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Amp recommendations - thinking about a Bose S1 Pro

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CryptidCryptid Frets: 99
My only acoustic amp for the past 9 years has been a Fishman Loudbox Mini; it's been a reliable little workhorse with a 'decent' sound. I certainly can't complain about the value for money it's given me. It stopped working the other night (power but no sound) and although it's probably repairable, I'm considering an upgrade. 

Pickups in my guitars are Trance Amulet M-VT and Baggs Anthem. I accompany a choir and smaller vocal ensemble, mostly strumming. We rehearse in a hall and perform in a variety of venue sizes, as well as outdoors. I've also started doing solo gigs with guitar and vocals. I prefer not to use an external preamp or EQ for a simpler life and quick setup.

The Fishman coped pretty well - at larger venues with a PA I'd use it as a monitor. It did sound strained, barky and unrefined when turned up and had a certain character to the tone, especially the mids, which I appreciated less and less as time went on. It seems to make cheap piezo pickups sound someway acceptable but doesn't allow my more expensive pickups to shine like I know they can. 

I'm after something with more clarity and air that also sounds good with a mic (vocals through the Fishman sound truly awful IMO). Something of a similar size and weight would be preferable. 

AER Compact 60 seems the obvious choice. I've played guitar through one and was impressed, and have heard they sound great with vocals too. A little more than I wanted to spend but they have a solid reputation. 

I keep looking at the Bose S1 Pro. The price is attractive and I like the battery option (I borrow a mate's Roland AC33 twice a year for gigs with no access to power). I also like the idea of a wide horizontal sound dispersion which I think would work well for the choir rehearsals. There's less tone-shaping options and no mid control. Whether or not that would be an issue without resorting to an external EQ I don't know. For what it's worth, I like the sound of both pickups straight into a PA with a flat EQ. 

I've also considered a Hughes & Kettner ERA 1, which is apparently similar to the AER but cheaper. They seem pretty hard to find.

I've found a shop near me that stocks both the AER and the Bose. Will head up there to compare them next week. 

Any thoughts? Anyone happy plugging straight into a Bose S1 Pro? Other strong contenders I'm missing?
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Comments

  • shufflebeatshufflebeat Frets: 43
    I use the s1 mainly as a monitor for duo gigs or a drum monitor for band gigs. It works brilliantly in both roles.

    One complaint I do hear from others is that a mic plugged directly doesn't have enough signal level to make the most of the capability of the s1, so a preamp or mixer is considered essential in most circumstances. I've just bought a used ART dual pre for this and other duties but haven't had the chance to try it yet.

    As far as EQ is concerned there is a switch on each of the two main channels with EQ presets for both guitar and vocal. This is quite effective, although I prefer to do my own and leave it flat.
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 7785
    The AER compact 60 is OK and amazing for it's size. Internally it's quite complex and can go wrong. The German service department though does accept repairs and their prices are reasonable. 
    I actually like the Bose L1 for acoustic gigs. With acoustic and vocals there's nothing below 100Hz ish so the system works well, has a superb dispersion pattern and is very reliable. We have had 3 systems in use since 2010 and none of them have ever gone wrong.  
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 7423
    edited May 13
    Will be following this thread as I fancy one of these at some point in the future for my piano playing wedding gigs (would also then get used for acoustic guitar and singing I guess as well, when I get the chance to), though I was told at some point they aren't good for the lower notes. My current amp isn't great at the low, middle or high notes
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  • MellishMellish Frets: 409
    edited May 13
    I never use an amp. When gigging I use mics provided by the venue. 

    My Gibson. Dove Original has all its electronics, yes, but I'll never use 'em. 

    It's not that I dislike amps, it's just that I'm much more at home with a mic for me and one for the guitar  


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  • TheMadMickTheMadMick Frets: 103
    I was going to start another thread but this seems to serve the purpose.

    If you think about an electric guitar player (especially solid bodied electrics) they don't make much of a sound. The guitarist tailors the sound using various combinations of pick ups, effects and the amp they use trimmed how they want it.

