I've been amazed

Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member
edited August 2016 in Community Member Performances
I've been amazed by the quality per cubic inch (and per watt) of the Blackstar Fly! 170mm x 126mm x 102mm - it really looks like it's shrunk in the wash but at 0.9kg it's heavy enough for its size to spark a bit of confidence it's more than a novelty toy. 2 channels (clean and overdrive), ISF, Tape Delay fx, MP3/Line In, Emulated speaker out / Headphones. Battery Powered or optional power supply. That power supply is the only negative - very pricey as an add on unless you go for the Fly 3 pack which has an additional "cab" and Power Supply included. The basic Fly 3 is just £50. £80 for the Fly 3 Pack. Seems like it's £25 for the optional Power Supply - so the pack seemed best value - ramps things up to a massive 6 watts(!) and gives stereo sound if using the mp3 input. Slightly smaller than the relatively small Fender SuperChamp XD amp I usually useand makes the guitar look like a giant! I'm not going to suggest it sounds as good as a "real" amp which would be looney. But put up against the competition of other mini amps - the Fly leaves them trailing in its wake. There are YouTube videos around that confirm that. It's not tube, but it is quite dynamic and it does have an element of responding to the player easing off and digging in. I'm not the best person to demo this sort of thing but here's some melodic style lead with the PRS SE (P90s) played through the Fly, with a David Wallimann Backing Track ("Dreamy"). On the overdrive channel with low level gain for some gentle break up. Recorded in a rush, one take, and using a condenser microphone (ought to use dynamic recording an amp probably) - didn't footer about with mic positioning. No EQ shaping or fx used in the recording software. "The First Dreamy Fly of Spring"

Comments

  • lancpudnlancpudn Posts: 1,393Member

    That's a great tone Mark, Nice playing, sounds really nice listening to this track over breakfast.

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    Nice playing Mark.  And the sound of that micro amp is astounding - it just loses it a tad right at the bottom end where it doesn't quite have the grunt to punch out the bass at the same level. But that's a great little practice tool.  Do you reckon it would be loud enough to busk with?

     

    Cheers, Reg.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,163Member

    Mark P in playing electric guitar again shock! Nice to hear those smooth electric tones of yours again Mark. Actually that little amp sounds great - of course the player makes a difference there, but clearly a rather good bit of kit. image

  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member

    Not bad tones at all! I'm very surprised.

     

    You're right about the bottom end lacking a bit Reg - but I guess with a 3" speaker that's understandable!

     

    Not sure about the busking aspect - haven't really had the chance to let it rip. But 6 watts and solid state with just 3" speakers .... sounds a bit unlikely to be busk-able? I'll try and remember to test it out with that task in mind - not that I've ever busked.

     

    I've not totally given up on electric Graham - very close to that for a good few months though. I got involved in a couple of collabs on a blues forum and that helped reignite at least a bit of interest in keeping the electric at least on the back burner.

  • AndyjrAndyjr Posts: 659Member

    Nice review, Mark and great, great playing.  As you say, this sits head and shoulders above the direct competitors....

  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member

    Thanks Andy.

    I've tried recording using the emulated out direct route using the same guitar and similar settings. Pretty close to the sound with the speakers, though I do seem to feel happier sound-wise with doing microphone recordings if I can - maybe it's the added sound of the air being moved I like!   

     

    A plus with this size of amp is that a microphone recording is possible in a flat without annoying neighbours.

    The "emulated out route" is from a 3.5mm socket - so a 3.5mm to 6.3mm connection is needed, and a stereo 6.3mm is no use for the interface, unless it's only half pushed in (as I've done in my test). Need to get a lead fit for purpose.

     

    This is an emulated out recording done while taking the opportunity to start exploring possibilities in a David Wallimann course called "Rhythm Painter".

     

    Rhythm Painter - Phrygian in A 

     

    The rhythm part to be played is based on moving three / four note adjacent string shapes along the fretboard using the note patterns for that mode. The idea is to try out sounds against a drum and bass track - work out what sounds best and then record it, and in my case then add lead.

