Roland vs Blackstar

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Roger
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Roland vs Blackstar

Postby Roger » Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:26 pm

There I was thinking about buying myself the Roland Microcube GX after Xmas :D Seems to tick ALL the boxes, so just a question of going to my local store to try it out and then buy it. However,someone mentioned that Blackstar now do a small amp with similar features, the ID:Core Stereo 10. I'm still inclined to buy the Roland, particularly as it can be run off batteries, but will try both before buying. As always I would appreciate any thoughts from forum members.

Best to all and of course best wishes for 2015!

Roger
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Re: Roland vs Blackstar

Postby GORDON » Tue Dec 30, 2014 2:50 pm

For my money Roger....the BLACKSTAR.

Hope you're both OK.

G.

BRC
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Re: Roland vs Blackstar

Postby BRC » Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:17 pm

Roger

Having bought the original Roland MicroCube several years ago this post caught my attention.

I am reasonably pleased with the 'Cube' for what it offers and at the price I paid for it. It was only ever intended as a practice amp for use when not in my own home, as a means of simple amplification and portability. The battery operation is a particular attraction of the 'Cube' as it avoids having to have a trailing power cable in someone else's home environment (and of course an extra trip hazard avoided).

The rest of the 'Cube' I would say was adequate rather than outstanding, although if you use either of the two stack settings you can get a rather disproportionate loudness to size - if you want.

I know nothing about the 'Blackstar ID Core 10' other than what can be gleaned from the internet. A dearth of local music shops in my area means finding and trying one has not been possible. I have noticed that this is a mains only amp so full portability has that limiting factor. Not necessarily a 'downer', depending on what your intended use is - practice or main.

I would be interested, Gordon, if you have any further comment on what brings you to your conclusion. I don't have the slightest doubt on what you say, just a curiosity, particularly as I may consider moving on from my 'Cube'. I now have a good portable power unit which negates the trailing mains lead issue for me.

Kind regards

Brad

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Re: Roland vs Blackstar

Postby GORDON » Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:28 pm

BRC wrote:Roger

Having bought the original Roland MicroCube several years ago this post caught my attention.

I am reasonably pleased with the 'Cube' for what it offers and at the price I paid for it. It was only ever intended as a practice amp for use when not in my own home, as a means of simple amplification and portability. The battery operation is a particular attraction of the 'Cube' as it avoids having to have a trailing power cable in someone else's home environment (and of course an extra trip hazard avoided).

The rest of the 'Cube' I would say was adequate rather than outstanding, although if you use either of the two stack settings you can get a rather disproportionate loudness to size - if you want.

I know nothing about the 'Blackstar ID Core 10' other than what can be gleaned from the internet. A dearth of local music shops in my area means finding and trying one has not been possible. I have noticed that this is a mains only amp so full portability has that limiting factor. Not necessarily a 'downer', depending on what your intended use is - practice or main.

I would be interested, Gordon, if you have any further comment on what brings you to your conclusion. I don't have the slightest doubt on what you say, just a curiosity, particularly as I may consider moving on from my 'Cube'. I now have a good portable power unit which negates the trailing mains lead issue for me.

Kind regards

Brad
A very dear friend of mine helped build the company and he really knows a thing or two about amps.I have no particular reference across the board it was just a comment about one veres the other.There are some great amps out there.I on occasion use a Fishman loud box, which is a nice little amp.So you see the thread continues.

Be well my friend, happy new year and bless ya for your posting.

G.

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Re: Roland vs Blackstar

Postby Roger » Thu Jan 01, 2015 11:22 pm

Gordon,

After your brilliant advice about the superb Vintage travel guitar, which really is the ideal acoustic guitar for me, I'm leaning towards the Blackstar. Very good price (cheaper than the Roland), stereo, built-in effects like the Roland and software for any PC, not just Apple devices. Great reputation too. I guess the only downside is that it can't be powered by batteries. Fortunately for me Portsmouth Musicroom has both amps in stock and so I'll be checking them out when I get the chance.

