Fishman Aura Sixteen - mini review

big jilm

Member
Messages
4,215
Hi, all.

Here's the gear:
My guitar is a Gibson J29, with an LR Baggs Element. I run it into a Fishman Loudbox Performer amp, or a Mackie board with a pair of QSC K12's.



Playing for about an hour through the Fishman Loudbox at low (coffee house) volumes, this pedal does bring a miked "airyness" to the tone of the guitar. At full Aura, the quack is gone, and the tone is much fuller, bigger, and warmer. Much more '3d' if that makes sense. Dialed back to about 60% Aura, the tone is still quite good and feels like it would feed back less at bigger gig volumes. Switching the Aura off and on leads to a jarring tonal difference, for sure. The Element sounds a lot smaller and lifeless compared to the 'Aura-ed' tone.

Bottom line: my guitar sounds much better through the Aura pedal than it does without.

After playing for a bit, I scrapped Fishman's default images and downloaded a few to try. Here's the list:



My Gibson is a short-scale spruce topped guitar with rosewood back and sides and Gibson 1930's bracing with a mahogany neck, and rosewood fretboard and saddle. Tusq nut and bridge. J45 Auras do not sound right - I'm guessing because of their mahogany back and sides - my guitar looks like a J45, but doesn't sound like one. The closest Aura image I found was using a Martin HD28 miked with a Neumann U47 (so far). J50 images were better than J45's for some reason, but the Martin still sounds more like my guitar. Threw a Guild in there for fun, but it sounds tinny with my setup - not like my J29 at all, so it's just gonna sit there for now. The only Gibson Auras that had rosewood back and sides were the Auras for the Songwriter Deluxe, but those didn't sound close either. So, Martin it is.

This is some really neat technology. There are a lot of ways people use to get rid of that UST sound, and I'm sure there are better ways than this - but so far, I think that the Fishman Aura Sixteen is going to work pretty well (but ask me in a month or so!). I can see why the Fishman Aura Spectrum DI is a better buy, for sure - but this one was on sale, and I have a compressor and an EQ pedal if I need it.

I will work on some sound samples pretty soon, but for now I can recommend this thing. For the sale price Musician's Friend had on this, I think it's a hit, for sure.

Play on!

big jilm
 
Last edited:

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,481
Nice review. Congrats, enjoy.

My friend uses the Fishman Aura Jerry Douglas model with his Regal Duolian resonator guitar. He only uses one patch on the pedal, but vastly prefers the sound of his resonator with the Fishman than without it.


There are a lot of ways people use to get rid of that UST sound, and I'm sure there are better ways than this - but so far, I think that the Fishman Aura Sixteen is going to work pretty well (but ask me in a month or so!). I can see why the Fishman Aura Spectrum DI is a better buy, for sure - but this one was on sale, and I have a compressor and an EQ pedal if I need it.

My guitar is a Gibson J29, with an LR Baggs Element.


I became mildly interested in the T.C. Electronic BodyRez stomp, but after reading about it, my thinking brought me to the point of speculating on how far away it is from what I've been doing to warm up piezos for the last twenty years or so anyway - which is to use light compression and moderate boost/EQ.

My Larrivee LV-03E also has an L.R. Baggs Element. As hated as UST/piezo is for many, it remains the best and most useful and versatile platform for what I need to do. Acoustic-electric instruments are far more prevalent within my circuit than are electric guitars and tube amps anymore, and have been for quite some time, in fact. I hear, and occasionally have opportunity to play for myself, a lot of different systems, via folks I either work with or who are also in my circuit. To this point, I am convinced that it's quite possible to sound great or awful with most any pickup system and rig.

I've never played through any of the Fishman Aura pedals myself, but I know they're nice, and my buddy's resonator guitar certainly seems to benefit from it. Enjoy!
 

big jilm

Member
Messages
4,215
Nice review. Congrats, enjoy.

My friend uses the Fishman Aura Jerry Douglas model with his Regal Duolian resonator guitar. He only uses one patch on the pedal, but vastly prefers the sound of his resonator with the Fishman than without it.









I became mildly interested in the T.C. Electronic BodyRez stomp, but after reading about it, my thinking brought me to the point of speculating on how far away it is from what I've been doing to warm up piezos for the last twenty years or so anyway - which is to use light compression and moderate boost/EQ.

My Larrivee LV-03E also has an L.R. Baggs Element. As hated as UST/piezo is for many, it remains the best and most useful and versatile platform for what I need to do. Acoustic-electric instruments are far more prevalent within my circuit than are electric guitars and tube amps anymore, and have been for quite some time, in fact. I hear, and occasionally have opportunity to play for myself, a lot of different systems, via folks I either work with or who are also in my circuit. To this point, I am convinced that it's quite possible to sound great or awful with most any pickup system and rig.

I've never played through any of the Fishman Aura pedals myself, but I know they're nice, and my buddy's resonator guitar certainly seems to benefit from it. Enjoy!
I will say that as far as the UST's I've tried, the Element is one of the better ones to start with - at least to my ear. I've been messing with the Aura all morning, and it is really pretty remarkable. Again, I'm playing at lower volumes right now - not drummer loud, but so far the tone from the Element is vastly improved by it. It really does have a miked quality to it. Interesting piece of gear.
 

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,481
I will say that as far as the UST's I've tried, the Element is one of the better ones to start with - at least to my ear. I've been messing with the Aura all morning, and it is really pretty remarkable. Again, I'm playing at lower volumes right now - not drummer loud, but so far the tone from the Element is vastly improved by it. It really does have a miked quality to it. Interesting piece of gear.
Very cool, I might check the Sixteen out.

