Small Acoustic Amp

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I have a friend who is learning acoustic guitar and wants to get amped up.  I was going to suggest a Roland street cube or Fishman loud box, but I suspect that these would be a bit over the top for her needs.  I expect mainly home use.  I don't know anything about the smaller stuff on the market, for example the Roland cube lite.  Does anyone have any suggestions/recommendations?
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  • jellyrolljellyroll Frets: 2008
    Why does she need to amp up an acoustic for home use?
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  • Dude, the majority of posts on this entire forum are about gear and the acquisition of it.....and you ask why this person needs something.  She doesn't need to amp up at home at all.  But she is exploring the world of gear.  It is her choice.  Cheers.
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  • Just my 10p'orth, but none of the small, lower-powered, less expensive acoustic amps sound any good to me. Not like an acoustic, anyway. Though, to be fair, there are a few newer products out there that might be better - I last looked a couple of years ago.

    I've had a decent 'at home' sound from a Fishman Loudbox (it was at high volumes, crowded coffee bar levels, that I found it not to my taste). You don't have to play them loud and there is always the option of headphones. The Fishman was decent enough with an SM58, too. 
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  • jellyrolljellyroll Frets: 2008
    edited December 2017
    I'm asking the question because it seems relevant when giving the answer. If she just wants "an amp" with no real need to use it but fancies plugging in anyway, the answer to the question is "get any amp you like." 

    If the answer has parameters (she needs the amp to achieve X") then we need to know what "X" is.

    Dude.
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  • i would suggest she doesn't get an acoustic amp but buy a powered speaker pound for pound at the lower end of the market they sound better and have virtually the same features with the added bonus of being more of an all round piece of kit
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • Nothing wrong with a powered wedge especially if it has a top hat so you can stick it on a pole - but it does need decent EQ and if it is to be any use for live work also needs a mic input.

    The Marshall AS50D has all the electrical features but you can't put it on a pole and @ICBM says the power supply is a bit suspect, although I don't know anyone who's blown one up, and I've never blown mine up either. The 100W jobbie is better (he says) but for the usage you mention might be a bit OTT.
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  • I played the Fishman Loudbox (mini ?) today and thought it was good... the AER 60 edged it though, as you'd expect.
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  • Leftfield suggestion: the acoustic preamp channel on a katana. It ain't bad at all and means one amp for all things home. 

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  • I used to have a Marshall AS50 which was perfectly serviceable, but obviously not in the AER compact bracket. These can be picked used for £100 or less.
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  • i would suggest she doesn't get an acoustic amp but buy a powered speaker pound for pound at the lower end of the market they sound better and have virtually the same features with the added bonus of being more of an all round piece of kit
    What kind of acoustic pickup are you using? I've just tried to plug directly into some M Audio powered speakers with a passive piezo pickup and got very little in the way of volume.
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  • I use a Roland AC 60 which does most jobs.Also has can take 2 guitars or 1 with lxr for mic.Has most effects and in a nice wooden cabinet with carry case.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 29732
    edited December 2017
    I really like the Acus One that I just got, but it's not cheap.

    jellyroll said:
    Why does she need to amp up an acoustic for home use?
    I would assume so that she can use effects.


    The Marshall AS50D has all the electrical features but you can't put it on a pole and @ICBM says the power supply is a bit suspect, although I don't know anyone who's blown one up, and I've never blown mine up either.
    No, they don't blow up and it's not the power supply - it's that the power amp chip isn't capable of sustaining full power (especially if you put more than an acoustic guitar through it, some people use them effectively as a small PA system) without overheating and shutting itself down. I've never seen one actually blow the chip, the thermal protection does seem to work correctly - it's just a pain in the backside if it happens at a gig... and for me the first couple of times I came across it, since after it's cooled down it works fine again, and I spent quite a bit of time trying to find the 'fault'.

    i would suggest she doesn't get an acoustic amp but buy a powered speaker pound for pound at the lower end of the market they sound better and have virtually the same features with the added bonus of being more of an all round piece of kit
    What kind of acoustic pickup are you using? I've just tried to plug directly into some M Audio powered speakers with a passive piezo pickup and got very little in the way of volume.
    You won't get a usable volume or tone out of a passive piezo pickup with any amp with an input impedance of much less than 1Meg ohm - a typical line input on a powered speaker will be 10K or 47K probably - ie 50 to 100 times too low. You can use a dedicated acoustic amp, or get away with a clean electric guitar amp, although that won't sound right for other reasons. If the guitar has a preamp (or you use an external one) it will be fine, but without reverb it may still sound too dry.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 3159
    I've got a Fishman Loudbox Mini.  That seems to be best of the smaller ones to me, unless you want to spend AER/Acus kind of money.

    It's fine at low to moderate volumes.  I've never needed to really turn it up.  If I'm playing anywhere bigger I'll DI my acoustic into the PA.
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  • Many thanks all for your helpful comments.

    Apologies to @jellyroll for my spikyness earlier.  I rather took your question the wrong way.
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  • jellyrolljellyroll Frets: 2008
    BahHumbug said:
    Many thanks all for your helpful comments.

