Each Artisan amplifier is designed to offer the widest range of classic vintage and boutique tones to the highest possible sonic standard. This is achieved by the design of electronics circuits that work in harmony with the finest components and materials available. All the amps are simple in their operation and yet deceptively flexible in their functionality.
Every aspect of the construction and design is the culmination of over 35 years of experience in valve amplifier design and gives you a purity of tone that only an amp built without compromise can deliver. In the words of Pat Travers after playing through an Artisan 100 – “At last I can hear my $8,000 guitar!”
The quality and attention to detail are evident throughout each amp, from the solder joints on each turret, to the ‘running wheat’ engraving design on the front panel.
Artisan amps are built to last a lifetime and effortlessly combine vintage style and rugged, road tested reliability. The point-to-point tag board construction, welded steel chassis and finger-jointed birch-ply cabinet are complemented by beautiful vintage red Tolex.Find Out More
The choice of preamp and power amp valve in each Artisan is essential in capturing the feel, response and tone in keeping with each design.
In keeping with some of the most revered designs in guitar amp history, we chose ECC83 and EF86 preamp valves. The ECC83 dual triode has an exquisite British vintage feel in terms of gain, compression and distortion. The EF86 pentode valve was used in very early American guitar amplifier designs to provide unique gain and compression characteristics, the extra gain of the EF86 allows the power amplifier to be driven harder for more compression and rich harmonic distortion.
The power valves for each Artisan have been chosen to deliver the dynamic response and feel expected from these classic-inspired designs. Each valve type is perfectly selected to generate the power amp harmonic distortion that is so important to the tone in this style of amp.
The Artisan's topology allows the blending of channels. By paralleling the guitar connection to the inputs of Channel 1 and Channel 2 endless tonal variations can be explored. Use the HI input if you wish to achieve power amplifier break-up and overdrive. Use the LO input if you wish the amplifier to remain clean (this is especially useful if the guitar used has high output pick-ups).
In pentode mode the power amplifier has a dynamic response which is rich in bell-like harmonics and has a beautiful ringing top-end. The triode mode allows the generation of the critical power amplifier harmonic distortion at a much lower volume but is darker and more mellow sounding with a rounder top-end. The lower power setting is particularly effective for home and studio use.
The Artisan 30’s 5-position Bass Shape on Channel 1 controls the bass drive into the power amplifier and enables you to quickly and easily select from a wide palette of tonal options, from bright and glassy through to fat and smooth. The 2-position Voice control on Channel 2 completely reconfigures the interstage prevoicing emphasis circuit to give either a ‘Warm’ vintage British Class A combo, or ‘Bright’ classic British 100W head type response.
The Artisan 100’s 4-position Voice control operates as a preamplifier tone control shift, while also controlling the power amplifier damping and gain. In this way it allows the amplifier to follow the evolution of 100W guitar amplifier design: early 50’s American amp, late 50’s American amp, early 60’s British head, late 60’s British head.
Some of the most revered designs in guitar amplifier history were built using a tagboard and hardwiring the individual components to each turret. Led by our Technical Director, Bruce Keir, the Blackstar R&D team in the UK have taken this method and refined every aspect of the tagboard layout. Take out an Artisan chassis and you will see a thing of beauty. Every component precision soldered by hand and the wiring in neat looms. That’s what makes an Artisan sound and look beautiful.
Tone is one thing, but just as important is reliability and life on the road can be tough. That’s why all Artisan amplifiers have seam welded 1.6mm steel chassis and 18mm finger-jointed birch ply cabinets, with ‘over-specified’ output and mains transformers constructed using laminations made of the highest grade, grain oriented steel.
Decades of guitar amp design experience, hundreds of hours of listening tests and an obsession about tone are combined with premium grade materials and traditional construction methods to ensure Artisan gives you the ultimate in valve tone for a lifetime.Find Out More