    Acoustic players, by and large, try to get the sound of the guitar unamplified - or a close approximation to this. This is silly from 2 points of view:

    a) it is physically impossible to reproduce the acoustic sound of the guitar because of all the hardware - specifically, the "sound" of the amplifier and the shortcomings of the speakers. In other words, on a hiding to nothing.

    b) the sound the listener hears is different to that which the guitarist hears. The guitarist gets quite a lot from the side of the guitar (think about the geometry) whereas the listener gets most sound from the front of the guitar. I won't even go into the effect of the environment which dominates most of this anyway.

    In my view, unless you are doing a guitar recital, then go for a sound which is robust and pleasing. I say that especially as I love the sound of my Marshall AS50D which someone else gave a slating elsewhere. It's what pleases you and take a leaf out of the electric guitarists book and use what you've got to get what you like.

    For Cryptid, playing against a choir, all you really need is a nice sound for them. You'll barely be heard most of the time and if you are heard above the singers, you're likely doing it wrong in my view.
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  • CryptidCryptid Frets: 99
    Thanks for the input. I've got my Loudbox Mini working again (compressed air blasted into the input sorted it). I'm still going to try an S1 Pro when I get the chance to see what they're like - it seems like it'd be a really useful bit of kit, even with its limitations. I do like the thought of having a small and light, battery-powered unit than be used an amp, vocal PA or monitor, depending on the situation. Also the possibility of slaving it from my Loudbox Mini for reinforcement or monitoring. 

    @Mellish I still like to use a mic on gigs where I'm sitting and accompanying a solo singer. Impossible with the choir as I'm conducting and singing at the same time as playing - moving around, gesturing any way I can and generally rocking out.  

    @TheMadMick I largely agree with what you're saying, although I'm not so much trying to achieve the "unamplified tone of the guitar but louder", but rather a sound that I personally find inspiring, musical and appropriate for the material. The more I like the sound that I'm making, the more I enjoy the experience. If I don't like the tone I find it distracting and harder to concentrate on leading the choir. My OCD makes that effect a lot worse. 

    It's important for the guitar to sound consistently good for the singers too. This is why I'm thinking a Bose S1 might be a good idea with its wide horizontal dispersion pattern; in most applications with the choir it would be facing the singers - either in rehearsals or used as a monitor at gigs. Post-covid, they do like to spread out a bit more. 

    The guitar does play a bit more a prominent role in this choir than you might expect. There's a lot of pop, disco and soul and my guitar arrangements are geared towards replicating the feel, groove and harmony of the original recordings, including intros, hooks and breaks. It's very 'guitar-driven' but making sure the voices aren't overpowered is important, or course. 
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  • MellishMellish Frets: 409
    edited May 13
    @Cryptid ; do what works for you mate. I was only saying what I do. It may not suit others  ;) 
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  • surfguy13surfguy13 Frets: 113
    Just seen this thread.  I recently bought and ACUS One 'For Strings' 6T.  Just mind-blowing amp.  I have been through all the usual suspects over the last few decades and the best to date was my old Trace Ellliot 200 watt acoustic combo.  However, it was huge, weighed a ton and wasn't a patch on the ACUS.  I won't wax lyrical about it but suffice to say that it is the most natural sound imaginable and beat the AER equivalent hands down.  ACUS are made in Italy, not the Far East, and are the acoustic equivalent of Markbass. 

    This is it: ONE FORSTRINGS 6T (acus-sound.it)


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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 8915
    Unless you really want effects like chorus or reverb on the amp, I'd be tempted to just buy a decent active PA cab.
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  • surfguy13surfguy13 Frets: 113
    crunchman said:
    Unless you really want effects like chorus or reverb on the amp, I'd be tempted to just buy a decent active PA cab.
    Totally agree, dedicated acoustic amps are fairly expensive and an active PA cab won't necessarily be.  Really versatile bit of kit.
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