Blackstar has just unveiled its new ACOUSTIC:CORE 30 acoustic guitar amp. Keen to plug acoustic guitar playing into the 21st century world, the company has included some decidedly modern features to do things like live streaming your acoustic performance to the web. But it has the functions and sounds you’d expect of an acoustic guitar amp, too, and comes in at a pretty darn competitive price point.
Blackstar ACOUSTIC:CORE 30
Part of Blackstar’s reputation is to try to do amp design a bit more imaginatively. I own a little Blackstar Fly amplifier and it’s one of my go to amps when I just want to work out a riff or chord sequence quickly without annoying my neighbours. These award-winning little amps, I think, put Blackstar on the map in terms of guitar gear that’s useful beyond playing live gigs. Since most players are now in some form of a lockdown due to COVID 19, Blackstar has added some features to its new acoustic guitar amp that makes it easier for them to reach online audiences.
Before we come to the 2020-relevant stuff, let’s take a look at the standard amp functions. The ACOUSTIC:CORE 30 has a simple control panel with controls for Gain, Low, High for each channel and central Master output control, along with dedicated controls for the onboard effects.
Super Wide Stereo
The ACOUSTIC:CORE 30 has Blackstar’s Super Wide Stereo technology, based on 30W of power with a 2 x 15W setup, along with built-in Enhance and Vocal Clarity controls. These allow players to dial in sounds to make them sound fuller and wider. There’s also a dedicated input for your vocals, so you could stage your own gig with this one amp. It has three channels, with four-channel USB recording capabilities and effects built in as well. The FX include a stereo reverb and two chorus effects.
USB Recording paths
• USB Channel 1 + 2: Main stereo output
• USB Channel 3: Pre EQ D.I for Channel 1
• USB Channel 4: Pre EQ D.I for Channel 2
On the input side, there are jacks for for Microphone, Instrument and Line In, plus an XLR DI output. A neat feature is the adjustable tilt-back stand. Blackstar also offers an optional PA stand adapter. You can also use a TRRS cable to connect to your smartphone and the apps running there. This lets you take your acoustic performance directly into the digital realm and stream via Instagram Live. There is even a footswitch option, so you can use it hands free – a big help when you’re performing.
Value for money?
This new acoustic guitar amp from Blackstar has some very useful features for players looking to make the most out of digital tools for reaching their audience during the Covid era. It certainly packs a punch feature-wise, especially for the price point. The option to directly connect to a smartphone for use with apps like Apple’s GarageBand and Instagram Live makes it an appealing solution for the modern player.
On paper, this acoustic amp certainly has a lot of very nice features and I could see it being a very useful little amp to have around, especially if you need to integrate into your smartphone, or if you would like to stream online. The price point is very reasonable. If this amp sounds as nice as in their demo, it should be on your radar if you want an app that does more than just produce a nice sound in a room.
RRP – GBP 199