Brad,

Thanks alot for your comments. I guess the attraction of the Roland amp for me is that it's battery powered and has built-in effects, meaning that in a few seconds you can be strumming away - particularly good if time is limited. Although we have a music room at home, it also houses my partner's digital piano, a sofa bed and our book collection so having a guitar/pedal (Zoom G2)/amp (Kustom KGA10) system permanently set up isn't really an option. I need to look at how important to me the software is too - something I've never had to think about before. Ultimately the amp sound will decide, particularly if it makes me sound better :D , but at around £100 they probably both offer great value and I think both have tuners.

Thanks both and a Happy New Year to you,

Roger
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Bob Wilson
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Re: Roland vs Blackstar

Postby Bob Wilson » Fri Jan 02, 2015 12:02 am

Happy new year!
Hi Roger
I have a Roland micro cube which is 4w and a new Blackstar 10w stereo which I had for Xmas :-))) The Cube I use for teaching as the batteries last ages and as well as effects it has a lot of different amps which is good for both electric and acoustic. The Blackstar 10w stereo has some good features and, as you say, has a forum for different sounds to be shared. It has a nice sound, especially for electric and is a nice amp. Both are well worth their money so it will be down to what you are going to use it for. If it is home use and you don't need the volume to be too high then the Microcube has everything plus an acoustic amp setting. The Blackstar is not quite as versatile for sound but the sound it has is excellent. If you get to try both use the setting for electric and acoustic on both amps Warm setting for acoustic and OD1 setting for electric on Blackstar and Acoustic setting for acoustic and Rectifier for electric on the Microcube. If you need the computer stuff the Blackstar covers you but both allow mp3 to be played as backing. My Microcube is smaller than the Blackstar so easy to take out for teaching.
I've got to play about to find out how the Blackstar goes with recording but on the positive side they are both great amps so you'll not be disappointed whatever you do.
Good luck with it and enjoy checking them both out and I hope this helps a little
Bob
:)
PS. I have sent you some links to show my Microcube but I have not put anything up with the Blackstar yet as I'm still getting to grips
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Roger
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Re: Roland vs Blackstar

Postby Roger » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:07 pm

Bob,

As always many thanks for your advice and comments. Should have a lot of fun trying these amps out :D

Best to you and the family,

Roger
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BRC
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Re: Roland vs Blackstar

Postby BRC » Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:08 pm

At last I have found a shop within my area that stocks the Blackstar ID Core 10 and duly went to try out.

Having plugged in a fairly basic EKO semi-acoustic guitar provided by the shop I had a 'fiddle' round and was very impressed with the tonal quality throughout the range of setting (excepting the overdrives - didn't try them). The output was clear and had a good deal of latitude within the settings - enough, I think, to suit most types of playing. The setting of delay and reverb were interesting and probably would merit further playing around with to test the possibilities.

Compared to the 'Cube' probably less in the way of effects, though I don't see that as a negative - just need to play round with the settings to tailor the sound to individual requirements.

The USB output provides a direct connection to the computer for use with a DAW for those wishing to try to emulate Gordon's style. I wouldn't even begin to head that way - I am content to be able to try sound variations.

A very definite complication in my being able to compare the Blackstar ID Core 10 against the 'Cube' was that the shop also had the ID Core 20. Now I am confused. I read some reviews on that and although most were 5 star a few gave much lower saying it wasn't as good as the 10. Besides it is £30 dearer. However .... I believe that the extra power gives a better sound even at approximately the same volume output.

Comparing the ID Core 10 and 20 I weighed up the cost of the footswitch - £49 for the FS-10 for the ID 10, with the FS-11 for the ID 20 at £24.99. This gives a difference in overall cost, if bought with the relevant footswitch, of £5.99 more for the ID20. I am not sure who I am convincing at the moment on this debate with myself, though consider the price difference so little as to put the ID20 well in to the frame.

If this was going to be a first buy practice, even light performance, amp then I would definitely choose the Blackstar ID Core 10 ... or 20. I already have a 'Cube' so the question is 'do I need the ID Core 10/20?'.

I am going to sleep on that one and make a decision tomorrow. Nonetheless, whatever I decide, thanks Roger and Gordon for bringing this to my attention and you comments so far.

