Blackstar Aritsan - anyone play one?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by MontyW, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. MontyW

    MontyW Member

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    Hi,

    Are there any forum members who either play or have played a Blackstar Aritsan 15 head or combo, or even the 30.

    If so, can you comment on the type of tones you get from it... how clean is it, will it overdrive and distort well?? Can it take stomp boxes especially reverb and generally what you think of the amp?
     
  2. MontyW

    MontyW Member

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  3. distorted noise

    distorted noise Member

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    the 15 combo is a great amp. it's built like a tank. they have one at GC that i play all the time. it has a good clean tone and really starts to growl when you turn up the volume. the only reason i didn't buy it is that i couldn't bring the treble down enough. way to bright for my tele. i do think it would be good with some humbuckers.
     
  4. MontyW

    MontyW Member

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    Thanks for the info... especially regarding how bright the amp sounds with a tele.
     
  5. dunara

    dunara Member

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    I believe Steve Lukather uses them.
     
  6. t-rey

    t-rey Member

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    I have heard they are great amps. Handwired in the UK as well...just a bit pricey for me.
     
  7. MontyW

    MontyW Member

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    Have you any links to him playing one? If you have I'd appreciate you posting it.
     
  8. MontyW

    MontyW Member

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    I've been trying to find out if this is the case... I thought they were made in somewhere like Korea?
     
  9. aaronbarnes

    aaronbarnes Member

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    designed in the UK and i'm pretty sure made in korea

    I played the 30 for a bit in GC last week and found it VERY bright as well, but could'nt get any real volume going to tell how I would like it for real.
     
  10. beatnik

    beatnik Member

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    I bought one (the 15) to leave up at church (and so I am not putting wear and tear on my category 5 tsunami by lugging it in and out on Sunday mornings. I save the cat 5 for playing out or guesting at another church).

    Bottom line... I like the amp. With a band I have found the amp is not too bright or harsh even with a tele (my current #1 is a hwy one with dimarzio twang kings). On both channels of the amp, I have the tone knob at about 3/4 the way up and the guitar cuts through the mix very nicely.

    It is handwired in Korea. I have taken the head out and looked at it's guts and they are wired very neatly. It is tubed with eletroharmonix tubes. I prefer JJ's and will someday get around to retubing the thing.

    Reviews of the amp indicate that it shines best when it is jumpered and you can mix the two channels. I find that as well. The second channel, ECC83 tube, will break up fairly quickly and has a pleasant distortion sound. Depending on your needs, you can run either channel at a higher volume than the other and thus experiment with the different mixtures of sounds that the amp provides.

    The amp unfortunately, does not have the 3 dimensional quality of my category 5 and is a little more prone to hum than my cat 5 but when you get the guitar further away from the amp, the hum disappears (I don't get the same hum from my cat 5 in the same room, so interpret that as you will... I am a biologist, not an engineer). But the amp does sound very full and I have received the 2 thumbs up from my fellow chasers of tone. In fact the other day when I was playing a short uneffected solo over a ballad type song, I was very pleased with the complexity of the tone that I was able to get out of the amp and guitar. Later that day I told my wife (and you probably heard the hallelujahs) that I am finally pleased with that rig and sound that I have up at church.

    Backk to the amp, I do like the ability to switch between 5 and 15 watts. The primary difference is the lack of the 'swirl' at 5 watts from the duet of power tubes singing together and not overall volume. Initially, I ran the thing at 5 watts but have since gone back up to 15 to get more of a 3 dimensional sound. The celestion green back is UK made, so that is a real plus.

    The amp takes pedals really well. I run an OCD and a M13 into the thing and it sounds great. But the uneffected tone is where it can really shine. I don't use reverb so I can't speak to that part of your question.

    The used market is pretty soft on these amps b/c they are made overseas so you should be able to find one gently used for under a grand. The bottom line is; I believe they are of first rate construction and a great amp.

    Good luck.

    Beatnik
     
  11. t-rey

    t-rey Member

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    So they are made in Korea - my bad guys. I gotta say, that makes the price look even more out of hand. I still kinda want one - I needs me an amp with some ef86 goodness.
     
  12. MontyW

    MontyW Member

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    Beatnik - thanks for the post, very helpful.
     
  13. dunara

    dunara Member

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    I spotted the Blackstar combo on pics of his recent solo gigs on his Facebook page. I don't seem to be able to link to it; but I'm looking at it right now!

    Here we go - I copied it and saved it to Photobucket...
    [​IMG]

    There are further pics from other venues which suggest that it wasn't just a one-night loan or a hire or somesuch....
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  14. beatnik

    beatnik Member

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    Not a problem, Monty... Good luck on your search.

    Best regards,

    beatnik
     
  15. MontyW

    MontyW Member

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    Well spotted :aok
     
  16. bbutler123

    bbutler123 Member

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    I've told this story too many times, but the Blackstar Artisan 30 is probably the best sounding amp I've ever heard. I was trying out Les Pauls one day, and I had to switch to another amp to try them out, because the Artisan sounded so good that every LP was just amazing and it made it difficult to judge the difference between guitars. All I remember was the TONE. It was like heaven. Clean, chimey, quackey, I can't really say. It was like there was something "living" in the sound that it produced. If it wasn't so hugely expensive, I might have given a thought to purchase.
    My suggestion is find one and play it. Vacation to the nearest Guitar Center. :)
     
  17. MontyW

    MontyW Member

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    Thats my plan as soon as I can - hey thanks for posting!
     
  18. MontyW

    MontyW Member

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    Hi - I got to play the 30watt combo today and it a stunning amp - very organic open cleans and gets dirty too. I only had 20 minutes with the amp, so I'm back tomorrow for a longer play.
     
  19. Mickey64

    Mickey64 Member

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    I've tried the 15 watt version a few times now, and each time I've really been very impressed. The head and 2x12 cab sounded stunning, and yesterday I went back and tried the combo. Sounded excellent with a Strat and a 335, clear, bell like, loads of natural sustain even before the distortion kicked in. The high notes sounded really sweet. I've tried a 65amps London a few times, and I must say it doesn't impress me the way the Blackstar does. I also compared the 15 to a Marshall 1974x, and again I preferred the Blackstar. I don't really know why the made in Korea aspect puts me off a bit, it's a great sounding amp, superbly built, and I think I want one. And that's from a lifelong Fender devotee:)
     
  20. MontyW

    MontyW Member

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    Mikey64 - I liked the Artisan but I'm still undecided which way to jump. Very interesting that you compared the 15 to the 1974x and preferred the Blackstar - can you elaborate as to why you felt this - I'd be really interested.
     

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