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Leon - Sat, November 06, 2021 - 08:00

Three Blackstar Tube Drives From the Dept. 10 Edition

The term Dept. 10 is used by Blackstar's eponymous development division to refer to its pedal lineup consisting of the Dept. 10 Boost, Dual Drive, and Dual Distortion models. The unifying element of the series is the integrated ECC83 preamp tube, operating at a surprisingly high voltage of 200 V, which contributes positively to the dynamics, projection, and sensitive response of these distortion pedals. The Dual versions also feature a Cab Rig D.I. circuit, emulating the sound of a cabinet, so the drives can be plugged directly into a soundcard or mixing board.

The Dept. 10 Boost is the ideal choice for boosting the input of an amplifier and achieving a higher portion of distortion or sustain. The Gain stage effect is wired in Class A and James-Baxandall EQ circuits have been used. In addition to increasing the output signal volume and equalizing it, the box also offers a built-in buffer/line driver, compensating for interference caused by long cables or more complicated pedalboard wiring.

The Dept. 10 Dual Drive and Dual Distortion differ in sound character and distortion level, of course, but the basic two-channel concept and controls are similar. Each channel with a separate footswitch has its own volume and gain potentiometers, common three-band EQs, and an ISF function for smooth character adjustment with British or American timbre.

The first channel of both distortion pedals features a Clean/Crunch lever switch, the second channel of the Dual Drive has a Crunch/Overdrive switch, while the high-gain Dual Distortion has a choice of OD1 and OD2 mods. Connectivity consists of a jack input and output, USB-B port, XLR line jack, effect loop sense/return and a stereo TRS loop output, dedicated, like the USB interface, for Cab Rig emulation.

The Cab Rig's patented technology delivers a next-generation advanced speaker simulator, driven by a DSP unit, delivering what the manufacturer says is the true-to-life sound of a guitar boxes in incredible detail. The Cab Rig can be edited via a USB recording port using the free Architect software, giving the user access to 250 microphone and cabinet combinations, including microphone type and axis selection.

There is a master equalizer for each box, ambient microphones, or the possibility of uploading three presets to the pedal, where their activation is handled by a small switch located under the tube hole protected by a round U-profile. The power supply is handled by a standard 9V 500 mA PSU adapter. The European price of the Blackstar Dept. 10 Boost is around €190, while the Dual Drive and Dual Distortion models can be purchased for around €300.

Tagy blackstar Blackstar Dept. 10 Blackstar Dept. 10 Boost Blackstar Dept. 10 Dual Drive Blackstar Dept. 10 Dual Distortion

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For Insounder, I am mainly responsible for the news section and articles covering the gear of well-known musicians. I have been playing guitar in various bands for years and I also teach this beautiful instrument.