Acoustic amp with decent quality effects?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by D_Schief, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. D_Schief

    D_Schief Tele-Holic

    Apr 23, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    I'm playing more acoustic and need to purchase an acoustic amp. Other than good fidelity for the acoustic guitar, my criteria includes:

    > Lightweight and moderate power - I have various PA/mixers and powered speakers for a large gig, and just want something for practicing and the occasional coffeehouse/church/jam where I can grab an amp that is fully contained.

    > Decent effects -- Again I have mixers with built in effects and some great Strymon pedals for delay and reverb, but want an amp that will give me decent quality effects for the small gigs, primarily delay and reverb (chorus or compressor is a bonus).

    > At least two channels so that I could run vocals through the second.

    > Flexible in/outs -- For use as a grab-and-go, or as stage monitor, I'd like to be sure to have XLR outs.

    Thanks for your recommendations!
  2. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

    Feb 12, 2011
    Loudbox was light and decent.
  3. Telepathist

    Telepathist Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 19, 2013
  4. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Feb 15, 2016
    Fishman is what I am using and like them well enough. A small loudbox mini is really convenient and lightweight while still sounding very transparent and organic. They are inexpensive too, but they do dent easily if that is a concern for you.
  5. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    I liked the Fender SFX Satellite
  6. mcfm2n

    mcfm2n Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Nov 12, 2003
    Plano TX
    I few years ago i bought a Acoustic (Brand) acoustic amp. It is wedge shape and has on board effects. It was cheap I think I paid like 120 for it on one of those GS holiday sale. It sounds good and has been holding up well. For small solo gigs it is perfect. I run a mic and guitar thru it.
  7. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    Some time back, I bought one of those as a Christmas present (not for myself). Later, I considered getting one for myself, but they're pretty heavy, compared to what I went with. Speaking of which...

    I'll echo the sentiments favoring the Fishman Loudbox line. My kid brother gigs all the time with his Loudbox Mini at restaurants, private parties, etc. So last I year I bought one for me as well, and now I gig with it every week. I also play coffee shops, restaurants, private parties, as well as at two seniors communities. When you first see this little thing--no bigger than a bread box, if anyone still knows what a breadbox is--and you read that it just has a 6.5" woofer & a 1" tweeter, you wonder if it will work for gigging.

    Well, me and my kid brother are here to tell ya that you can definitely gig with this thing. Its 60 watts delivers enough for the restaurants and coffee shops we play, and for the activity room at a seniors center. My brother and I did an outdoor gig with ours at a park. Did the job with room to spare.

    Like I said, it's small, and lightweight, under 20 lbs. This has enabled me to do load in with just one trip. Guitar and mic stand in one hand, the Mini in the other hand, and a gig bag on my back. It's kind of bare bones in the effects department, with just reverb and chorus on the instrument channel, and just reverb on the mic channel. The rear panel has 1/4" & 1/8" Aux inputs, and a DI output for sending the signal from both channels out to a mixer or PA.

    I haven't had the need arise to use the DI Out, but I have used that 1/4" input on the rear panel, in an unusual way. At one of the seniors centers that I play, last year a woman would sometimes join me. I would get an extra mic and cable out of my gig bag, plus an adapter, and plug into that 1/4" input. Now, there are no controls on that input, so I'd have to tweak the settings on the front end with the mic channel controls and Master Volume. And since the AUX signal in the back was dry, I'd run the mic channel on the front almost completely dry as well. It worked, though.

    The next step up is the Loudbox Artist. It's a little bit bigger box, but just about 6 lbs. heavier than the Mini. 8" woofer, 1" tweeter, 120 watts. The Artist definitely has more bells and whistles in the effects department: in addition to reverb & chorus, it gives you Flanger, Delay, Echo, and Slap Echo. I have looked at and even test driven one at my local GC. But ultimately I didn't need that much amp for the small venues I play. Maybe that will be the ticket for you if extra on board effects is of key importance.
  8. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    Nothing wrong with the Roland 60 or 90 watt models, actually they're nondescript little black boxes with speaker cloth that don't scream "amplifier." I have to say the Fishman amps seemed to have more bass response when I tried them out, but I came home with the less expensive Roland and have never regretted it.
  9. italo

    italo Tele-Meister

    Sep 16, 2008
    I would like to reccomend Marshall AS50 as it meets most of your criteria. Input for mic. effects are only reverb and chorus, but acceptable quality. You can asign the effects for each channel. Reasonable output power. No menus at all. VERY EASY to setup for a coffe gig!!
  10. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 14, 2008
    Marion, NC
    Bought a used, but mint, Yorkville Acoustic Master AM150 amp years ago. 150 watts thru 2 channels. Great sound quality. Great effects. I love this amp!
  11. southpaw pete

    southpaw pete Tele-Meister

    Sep 18, 2011
    calgary, ab, canada
    Kind of an old thread, but. I thought I'd weigh in anyways...

    I just bought a used Genz Benz Shenandoah Jr. Wow - what an amp! It has two channels: channel 1 has both xlr and 1/4" (can both be used simultaneously), and channel 2 has a 1/4" input and three band eq with sweepable mids. Both channels share the onboard Alesis effects (each with their own effects level control), and while they don't offer any parameters to tweak (depth, rate, decay...), I find them very well tailored for acoustic guitar and vocals. There are a variety of hall, room, and plate reverbs, as well as delay and chorus etc... and two combination banks of reverb/chorus... All quite tasteful, without getting over the top.
    The amp has a kick back feature as well as a pole mount if you choose to place it up on a speaker stand. There is also a DI out of the back to send to FOH if you so choose.

