Road Test: Blackstar U-120 Bass Combo

We got our hands on the Blackstar Unity 120 watt 1×12 bass combo. This amp is part of the new to 2018 Unity bass range, a new line of amps introduced by the UK guitar team at Blackstar. The range consists of 5 amps from 30 watts through to 500 watt combinations. The bass combo market has some pretty serious competition at the moment so we took the U-120 into the rehearsal room to pitch it against a full band and see if it had what it takes to keep up!


First Impressions

The amp is lightweight (12KGs) and compact straight off the line, being a twelve inch combo this is an easy load-in to any smaller gig / rehearsal. The top-loading feature design is a very welcome addition to any smaller combos, this gives you the ability to change the settings and EQ much easier than the front facing classic styling. A rugged rubber handle is located on the top of the amp making it easy to cart around and balances the amp out nicely when transporting.

Blackstar U-120 Bass Combo

Features  

Blackstar have definitely put in the research and development when it comes to the features on this unit. Compression can be found on all units even from the 30 watt 1×8 combo, this also provides a DB boost to bring the level up whilst compressing the signal. An extremely useable 3 band EQ is onboard twinned with a versatile voice selection, use the two dial in a heap of tones.

Road-Test

We took the U-120 into a couple of live band situations to test the output and capabilities of this little unit. Firstly we pitched it up against an acoustic drum kit and keys trio, the amp did not fail to deliver. The twelve inch driver provides tight responsive low end whilst both gain and master volume dials never needed to pass the 10 o’clock position.  In the second rehearsal we entered a 9-piece band with a full horn section, guitar, keys and acoustic drum kit. The U-120 had more than enough volume to be present in this mix, the gain and volume dials sat at 12 o’clock with a little more if needed.

Specs

  • 120 Watts
  • Custom designed Eminence 12″ Opus Speaker
  • 3 Voices – Classic, Modern, Overdrive
  • 3 band EQ with semi-parametric Mid
  • Footswitchable Overdrive and Chorus
  • Compressor
  • Input Gain (with clip indication)
  • Pad Switch for active / passive instruments
  • Master Volume
  • Link to Unity Bass Series Active Cabinet
  • MP3 / Line in
  • XLR + ¼” Line Out / Headphones with independent level control