Blackstar Artist 15 Tube Combo Amp Review by Sweetwater

Blackstar Artist 15 Tube Combo Amp Review by Sweetwater

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00:03
hi I'm Mitch Gallagher welcome to Sweetwater's guitars and gear this time out a new tube amplifier from Blackstar let's get started ah you you today we're checking out the artist 15 a new premium appala fire from black star now this is an all tube design it's driven by two 12ax7 preamp tubes and two 6l6 power tubes now what's interesting about that is normally with a 15 watt amplifier like the artist 15 you'd use six v6 power tubes but Blackstar has selected six l6 power tubes usually you'd use those in a higher power amp
01:22
and they're using the power tubes in such a way that you get a very clean very dynamic power section we've got two channels a very straight ahead clean channel with a volume control and a tone control then we've got a gain channel it's not a high gain amplifier it's a nice crunchy amp we've got to gain control of volume control for that channel 3 band EQ we also have black stars patented ISF control is f stands for infinite shape feature and it allows you to go from an american-style tone stack all the way up to a British style tone stack and also changes the response of the amplifier so if you go from a cleaner a little bit more scoop sound on the American side over to a fuller
01:53
thicker a little bit richer sound on the British side now the cool thing about this is we have a continuous control for that feature so we can dial in between shades as well so you have a lot of tonal versatility with this amplifier rounding out the controls we have a master volume control and then we have a reverb control as well on the back panel we have an effects loop we also have speaker outs that can support a single 16 ohm speaker 216 ohm speakers or a single 8 ohm speaker so you can connect this to the internal speaker external cabinets however you want to configure it it'll drive those speakers very happily the back panel also has a footswitch jack when you hook up a two button foot switch you could control
02:25
reverb on and off as well as select which channel you're using finally we have a speaker emulated output that allows you to connect the amplifier straight into your recorder or to a live sound mixer let's check out the tones of the artists 15 I'm playing a Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster with phat 50s pickups let's begin with channel 1 which is the clean channel on the artist 15 with single coil pickups like I have in my Stratocaster here in this channel we're going to get everything from a very clean tone up to where it's just beginning to break up so I'm going to begin with the volume control set to about nine o'clock with the tone control at twelve o'clock we'll begin with the bridge pickup on the strap through the
02:55
clean channel it's nice and clean and punchy we have a lot of range with that tone control to go from a very dark tone to a very bright tone as well now let's listen to the neck pickup you can hear that with this setting on the clean Channel everything stays nice and clean but it's also a rich fat tone now I'm going to turn the volume up to about three o'clock and here's the bridge pickup
03:33
Oh you you can hear that's a fat round tone both on the bridge pickup and on the neck pickup has a lot of nice sustain but we're not fuzzy at all it's just getting into that crunchy territory where the amp is starting to break up now let's switch over to channel 2 which is the gain ear channel now as I mentioned earlier this is not a high gain amplifier it'll push into crunch territory but it's not going to get into full on saturation and with a Stratocaster we can begin with the gain control set to about twelve o'clock and it's still a nice clean tone now I'm going to set this up with the tone controls at 12 o'clock and we're going to set the ISF control on the American
04:22
side so it's going to be a little bit brighter a little bit chiming your tone you can hear that's a bright tone that's really going to cut through on stage or in a dense recording something where you really want your guitar to punch through the mix this tone is going to do that for you now let's turn the gain all the way up again we've got a nice bright
05:09
cutting tone there and that's the maximum amount of gain we're going to get out of this amplifier with these fat 50s single coils it's a rich thick tone a lot of cut on the top-end it's going to work well for leads as well as for punchy rhythms now I'll turn the ISF control of that infinite shape feature all the way up which is going to put us on the British side of the amplifier story with this setting on the infinite shape feature you can hear the low mid-range really fills out it's a nice full chunky tone with a nice warm top-end as well one of the great things about the ISF control though is that you can put it in between and get a blend of that American
06:02
side and the British side so I'm going to set it to 12 o'clock let's listen to what that sounds like you with this setting we're getting a blend of that American cutting top and that brighter sound along with that fuller thicker mid-range from the bottom it's a really nice hybrid tone that has all the characteristics that you want from an amplifier the full lower mid-range the bright top-end a lot of punch and a lot of sustain to give you an idea of what the artists 15 sounds like with humbuckers I've got of 1959 Les Paul Standard reissue from the Gibson Custom Shop now let's begin with the ISF control set over to the American
06:57
side I've still got the gain all the way up so you can hear the maximum amount of crunch or sustain that you're going to get from this amplifier you can hear them with humbuckers we still got a bright articulate top into the tone when we go to the bottom end it's nice and tight and controlled it truly helps rhythm tones punched through we've still got plenty of gain for singing leads as well now we'll turn over to the British side of the ISF control that's a big thick sound really throaty gives you a great rhythm tone and a lot of sustain a really thick sound for leads I hope you've enjoyed this look at
08:29
the artist 15 amplifier from Black Star this tube amplifier can deliver everything from singing leads to pristine clean tones it really is a versatile amp with a lot of tones thanks for joining me for Sweetwater's guitars and gear be sure to tune in next time we'll have more guitars more apps more effects and we'll be making lots of music I'm Mitch Gallagher

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