Practice Amp Tone Check: Orange Crush 20RT, Blackstar ID:CORE 20 v3, Marshall CODE25

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There’s a mind boggling array of guitar practice amps on the market, but do any of them sound good? Check out the first in our new ‘Tone Check’ video series focused on comparing guitar gear. First up we’re taking a look at 3 leading practice amps, the Orange Crush 20RT, Blackstar ID:CORE 20 v3 and Marshall Code25.

These 3 guitar amplifiers all sit roughly around the same price (the Marshall has a bit of a premium over the Orange and Blackstar, depending on where you shop), but vary wildly in their complexity. The Orange is a classic plug’n’play with minimal controls, the Blackstar offers 6 different voices, FX and USB connectivity, and the Marshall takes tweaking to new heights with its modular approach.

For us, the Blackstar ID:CORE stood out with its solid sound straight out of the box, value for money and bonus features like the stereo speakers and the new Cab Rig Lite software for recording over USB.

Tech details: Andy plugs straight into the amp with a custom Tele and an ESP E-II Eclipse. Sound was recorded via an AKG 414 condenser though a Universal Audio Apollo x8 interface.

Orange Crush 20RT

  • Features: twin channel design with high gain preamp, 3 band eq, reverb, chromatic tuner, aux in & cabsim-loaded headphone output
  • Top panel (right to left): instrument input, clean volume, dirty gain, bass, middle, treble, dirty volume, channel selector switch, aux in, headphone output
  •  integrated chromatic tuner, reverb
  •  footswitch jack (footswitch sold separately)
  • Finish options: orange or black basket weave vinyl
  • Output power: 20 watts
  • Speaker: custom 8” voice of the world
  • weight: 7.2kg

Expect to pay: approx AUD$280

Blackstar ID:CORE 20 v3

  • Power: 20W (2x10W Super Wide Stereo)
  • Voices: Clean Warm, Clean Bright, Crunch, Super Crunch, OD1, OD2
  • EQ: Patented ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) blending from UK to USA tone
  • Effects: Delay x 4, Modulation x 4, Reverb x 4
  • Tap Tempo
  • Presets: 6 Patches
  • Headphone Output
  • Line In / Streaming
  • Tuner
  • 4 channel USB Audio and Cab Rig Speaker Simulator Software
  • Footswitchable
  • 2 x Blackstar 5” Speakers (stereo)
  • Can be powered via the Blakstar PB-1 power bank or similar aftermarket unit
  • weight: 4kg

Expect to pay: approx AUD$280

Marshall CODE25

  • 100 Presets
  • Output wattage: 25W
  • 3.5mm jack headphone out
  • Bluetooth
  • USB Audio
  • Inputs: 1x instrument jack, 1x Aux In (3.5mm jack)
  • Controls: 100 editable presets, bass, middle, treble, gain, volume, pre-FX, amplifier models, modulation effects, delay effects, reverb, power amplifier models, speaker cabinet models, additional controls available via the Marshall Gateway app for iOS and Android devices
  • Effects: 24 different built-in effects (5 simultaneously)
  • Speaker configuration: 1×10”
  • Weight: 6.1 kg

Expect to pay: Approx AUD$360

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