Blackstar will be launching a trio of Class A, single-ended combos at NAMM 2019. Each is designed around a different output valve section, using either EL34, 6L6 or KT88 to power the amps. It’s a brave move, though, given the massive competition in this segment. Is there enough on offer here to convince players to plump for one of these?
Blackstar Studio 10
Launching three new amp combos based around power valve sections seems a plucky move. You don’t know which one will sell the most and so you could end up with lots of dead stock of a certain version. Well, Blackstar has decided to taken the risk with their new Studio 10 series. Each of the three amps has a different output section, built around the EL34, 6L6 or KT88 tube respectively. All three have a Class A, single-ended input stage design and come loaded with the same 12” Celestion Seventy-80 speaker.
Each one of the combos comes with a very simple control layout consisting of Gain, Tone, Reverb and Master knobs. There’s also a Drive control, except on the EL34 version which has a Boost function instead. They all have a speaker emulated output, a series effects loop and single-button footswitch to activate the drive/boost function as well.
Each model is rated at 10 watts and so could be perfect for studio and home use. But I don’t think you could use them for gigging unless you play in a small venue of as a duo etc. However, you could mic them up or send that emulated output to a front of house desk and have them go through a PA.
Crowded combo market
It was only yesterday that I was writing about the Supro Blues King 12 combo, a similar amp in terms of wattage. As I mentioned there, the marketplace for mid-priced guitar combos is already swamped, so I think it is brave for Blackstar to take it on with not one, but three new products.
The video demos below all sound really decent, but I personally would find it hard to choose just one unless I could go to a store and play through all three of them in turn. This could be an issue, as it means stores have to carry enough stock for players to compare and then hopefully buy. Other than that, I think these the pricing is reasonable and you are getting a lot of basic useful features included in all of the new Studio 10 models.
RRP – GBP 499
- Blackstar Studio 10 lineup: Blackstar