What's a good acoustic guitar amp?

jzucker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
20,962
My son Andrew is looking for an acoustic amp. He tried out:

  • Fender® Acoustasonic™ SFX® II Acoustic Guitar Combo Amp
  • Behringer Ultracoustic® ACX1000 2x60W Acoustic Amp
  • Crate CA125DG Telluride 125W Acoustic Amp with DSP
  • Marshall AS50R Acoustic Amp
  • ROLAND AC 100 AC100 AC-100 ACOUSTIC CHORUS GUITAR AMP

None of them sounded great. The Roland probably had the most natural sound out of all of them. He wants to try the Fishman and the SWR but Guitar Center didn't have any of them in stock.

He's looking for something around 100 watts that has a seperate input for a mic...
 
T

tthompso7

Check out the AER compact 60 and any of the Genz Benz stuff. Genz has a wide range of amps, AER is on the $$$ side but is highly regarded among serious acoustic players for it's ability to reproduce the natural sound of your guitar.

I've owned the Compact 60 and Shen 200. In the end, direct to PA worked the best for me. Sometimes I'll use a Baggs PARA DI which works really well for me. I have a Froggy D with a Headway under the saddle pickup. Also like the Fishman Matirx Natural II. They sound good and consistant just about anywhere I plug in.


Compact 60 review with sound samples. These can be had used in the $700 range

Genz amps, pricing

Baggs PARA DI

Check ebay for all of this stuff too. It's loaded with Genz Benz and Baggs gear.
 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
42,063
Alot of folks here dig the JBL powered speaker but I like the SWR CA Blonde because you can turn off the tweeter and it becomes a perfect bass amp, too (essentially a Workingman's 12).

 
T

tthompso7

Yup....SWR makes good stuff too. Pretty sure I read that Trey Anastasio uses the California Blonde.
 
Messages
7,411
+1 on the SWR. My GF uses one for electric violin, keyboards, and I've used it for acoustic as well. Great bang for the buck.

The AER Acousticube sounds like a million bucks, but costs about that much as well. If you can find a used one, that's the way to go.
 

Ogre

Member
Messages
4,652
I use the Ashdown Acoustic Radiator I. It has a more natural sound than the AER Compact 60, and can be had new for less than $600. It is also lighter than the SWR amps.
 

erksin

Senior Member
Messages
23,127
The Baggs Para DI is an incredibly useful tool, especially if his guitar doesn't have many tone shaping controls on it.

If he's an electric player as well, the Baggs is also great for helping an acoustic sound more natural through an electric amp.

You might have him try a Roland JC-120 amp - plenty of pros use them as their main acoustic amps, and there is the added bonus of it being a great sounding electric amp as well.

The Carvin stuff also looks nice (AC-100?) - and has all the options you were looking for.
 

daddyo

Guest
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11,797
What about a powered speaker like Mackie and others make. That way it can be expanded into a PA system in the future. With an acoustic, the tone comes from the guitar so you want transparent amplification with a bit of tone tweaking. I think the acoustic guitar preamp/signal processors handle the effects/EQ better anyway.
 
T

tthompso7

Originally posted by daddyo
What about a powered speaker like Mackie and others make. That way it can be expanded into a PA system in the future. With an acoustic, the tone comes from the guitar so you want transparent amplification with a bit of tone tweaking. I think the acoustic guitar preamp/signal processors handle the effects/EQ better anyway.
I think a JBL EON or Mackie powered speaker would sound great with a PARA DI or just plain direct as long asthe speaker had some EQ. A cheap mixer would do the trick too if you needed to add vocals.
 

david eaton

Member
Messages
754
I have the SWR Calif. Blonde and really like it. I had also tried the Genz-Benz Shenandoah series at the same time (about 2002 or so) and liked those as well. I liked the sound of the SWR better which explains my choice.

The Fenders didn't do anything for me, really didn't sound all that natural to me.
 

Fred McMurray

Member
Messages
1,152
Ultrasound amps, as stated above, are worth looking into. AER are awesome, kinda pricey. FWIW, I had a surprisingly good experience with an SWR California Blonde which I borrowed several months ago. If I had to run out and get something today, I'd try the Ultrasound and SWR stuff side-by-side for comparisons.
 

fatback

Member
Messages
3,693
Last year I picked up a used Acoustic Image, Clarus head and an Aguilar 1x12 cab for under 6 bills. This mini rig has worked very well for me. It is small, portable, and very versatile. The Aguilar cab has a tweeter with a knob that lets you dial it in to taste. It sounds great with my acoustic instruments and also works well with my bass for home use and small gigs. It's a bit too pristine for electrics, but that soon may change...

Big news for Clarus users: The Fargen/Solloway team has cooked up a small tube pre-amp to warm up solid state and direct tones. I saw it at the Marin Guitar show last week and will definately be listening for more news to come.

Just for kicks, I'd love to hear an acoustic through the Fargan/Solloway jazz combo. That little amp had some amazingly lush cleans, without coloring the tone of the guitar. It also has the headroom to handle some heavy strumming.
 

Jim Martin

Member
Messages
309
Another vote for the AER. Hands down the best amplified acoustic tone I've heard. Spendy little suckers, though.
 

rh

Robo Sapien NoiseMaker
Double Platinum Member
Messages
6,950
Originally posted by fatback
Just for kicks, I'd love to hear an acoustic through the Fargan/Solloway jazz combo. That little amp had some of amazingly lush cleans, without coloring the tone of the guitar. It also has the headroom to handle some heavy strumming.
I should have one of those here in 3-4 weeks. I'll have to try it before deciding if I need one of the other amps mentioned here.
 

KRosser

Member
Messages
14,112
The SWR California Blonde sounds good but I always thought it was a drag to shlep something that big to an acoustic gig...to me it wasn't worth it, especially once I found the Trace TA 100, which I've been using for about 5-6 years and like much more.
 

chipdog

Member
Messages
665
I haven't listened to alot of the higher priced acoustic amps, but went into Rudy's in NY this week to try and tame my acoustic performance sound issues (which are many!). I played the AER Compact 60 and Acousticube IIIa and was completely blown away. The quality is amazing for such a small, light footprint. Short post - I bought an Acousticube IIIa and am using it on a Coffee House gig tomorrow night.
 

Swirl

Member
Messages
413
The Aer amps are great. I have a Rivera Sedona and I love it. I hate to carry it though.. its around 100lbs.... its too bad I like it so much.. I keep taking the punishment.
 




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