NAMM 2023: Blackstar pumps up the gain and headroom with the 100-watt Amped 3 guitar amp pedal

The Blackstar Amped 3 is a 100-watt floorboard guitar amp with three channels, each with two voicings
(Image credit: Blackstar)

NAMM 2023: Blackstar has expanded its superlative Dept. 10 Amped series with the Amped 3, a 100-watt floor-based guitar amp that offers stratospheric headroom and face ripping gain from a pedalboard-friendly unit you can throw in a backpack.

As with previous pedal amps in the series, this has everything you need except a speaker – but of course, if you are going direct when playing live or recording, there is Blackstar’s proprietary CabRig speaker simulation tech to make it happen.

With its three Clean, Crunch and Overdrive channels, each with two voicings, the Amped 3 is designed to go from sparkling cleans to high-gain metal guitar tones. 

The Clean channel offers Warm and Bright voicings, Crunch has medium-gain Crunch and a punchier Super Crunch voicing, while the Overdrive channel has a super-tight and focused high-gain rhythm voicing and a full-bore voicing for going full metal jacket with your electric guitar tone. It has controls for Bass, Middle, Treble, Presence plus Blackstar’s patented ISF control.

With the Amped 3, there are options, and plenty of them. But at heart is the idea is that it offers an authentic tube amp feel from what is a digital/Class D hybrid design. 

Its six core sounds are augmented further by a switchable power amp response control that allows players to choose between EL34, EL84 and 6L6 power tube emulations, changing the feel and dynamics of the amplifier. Choose the EL34 setting for that classic British Class A/B amp feel, the EL84 for a more compressed Class A break-up, or the 6L6 for that US feel.

Similarly, the power is switchable. If 100-watts is a little gung-ho for Liz and Brian’s wedding, you can dial it down to 20-watts, or to a single watt for playing at home.

The Blackstar Amped 3 is a 100-watt floorboard guitar amp with three channels, each with two voicings

(Image credit: Blackstar)

It is one of life’s ironies that the smaller these floor-based amp units get, the more features they seem to have. Amped 2 might be the model to choose if you want some onboard effects – its Drive, Modulation, Delay and Reverb sections served as an integrated guitar multi-effects nested within its design. But Amped 3 ships with studio-quality reverb with a freeze function.

There’s a footswitchable boost that can be programmed pre or post and has its own level control. And you have all the connections you need to integrate your pedalboard or multi-effects unit, with an effects loop that can be switched from series to parallel via the accompanying Architect software, and a pair of auxiliary 9V DC outputs that are inevitably going to come in useful or life-saving in a live scenario. 

Indeed, with MIDI, USB-C, stereo TRS and XLR mono DI connections, you have pretty much everything you need for stage or studio. Perform deep edits with the accompanying Architect software. Blow minds with the amount of gain on offer – Blackstar says this is the highest-gain circuit it has developed.

The Dept. 10 Amped 3 is available now, priced £499 / $599. See Blackstar for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.