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Need advice for acoustic amp/PA upgrade...

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by JeffreyC, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. JeffreyC

    JeffreyC Member

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    Hey guys,

    I'm looking to upgrade from my Marshall AS50R. I currently use it for my acoustic (Martin D35 w/fishman piezo pickup - Natural 1 or 2 I think?) and vocals. I don't need a lot of effects - maybe just reverb and chorus.

    I was considering looking for a used California Blonde or maybe a Fender Passport PA. I'm thinking $800 or less, but I could go a bit more.

    Thanks.
     
  2. jbryant3

    jbryant3 Member

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    Jeff...do you play out a lot? Various size venues? There are a lot of great acoustic amps out there right now. Fishman Loudbox 100 is a great one and very light. (23 lbs) I play out a lot and no acoustic amp will ever sound as good as a PA in my opinion. You just can't get the coverage and tone. Here's what I use and it is a fantastic setup, light and easy to tote, plenty of power and you have 8 channels if you have other people join you. I have the Soundcraft Gigrac 600 powered mixer. Comes in a really nice, integrated carrying case. Google it for a pic. The speakers I have are Electrovoice ZX1-90's. Small 8" woofer and horn but these things kick butt! With good cables and a set of stands if you want them you're looking at about $1000 maybe a little more but you'll have something that any acoustic amp can't come close to and a bit more versatility. Granted it's not a just pick up one handle and tote scenario...but it sounds much better and is still very portable. Hope this helps. If you still want an amp let me know and I'll suggest a few besides the Fishman.

    Jim
     
  3. JeffreyC

    JeffreyC Member

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    No, not really - but I might in the future. For the most part I'm just looking for something for small rooms that sounds great (the Marshall sounds too tinny) and can be used for both acoustic guitar and vocal - just me. I have a powered mixer in my basement studio (Allen & Heath CP12) with some fairly decent Yamaha speakers - can't remember the model now. It sounds great for when I'm down there playing, but sometimes I like to play upstairs for family or like to just grab a small amp for playing at a friends or a party.

    I'll check out those options, thanks!
     
  4. JeffreyC

    JeffreyC Member

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    I thought I'd bump this since I'm still researching.

    Maybe I just need an LR Baggs DI/preamp box? Would that help me control the feedback with the Marshall better and EQ out the tinny sound?
     
  5. 62Tele

    62Tele Supporting Member

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    I've been looking for something small and have had several folks rave about Phil Jones AG100's. I haven't heard them myself but the concept is great although only a single channel. Anybody here use one of these?
     
  6. stuntcheeks

    stuntcheeks Member

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    I picked up the Fishman Loudbox 100 last May. I can't say enough about it. Along with being very portable, the sound is amazing. You can find plenty of information online about it as well as reviews.

    There are two channels, the first being 1/4" and the 2nd has 1/4" and XLR. I run my Taylor 814ce through it w/a Shure Beta 57a mice (i put a SM58 screen on it, though). I love the sound.

    I paid just under the price you said you'd like to be at. I'd go play one @ your favorite music store. Good luck!
     
  7. in a little row

    in a little row Member

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    I have not had particularly good luck with most acoustic amps Ive used (most of the well known on the market)...I liked the Rivera Sedona, and California Blonde OK...Id suggest a small PA set up...

    I have found a DI box to XLR to PA board the right set up for my acoustics, sometimes a preamp...
     
  8. VintageToneGuy

    VintageToneGuy Member

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    Yes a Para DI would enhance and thicken the tone some and there are other pedals that will do so. I have a Para DI and the BBE Acoustimax and both help alot. Even a good chorus pedal will take away the 'tinnyness' of some amps. A better direction to go, if you can swing it, is another amp. I'd find a store that carries some good acoustic amps that have a little size to them and give them a try. You mentioned SWR; I've never played through one, but I think you might be suprised if you got to try one. I play through a Roland AC90 and like it alot. I had the AC60 which has 6.5" speakers and I liked it, but it just didn't have enough volume to get up with the drummer in my group so I sold it and went for the AC90 which has 8" speakers and 30 more watts (ie, 15 per side) and it made a big difference. The Genz Benz and Ultrasound amps are getting high marks these days also.

    vtg
     
  9. mel

    mel Member

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    Hi JeffreyC, from someone new to the Forum :)

