Blackstar’s lineup of amplifiers is packed full with what many consider to be conventional models. By this, we mean amps that range from decent practice models to full on stacks. However, if you dig a little, you will find a few gems that are hard to fit into any category. One such amplifier comes under the name of FLY 3. It is tiny, sounds great, and packs a lot of heat for the price you are asked to pay for it. Because of its rather impressive nature, we had to put it on our list of best budget guitar amps you can get at the moment.
All things considered, this is one of those amps whose size should not fool you. It might be tiny, but FLY 3 is more versatile that some of its much larger competitors. Looking at the control cluster drives this point home perfectly. Going left to right, we see a gain knob, volume knob, and a channel select switch. These are what most people would expect to see on something of this size. However, there’s more. On top of what was mentioned, you also have Blackstar’s ISF EQ control, a delay level knob and a delay time knob. That’s right, this tiny little amp comes with a built in effect. This fact alone instantly makes it a flexible design.
When it comes to its raw power, Blackstar FLY 3 offers some 3 Watts of solid state performance. One of the absolute best things about FLY 3 is the way it looks. Blackstar went ahead and designed a rather vintage looking cabinet for this project. The main color is a creamy white coffee tone that found everywhere except for the control cluster. The grille that covers the speaker brings another surprise. Instead of going with a plain black design, Blackstar actually printed a Union Jack flag, thus giving the FLY 3 an unmistakeable British identity. Being so tiny, FLY 3 is the perfect kind of amp for those travel often. Being able to run on batteries only adds to that claim.
The first logical question when it comes to the performance of such a small amp, is how loud is it? Well, for 3 Watts of power, FLY 3 sure does bring a lot of volume power. While it might not be something you would want to consider for any kind of gigging, there is plenty of power in this tiny cube for you to have a great practice session just about anywhere. The tone itself brings a few surprises on its own as well. Great cleans, pretty meaty overdrive and a lot of tone shaping is something you can count on. Blackstar’s ISF equalizer absolutely comes to shine in this type of environment. On top of it all, that built in delay actually sounds rather nice. especially if you compare it to other built-in designs found on the market.
At the end of the day, Blackstar is not the only one who produces super compact amps. However, they are among the very few brands who offer quality in this odd category. FLY 3 brings the type of performance you usually don’t expect to find in a micro amp. On top of its great design and even better performance, this amp comes with a price tag that makes it simply too hard to resist.