New Blackstar "Dept.10" tube pedals line

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by Emperoff, Oct 13, 2021.

  1. Emperoff

    Emperoff Not using 5150s Contributor

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    I know Blackstar doesn't get much love around here, but these were just announced and I found them super interesting. Looks like they revamped their "HT" line with plenty of modern features. If their claims are to be believed, they all run at 250V plate voltage (They only require 9V and 500mA, which makes me skeptical about it, though).

    https://blackstaramps.com/dept10/

    [​IMG]


    Dept.10 Boost

    [​IMG]

    Dept.10 Dual Drive and Dept-10 Dual Distortion

    [​IMG]

    The boost is quite straightforward. The other two have plenty of bells & whistles like cabinet simulation (Similar to Two Notes interface), direct USB recording, XLR out and remote switching. They really thought about almost everything... I mean, no remote switching? WTF?.

    [​IMG]

    I assume they will use SMD construction, but man I've wanted a tube boost for ages (no, I don't want to pay 500€ for a Kingsley Page).

    And finally some videos:




    I'm very intrigued to see these into the wild. They tick a truckload of boxes and if they sound good they will sell like hotcakes. They're priced similar to the competition but offer so much more. The design is also pretty darn cool, and kinda reminds me of the SPL Iron mastering compressor.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
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  2. IwantTacos

    IwantTacos SS.org Regular

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    “Tube”
     
  3. wheresthefbomb

    wheresthefbomb SS.org Regular

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    I have always sort of had the impression that tubes in pedals are just fancy christmas lights. Is a higher plate voltage all that really matters, and are they really getting 200V+ inside those? Would love to hear from someone who knows more than me.
     
  4. Emperoff

    Emperoff Not using 5150s Contributor

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    Boost video courtesy of @Guitarjon



    I wonder if he could entertain us with some gut shots to see what's under the hood? :yum:
     
  5. IwantTacos

    IwantTacos SS.org Regular

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    since the current load is so low for a tube pedal getting the proper high voltage is really easy.

    12vac reverse run into a small power transformer will put out 180 vac and then rectified.

    This pedal uses 9vdc which i've never seen before except in starved plate designs.

    the could be using a newer switchmode power supply to get the proper voltage. But most switchmodes also need vac in.

    So I dunno. Figuring out blackstar's bullshit is its own game.
     
  6. Emperoff

    Emperoff Not using 5150s Contributor

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    Yup. That's what has me intrigued. I'm certainly not an electronics engineer, but these seem to sit in a weird middle road.

    Take for example Victory V4 Preamps. Those at rated at 12Vdc @800mA, but they come with a 2A power supply since the initial current draw as the heaters warm up can be up to 2,4A running current (and could easily blow a smaller power supply), so the 800mA is an average under regular conditions. AMT SS-11 preamps are rated at 12V 600mA, but they also use a 1,25mA power supply for the very same reason.

    These ones are rated at 500mA, but come with a 500mA power supply, meaning that's their maximum current draw. And I dare to say the digital side of them (cabinet simulation) draws a fair bit of it.

    Now the fun stuff. Their older HT Dual series ran at 22V @ 1,1A. That's some serious juice that has been lost in the way with these. I'm betting they are heavily targetting the "flyrig" audience by making the pedals power-supply friendly (which tube pedals never are).

    I really want the boost to be good, but I'll probably wait until TGP nerds dissect these before jumping in.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
  7. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    Could a charge pump be used to make up for the lower voltages? My Hudson Broadcast clone uses this to go from 9V -> 27V and it definitely makes a huge difference in headroom.

    In any case these Blackstar pedals seem like they can't decide if they are amp sims pedals or overdrives. I'm always wary of tube based pedals because there have been so many starved voltage ones on the market. Blackstar claims that they are "running at more than 200V internally" and they sound pretty decent in demos but so far haven't heard anything that made me take out my wallet. Blackstar has never made a product that has really wowed me.

