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School Me On Acoustic Amplifiers Please

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Torren61, Jan 28, 2021.

  1. Torren61

    Torren61 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I have a decent collection of tube amps. What is different from them compared to an acoustic amplifier? Who makes the “best” acoustics amp?
     
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  2. DuckDodgers

    DuckDodgers Tele-Meister

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    Amplifiers for acoustic instruments have a flatter frequency response, minimal distortion, and generally more power. That’s about it.,as for the best, there are many contenders. Henriksen is a favorite of many.
     
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  3. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    The best acoustic amplifier is a DI into your PA. In my opinion.
     
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  4. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Doctor of Teleocity

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    My 'best acoustic amp' for me is a Fishman Loudbox Mini ( and for others, the larger models)

    Why?
    Because it checks all the boxes I have always wanted in an acoustic amp

    * Note for most gigs ( duo or full band) I prefer to plug right into PA ( I have a good sounding pickup/preamp and just need Reverb)

    The boxes I like checked:

    * I like to use mine as a 'solo PA' for small gigs, wedding ceremonies or background music at events...

    - it has to have a good, pretty natural sound and enough power( the mini has 60 watts, 6" speaker/tweeter)

    - affordable, I got mine used from a buddy $150

    - it has to be lightweight ( bad back), Mini is 19 lbs

    - 2 completely independent channels ( one for instrument, one for vocal mic)

    The Mini has separate Volume, EQ controls AND Reverb ( digital) for each channel ( plus Chorus on the inst. Channel, but I don't use it)- Separate controls for all is just awesome

    - Controls must be easy to use/understand- check!

    The LB Mini is literally the acoustic amp I've been waiting for all my life!

    loudboxminiamplifier1_large-768x768.jpg
     
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  5. Twelvefrets

    Twelvefrets Tele-Meister

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    Only recently did I discover Roland AC (acoustic chorus) amps-mine is an “AC 60” so 60 watts, with two 6.5 inch speakers. Offers Reverb/delay, plus chorus. Run about $250-$300 used, $500 new. About 20 lbs. Most natural sounding acoustic amp I personally have ever played through. There is also a AC 90-90 watts, harder to find. Both versions can be mounted on a speaker stand. For many years I played through (and still have) a Genz Benz Shenandoah 100, 12 inch speaker with additional tweeter. Lots of digital effects, but at 40+ lbs more of a haul. I have also heard that Shertler makes a great, small, light amp, but they run $1000-$1,200. Have also owned Fender Acoustisonic amp, my least favorite of all amps mentioned. The Roland AC was a real surprise, I did not expect that solid state amp to sound THAT good.
     
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  6. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

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    I have 2 Crate Limo's that I've used for acoustic gigs.

    They each have 2 channels and eq/effects, a 10 inch speaker and are battery/ac powered with a rechargeable battery.

    I bought both new aboiut 16 years ago and both still work well.

    Now, I don't normally use them except for specific gigs where there's limited ac power.

    For the last 6 years I use a Bose Compact 1 for most gigs (small rooms): or JBL EON 10's for larger, outside gigs where more power and dispersion is required.

    Everything I've listed here sounds excellent to my ears.

    IMO, a lot depends on your acoustic guitar PU and how it is eq'd.
     
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  7. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    The acoustic amp circuit seems to help eliminate feedback. It's also a very full range type often employing a tweeter and woofer.
    I've had a few, I dont like them that much for a normal guitar, even a Jazzbox. So if you perform with both types at a gig, it's something to consider.
    I had the Fishman Mini, it's good for what it is.
    I bought a slightly bigger Roland Acoustic Chorus, it was just as good, maybe better.
    I sold both intending to use a normal small tube amp much of the time as I went to using a Jazzbox a lot.

    I bought a Fender Acoustasonic 40 watt and it's almost as good as the Fishman really.

    Frankly I think the acoustic amps are over priced . They are just small SS amps really when it comes down to it.
     
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  8. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    Another satisfied Loudbox Mini owner here.
    Had mine for nearly 6 years.
    Hundreds of gigs.
    Had to return it to Fishman once for a bad pot that had shorted and was making all kinds of racket. Out of warranty and pretty dang expensive to do. But, it is still going.

    If and when it poops out again, I’m going to look into a Boss AD-10 and a powered loudspeaker.
     
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  9. cnlbb

    cnlbb Tele-Afflicted

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    You could spend a good chunk of money getting an acoustic image, acoustic solutions, etc... or just get a fishman like everyone else and sound perfectly fine. If PA's are available just get a decent DI from LR baggs and call it day.

    But seriously, don't start buying fancy acoustic amps and ruining it for the rest of us. We got a good thing going here.

    edit: if you do want the best though the godin acoustic solutions amps sound really damned good.
     
