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Blackstar ID:Core 40 - 2x20W 2x6.5" Stereo Combo with FX Reviews

4.0 stars based on 12 customer reviews
  • Katrecha Mason
    from Georgia May 22, 2016Music Background:
    Playing for over 9 yrs

    Great little amp

    This amp is so much fun to play with. I love all the different settings, there is almost no sound I can't get. Great for everything from hard rock to the blues. The clean signal can go from fender bright to about Marshall dark. I've been enjoying it especially with the looper pedal I bought.

  • Terry
    from May 8, 2016

    Blackstar Core 40

    I've been playing over 50 years, owned and played through a number of great tube amps. In fact I now own Kendrick and Allen tube amps. Both great tube sound. The Blackstar came in heavy duty packaging and promptly as always with Sweetwater. I think I am known as a tone-aholic and for the price and for a lightweight grab and go or home studio amp this one has a lot going for it. It's pretty easy to use and covers a number of bases. I ran my laptop Band In A Box backing tracks into the MP3 jack, Strat into the instrument channel and it sounds darn good. With a little knob twisting and getting to know the effects function it was pretty easy to dial in comparable tones to my tube amps with no pedal board or other cumbersome items. It is plenty loud with the two 6.5" speakers that push as much air as my Kendrick 12". Almost as loud as well. It will easily carry a small venue and sound surprisingly big. I tried the headphone out and my guitar comes through loud and clear with highly defined notes. I'm betting that it will do well as a recording interface. Altogether I like it very much. Light, friendly to use, and very good sound quality. Pleased I made the purchase and thanks to Tyler Moore who made the recommendation.

  • Kenny Zee
    from NW Washington March 6, 2016

    Blackstar core 40

    In my opinion its as good as it gets. I have 7 amps from 10 to 150 amps 4 of them modeling 2 regular solid state, and 1 tube amp. This amp is straightforward and eaay to use being able to tweek it to get the sound you like. The controls are handy and out of the way, and pretty self explanatory. The big thing is the sound. You will absolutely be amazed what you can get out of 2-6.5" stereo speakers. You know how we're all listening for "THE SOUND" you know the one I mean. That illusive one. Well I've found in the CORE 40. All they say in the adds is true. Its labeled a practice amp, but I've used it in smaller venues and its worked out fine. There are some small limitations and i am a rhythm player mostly.
    I could go on and on, but just read the specifics then go buy it, or at least try it. It well make you happy.
    PS I play an 01 American dlx Strat, a 73 Less Pual knock off and newer sg knock off. They all really sound great. One more tip. An a frame guitar stand makes a perfect amp stand. It keeps your amp angled upward and off the floor.

  • Williom
    from Cleveland, OH November 15, 2015Music Background:
    40-year player

    Best Practice Amp

    This has to be the best practice amp out there--perfect for the price. It has massive tone and fierce distortion even at very low volumes, which makes it perfect for bedrooms or apartments. I have a good-sized house, but I still love the tone and don't have to risk my hearing to get it. I close-mic this little amp for recording. It can create the Metal sound I always had in my head, but shines for bluesy, crunchy and clean sounds, too. Extremely versatile. I wish I had this one back in the 80's--it would have inspired me to play more.

  • Al Mele
    from Holyoke, MA November 21, 2014Music Background:
    part time pro guitarist.

    Blackstar Core 40

    I was going to buy a Fender Mustang 2 and heard the Core 40 being played. No contest. It billed as an entry level amp fo practice. I hear a lot of moaning out there bout the lack of volume, etc. This Is a 200 dollar amp with amazing effects an software. What do people expect? I have performed with mine. It's simple. Mike it!

  • Steve
    from Glenwood, IA August 11, 2014Music Background:


    Big things do come in small packages! Awesome little amp for the money and just WOW AMAZING!!

  • Bryan Harvey
    from Pocono March 13, 2016


    This amp completely took me by surprise. For a modeling amp it's great. The tone is excellent - clean to dirt!

    Take the time to dial it in and you'll have a great practice amp.

  • Robert
    from Michigan May 30, 2014Music Background:
    Musician / Music Enthusiast

    Hybrid - Software UI and Limited Top Panel Controls

    This is a good sounding solid-state digital modeling amp. The only other amps which I think sound this spacious with clean tube amp emulation are the analog Hughs & Kettner Edition Blue, digital Fender Mustang IV V.2 2x12 Stereo, analog Frontman 2x12 (BF model), and Behringer LX-210 Digital Stereo Modeling amps. Only the Mustang is easy to come by as a new product, and it is three times the price, heavy, but is more than adequate for gigging with 2x12 speakers and plenty of volume.

