So no 4 grand plus solid spruce top driving the amp. Does the KT66 setting match the KT66 valve. It does for me.

Keep checking back for videos on this very versatile amp


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