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  10. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Holic

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    Honestly I like the sound of my acoustic guitars through a Fender SR or SRRI. They sound great in my opinion. When I go to a gig I like to only have two amps. A primary and a Backup. The primary is usually my SRRI and the backup is normally my Peavey Heritage VTX. Both act fine with my Art & Lutherie and Yamaha acoustic Electrics. No distortion or feedback problems. I honestly have never found an acoustic amplifier that sounds as natural as the Super or the Peavey to my ear.
     
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  11. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    PA DI for years here with band. Room filling sound, and no boxiness.

    i’ve used a Marshall acoustic amp with extra mic and guitar inputs in a duo for a lot of years though. Easy to move around and loud enough to fill a bar. Fishman and others do similar.

    What context?

    Small group/duo bar/coffee shop type gigs or as part of band on stage?
     
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  12. harpdog

    harpdog Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I use my Bose S-1 Pro as an acoustic amp. It is designed as a P.A. with settings for reverb, high and low, as well as switch for mic, line, or guitar on 2 channels, and a 3rd channel for aux input. It is the most natural sounding, to my ear. Most of the popular acoustic amps I have tried have a digital ring to my ear, even without effects engaged.
     
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  13. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

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    DI straight into PA seems to be the favorite for a full band situation (a good sound guy really helps this).
    The Radial Stage Bug turned my so-so acoustic tone into a fantastic acoustic guitar. I used to use an old passive DI, and it never sounded that great. The Stage Bug uses Phantom Power.

    I can not rave about this thing enough. Best investment I've made to date for my old Guild (with a self installed Piezo).
    I play acoustic on about 50% of our set list. I use delay, chorus and compressor on the acoustic, sparingly. Sounds fabulous.

    To be fair to the OP, I've never played through a Acoustic Guitar amp. I've always been curious about them though.


    Upper left corner of the board. The bottom left (2 button black thing), is a ABY switch:
    20210108_181631.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2021
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  14. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    ^^^^

    +1 on a decent DI box if mixer/amp does not have right impedance input.

    i too use a Radial active Stage Bug.. brilliant on bass and my piezo equipped mandolin too.
     
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  15. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    Fishman loudbox is pretty decent. Tube amps are pretty
    much stuck in the mids, imho.

    Almost any solid state amp that allows for many freq
    will work.

    I had a crate 2x10 back in the day that was bomb for acoustics.
     
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  16. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Acoustic amps are basically compact PA systems. They’re flat, and full range. Usually utilizing at least a two way speaker system to achieve that full range clarity. To push the full range response, they generally utilize pretty decent wattage if they’re a performance amp and not just a dinky practice tool.

    I like mine because it covers a ton of ground. For solo gigs, I can plug in my guitar and mic, and it serves as my mixer and monitor in one tiny, portable package. I use the XLR out to connect to one of my JBL EON610 powered speakers, and I can easily cover pretty much any small pub or patio gig with minimal gear. It’s also a great Bluetooth speaker.

    Acoustic instruments really require a full range response to be amplified properly. Normal electric guitar amps don’t have the frequency range to get a suitable sound IMO.


    I have a Blackstar Sonnet 60. I got it for free as a bonus gift when I bought my Cole Clark acoustic, but I was gonna buy one anyhow. I wanted to try it as it advertises a much better bass response than most acoustic amps it’s size and wattage. I strongly dislike the little Fishman. To me they’re overly bright, have no real bass response, and sound clanging and nasally.

    I like the Blackstar much, much better. The reverb is better on the Fishman, for sure. But the reverb on the Blackstar is fine. Plenty useable. And the overall sound is much more pleasant to listen to.
     
  17. Ed Storer

    Ed Storer Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I've been playing through a Gallien Krueger -MB200 head into an Acoustic Image Contra EX speaker. It does a great job for acoustic guitar as well as for bass played at "coffee shop" levels.

    The Contra is a down-firing 10-inch woofer and a forward 5-inch mid/high speaker. The MB 200 is a 200-Watt bass head that weighs about 3 pounds and fits in the pocket of a gig bag.
     
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  18. Tferg

    Tferg TDPRI Member

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    Have owned a Marshall AS-50 as well as the Loudbox mini and currently a Bose S1 pro. Actually all were great. With the Bose I don’t notice that I am using amplification it just seems as though my guitar is louder. Transparent. Terrific vocal channels as well on these amps.
     
  19. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    A powered stage monitor (especially with a small built-in mixer and EQ) and an Acoustic preamp (if your guitar doesn't have one) would go a long way. Especially if you are into vocal with the guitar.

    If you're looking for something just to get you started, I picked up a Behringer AT108 for small jobs. You should be able to find one pretty cheap. It has a Mic input, guitar input and line-in. Probably not the best, but it could get you thinking about your next setup.
     
  20. bsman

    bsman Friend of Leo's

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    If you're only worried about guitar, any guitar amp with good cleans should suffice.

    If you want to play your acoustic and sing - some of the acoustic amps mentioned are perfect. I've had a Fishman Mini and Performer and Blackstar Super Fly and they're all fine for that job.

    If you're in a band situation - DI into a PA is your best bet.
     
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