Brad

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Roger
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Re: Roland vs Blackstar

Postby Roger » Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:16 pm

Brad,

Very interested by your comments about the Blackstar 10W! I've still to get to my local guitar shop, but I know they have it on offer at £79 (the Roland GX is £109).

I'm sure you'll make the right decision :D

Roger
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BRC
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Re: Roland vs Blackstar

Postby BRC » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:42 am

Roger, Gordon et al,

Following my post on 8th January 2015 (no I haven’t been asleep all the time since then) I did indeed make a decision ….… and bought the Blackstar ID Core 20.

Let me explain and correct some misinformation I introduced in that earlier posting. The misinformation first:
The ID Core 10 does not have provision for a footswitch. I picked the information up from one of the many vendor and review websites I looked at, before finding the local shop. My sincere apologies as I should have checked more thoroughly before making the comment.

Now, the explanation:
I went back to the shop and this time tried out the ID Core 10 and 20 using a cheap/medium priced solid body guitar, giving a full try through the various settings – luckily there were no other customers in the shop. As an aside, why do shops not use ‘Fast Fret’, or another such string cleaner, to keep the strings in good condition for demonstration purposes? I hate that feeling of being stuck to the strings when trying the simplest of slide up or down the strings and, in my opinion, a better way to get the best from demonstrating an instrument. That is a comment rather than a rant.

Back to the amps. After about half hour, or thereabouts, playing round with each and swapping backwards and forwards, I was ‘hooked’ and came to the conclusion that it was worth paying the extra £30 for the ID Core 20. There is nothing wrong with the ID Core 10, I just felt that the 20 gave more power to noise at the same volume level or just that much cleaner a sound at the same volume level. That might be something to consider for those who may like to ramp an amp up to near maximum, though not an issue for me.

The ‘wide stereo’ effect was quite amazing in the shop environment, which is much bigger than any rooms I have at home, however I was prepared for such compromise and decided to part with my cash. I say my cash but really it was money I received for my recent birthday (same age as Gordon for a few months) so no personal sacrifice needed to acquire the ID Core 20.

Having got the amp home, read the instructions, such as they are … pause here. Go online to the Blackstar website and download the manual for the amp and the ‘Insider’ software as they are much more detailed than the instruction sheet that comes with the amp. Play time started here and continued for ‘a few’ hours … how did I get that first combination of effects I started with ….. how could I achieve this effect … what if ….. and so on. I am sure most of you will know how quickly time passes when engrossed in things like this. I didn’t even notice it had gone dark outside.

The answer to my queries about keeping effect was answered by connecting the amp to the computer having first installed the ‘Insider’ software – mini USB to stand USB cable required (I already have several, so no problem). I am still playing around with that and stored only the one combination setting so far. Much more ‘play time' is needed, although everyday tasks and living seem to be getting in the way.

Why did I get this amp when I already have the Micro Cube, which can be operated from 6 AA batteries for quite a good number of hours, and ID Core 20 (and 10) are only mains operated? Well, many years ago, when I was still occasionally playing on stage and other performances, I bought a Marshall MG100DFX which suited my needs perfectly – not an amp to everyone’s taste. However as I don’t do such performances any more the amp has been sitting round doing very little and occupying space (that is a very polite way of putting what my wife said). The Micro Cube is fine within limitations – absolutely no criticism of it and I am keeping it. What I needed was something with the versatility of the Marshall but much smaller. There is, as always, the financial consideration and this meant that, until the ID Core 10/20 was brought to my attention, there was nothing suitable.

I am now satisfied that I can start looking to sell, to the right home, my Marshall MG100DFX, have more space in my ‘play room’ and have in the Blackstar ID Core 20 an amp that meets my playing expectations. The versatility available using the ‘Insider’ software will be explored extensively over the coming months though my age is the nearest that will compare to Gordon, definitely not my playing ability.

My sincere thanks to Roger, Gordon et al for your input on the forum that helped me to find the Blackstar ID Core 20 amp. It is the right price, the right size and the right facilities for my needs and I believe that once any others of you try one you will come to much the same conclusion.

Now to get back to ‘playtime’.

