Frequently Asked Questions
Search through our Frequently Asked Questions to see if they can help you find what out what you need...
We're sorry if you experience a problem with your Blackstar amp / pedal. If you are based in the UK, please contact the authorised Blackstar dealer you purchased the product from to get your product serviced/repaired as soon as possible.
If you are a customer from outside of the UK, please contact your point of purchase in the first instance. If you need further advice then please contact your local distributor so your amp can be serviced by one of their authorised technicians. Contact details for all Blackstar distributors can be found here.
In the UK there is a 1 year standard warranty on all Blackstar products. There is also an extended 3 year warranty available from the date of purchase. Simply register for the extended warranty online or fill in the warranty card that is packed with each product. Click here to register for the UK warranty. Please be aware that the warranty on valves and fuses is 90 days from the date of purchase. Full details of the extended warranty available in the UK can be found on the above link.
If you are a customer from outside the UK, then contact your local distributor for details of the warranty. A full list of Blackstar distributors can be found here.
Dynamic Power Reduction (DPR) is a patented feature only available on Blackstar products.
It is well known that valve amplifiers sound best when they are turned up loud. This is because at higher volume levels the output valves introduce musical distortion and compression which are a vital part of the valve amplifier experience.
Blackstar's patented DPR feature controls the output power level by dynamically adjusting the output stage voltages, allowing power valve distortion and compression at any volume level.
Benefits of the DPR control:
1. DPR allows continuously variable power reduction, down to 10%, so you can use your valve amp in any playing situation.
2. DPR is a ‘dynamic’ circuit, delivering the exact compression (a.k.a. sag) of a small overdriven valve amp, at any volume level.
3. Unlike power attenuators, DPR places nothing between the output of the amplifier and the loudspeaker and hence as the power is reduced the feel, tone and reliability of the amplifier is maintained.
4. DPR’s dynamic power reduction is only available on Blackstar products.
DPR control explained - https://youtu.be/dZxjJERHnvY
The Infinite Shape Feature (ISF) is a patented feature only available on Blackstar products.
The conventional three way guitar EQ network, or tone stack (a.k.a. Bass, Middle and Treble), is a key to the characteristic 'voice' of traditional guitar amplifiers. Classic amplifier designs have their own versions of this network which leads to their own tonal voicings.
The ISF control allows you to infinitely adjust the response of the tone control network between any of the traditional voicings in a way that has never before been possible. In this way you can design your own sound and truly find 'the sound in your head'.
Benefits of the ISF control:
1. ISF is a passive circuit giving a musical response that is not found in active parametric or 'contour' controls.
2. The whole tone stack response (i.e. Bass, Middle and Treble) is moved.
3. The tone controls remain fully interactive, just like in a regular tone stack.
4. The ISF control is continuously variable between all the traditional responses allowing you to effectively design your own sound.
5. ISF and 'the sound in your head' are only available on Blackstar products.
ISF control explained - https://youtu.be/C7Xig5d3Mao
If you are based in the UK then you can order them from your local dealer. Contact details for all UK Blackstar dealers can be found here. Alternatively you can order them directly from Blackstar via our online web store here
If you are a customer from outside the UK, please contact your local distributor with regard to spare parts and accessories. A list of Blackstar distributors can be found here.
If you are seeking endorsement from Blackstar please fill out our online form and the information will be passed onto our Artist Liaison department for review.
Our Artist Endorsement page can be found here.
For safety legislation reasons, we only provide schematics to authorised Blackstar Service Centres and technicians.
If you are in the UK you are able to search our list of Authorised UK Service Centres. You are able to find them here
Presence and Resonance controls affect the bass and treble response of the power amplifier. They are "master controls" which means they affect all channels of the amplifier and can be used to globally tweak the overall tone of the amplifier and are especially useful for matching the overall tone of your amplifier to the room in which you are performing.
Resonance affects the lower frequency range, Presence the higher frequency range. These controls differ to the regular Bass and Treble controls which boost or cut frequencies, as they rely on phase cancellation and other electrical factors allowing the operator to voice the signal to a specific characteristic making the speaker sound tight or loose, warm or bright. Due to the way these controls work it is more noticeable at higher volume and is often perceived as having little effect at lower volume levels.
In the UK our customer support line is open Mon-Fri between 8am-5pm. These times will vary if you are contacting us from outside the UK. Blackstar HQ: +44 (0)1604 817817
If you are a customer from outside of the UK, please contact your local distributor. A list of distributors can be found here or on our Customer Support area by searching for your country.
Some of our amps are designed for use without a speaker load when using the emulated output for silent recording. When used in this configuration, the amp should be in standby and there should be no loudspeaker leads connected to either of the loudspeaker output jack sockets of the amplifier. Please refer to the handbook for more details.
