Billy Campbell reviews Blackstar's ID:Core 40 combo—the ultimate practice amp and an essential single-handed session tool. Featuring a sleeker editor, a powerful new cab simulator, and even more immersive stereo FX make the third generation of this Blackstar classic a must-have. Choose from six inspiring amp voices that run the gamut from classic cleans to scorching leads. Here's Billy to tell us more.
The latest revision in Blackstar's ID:Core line, Today we're looking at the 40 watt (2x20 watt) ID: CORE V3, with all the tone and tech upgrades you could want in a compact, portable amp. Getting a wide range of modern and vintage tones in what Blackstar is calling Super Wide Stereo, achieved by the two 6.5" proprietary speakers, with re-voiced and enhanced FX, and a wide range of connectivity options for recording, editing and even live-streaming.
You can now use your ID:CORE V3 direct into a streaming compatible device, to harness the amps powerful and expansive tones and effects via the top panel jack and a TRRS 3.5mm cable. Blackstar's free Architect software can also be accessed via USB 2.0 for deeper editing, patch management, and the Cab Rig Lite cabinet simulator (which allows you to control elements like cabinet, microphone, and room environment) as well as online patch sharing. The USB port also allows you to use the amp as a low-latency 4-channel direct recording interface. Also included on the left side of the panel is a very convenient Cab-Rig/Headphones jack, for silent practice with high quality tone.
Top panel controls give you easy access to the ID:CORE V3's six enhanced voices, ranging from pristine cleans with no breakup, pushed British-flavored crunch, to over the top modern metal tones. Adjusting the tonal signature of each voice by using the ISF tone knob (Infinite Shape Feature) is wide-ranging and intuitive. This takes you from an American type character with a tight bottom end, and more aggressive mid-range in the counterclockwise position, to a more British flavoured character with more bloom between notes and slightly more pronounced mid-range in the fully clockwise position.
You can also control and program the amp's built-in effects. This includes an array of modulation effects, such as Phaser, Chorus / Flanger, Envelope Filter and Tremolo. Delay options include: Linear, Analog, Tape and Multi. Reverb variations spanning from: Room, Hall, Spring and Plate reverb effects. All adjustable via the top panel Type and Level knobs, as well as an independent Tap Tempo button. You can access the on-board tuner by simply holding down the 'REV' button.
The ID:CORE V3 offers options for expanding control and portability by way of the rear recessed carrying handle, a top panel jack for connecting an external foot switch, or even add the PB-1 Power Bank, so you can use the amplifier anywhere.
With all the tones, effects, volume, and connectivity options you can think of, the 40 watt ID:CORE V3 makes the perfect small-sized combo for any level of musician. Retailing at $199 USD, Blackstar makes this amplifier extremely accessible. Stop by your local Blackstar dealer and check one out!
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