Do you ever see a musical device and freeze in one place, with your jaw dropped? Do you ever feel like some units are too good to be true? Well, that is the experience I had when I came across Blackstar FLY 3 for the first time. You look at it and it is just a small amp with fancy and sleek design, nothing to write home about. But then you start exploring and whole new world of features and opportunities open up right in front of your eyes. And the best part is – I am not even exaggerating. If you want to find out more about FLY 3 and its capabilities, then keep on reading! Let’s get started!
Blackstar FLY 3 definitely has a lot to offer. Even though it has only 3 watts of power capacity and a single 3” speaker, it still combines the legendary sounds of the brand and delivers spectacular performance. Apart from the ability to supply this unit with an AC adapter, you can also power it with 6 AA batteries. It has two channels: clean and overdrive, which guarantee to deliver elaborate tone and create wonderful sonic layers. FLY 3 is equipped with Infinite Shape Feature (ISF) circuitry, which provides an ultimate level of tone shaping capabilities, delivering anything from USA to UK and everything in between. It also offers Tape Delay which has its own controls for maximum precision. FLY 3 can be utilized as a speaker for your MP3, CDs or phone. You simply have to plug external sources in MP3/Line In jack. This also allows you to jam along your favorite songs with a little effort. With the speaker emulated output, you have the option to connect this amp directly to the recording console or practice silently with your headphones. And last but not least, FLY 3 has a socket for the extension cabinet, which enables you to receive even louder tone.
The controls on FLY 3 are more than enough to nail all the sonic possibilities you have on hand. They are laid out beautifully on the top part of the amp, making it easier to remember what is what. Once you get to tweaking, your mind will easily capture each knob and make this amp usable even in the settings with poor visibility. Let’s continue discussing the functionalities of each knob, so that when you get your hands on FLY 3, everything is perfectly clear.
The front panel starts with the Gain knob. When the clean channel is employed, this little fella increases the strength of the signal before it breaks up and develops a subtle crunch. When the overdrive channel is activated, it intensifies the distortion and goes from subtle overdriven sounds to distinctive lead tones. Then we have OD (Overdrive) button, which triggers the overdrive channel. Next comes the Volume knob, which sets the level of each channel individually. It is followed by ISF (EQ) knob, that ranges from signature tones of USA to the British woody characteristics. You will also see a small Delay Level knob, which modifies, how long the delay effect lasts. And, of course, we have the Delay Time that increases the delay. Most importantly, we have a Power switch which turns the device on and off. That’s it. You will just have to tweak these couple of knobs and the tone of your dreams will be right at your feet.
As I have mentioned above, FLY 3 features the legendary tones of Blackstar. Despite its smaller size, it can deliver the sound quality you would expect from the brand. Plus, it is versatile enough to allow you to create something unique and then develop it with a bigger stack. The clean channel on this one has very distinctive characteristics and offers the perfect balance between bright and mellow sounds. Once you crank up the gain knob, you will start hearing a subtle crunch that adds texture and dimension to the overall tone. And as you move on to the overdrive channel, you have the option to shift between subtle and heavier distortion, which does not get too crazy or lose the definition. It is important to mention the ISF feature. It might seem like a typical EQ, however, it is way more than that. It easily goes from the aggressive mid-range and tight bottom-end of USA to rounded and less aggressive sounds of UK. I am pretty surprised, because the amps at this capacity are not generally as meticulous and elaborate as FLY 3. Nice job, Blackstar, nice job indeed!
To sum up everything said above, Blackstar FLY 3 does not joke around when it comes to offering extensive set of features. It takes its sound pretty seriously and delivers something that will be hard to compete with. And its portability and convenience are basically cherries on top of the wonderful amp. If you are looking for a reliable device that has everything one could ask for, then you should definitely try this one out. Good luck!
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