    I definitely needed the free software, INSIDER, to tweak EQ and amp settings for BF Twin clean jazz tones. The amp didn't come with a USB cable, but I was fortunate to have a spare cable the day the amp arrived.

    Out of the box, the amp did really well without the software for strat and tele tones. I still used the software to tweak the amp models a bit.

    Placement of the amp matters. It sounds good when you are sitting right in front of the amp or a bit to one side, tweaking the controls. It sounds fantastic when placed on the floor against the middle of a wall. The wide-spacial stereo image and bass response is exceptional when the amp is placed properly. I found several placements that impeded the acoustic image, but the best placements allowed the player/listener to be anywhere in the room.

    For clean tones, this amp will have volume/distortion limitations given the smallish speakers. I would consider it a practice and home recording amp rather than a gigging amp. And it is exceptional for this purpose, if you have the patience to use the relatively new software to optimize your tone and amp models. Not everyone is ready for software deep editing, however.

    Also, the current software/firmware apparently does not allow using one amp model (voice) for the other five preset voices. The voices seem to essentially be hard coded/wired to amp models. I would like to see this change, so that I could save the "bright clean" voice on the other five presets.

    Using the input for CD audio, the system sounded reasonable, but not as clean or high-fidelity as a home music system, PA, or acoustic guitar amp. It would be interesting to see this concept integrated into a multi-purpose electric, acoustic, and vocal amp.

    For someone needing a portable practice amp or who has limited space, this amp should be on the audition shortlist.

  • Bill
    from South East Wisconsin July 12, 2016Music Background:
    Older player

    Liked it at first....

    In the store, and when I first brought it home, I really liked this little thing, but lately... I don't know. It always seems to leave me wanting more. I miss a real live Bass/Treble control. The ISF just doesn't have the tonal variation, and yes, I know, you can change it in the software... but come on.... do you want to play guitar, or a computer keyboard. I think the speakers leave a lot (a WHOLE lot) to be desired. I think they should have gone with an actual musical instrument speaker instead of a full range speaker, which is basically a stereo speaker. To me the sound is tinny and compressed, and I think I know why. The cabinet on this thing is compressed paper. It's not plywood, or Masonite... it's paper. The handle is embarrassing. I think I threw mine away. Recently I took a good look at mine and I think I am either going to cut the cabinet up and make it into a head with speaker outputs (switchable to mono) and front facing controls, or trade it for a head, or maybe something else. Oh yeah... I can't get the thing to interface with Audacity....so the ease of recording which they brag about so much just ain't happening here.

  • Neil kraft
    from Ohio November 2, 2014Music Background:

    Great bedroom/studio amp

    Solid state amp that sounds tubish. Not loud enough for the stage, but enough volume for a living room jam, as long as your drummer uses brushes.the tones in this amp are NOT wide range or even various. Where this amp shines is how it handles Gain and Distortion. Both can be dialed in to suite your taste, however this amp lacks low end and the ability to equalize any spectrum of frequencies. It has its own tone and either you like it or you don't. It has a noise gate, Yeah!!!! The reverb and delay settings are well spaced within the stereo setup and the chorus is very glassy and spacious.
    I didn't give 5 stars because I do not like how the power supply plugs into to the back ( it needs to be recessed, I fear it will break off). I do not like the strap handle (cheap), and where oh where do you get a footswitch for this? Also... I don't own a computer in able to do the software. I have an iPad, guess I will miss out on the extras. Compared to other coffe table amps this amp is priced right and sounds good.

    from MILFORD, NH June 2, 2014Music Background:
    Aging rockstar

    Not too bad

    Well, I went into this knowing that I was only paying $200. So I'm not totally bummed out. I guess my biggest complaint is the signal to noise ratio. For as long as solid state has been around (like for over 50 years) one would think that an audio engineer would have figured out by now how to get the hiss out of an amp; even a cheap one! As soon as I turn it on; with volume & gain on zero, guitar not even plugged in, I get that ever annoying hisssssssssss. Keeping in mind that this amp is lauded as a bedroom amp. My Fender Hot Rod DeVille hisses less, and it's a 60W tube amp. I can understand some hiss from a larger venue amp. That noise gets lost on stage, but siting on the lounge chair in the office, you can't get away from the hiss.

  • Customer
    from October 8, 2014

    great for beginners

    great classic rock sounds, cleans and metal type sounds are too digital. great starter amp and does have good potential as being used with headphones for quiet practice.

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