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Blackstar Elite 700


Wombat
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Broadly speaking, there don’t appear to be many Blackstar bass amp reviews. I have seen a few online but they have tended to be retailer demonstrations rather than impartial reviews. On paper this head looks good and the price is tempting but no-one seems to be talking about them (and equally, no-one is out there pointing out any flaws or failings). Perhaps I have been looking in the wrong places.

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Just now, Wombat said:

But no one seems to be using them?

Just my wild guess, potentially so much at that same price point which bassists already know, TE, TC, Warwick, GK, MB, Ashdown. etc. Tough Market to crack if it's your first foray into bass amps.

 

 

 

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Ive got one its great. Theres a unity combo in a rehearsal room that ive used and I was impressed with that and I needed a head so I compared it to the Fender Rumble and I much preferred the blackstar. Get some nice tones. No blasted mute switch which is a pain but otherwise ok. Sounds nice and full.

 

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I’ve not used a Blackstar bass amp but have heard other bassists use them. They sponsored a gig and provided full backline for guitar & bass. Strangely given that they’re primarily a guitar amp company I wasn’t that impressed with the guitar sounds (from guys who usually use Marshall’s) but the bassists all sounded really good. The gear provided was a combo and extension speaker so think it was the Unity.

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Previously as a guitarist I tried the all valve ( hybrid ?? ) valve heads and there was something lacking compared to a Marshall DSL 100 head. 
 I wasn’t tempted by the bass amps but did consider them before getting Ashdown 

They do tend to have many choices in their range but as someone said breaking into a crowded bass market is really tough 

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1 hour ago, bumnote said:

Ive got one its great. Theres a unity combo in a rehearsal room that ive used and I was impressed with that and I needed a head so I compared it to the Fender Rumble and I much preferred the blackstar. Get some nice tones. No blasted mute switch which is a pain but otherwise ok. Sounds nice and full.

 

Thank, yes you have to get the ‘add on’ footswitch to get the mute button. I think it  would wind me up if I didn’t get it!

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The CEO of Blackstar is Paul Stevens who was the CEO at Trace Elliot. He left for Blackstar as he felt that the US owned TE company were not committed to enhancing the TE brand. When I spoke to him he was adamant that Blackstar would be building amps for Bass Players.

Maybe this is their first model into the fray.

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Their amps are good. Very good, in fact. But the only way to break into that market is to land some high-profile endorsers.

To get that, they'll need something a bit more substantial than some combos and a Class D head - they need big, solid, tour-ready gear that plays on the same level as their guitar stuff. Or at least one big, traditional "halo" bass amp. 

Trace and Ashdown's reputations were built on the SM and Bass Magnifier series, but that hasn't stopped them selling a load of Elves and Rootmasters. 

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2 hours ago, Russ said:

T

To get that, they'll need something a bit more substantial than some combos and a Class D head - they need big, solid, tour-ready gear that plays on the same level as their guitar stuff. Or at least one big, traditional "halo" bass amp. 

 

Im not sure if it is a class d head. I dont recall seing anything in the blurb. I could  easily be wrong

 

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20 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

Good point Russ, they’re heading in the right direction by sponsoring gigs etc but yes, some proper tour gear would help them big time. 

Yep. They need gear that will survive being repeatedly manhandled and thrown into the back of trucks. A big, powerful Class A or valve head that's either rackmountable or that comes in a strong wooden case, would be a great halo product.

Class D heads, particularly more recently, sound great and offer a lot of bang for the buck (my go-to head is a Mesa Subway WD-800), but they're light, relatively fragile and not necessarily built to be thrown around by roadies. 

Blackstar - if you're reading this, I'm happy to throw my hat in the ring as an endorser... :D

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I’ve got the U500 2x10 combo. I’ve only used it once or twice in the studio. It seemed excellent to me with some very useful tone shaping via the different voicings (which alter the range and centres of the EQ) and mixed with the different power section emulations I was able to set it up to sound great with the basses I was using at the time (the Ken Smith now owned by Scott Devine and a P bass I still have, which are at opposite ends of the tonal spectrum)

One thing I was especially pleased with was the compressor which seemed to work very well, allowing a ‘bass straight into amp’ job when necessary. 

The whole thing is a manageable single person lift over short distances but not super light. Build quality seems great although the mini switches might be a worry for some. Speaking of which I completely forgot to try the drive/chorus/octaver effects

Saying that I don’t have a vast experience with amps but the last thing I used before this was a Mesa 400+ and it didn’t feel like a step backwards!

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