    All in all, I am quite impressed with the tone and features of this amp.! It's got a 10" speaker, and a tweeter which I find well-voiced for adding acoustic presence without being harsh... and it weighs in at 25lbs (not necessarily light, but quite easy to carry when compared with my SWR California Blonde). The only downside in my opinion is that it isn't being made anymore, so they probably have to be found on the used market. But well worth it.
  12. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    I like my Fishman Loubox Performer a lot!
  13. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 28, 2012
    Sou Cal
    I have a Fender Acoustasonic 90.
    I have had it close to a year and it still amazes me.
    The reverb with a delay can make a bad guitar sound good.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  14. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 25, 2016
    Rolland Acoustic Chorus AC-33. Chorus, feedback control, looper, guitar and vocal channels. And battery powered.
  15. DaddyG

    DaddyG Tele-Meister

    Oct 25, 2012
    Norton, Ohio
    A Fishman Mini is my amp for acoustic. If you are interested in something for practice and/or small venue check out a Yamaha THR 5a. I first heard one of these in a store in Owensboro, KY. The owner plugged it in and it filled up a good sized room with beautiful tones. I walked all around that room and it literally flipped my brain. It's no larger than a loaf of bread, the effects are very good, and it has mic/direct for different situations.

  16. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

    Feb 5, 2012
    South Louisiana
    I play through a Fishman loudbox mini. Can't recommend it highly enough. Lightweight, durable, dependable and affordable. Over 100 sets in the last two years and it's flawless. Yeah the tolex is scraped up a bit but that's to be expected. The next step up has all the same goodness as the mini, but with effects. If my mini ever needs replacing for whatever reason, I will check it out, but I am not inclined to trade up til then.
  17. Slowpoke

    Slowpoke Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 3, 2011
    Mandurah. West Australia
    I've used a Fishman Loudbox Mini for the last 4 years for busking. I get mains power supplied or I can work off a Gopher battery and a 150 amp Inverter. Haven't needed anything more tho' I do have a Vox 70 as a back-up should the Fishman cark it.. S
  18. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

    Jan 15, 2013
    meridianam altum centralis
    I love a good, realistic, warm acoustic sound. Its worth chasing imo. The acoustic amplification world is still a wild west however, with too many options that don't really deliver, lots of confusion and specialized selection to match instruments, pickups, and amps, all resulting in suboptimal rigs for the one-time buyer who doesn't want to survey the entire product selection. I've done a lot of shoot-outs, at the store, borrowing equipment, etc. Here's my notes for thought:

    I find most "acoustic" combos to be weak, and I've tried almost all of them. They sound like less than half their power rating to me. I believe they all use less efficient speakers to get a more hi-fi type response, which I now question is what works best for an acoustic anyway. But it probably sounds handsome in quieter environments.
    I also find most of the effects in acoustic combos to be weak. I don't use a lot of effects for a flattop, but I do for other instruments and vocals. An outboard effects unit is probably better, but you're adding another device...
    The pre-amp* in many acoustic combos are choppy, and low impedance to correct for a passive pickup. Less of an issue if you have an active pickup. The most expensive combos have passable pre-amps.

    My current solution(s):
    I'm living with two rigs to cover small to large gigs:
    A) I re-speakered an AG60 2x8 with some high efficiency JBL's, and it now lives up to its 60W rating. Four inputs, good tone control, XLR-out, and wedge configured. Separate effects on two channels which is good for vocals+instrument setups - effects are ok solo, but will get lost in a band mix. Low visual impact, good for coffeehouses, small weddings, bbq's and such.
    B) Cube 80XL - surprise, but great at everything. Great effects and volume, tone control, but no XLR and only one input. I add a 15" JBL D130 if I'm competing with Marshall stacks - and I keep up. I DO use a pre-amp DI* in front. For what ever reasons, this amp gives the smoothest most balanced band level sound I've created. And, it clips smoothly, like a tube amp. My theory is its design to sound like a bunch of tube amps, and responds accordingly. Maybe we need to go back to tubes for acoustic amps??

    *pre-amp DI - I play several stringed instruments, most with passive pickups. Pre-amps make all the difference in the acoustic world, and as mentioned, the onboard preamps in combos just aren't that great - yet. As a result, I've got a sack of DI pre-amps trying to find what gives a smooth sound, matched impedance, tone balance, and versatility. The Baggs Para DI is the standard for most all stringed instruments, because like an SM58, its what we hear most. The Para DI is really smooth, and works with a large range of pickups in front of any amp, works on battery or AC power. Small and fits in a gig bag. I use that to measure the tone of all others. Right now, my favorite DI is a Radial ToneBone PZ-Pre. Takes two inputs, has good tone control, a mute(must have), a boost, tuner out, xlr outs, switchable very high input impedance of 10 Mohm (higher equals better frequency response and more realistic smoother sound), and other stuff. I don't think any other DI on the market does all this, the closest being a Redeye Twin (which has battery power). The PZ-pre has one weakness, in that it requires 15V power from a plug-in, so you're tethered to AC power.

    Long, but you can see I'm a fan of acoustic music, and really feel amplification deserves a worthy presentation.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
    P Thought likes this.
  19. Chester Burnett

    Chester Burnett Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Aug 14, 2015
    The Poconos
    Mesa Rosette sounds great, has lot's a I/O options, effects loops, 2 channels and better mid eq options than many other acoustic amps. No delay though.

    The newer Fenders are the only acoustic amps that come to mind with delay.
  20. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2009
    Plundertown (Gasville) OR
    I've always wanted one of those.
    southpaw pete likes this.
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