Experience The World's Lightest 50 Watt Valve Amp - The Blackstar St. James 50-Watt 6L6 Tube Guitar Amplifier Head
Answering calls from guitarists everywhere for a valve amplifier that is truly lightweight and portable, Blackstar delivers the most advanced, innovative and best-sounding 50 Watt valve amps in the world. Available in a higher gain 6L6 design these amps are simple to use, but highly versatile. Developed after months of forensic examination of vintage valve amps, the intuitive two channel set-up delivers their best ever cleans and overdrives without compromise.
- Reactive load allows you to use the valve amps without a speaker connected, mimicing the response of a typical speaker for authentic power amp tones at home or in the studio
- The new Cab Rig simulator technology 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
- Super lightweight amps, half the weight of a traditional valve amp
When it comes to tone and that all-important "feel" factor, great valve amps rightfully remain the "gold standard". The trouble is that great ones capable of delivering 50 Watts or more are all back-breakingly heavy. Until now… enter Blackstar’s brand-new St. James Series - the lightest 50 Watt valve guitar amps on earth.
The pivotal design goal was simple yet bold - to build the world’s lightest valve amps without compromising tone, feel or performance. To this end, sturdy, lightweight cabinets were crafted from acoustically-pleasing candlenut wood; and the amp chassis was also successfully lightened without loss of strength. A good start, but there's still a vitally important component to deal with - namely the mains transformer….
The St. James range use highly efficient, lightweight power transformers designed around modern SMPS (Switched-Mode Power Supply) technology. 36 months of intense R&D have delivered all the benefits of SMPS, namely lightweight and universal voltage compatibility, whilst retaining the sound and feel of a traditional iron-core transformer. Not surprisingly, the resulting revolutionary transformer technology is patent pending.
In addition, the output transformer has been optimized for size and weight, whilst retaining Blackstar’s world leading reliability and sonic standards. According to Blackstar's Chief Engineer, Paul Stevens, this was achieved "by employing specific interleaving of the transformer’s windings, careful choice of lamination material, and other geometric considerations".
Obviously, in the case of combos and extension cabinets, the weight of speakers comes into play too. By working closely with Celestion, the proprietary, lightweight, 70 Watt, 12" Zephyr speaker was born. The Zephyr accurately emulates the rich sound and performance of Celestion's iconic "Vintage 30" speaker at a fraction of the weight - and this has been achieved with a traditional ferrite magnet not a neodymium one.
By deft control of the power valve supply voltages, the 2 Watt output setting allows you to overdrive the power amp at a significantly lower output volume without altering the sound and feel of the amp one iota. It also does so without running the amp "hot" like a "power soak" device would - a feature that obviously optimizes both valve life and reliability.
All four St. James amps boast Blackstar’s game-changing Cab Rig software and a built-in reactive load which together deliver unparalleled recording realism.
Cab Rig is a next-generation DSP speaker simulator system producing the tone and feel of a mic'd up guitar cabinet driven by a valve amp with remarkable accuracy. Cab Rig's advanced algorithms simulate a speaker, cabinet, microphone and room in incredibly high detail - with none of the unwanted latency and phase issues associated with some Impulse Responses. The free Cab Rig software enables you to mix, match and "tweak" an impressive library of cabinets, mics and rooms.
St. James amp boast three outputs (XLR, Stereo Line Out and USB) that route the valve power output signal into an internal reactive load which in turn drives Cab Rig. Furthermore, this can also be done when the amp is in Standby Mode - making it ideal for both recording and silent stages too.
To further enhance the versatility for both stage or studio, the SAG setting on the St. James Power Switch gives notes a very satisfying, dynamic power-amp compression, which is most noticeable when the strings are picked hard - another nod to those much sought-after vintage amps of yesteryear.
Hundreds of hours of critical listening against the most revered amplifier references mean Blackstar have raised the sonic benchmark again. When guitarists experience St. James for the first time they are simply blown away by the tone!
The St. James 6L6 has the same clean headroom as its EL34 counterpart, but is coupled with Blackstar's highest gain Overdrive circuit to date.
Channel I is inspired by those clean, dynamic American amps of the mid '60s. St. James brings these circuits right up-to-date, producing a whole new level of clean headroom and dynamic compression to deliver inspired musical-mids and tight-lows. This channel is a perfect "pedal platform".
Channel II of the 6L6 powered head and combo is an absolute gain machine. In standard mode, the amp has a gloriously British, “punch in the chest” roar. However, with the Voice switch activated, the saturation gets cranked "to 11" and the power-stage damping is reduced for a girthy, modern-sounding, high-gain, low-end chug.
- Power: 50W
- Valves: 2 x ECC83, 2 x 6L6
- Channels: 2
- Voice/Boost: Boost
- EQ: Bass, Middle, Treble,
- Power Reduction: 50W, Sag, 2W
- Reverb: Y
- Built-In Reactive Load: Y
- Cab Rig DSP: Y
- USB Audio: Y
- XLR Cab Rig Output: Y
- Series Effects Loop: Y (with level switch)
- Footswitchable: Y (Included 2-way footswitch)
- Tolex: Black
- Fret: 'Silver Birch'
- Voltage: 90V to 264V 50/60Hz
- Weight (kg): 6.7
- Dimensions (mm): 402 x 222 x 214
Manufacturer: Blackstar Amplification
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