     

    So I'm not aware of what chords I am playing - just that they are three / four note chord shapes on adjacent strings that fit the notes of the scale being used and go in a sequence that sounds good on the ear. It appears in this one looking back on it, if my knowledge of theory is holding up that I have Am, Bb, C Dm, and some variety of an E chord. What I do know is that I'd have never come up with that rhythm part and chord progression using standard chord shapes.

    It's all a good excuse to play some electric guitar and not just acoustic which is currently in Csus2 tuning!

     

    Still not had a chance to test it out for whether it could be considered busk-able. Nor have I tried using the mp3/line in for making it a self contained practice amp. But I see iGuitarMag.com say "This could be the perfect portable practice, busking amplifier"

    iGuitarMag Review

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,060Member, Moderator

    Prior to going into hospital I picked up a "Total Guitar" mag, to give me some light reading material. Inside, they were offering a free Blackstar Fly 3 amp when you subscribe to the magazine. That was an offer I could not refuse. Still waiting on amp to arrive but I am pleased at what I have heard and read here.

  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member
    Originally Posted by Jocko:

    Prior to going into hospital I picked up a "Total Guitar" mag, to give me some light reading material. Inside, they were offering a free Blackstar Fly 3 amp when you subscribe to the magazine. That was an offer I could not refuse. Still waiting on amp to arrive but I am pleased at what I have heard and read here.

    THAT is a good deal.

     

    If you go for a Blackstar PSU instead of using batteries I'd shop around - I've seen them vary from £12 to £25!

     

    I hope you enjoy the wee unit - it's a serious attempt at last at a mini-amp. Only really the constraints of it's size that make it less than a real amp. I wonder what it sounds like with the emulated out passed on to a speaker cab?

     

    Which also reminds me I must get around to getting a 3.5mm stereo jack to 6.3mm mono jack socket converter for direct recording to the interface. 

     

    Look forward to hearing how you get on with it.

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,060Member, Moderator

    Took delivery of my Blackstar Fly 3 at the weekend and finally got round to seriously trying it out. It is a great little amp and punches well above it's weight. It is not loud for a 3 watt amp but the question was asked, "Do you reckon it would be loud enough to busk with?". As it is louder than an acoustic, and guys regularly busk using them, I would say it should be buskable.

    I like the built in delay, with controls for both time and level. As it was free with my magazine subscription I have to say it is value for money. And it even came with batteries!

    I think I will buy myself the extension amp/cab and matching PSU.

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,060Member, Moderator

    This morning I tried feeding the Line Out into my Stagg 20BA amp, and a very acceptable sound issued. I am sure the Fly, DI'd into a PA, would give a great aquittal of itself.

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    Sounds like a great little box.  I must get round to finishing the Champalike amp build.

  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member
    Originally Posted by Jocko:

    This morning I tried feeding the Line Out into my Stagg 20BA amp, and a very acceptable sound issued. I am sure the Fly, DI'd into a PA, would give a great aquittal of itself.

    Interesting to hear that it did well in this regard. It just seems like a pretty good amp regardless of it's diminutive size.

  • AndyjrAndyjr Posts: 659Member

    Listening to all of this (literally!) with great interest....

     

    By the way - I know it's a totally different kettle of fish but has anyone tried, got or seen a EZ Lunchbox in real life?  They appear to be pretty amazing...

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,060Member, Moderator

    Finally got a 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable and connected my laptop to the mp3/line in socket, of the Fly. What a brilliant sound. Better than my in house Hi-Fi. And loud too. More than loud enough for playing backing tracks, etc, while playing the guitar through the amp.

  • Barry SBarry S Posts: 1Member

    Hi there, I'm new here and  wondering,  has anyone played a bass through a Fly 3...I've just bought a Kala Ubass and would like a small AC/DC amp for it?...regards Barry.

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,060Member, Moderator

    Bass sounds great when you play an mp3 through it. Speakers are a bit small but if you don't try to blow the roof off! I haven't tried my bass through mine.

Sign In or Register to comment.