Guitar amp manufacturer Blackstar have today announced their first software release, the Blackstar St. James Plugin. Created by the team behind their successful Artisan, Series One, ID:Series and St. James product ranges, the plug-in promises to set a new standard in the amp simulation world.
The plug-in sports the tagline of “Designed, Not Modelled”, and Blackstar say that rather than trying to accurately model a particular piece of equipment, it has instead been designed as an amplifier in its own right. It has been optimised to process DI signals, and aims to offer both the tone and feel of a valve amplifier through headphones, monitors, or PA systems.
There are two amplifier designs present, both of which are based on the company’s St. James series. An EL34-based model promises to deliver the warmth and chime associated with iconic amplifiers from the 1960s, whilst a multi-channel 6L6-powered alternative is said to cover everything from high-headroom clean tones to classic crunch and modern high-gain sounds.
The plug-in also comes with Pre-FX and Post-FX sections, as well as a dedicated analogue EQ emulation section. Compressor, drive, chorus and phaser effects can be placed “in front” of the amp, before the preamp, whilst flanger, tremolo, delay and reverb can be placed between the preamp and output, in the same way as utilising an effects loop on a hardware amplifier. Each of the effects have their own set of dedicated parameters, and many are equipped with two modes of operation. The EQ section then offers four bands of equalisation with a selectable centre frequency and ±15dB of gain, as well as variable high- and low-pass filters.
The CabRig DSP speaker simulation technology used in a number of the company’s amplifiers is also present, providing a total of nine popular Blackstar cabinet options and six different virtual microphone positions. The algorithm used is said to simulate the combination of a speaker, cabinet, mic and room with incredible detail and with almost no latency, as well as offering much more flexibility than an employing a fixed impulse response file.
The Blackstar St. James Plugin is supported on PCs running Windows 8 and above, and Macs running macOS 10.15 or higher. It is available in VST, AU and AAX formats. It is authorised via PACE’s iLok License Manager software, although a physical dongle is not required.
Pricing & Availability
The Blackstar St. James Plugin is available now, priced at $99.