The amps in the Blackstar range that can be used without a speaker cab connected when the emulated output is used in the way described above include:
- HT-5 range
- HT Venue range
- Series One range
- ID: Series
If you are a customer outside of the UK, please contact your local distributor to find out the price of our amplifiers. A list of distributors can be found here
- Ensure your amplifier is connected to the mains supply correctly and a speaker load of the correct impedance is connected.
- Make sure your amplifier is not in standby mode. All Blackstar amplifiers, apart from the Artisan series, need a guitar lead in the input jack to activate the power section. This means that the amplifier will be muted until you have a lead in the input jack.
- Remove any FX/distortion pedals from the signal chain, both from the input jack or the FX loop. Plug the guitar directly into your amp.
- If the guitar has active pickups check the battery is not ‘dead’.
- If you have another amp, try the guitar and guitar lead into this amp to check the guitar and lead are functioning correctly.
- If there is no sound from your amp and you do not have another amp available, try another guitar lead.
- If there's still no sound, contact the store you purchased your amp from for details on how to return the amp for repair.
When connecting your amp head to an external speaker always use a good quality speaker lead. Never use a regular guitar lead as you risk damaging your amplifier.
When connecting your valve amp either in a head / cab configuration or a combo and its internal speaker it is important to make sure the impedance is correctly matched and the speakers are rated for a suitable power output or you risk damaging your amplifier or speaker.
For more information regarding power handling and impedance please refer to our other FAQ titled "WHAT SPEAKER CABINET SHOULD I USE WITH MY AMPLIFIER?"
Like all electrical appliances, electric guitars need to be ‘grounded’ or ‘earthed’. This is normally done using a ‘ground’ wire from one of the guitar potentiometers to the bridge of the guitar. If this wire is not connected you will experience excessive noise. A good way to check this is to mute the strings with your hand. If the noise stops, or gets a lot quieter, then the problem may be the guitar ‘ground’.
If you believe the ground wire may be the issue, we recommend you refer to the manufacturer of your guitar or a qualified technician for advice.
In rare occurrences there may be ‘noise’ on the incoming mains supply. Try the amp in different mains sockets and different rooms in your house to check for this issue.
At music venues you may experience the same incoming mains ‘noise’ issue, plus possible interference from lighting rigs and other equipment in that building.
If you experience the problem in one building but not in another, then the issue is most likely with the building and not the amp.
Sometimes mobile phones and other transmitting devices can cause a buzzing noise. In this case remove the offending device from proximity with the amplifier.
If after checking all these possibilities you still have the issue, contact the store you purchased your amp from for details on how to return the amp for repair.
*Note: Please always supply as much information as you can about the fault (e.g. how and when it occurs, the type of guitar, any pedals you use with the amp) as this will help with the diagnosis of the problem and speed up the repair time.
To minimise this we always recommend that you take care when moving or transporting your valve amplifier, and use your standby switch to allow the valves to reach their correct operating temperature and voltage before use. (Refer to your products handbook for more information).
Should there be a problem, there are various symptoms that both preamp and power amp valves can exhibit which will indicate they need replacing. The following is a general list of things to look out for, but is not exhaustive. If in doubt, always refer to a qualified technician.
Excessive noise or high pitched squealing. This might indicate that one or more of your preamp valves is damaged or has become microphonic and needs replacing.
Loss of gain in a high gain amp. This might indicate that one or more of your preamp valves is damaged or reaching the end of its life and will need replacing.
Loss of overall output volume on all channels. This is normally associated with the output valves and they may need replacing.*
The amp is blowing mains fuses. This can be the symptom of an output valve issue and may indicate that they need replacing.*
The amp is blowing HT fuses. This can be the symptom of an output valve issue and may indicate that they need replacing.*
*Please Note – All fixed bias amps will need biasing by a qualified technician when the output valves are changed.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: All work carried out on your Blackstar amplifier must be done by a qualified technician. There are no user serviceable parts in Blackstar amplifiers.
You should always use a speaker cabinet that is of the correct impedance and has a higher power rating than your amplifier, or you risk damaging the amplifier and the speaker cabinet.
As valve amps can produce peaks in their power output that exceed their power rating, we recommend that the speaker cabinet must be able to handle a higher output power than the rating of the amplifier. Ideally the speakers should be rated at least one and a half times higher than the amp output.
Some examples would be:
30 Watt amplifier – 45 Watt speaker power handling.
100 Watt amplifier – 150 Watt speaker power handling.
Using speakers safely with Series One's DPR control
The design of Blackstar's DPR circuit means that the amplifier can produce peaks and transients up to and exceeding the maximum output power rating of the amplifier, even with DPR set to minimum (10%). This is because DPR lets you retain all the tone and dynamics of your ‘full volume’ sound at lower performance levels. Therefore, you should always use a speaker cabinet that has a power rating greater than the amplifier’s maximum power rating, not according to the DPR setting.