    I am currently on the same quest as you, looking for a combo with a meaty bottom end. I need more bass 'thump', and think that will only come from a combo with a 12" woofer. At the moment, I am trying to locate a Carvin AG100D and a Crate CA120D to try out. But they seem to be scarce in the UK. I am not interested in the many models that have have 1 or 2 8" drivers. You need a big speaker to reproduce bass in my view
    Both of these combos have a 12" bass driver and an adjustable HF tweeter, with 100W rms power. High power is another requirement in my book, as deep punchy bass ( this will include your righthand percussive dynamics as well) needs a lot of power to reproduce it cleanly.
    At present, I am using a marshall VS100R with one 12" speaker. This is meant for electric guitars I know, but it does give me the punchy bass I need in my band situation, which has neither bass guitar nor drums. The Marshall is not doing justice to the fine sound of the guitar of course, as it is meant for electrics, hence the search for a 'proper' accoustic combo with the same size speaker.
    hth
    Mel
     
  10. 62Tele

    62Tele Supporting Member

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    Well, my quest has been evolving. I decided that I really need at least two channels (voice and guitar) and portability will make it alot more useful. I was about to pop for two QSC powered monitors but the idea of 120# of monitors to haul around didn't seem too appealing. I also am in favor of something near 200 watts that can do the job for low volume stuff and still have enough power to serve as a monitor for full PA applications. So my short list has become:

    1) Schertler Unico (4 channels, phantom power, 185 watts, spring reverb, 32#s). You can get subs and a 180 watt sattelite or just run a line out to a PA.
    2) Genz Benz Shenandoah Pro (two channels, tube pre, a bunch of Alesis effects, 200 watts in the '07 version (50#s), 300 watt class D amp for the '08 version (37#), 300 watt 12" neo speaker)
    3) The new Baggs Core - sounds great on paper, and I'm a big fan of Baggs products, but I'm hesitant to buy the first models from a company new to the amp game. Kind of like the first model year of a new car. About the same money as the proven Schertler and Genz Benz's.

    Most likely will turn out to be the Schertler based on the rec's I've gotten to date and the versatility of the thing. I live in a small town so unfortunately it will either be a mail order extravaganza or a long drive before I can come to a conclusion. Anybody with any experience with these units?
     
  11. JeffreyC

    JeffreyC Member

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    Hey guys. I went ahead and bought an LR Baggs Para DI. I haven't tried it through my PA yet, but it did wonders for my acoustic sound going through the Marshall AS50R. The tinny sound is no longer there and although the Marshall has a notch button, phase button, and feedback control knob (frankly they don't work very well imo), the control on the Baggs has helped a ton! I'm getting a much more natural acoustic sound now.

    I think I will still upgrade the amp or go with a small PA in the future, but I'm really impressed with this little preamp!!!

    If I go with a powered speaker, will I have to buy a little mixer as well??
    I'll just be running my guitar and vocal. What's the best way to do this?
     
  12. 62Tele

    62Tele Supporting Member

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    You'll need a small mixer if you want to run a vocal mic, but for the guitar alone you should be able to go from the para DI to a powered mixer directly.

    I have to wonder if a lot of the tone improvement wasn't simply boosting you signal - does your guitar have an onboard preamp? Your original description kind of sounds like a really low output from the pickup.
     
  13. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I just saw this and the one thing I would say - for this or any other application - is AVOID the Passport. It isn't a bad-sounding system actually, but it is incredibly badly designed from a service point of view and if it ever goes wrong out of warranty you're stuffed.

    I strongly suspect that if Fender get any warranty repairs on them they simply replace the whole unit, because it's the only realistic option. It really is that hard to work on - so bad that after giving up trying to get at the dead parts in the only one I've been inside, I decided to send it to Fender UK, and they didn't want to know either. It's effectively unrepairable. I don't know how unreliable it is - it may be very good - but be aware that it's a liability once it's out of warranty.

    BTW, I am experienced with and not afraid of working on modern PCB-built modular amps. It's not that... it's the way everything is arranged inside which makes it almost impossible to get at anything without spending hours taking out stuff and undoing wiring looms you shouldn't need to. It maybe would have been possible to fix, but not economically.

    /PSA...
     
  14. TaylorPlayer

    TaylorPlayer Member

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    I have to say, for a small amp the UltraSound AG50 is a killer amp. Less than 30 lbs and makes your acoustic sound acoustic only louder. Has two channels with both balanced and unbalanced inputs. They can usually be found for around 400 clams used.
     
  15. jbryant3

    jbryant3 Member

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    I posted earlier about the small pa system I use but if you're looking at powered speakers that's a good option also. I'm using a 450 watt 12" woofer by Behringer that works great as my monitor. You can pick those up very reasonable. Get 2 with a little 4 channel mixer and you're set. Little room...take 1 speaker and the tiny mixer. Bigger room...take 2 speakers. The Behringer 12" provides a lot of good bass response that many acoustic amps are missing. 2 speakers and a small mixer should be well under $500.

    Jim
     

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