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Amp recommendations - thinking about a Bose S1 Pro
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?