Six of the best – Acoustic amps
Modern acoustic performers need great sound and onboard effects in a portable package. Here’s our pick of the best solutions…
Ashdown Woodsman Parlour
Ashdown’s Woodsman amps are housed in attractive cabinets and combine modern features with prices that won’t be beyond the reach of entry-level players. The Parlour is the smallest amp in the range, with an eight-inch Celestion driver and 25-watt mic and guitar channels, each with volume, bass, mid, treble and reverb controls. The feature list is rounded out by phase reverse and feedback-combating notch filters. At 4.25 kilos, it’s a lightweight, portable amp for open-mic nights and small gigs at a price that makes it a serious contender.
The A1+ is a great value-for-money option for the gigging acoustic player. You get two identical instrument or mic channels with EQ sections, phantom power and a separate aux input, all of which can be used simultaneously. Laney says the A1+ has increased headroom from its 80-watt power section and improved frequency response thanks to the high-quality dome tweeter and eight-inch bass driver. There’s an anti-feedback section, 16 digital effects types and balanced XLR DI output. The tough tilted-back wedge-shaped `Kickback’ cabinet and built-in pole stand mount make this a versatile onstage performer.
Yamaha’s THR series amps take space-saving to the next level, and are ideal for the acoustic player who wants to practise and write songs on the move. The THR5A is designed specifically for electro-acoustics and has emulations of different mic types, such as condenser, dynamic and tube, enabling it to recreate a versatile range of steel-string and nylon tones. The effects section covers reverb, chorus and compression and it can double as a dock for your mp3 player or an audio interface, which makes the THR5A a useful tool for recording too.
AER Compact 60 3
This third incarnation of AER’s popular little acoustic amp has separate channels for guitar and vocals, meaning it’s ideal for singer-songwriters playing smaller venues. Despite weighing just 6.5kg, the Compact 60 packs in an eight-inch twin-cone speaker, delivering a plentiful 60 watts of solid-state tone. Take into account a digital effects processor with two reverbs, delay and chorus and it’s easy to see why this has become a go-to choice for acoustic players seeking great sound in a small package.
Fender Acoustic SFX
Fender’s handsome-looking new acoustic amps are lightweight, compact combos designed to deliver a clear acoustic sound. The SFX has two channels, each with an 80-watt output, and offers Fender’s Stereo Field Expansion technology, along with onboard reverb, delay and Vibratone effects. The carry handle also acts as a cradle for mobile devices and there’s an aux input, feedback-reducing phase switches, line output and two-button effects bypass footswitch. The smooth wooden exterior, aside from looking
a million dollars, is designed to optimise sound projection.
Trace Elliot TA200
The TA200 boasts a highly impressive spec list and crams four five-inch Celestion speakers into a still fairly modest profile that’s easy to transport. It throws out 100 watts per channel, giving it the feel of a miniature PA system. The selection of effects is impressive, too, offering stereo chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo and various delay types, and you get Trace Elliot’s Shape circuit and auto-compressor, plus a six-function footswitch. Lo-trim, hi-trim, gain and notch filter controls and six-band graphic EQ make this a must-try selection for any acoustic performer.
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