Kind regards

Brad

P.S. The ID Core 10/20 is suitable for playing an acoustic-electric guitar through, despite a comment I got in the shop to the contrary

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Roger
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Re: Roland vs Blackstar

Postby Roger » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:08 pm

Brad,

Glad to have been of help :D Makes a nice change, as it's usually me "picking the brains" of the forum gurus such as Bob, Russ and of course Gordon.

My visit to my local store will have to wait a little while, but I'll post when I've tried the amps out and spent some cash!

Enjoy your new Blackstar!

Roger
If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.

mel randall
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Re: Roland vs Blackstar

Postby mel randall » Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:38 pm

Brad

P.S. The ID Core 10/20 is suitable for playing an acoustic-electric guitar through, despite a comment I got in the shop to the contrary

Have you played electic acoustic guitar through this amp and if so what does the sound come out like. I am looking to buy a small amp similar to this one which can take both electric and acoustic types of guitar as well as a mandolin and still have a decent clean sound.
Mel

BRC
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Re: Roland vs Blackstar

Postby BRC » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:32 pm

Mel,

Yes, I have played all my electro-acoustics (including the baritone) through the ID Core 20 and the sound is what I would expect putting through my Marshall MG100DFX. The sound will, of course, depend on the volume, gain, tone and other settings used, however I am very satsified with the overall output. Extreme overdrive is something that is not so good, though that is something I would also apply to a solid body guitar, which is just down to my subjective taste, not the amp.

You have started me thinking as to whether an electro-acoustic ever sounds simply like an acoustic guitar .... but amplified. I suppose the strict answer is 'no'. I admit that when playing through an amp with an electro-acoustic I will add some reverb and maybe, for some pieces, a little delay, which changes the acoustic characteristics. Notwithstanding that I am satisfied (very) that the ID Core 10/20 gives a very good reprsentation of natural sound of an electro-acoustic.

I am really pleased that I stumbled on this thread started by Roger otherwise I may have ended up getting an amp that was more of a compromise than I would have desired? I don't think the Blackstar ID Core 10 or 20 is in any way a compromise.

The only real way to satsify your ears on this is to have a try of one at a retailers. If that is not possible then I don't think you will be taking too much of a risk if you are only able to buy online from one of the reputable firms.

mel randall
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Re: Roland vs Blackstar

Postby mel randall » Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:23 pm

Brad
After much deliberating between a Peavey and a Vox I have decided on the Blackstar 20w like you have and living where I do in the sticks, it is time consuming going to the centre of Glasgow or Edinburgh to music shops who may not have it in stock and not to mention finding somewhere to park, to try one on what would be different from the guitars I own. As you say it is not a fortune to pay if it isn,t right for me, and it is going to be a lot easier to move around than my ancient 50w combo which doesnt sound right playing an electric acoustic guitar through. I have decided on the 20w for an option for playing live in small venues or just the house. Hopefully it will arrive next monday
Mel

BRC
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Re: Roland vs Blackstar

Postby BRC » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:15 pm

Mel,

I don't think you will be disappointed, though these matters can end up being subjective and, at times, 'taste and fancy'. I suspect, like me, you have to choose carefully and don't wish to waste money on a mere whim. On that basis I think you will find you have made a good choice.

I haven't had, and won't have for some time, the opportunity to try out in a small/medium venue, however I would think this amp would cope admirably. I have made a very dangerous assumption that you will not be playing using any of the overdrive/crunch settings using acoustic electric - dangerous in the sense that Status Quo have gone acoustic (well, electro acoustic) on their last album.

It was sad to read of the passing of Keith Dudley from Blackstar, and don't know if that is who Gordon is referring to earlier in this topic. 46 is far to young an age to have a life end.

It seems strange how dropping in on a topic in the forum can lead you to equipment that you have never previously known about and end up as a valued piece of gear in your line-up. Time will tell how durable the ID Core 20 is, although there is no reason to expect it to have other than a long and enjoyable stay with me - the enjoyable part being mine.

Please keep us all informed of your experience with your amp when you get it, as I am sure there are many others who would also like to hear about the ID Core amps.

Kind regards
Brad


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