Using speakers safely with the ID:Series
The ID:Series amplifiers use a solid-state power section with Blackstar's patent-applied for TVP (True Valve Power) feature. Due to this unique design, all amps with TVP should always be treated in the same way as a valve amplifier of the same power output. Therefore, you need to match your speaker cabinets accordingly.
It is worth noting that ID:Series amplifiers only deliver their full power output when used with a 4 Ohm cabinet. They will deliver less power if used with a cabinet 8-16 Ohm cabinet.
Using multiple speakers and cabinets
When using more than one speaker or speaker cabinet at the same time it is important that the impedance matches correctly.
We recommend that you use cabinets of the same impedance when used together as different impedances can cause a mismatch which can damage your amplifier.
Attached are a few example diagrams showing multiple speakers being used in parallel.Download Blackstar Impedance Diagrams
- WINDOWS XP®: My Documents/Blackstar/Saved Patches
- WINDOWS VISTA/7/8®: 'Your Username'/Documents/Blackstar/Saved Patches
- MAC OS X®: /Documents/Blackstar/Saved Patches
WINDOWS XP®: My Documents/Blackstar/Saved Patches
WINDOWS VISTA/7/8®: 'Your Username'/Documents/Blackstar/Saved Patches
MAC OS X®: /Documents/Blackstar/Saved Patches
1) Go to System Preferences in the Apple Menu.
2) Click on the Security & Privacy preference pane in the Personal section.
3) In the Security & Privacy preference pane, click on the padlock icon.
4) Enter your username and password to unlock and change settings.
5) Click the radio button next to Anywhere.
6) When you see the following dialog window, select Allow From Anywhere.
7) You can now install the Blackstar INSIDER software. Once installed, you can reset GateKeeper to your preferred settings by selecting the related radio button in this same window and locking the padlock to prevent further changes to this setting.
- WINDOWS XP®: My Documents/Blackstar/Saved Patches
- WINDOWS VISTA/7/8®: 'Your Username'/Documents/Blackstar/Saved Patches
- MAC OS X®: /Documents/Blackstar/Saved Patches
- WINDOWS XP®: CONTROL PANEL -> ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS. Select 'BLACKSTAR INSIDER' and click 'UNINSTALL'.
- WINDOWS VISTA/7/8®: CONTROL PANEL -> PROGRAMS AND FEATURES. Select 'BLACKSTAR INSIDER' and click 'UNINSTALL'.
- MAC OS X®: trash the 'BLACKSTAR INSIDER' app from /APPLICATION.
You can use the Audio section to jam along to your favourite MP3 and WMA tracks. Simply click on the 'Import' icon and select the track you want from your computer's music library, then double-click on a cassette to 'load' it into the player.
Full instructions for using the phrase trainer (including setting 'in' and 'out' points) are included in the Blackstar INSIDER handbook.
When your amp is connected to INSIDER, you can change the sound in real time both by adjusting your amp's controls, or changing the settings in INSIDER. When you change your sound by adjusting the controls in INSIDER you'll notice that the control is highlighted red. This is to remind you that the sound you're hearing does not reflect the actual position of the controls on your amp.
With the amplifier off, hold down the Manual button, power on the amplifier keeping the Manual button pressed until the Bank button has stopped changing colour.
On the ID:60TVP, ID:60TVP-H, ID:260TVP and the ID:100TVP the emulated out is a line level output and not designed to power headphones. You can however use headphones via the emulated out without causing any damage, but better performance may be obtained by using a headphone amplifier or a mixer with a headphone output.
You'll need to set the MIDI pedal to a latching setting. If it is non-latching then the midi signal will trigger when you press the foot switch and again when you release it, producing an incorrect tap time. You should find instructions for this in your MIDI pedal handbook.
Yes, the emulated output on an ID:Core amp also doubles as a headphone output
The guitar tuner is accessed via the front panel by holding down the MANUAL and TAP buttons simultaneously for 2 seconds. The tuner can also be accessed by clicking the TUNER heading within the INSIDER software with your ID:Core amp connected to your computer via USB. See the full ID:Core handbook for more information.
There are two simple ways to record the stereo sound of your ID:Core amplifier; via the Emulated Output or via USB.
To record via the Emulated Output, connect a stereo 3.5mm jack cable from the jack socket on the front panel of your ID:Core amp to a mixing desk or audio interface and record the analogue stereo signal directly. The internal speakers of your amp will automatically mute when a cable is plugged into the Emulated Output jack socket.
To record via USB connect your ID:Core amp to your computer using a mini USB cable, and launch your chosen DAW software. Next, select the recording input as your amplifier, set your monitoring source as required and hit record! To mute the live sound from your amp’s speakers, launch the Blackstar INSIDER software and open the Global Settings window. The amp muting can be controlled via the SPEAKER MUTE option. See the full INSIDER handbook for more information.
The output level of both recording signals is controlled via the amp’s VOLUME knob. Further information on recording using your ID:Series or ID:Core amp can be found on the Blackstar YouTube channel.