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The First ID:Core Was A Roaring Success, We Expect Good Things


It's no surprise that the original ID:Core 20w was such a success. The package was nigh-on perfect: small in size, big on tone, portable, well priced and packed full of features. A second generation model was inevitable, offering evolution rather than revolution and keeping the winning formula intact whilst making subtle improvements all-round. In that regard Blackstar have achieved their goal, and the ID:Core remains the amp to beat in its section of the market.



Blackstar seem keen to stress that this is the new model, and have emblazoned the little amp with stickers, as you'd struggle to find any visual differences from the original model. All the knobs, buttons, lights and sockets have been carried over from the V1, and why not; the interface was and still is highly user-friendly and intuitive. The quality remains high too; everything feels tough and robust (although the tempo-tap button is best used with a degree of care if you want it to last as long as the rest!). The weight is very simiilar so the portability remains, as does the carry strap that attaches to the sides. Take it anywhere you go!



Turn it on and you'll find the same features present on the V1, only this time everything feels and sounds ramped up a notch. The 6 voice settings remain, Clean Warm through to Overdrive 2, and give you plenty to start with. There are no noticiable differences in the clean sounds but dial up the Crunch and Overdrive settings and the tone sounds bigger than ever. There is a richer quality this time and the amp handles the volume more cleanly, and while the general volume itself on first listen is no louder than the V1 the way the tone remains crisp throughout is a noticable improvement.



The ID:Core series's biggest plus point is the wealth of effects they pack into the amp and as with the V1 this model carries the Modulation/Reverb/Delay settings. Each is split into 4 sections selected with a 'type' knob and varied with a 'level' knob. Using the buttons provided enables you to select which effect you want, and using the knobs you decide which effect of the selected type and how much you'd like it in the mix. Mulitiple types can be selected together too, so huge and varied tones are possible. It's really simple to use, and in no time you'll be arming your sound with a little reverb and tremelo with a spot of delay on top. Speaking of delay, the 3D Digital Delay returns and sounds better than ever. For those who aren't familiar with this setting I recommend you try this amp out for that effect alone. The effect produces a wide and deep delay tone that sounds like it's coming from all angles, and it sounds incredible! The other effects remain decent and varied, the integration into the standard tone remains excellent and without unwanted distortion. For the practice perfectionistas MP3 connectivity allows you to jam along with your favourite tunes and the socket doubles up as a Line In so you can hear said tunes through the amp in great clarity. The headphone socket remains as standard and also provides an emulated Line Out. The amp is footswitch compatible, although unfortunatey (but not surprisingly) it is a seperate option.



So the amp for everyone remains exactly that, offering huge tonal variety and the means to use it. Greater emphasis on the sound quality has improved the amp and partnered with what was already a terrific interface it has made the ID:Core 20w V2 the best in its section of the market. The improvements are subtle and the £10 price increase over the previous model covers it perfectly so the V2 remains a real bargain, offering a package of sound and effects that would cost many hundreds when bought seperately. This is the ideal practice amp, and for those who feel the need to transfer it's sound to the bigger stage there is also a 100w version too...

Blackstar ID:Core 20w V2 RRP - £129.00


Build 4 Star
Look 4 Star
Tone 4 Star
Features 5 Star
Value 5 Star
Our Score 4 Star


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Published 4th April 2017