    Apologies to @jellyroll for my spikyness earlier.  I rather took your question the wrong way.
    No worries :)
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  • maltingsaudiomaltingsaudio Frets: 826
    edited December 2017
    i would suggest she doesn't get an acoustic amp but buy a powered speaker pound for pound at the lower end of the market they sound better and have virtually the same features with the added bonus of being more of an all round piece of kit
    What kind of acoustic pickup are you using? I've just tried to plug directly into some M Audio powered speakers with a passive piezo pickup and got very little in the way of volume.
    I use an active headway system on my acoustics, a passive piezo may struggle to give a decent level at line level. Looking at the M Audio active monitors they are just that so to use a piezo into them you will need some kind of pre amp probably. I was suggesting a powered speaker like say the Alto things which usually have a basic mixer built into them And aren’t far apart from an acoustic amp price wise
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • SammySammy Frets: 53
    Fishman Loudbox Mini can't be beaten for the price, plus it sounds better and more natural sounding than many of the more expensive well known small combos! I tried them all a few years ago in various shops. One particular large chain had nearly every smallish acoustic combo going, I tried nearly every model in there and I wasn't happy with any of the lower/medium priced ones up to about £600. The sales person then told me to go and try the Fishman Loudbox Mini, as they didn't sell it and bet I would love it. He was 100% right, to which I thank him for, plus it only cost me £299 and sounded better on both guitar and vocals, than a previous AER compact 60 I use to have! I also compared the Mini to the larger more expensive Fishman and to me it was much more natural sounding. Also plenty loud enough for acoustic gigs, I have played and sang in quite a large church hall and quite a few complimented that it was very clear and the sound was very good, though they didn't mention my playing!  =)    
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  • erky32erky32 Frets: 31
    Have a look at the Ibanez Troubadour T20 or T30. I A/B'd one against a Fishman Mini, and there wasnt that much in it, but the second hand Ibanez was around £100 and it works really well. I prefer it to my old AS50, especially for the mic eq, doesn't sound as boxey as the AS50 altho it only has one speaker & only half the size. They're easy to find at low prices.
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 14273
    edited December 2017
    This little Roland acoustic amp could fit the bill - I've used on with a Yamaha electro acoustic and it sounded very good.

    https://www.andertons.co.uk/roland-mobile-cube-ac-battery-powered-acoustic-guitar-amp-(psu-not-included-psb1u)-mobileac





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  • The loudbox amps are great (I had an artist), but the covering is like paper, one trip out of the house and no matter how careful you are it will tear.  If that matters I would avoid but they do sound good.

    Leftfield suggestion: the acoustic preamp channel on a katana. It ain't bad at all and means one amp for all things home. 

    Passable but I found it a bit like plugging into an eq'd electric amp.  Kind of hollow and not very acoustic.

    I think for anything other than novelty any full range system would be better.  Saying that, it might work better with a magnetic soundhole pickup, mine was a UST.

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  • BigMonkaBigMonka Frets: 1476
    If she’s just after something at the budget end then I’d recommend one of the gear4music own brand (Subzero) ones. I’ve got the 25W one and it can sound very good IMO, although I’d never use the chorus:
    https://www.gear4music.com/Guitar-and-Bass/SubZero-25W-Acoustic-Guitar-Amp-with-Chorus/NE6

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  • The Roland’s are excellent amps.I know it’s more expensive but the AC 30 and AC 60 are very good then you won’t have to upgrade later.
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  • If you can find an old Trace Elliot TA100?.......they're built to last, still sound great and can be picked up for little enough money these days.
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  • I've ordered a Fishman Loudbox Artist, they sound great, but I think the Loudbox Mini would do just fine,
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 29732
    dallcorp said:
    If you can find an old Trace Elliot TA100?.......they're built to last, still sound great and can be picked up for little enough money these days.
    But be sure to check that the reverb works. It's a little Alesis module and is not unknown to simply die - and is of course irreplaceable now.

    I've had a couple of these, one with the natural wood effect cabinet which seemed to sound better, but I have to say that they are quite dated sounding now and given the size and weight - and awkwardness to carry - and the possible reverb issue, I wouldn't buy one now unless it was really very cheap. There are a lot of better options now.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • AliGorieAliGorie Frets: 271
    edited December 2017
    Has he got a computer + sound system ? - then all he needs is an audio interface + garageband or the like.
    alternatively -
    I have an AER 50 which is a quality no fuss unit - I've seen then second hand go for £400 - an option ? 
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  • The Marshall and Roland Street Cubes are good. I have the ZT Lunchbox which is tiny, but great sounding.
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  • I use a Roland AC 60 which does most jobs.Also has can take 2 guitars or 1 with lxr for mic.Has most effects and in a nice wooden cabinet with carry case.
    I had one of these also.  Great for home use and VERY small venues.  AC90 for pubs and small clubs.  I thought it was a great amp for acoustic and voice.
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  • I can thoroughly recommend the Roland AC series. I have just recently purchased an AER which is about as top drawer as I want to go but I'm still keeping my AC-60, superb amps.
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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 442
    Alternative suggestion - if she just wants to play around with something at home what about a Blackstar ID Core Beam? 

    It's got an acoustic channel plus electric and four modulation settings - delay / reverb / chorus / phaser - plus you can play music through it via Bluetooth. 

    She can probably pick one up for £150. Useful piece of kit. 
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