Artisan Series overpriced

HAND-CRAFTED TONE. Artisan Series Amplifiers.
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Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:00 am

Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:24 pm

The Artisan series is extremely overpriced. What sucks is that these are probably the best Blackstar Amps. I consider the designs extremely good. But 1900 bucks for a 15 watt amp made in Korea is pretty much insane. As most experienced musicians know there is NO difference between PCB and handwired. We all know its a sham for marketing. It looks nice, its easier to repair. However, I do not expect the general amp buying public to realize this. The pictures of the guts should have orange drop caps, not knock offs. If this is the kind of corner cutting that Blackstar is going to proudly display Im going to have to stick with the 5 watter and not buy a series 1 or artisan series like I had planned.

People do speak with their wallets. The HT series is priced competitively compared to all the solid state garbage in the sub 1k price range. The series 1 are priced competitively but the artisan series is way, way overpriced.

They are passed DR Z territory and entering the realm of Divided by 13. I can guess these amps are being made for around 200 bucks because I have been to various Korean plants and I have talked to several of the American overseers. Profit margin remains in the 7-10x range.

The Divided by 13 RSA 23c an EXTREMELY good sounding amp. Its only a few hundred more than the Korean made Artisan 30.

As an economist and musician and guitar geek I highly recommend Blackstar take a hard look at their Artisan Series and evaluate pricing.

At the end of the day your products are only as good as the artists using them. Everyone in the instrument business knows this. A few up and coming country bands and some soon to be dead indy bands and power pop bands are not going to carry the Blackstar name in the boutique realm. The metal amps are pretty much unmatched. They are extremely feature laden. The Diezel VH4 is the closest thing Ive heard to a Series 1 200. That's saying something. But as far as artisan series, they lack. Because quite a few Zs, divided bys, and even (what) MARSHALL amps are superior to the Artisan series. If you want success you do not want to be "the metal amp" company. Just like Marshall, just like Mesa, as soon as something else comes along everyone switches bandwagons.

This is constructive criticism and I hope nobody takes too much offense. Would you pay $40K for a Kia, or $40K for a BMW? Would you pay 2k for a Korean made "boutique" amp or 2k for a UK or US made amp?

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Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:16 am

Although I like your analysis, and I agree about the high prices of the Artisans, It has nothing to do with where it is made.

If I am a business owner and outsource my manufacturing to a safe, quality controlled and efficient south Korean plants (we are not talking Vietnam or Thai here), then I am being smart . That is what Blackstar is doing. Yes, the S1 and HT are feature full and they are competitively priced because of the Oversees manufacturing. But the Artisans...I really wonder why.

You think of the amp was made in UK, people would pay $2000 for it?

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Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:09 pm

that is certainly one viewpoint...

although i dont believe where the item is made is relevant - quality is quality and it can be controlled anywhere
to me the difference between pcb and hand wired is tonally not much - but hand wired generally will have better components like transformers
and such - i also belive pcb's have a more reliable signal path than do wires without the chance of crosstalk in most cases

as far as the 1900.00 price tag - there are a lot of amps in this price range including marshall and fender and Dr Z so one could say
those are overpriced as may get more wattage but that doesnt mean better tone

the artisians are not my preferred boutiqe amp as they dont fit my current needs but if they were the price wouldnt scare me that much
there are plenty of boutiqe amps out there costing more than that...

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Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:00 am

Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:08 am

Regardless of its origin of make its still hand wired and thats going to bring the $.

Then again, it be very smart to lower the price and pass the savings their making on to us and probably sell more units in the process, win win for every one.

But I agree the 15 watter should be cheeper. Im betting one channels based of the marshall 2061 and im not sure what the other american ef86 based tone is. But still, the marshall is cheeper and probably built in the uk.

However, the 30 and 100 are reasonable priced imho.

But Im uncertain of the accuracy of the artisans referenced tones. Channel one on the 30 is based on the ac30 and the shape knob changes the circuit to a plexi. But a plexi running el84s..? That is just not going to sound correct. Then in general I wonder how off the circuit is to an original that the artisans use as a referenced tone.

In conclusion, the artisans are cool amps but not my choice for a boutique amp replica.

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Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:00 am

Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:33 pm

You also have to figure that sometimes, by being expensive, you draw attention to the product, and sometimes people will be thinking things are worth based on how much you charge for them.

For a company like blackstar, I bet it's hard competeting against themselves, in the sense of having HT series for less, plus poor resale value because they are a relatively new company and a probably relatively unpopular line of amps (b/c of price mostly and not being high gain, I imagine. highgain is what sells in 2011). But the Artisans are unique, quality amps, and if you disregard that they are made in asia (by the quality of my HT-5, it may as well have been made in the US or Canada), they probably can compete with $1500 Marshalls, etc.

That being said, maybe they are $500 too much. But I'm not really their market anyway. I'd rather have a YJM for that price Image .

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Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:30 am

As an ex electronics tech that was brought up on valves I struggle with the handwired is no different to pcb arguement
have to say it is. If you ever slide the chassis out and look at the standard of the point to point wiring it really is as good
as it gets. The odds are as well they are using better quality components which will effect the tone.From a maintenace
point of view as well ptp is much easier to work and component change even down to the point of valve changes.
( most pcb boards have the valves mounted on them )
Dont get me wrong there are very good amps out there with pcb but when you look at the cost of some versus the
artisan 100 for example I know which way Id rather go !

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