    I'm also not convinced of the superiority of tube based pedals in the first place. A lot of solid-state pedals are very good these days. I have the afore-mentioned Broadcast clone and a clone of the Browne Protein which consists of a modded Nobels ODR-1 and modded Marshall Bluesbreaker. Both sound good going straight into the clean channels of my amps or boosting my amps, talking more about blues and classic rock tones here rather than metal to be clear. I don't feel the pedals sound worse than the all tube preamp gain, just different. If I didn't have amps that can go to anything from a fair amount to tons of gain plus attenuators for powertube distortion, I would not mind having to get all my overdrive from the pedals.
     
  8. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    Here's a video where you can see some guts too:

     
  9. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    Why does a boost pedal need a tube? That one has 3 knobs? Looks like maybe level and 2-band eq? Why does that need a tube? "Real Valve Tone", "organic tone, dynamics and break up". Hm?? Not convinced.

    I think pedals have gotten way out of hand a long time ago already. Do we really need all this different shit that barely does anything different at all?
     
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  10. Emperoff

    Emperoff Not using 5150s Contributor

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    Eeewww... SMD as presumed. But it was to be expected I guess.


    Although I agree with you on pedals getting out of hand, there are virtually no tube pedals running at proper tube voltage in the market (mainly Kingsley and Effectrode), less so at affordable prices. They indeed are something different than the 2000 tubescreamer clones we see every month. The larger ones are packed with features, and if their claims are true, they offer a full package that most of the competition don't.

    So yeah, this shit does a lot of different stuff that what's already out there. I understand you might no have any interest in tube pedals, but I do. I can guarantee you there's a market for them. If you need them or not for your music or gear preferences, that's a different thing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
  11. CanserDYI

    CanserDYI Beauty can't be seen through the eyes

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    Department 10? Line 6? Seems like they're doing the old Blink 182 Sum 41 thing....

    /Joke over.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
  12. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    Would this be cool in an SS amps Fx loop set to Unity gain to add some tube'y goodness?
     
  13. wheresthefbomb

    wheresthefbomb SS.org Regular

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    This is my entire experience of Blackstar, tbh. I had an HT60 combo for a little while and I couldn't ditch it fast enough. Too many knobs, channels, and options that all sounded generic and yawn-worthy. Felt really cheap compared to other amps I've owned in that price range. Literally its only saving grace was that I traded it for a MMHD130, a vastly superior amp.

    This pedal looks like more of that. Call me a luddite, but I don't believe in shit that tries to do too many things at once. Instant pot, coffee maker toaster oven, AXEFX, most combo pedals, hell even a tuner/metronome is pushing it (ha ha).

    Dirt pedal, USB interface, cab sim, etc etc. In my experience these kinds of things tend to end up being a mediocre version of all of their features, and then something breaks.

    :sponge:
     
  14. Emperoff

    Emperoff Not using 5150s Contributor

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    This is why I'm wary of SMD spaceships. You're pretty much fucked if they break.
     
  15. wakjob

    wakjob SS.org Regular

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    Color me interested... I really liked my HT DistX.

    Park it next to any other distortion box, and there's a marked difference in fullness and "realness" ... if that's a thing.
    Pretty much the HT pedals make other dirt boxes sound like "boxes".
     
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  16. gunch

    gunch Riff Chugman

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    I asked a similar question about the EHX TubeQ and didn't get any conclusive answers except for one dude in youtube comments who said it made crates/ampegs sound godly.

    These days it's just like, man why don't you just lean into the "cold and buzzy" SS sound and make the best of it :shrug:
     
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  17. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    Aahaha

    We are going to have to be the ones to take the plunge and see :lol:
     
  18. sakeido

    sakeido Contributor

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    Could be sick. My Blackstar HT Dual sounded killer, obviously a little flat compared to a real amp, but for the price I don't think you could do any better at the time. The HT mark 2s sound fantastic and are clearly the best amps at their price points but the internet hates em, oh well

    very handsome pedals if nothing else, like those cosmetics a lot
     
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