The pedals Dept. 10 by Blackstar match the natural feel of tube amps with DSP speaker simulation –


The analog and digital worlds collide in Dept. 10 from Blackstar, which promise the natural feel and power of tube amplification and the flexibility of DSP speaker simulation.

The series is named after Blackstar’s R&D team for innovation and blue-sky design and has three members: Boost, Dual Drive and Dual Distortion. Each is powered by an ECC83 (12AX7) triode valve operating at over 200V to deliver “organic tone, dynamics and disruption”.

Department 10 Dual Drive and Dual Distortion

The Dual Drive and Dual Distortion pedals both feature two channels, each with their own level and gain controls and a toggle switch to choose between clean or crunch for channel one, or two styles of overdrive for channel two. .

Both channels share an EQ section with bass, midrange, treble, and Blackstar’s ISF control, which lets you swipe between British and American style tones.

Then there’s Cab Rig, Blackstar’s DSP speaker simulator that recreates the sound of a mic guitar cabinet for recording or amp replacement purposes. A selection of over 250 virtual combinations is available through the Architect companion software and you will be able to store three of them on the pedal at a time.

USB connectivity means pedal sound can be recorded directly to a DAW, and XLR connectivity means pedals can be connected directly to an interface or mixer for recording or live use.

Dual discs are also equipped with an effects loop for more versatile signal chain integrations.

Department 10 boost

Boost from Blackstar Dept.  10

The boost uses a Class A gain stage, operating in a passive Baxandall EQ section. The controls are relatively straightforward, with knobs for boost level, bass, and treble. Blackstar describes its function as “adding two extra valve stages to your amp”.

Class A means the valve amplifies 360 degrees of the signal phase, ideal for cleanly boosting your signal level while adding the analog response a valve is known for. Learn more about amplification lessons with our Amplifier FAQs on the subject here.

Pricing and availability

The list of Dual Drive and Dual Distortion pedals is £ 249. The Boost pedal is priced at £ 159. Learn more at

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