Blackstar St. James 50W EL34 Combo Guitar Amplifier
The Blackstar St. James 50W EL34 Combo Amp is a lightweight 50 Watt combo amp with EL34 power amp valves featuring Power Reduction Switch, Cab Rig advanced DSP cabinet simulator with USB output, and 12-in custom lightweight Celestion G12Z-70 "Zephyr" 16 Ohms speaker. It was developed after months of forensic examination of vintage valve amps, the St. James series offers valve amplifiers that are truly lightweight and portable. These amps are simple to use but highly versatile; the intuitive two-channel set-up delivers Blackstars' best cleans and overdrives. Exciting new features include the Cab Rig simulator technology that reproduces the sound and feel of a mic’d up guitar cab in incredible detail, power reduction to 5 watts, or "Sag" setting which recreates a softer vintage response, reactive load allows you to use the valve amps without a speaker connected, mimicking the response of a typical speaker for authentic power-amp tones at home or in the studio, and all while being half the weight of a traditional valve amp. The EL34 combo amp comes in fawn tolex with grey fret cloth.
ST. JAMES DESIGN PHILOSOPHY
Blackstar had two main goals in designing the St. James amplifiers. First, to produce a range of heads and combos that were the lightest available while still retaining the essential elements of traditional valve (tube) amps; specifically using valves in the preamp and the power amp as well as keeping the loose-coupling effect of a real output transformer. Lightweight valve amps with no compromise in tone or performance are something guitarists have been requesting for decades and this was at the forefront of the R&D design process, ensuring St. James is the lightest valve amp in the world.
Secondly, to include everything within one box to enable the output of authentic ‘miked-cabinet-of-a-hard-driven-valve-amp-in-a-room’ sounds, direct to stage box or recording device. This has been achieved by using the full signal path of the amp (including power valves) to drive into a genuine reactive load, which is then passed through a proprietary state-of-the-art DSP section to provide almost limitless variations of cabinet/speaker/microphone/room emulations.
As has been the design philosophy of Blackstar from the beginning, these products have been designed by referencing the sounds of traditional and modern valve guitar amps, but Blackstar is not enslaved by old dogmas about the actual components and topologies used. Blackstar applies uncompromising care and attention to every sonic and electrical detail to get the sound and performance that Blackstar wants and modern players expect.
THE ST. JAMES SERIES IN DETAIL
The St. James heads and combos are highly versatile amplifiers suited to a wide range of playing styles and situations. The St. James series is perfect for gigging guitar players looking for a great sounding valve amp that is easy to bring to shows as well as guitar players looking for a pro-quality lightweight amp for playing live and recording.
The valve/tube gain structure and voicing of Channel I have been inspired by classic American amplifiers of the mid-’60s (Fender ‘black-face’). It is very clean and bright but with a solid low-end and controlled mids. Also, on this channel, the valve/tube power stage is set to be tight and relatively clean, and linear across the frequency range. This is one of the most popular choices for a ‘pedal platform’ as it provides a solid clean foundation to apply effects.
The EL34 models use a ‘classic’ valve/tube preamp topology for Channel II which is based on a much loved British ‘class A’ amplifier of the early ’60s (Vox AC-30 Top Boost). This is low to a medium gain preamp that can be used clean, warm, or mildly overdriven. Again, this is a very popular choice for a ‘pedal platform’ as well as for a great responsive crunch tone. When this channel is selected the valve/tube power stage is set as ‘open-loop’. This has a looser feel with a resonant bottom end and lively highs. The foot-switchable BOOST setting pushes the valve preamp harder with a +10 dB clean boost, to take it from chimney to creamy and beyond.
LISTENING AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH
At Blackstar, we do not accept a ‘Black Art’ approach to the design of guitar amplifiers. We believe it is imperative to have a thorough understanding of what makes traditional guitar amplifiers sound the way they do; especially if we are to improve the performance of those designs and offer players something new and exciting. That is why we place such great importance on technical research and the innovation that this research generates. Making Blackstar amplifiers the ultimate tools for guitarists’ self-expression is as important to us as technical excellence. Therefore, all Blackstar products are sonically developed, or ‘voiced’ during literally hundreds of hours of critical listening by experienced guitarists of various styles. It is this blend of technical knowledge and understanding of the needs of guitarists that make the Blackstar design process so special. The St. James amplifiers are the cumulation of many years of developing both these and their predecessor products.
All the models in this range include the new and exclusive state-of-the-art Cab Rig software. Connecting via USB to a computer enables the user to alter and fine-tune many elements of the built-in DSP based presets for speaker/cabinet/microphone/room emulation
USB AUDIO SOCKET
This is for USB digital audio output and for connecting to the CAB RIG software app. Again, the signal for the digital audio will be derived from the actual speaker output via the CAB RIG technology; providing a high-quality authentic miked cab response. The actual sound is dependent on the CAB RIG switch setting and the more in-depth settings within the CAB RIG software app. For USB audio, standard audio drivers are used to connect the amplifier to a PC, Mac, or other applicable recording devices. No specific drivers are required.
- Custom lightweight speaker: Celestion G12Z-70 ‘Zephyr’ - 16 Ohms
- Reactive load that allows you to use the valve amps without a speaker connected, mimicking the response of a typical speaker for authentic power-amp tones at home or in the studio
- Custom designed lightweight Switched-Mode Power Supply (SMPS) and output transformer
- Lightweight Candlenut cabinet less than half the weight of a traditional valve amp
- Two foot-switchable preamp channels
- Channel 1 based on Fender ‘black-face’
- Channel 2 based on Vox AC-30 Top Boost
- Footswitchable BOOST
- Electronically independent 3-band EQ specifically voiced for each channel
- Digital Reverb
- 3 mode POWER switch – 50 W, SAG, 2 W
- Effects loop with level switch for +4 dBv/-10 dBv
- Built-in Reactive load for ‘silent’ recording use
- CAB RIG control of emulations for Headphone and balanced XLR output
- Power (RMS): 50 W
- Valves: 2x ECC83, 2x EL34
- Weight: 28 lb
- Footswitch: FS-19 included
- Speaker output options 2x 8 Ohm and 1x 16 Ohm
|Package Contents||St. James combo amp and FS-19 footswitch|
|Unit Weight||28.2 lb|
|Input Connectors||1/4-inch TS|
|Amp Wattage||50 W|
|Impedance||8 or 16 Ohms (selectable)|
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