Blackstar has unveiled the Amped 2, a 100-watt guitar amp in a pedal format that features multi-effects, scalable power, USB and MIDI connectivity and a range of power valve responses to make it feel and sound like a real tube amp.
Amped 2 shares many of the design features of its predecessor. Once more we’ve got the switchable power valve responses, with EL34, 6L6 and EL84 power valve emulations available via a three-way toggle switch, and the output is switchable too with Blackstar offering the option to run it at a full 100-watts, 20-watts or down to a single watt.
But the big ticket new items on the Amped 2 are its effects, with Drive, Modulation, Delay and Reverb sections integrating a guitar multi-effects section beside the amp.
In short, it could be your all-in-one-fly rig. But with its connectivity options and onboard cab sim tech, it could be similarly invaluable in the studio.
“Guitarists are looking for innovative solutions and great tones in portable packages to ensure they get their sound consistently when gigging or travelling,” says Blackstar. “Our goal was to create a compact and powerful power amp pedal that delivers the response and ‘feel’ of a real guitar amp.
“It had to easily integrate with pedalboards, work with amps, power cabinets, and have next generation DI connectivity and control for use in the studio. The result does all that and so much more.”
Under the Drive section you’ve got a three-way toggle for Boost, Drive and Fuzz modes, with Drive, Tone and Level knobs for dialling in a sound. Modulation serves up chorus/flanger, tremolo and phaser, with controls for Time, Depth and Level.
There are similarly a trio of delay modes with Linear, Analogue and Shimmer each controllable via Time, Feedback and Level dials. And your three reverbs comprise Room, Spring and Plate, with Time and Level controls for each.
Each of the effects has its own dedicated footswitch. A chromatic guitar tuner is available via the Delay and Reverb footswitches, and there is also a tap-tempo switch for the time-sensitive effects. Across the top of the unit you have the amp controls.
Again, Blackstar offers a trio of core options, with USA, UK and Classic amps selected via a three-way switch. The USA amp model is inspired by ‘60s American amps and is voiced as a clean and dynamic pedalboard platform.
Think vintage Class A British tube amps for the UK amp voicing while Classic offers quintessential Blackstar tones of cascaded tube drive and a British-style passive tone stack.
There are no tubes in the design but just as it has done with its Silverline and Amped 1 digital modelling amps, Blackstar wants to confuse your ear so you can’t tell the difference. The control panel looks very much like an amp, and for the amplifier section you’ve got a straightforward complement of Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble and Master dials.
Around the rear of the unit there is an array of connections that are sure to make this a super-practical option for players, including an effects loop, balanced XLR and USB outputs with Blackstar’s proprietary Cab Rig tech, and connections for MIDI.
Connect the Amped 2 to your computer and make deep edits to the sounds via Blackstar's free Architect software. Besides all this you have a cooling fan, eight and 16 ohm speaker outputs, the on/off switch, and a pair of 9V outputs so you can use this as an ancillary pedalboard power supply.
The Dept. 10 Amped 2 is available now, priced £539 / $649 street. See Blackstar Amplification for more details. And check out the demos to hear how it sounds in action.