Agreed on the Element. I had high hopes for the L.R. Baggs 'Dual Source' system that is in my acoustic-electric twelve string. Unfortunately, the mic' portion of the signal was feedback-prone at stage volumes unless I deballed the EQ, and this is without a rhythm section. I wound up completely foregoing the mic' within a blend and instead opted to use the piezo exclusively. It is simply beyond me how someone in the real world effectively utilizes the mic' in that system with any sort of full bodied EQ, other than in extremely polite volume situations.
 

big jilm

Member
Messages
4,215
Very cool, I might check the Sixteen out.

Agreed on the Element. I had high hopes for the L.R. Baggs 'Dual Source' system that is in my acoustic-electric twelve string. Unfortunately, the mic' portion of the signal was feedback-prone at stage volumes unless I deballed the EQ, and this is without a rhythm section. I wound up completely foregoing the mic' within a blend and instead opted to use the piezo exclusively. It is simply beyond me how someone in the real world effectively utilizes the mic' in that system with any sort of full bodied EQ, other than in extremely polite volume situations.
Mics are tough live, for sure. I wish they did work at stage volume, but no dice (at least from my attempts). The Aura system has some 12 string settings - I haven't tried them yet with my stage acoustic (Ovation Celebrity 12 string) but I will, and I will report back.
 

CactusWren

Member
Messages
810
Interesting, I thought they got rid of those pedals and tried to replace them with the Spectrum, which is quite a bit more $. I have used one of the original models on and off, but it never seems to improve the sound enough to be worth it, at least live.
 

lp_bruce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,843
I have had an Aura Sixteen for a couple of years and I really think it performs as advertised. It takes a little tweaking to get the blend right, but it definitely improves my acoustic tone.

Peace,
 

jawgee

Member
Messages
103
Interesting, I thought they got rid of those pedals and tried to replace them with the Spectrum, which is quite a bit more $. I have used one of the original models on and off, but it never seems to improve the sound enough to be worth it, at least live.
I was trying to find more info on the Aura 16 on Fishman's site, but it's not listed there. Is this pedal discontinued?

Are images similar to impulse responses?
 

Pedro58

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,864
I have one and I won't do acoustic gigs without it. I have several settings for my Larrivee d'naught and a few for mandolin. It solves live micing/piezo issues for just about any acoustic instrument. I used to play in church with it every weekend, just about. I kept it there and plugged touring/visiting instrumentalists into it all the time with either their piezo equipped stuff or a clip on that the church owned. I have since moved to a new city and all of my live playing is electric, so I have not used it much lately. But I don't dare get rid of it.
 

Pedro58

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,864
I was trying to find more info on the Aura 16 on Fishman's site, but it's not listed there. Is this pedal discontinued?

Are images similar to impulse responses?
I think the 16 is gone, but still supported. I can still load images from Fishman's site.

I assume the technology is similar to IR's, but I'm no engineer.
 

cminor7b5

Member
Messages
150
I'm confused by the guitar/mic settings. Should I select Slot 8 if I have a Martin-ish D28-ish guitar or will Slot 8 make any guitar/pickup combo sound something like a Martin HD28 through a Neuman?
 

big jilm

Member
Messages
4,215
I'm confused by the guitar/mic settings. Should I select Slot 8 if I have a Martin-ish D28-ish guitar or will Slot 8 make any guitar/pickup combo sound something like a Martin HD28 through a Neuman?
You choose a setting that most matches the guitar you plug into it. If you have a D28 type guitar, set the pedal for a D28. This is not a rule, play with it and see what you like - but in general, that's the idea. I use an HD-28 Aura with my Gibson J29, because it sounds the most like the guitar unplugged (so far, anyway - I'm still experimenting).
 

lp_bruce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,843
You choose a setting that most matches the guitar you plug into it. If you have a D28 type guitar, set the pedal for a D28. This is not a rule, play with it and see what you like - but in general, that's the idea. I use an HD-28 Aura with my Gibson J29, because it sounds the most like the guitar unplugged (so far, anyway - I'm still experimenting).
Right. I think the intent is for you to pick a guitar model that is close to your actual guitar, but you should experiment to find out what sounds best for you.

Peace,
 

mustachio

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
224
I just bought a new on from MF two weeks ago. I love it. It's the best rig I've ever had acoustically. I have an OM and a D-18 and loaded 8 images for the dread and 8 small body images. So many to choose from. Generally, I like the Neumann mic settings, but there are a few other ones that are great too. People sometimes say it's tedious but I think it's fun tinkering around and seeing what sounds I can get.
 

big jilm

Member
Messages
4,215
I just bought a new on from MF two weeks ago. I love it. It's the best rig I've ever had acoustically. I have an OM and a D-18 and loaded 8 images for the dread and 8 small body images. So many to choose from. Generally, I like the Neumann mic settings, but there are a few other ones that are great too. People sometimes say it's tedious but I think it's fun tinkering around and seeing what sounds I can get.
It is fun! I like the Neumann tones the best so far as well.
 

weshunter

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,237
I was trying to find more info on the Aura 16 on Fishman's site, but it's not listed there. Is this pedal discontinued?

Are images similar to impulse responses?
Yes very similar to IR's as far as I can tell. They are discontinued. I am selling one and I'm selling it because I just run everything through my Helix using IR's.
 

jawgee

Member
Messages
103
Ahh, thanks, Wes. I was just going to post the question about IRs and acoustic images over on the Digital Modeling forum, but you answered it for me. Thanks!
 




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