Gimmicky multifunctional products are usually found on late-night infomercials or demoed by a polished carnie at the state fair. And, alas, they most often fall short. Not so with Blackstar Amplification’s ID:Core BEAM. This sharp little 20-watt 2x3 combo has a little something-something for everyone and doesn’t disappoint.
The ID:Core BEAM has 12 voicings governed by the far-left dial, including two for bass and two for acoustic. The voicings for electric guitar go from clean and warm to a respectively wicked overdrive setting. The right side of the control panel houses the bevy of available effects including a range of tweakable modulations, reverbs, and delays. The ID:Core BEAM goes beyond just another modeling practice amp with its USB connectivity for use as an interface, and Bluetooth functionality to wirelessly stream music.
I gave the ID:Core BEAM a spin with acoustic, electric, and bass guitars, and the amp mustered up an impressive amount of volume. It’s an ideal desktop amp for what it is, but one could certainly manage a small-gig setting or house jam. The acoustic 2 voice projected warm and woody tones from my bridgeplate pickup-equipped dread, while the two bass voicings were more than adequate for practicing with a P. I’m primarily a bassist, but I couldn’t help but have fun working through the surprisingly excellent onboard guitar effects with a vintage Epi. Dialing in different flavors ranging from tape delay to chorus to spring reverb was right there at my fingertips, and when done playing, I had a nice-sounding desktop stereo to wirelessly stream Katy Perry (for my daughter btw).
Test gear: 2001 Fender Precision, 1974 Washburn dreadnought, 1974 Epiphone Crestwood