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Jinder

Acoustic amps...I need to buy one, but which?

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Hi all,

            I'm after an acoustic amp. High end, top quality, tour grade kit that will stand up to any and all road use and will sound good with vocals too. I've been looking at the Mesa/Boogie Rosette 300 1:10 and the AER Domino 3 primarily but am open to other suggestions. 

Budget isn't too much of a concern as much as quality, tonality and durability...this is something I want to use for years to come with no problems so I don't mind paying a little more.

I should add that I'm not interested in any Fishman stuff. I had a NIGHTMARE with their Loudbox Performer amps, went through three in 9mths which all suffered from blown op-amps and dodgy speakers. Lovely tone but not up to the job durability wise sadly.

Any and all advice gratefully received!

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Have you considered something like the Bose L1 or S1? I don't have any personal experience with them, but they seem very highly rated. 

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For small gigs I used a 50w UltraSound acoustic amp for a long time, but after a bought a much lighter Roland Street Cube amp, optionally run on 6 AA batteries, the UltraSound sits unused.  When I use my larger 600W sound system, the Roland Street Cube becomes my monitor.   There are two Roland Street Cube models and I used to think I should have bought the higher priced one, but the one I have has never not been enough...so no regrets.  But, I’d still probably recommend the higher priced one just to be sure it covers all amp uses.   Both have a mic jack (with a line or mic setting, plus an instrument jack.)

I should mention that when gigging I always make sure my Roland Street Cube sits on top of a 6-10 inch  plastic base (an upside down fruit crate or an upside down webbed plastic can), which helps it project out and up better than when sitting directly on the ground.  Although when I use it as a monitor with my larger system, I have no need to do that as it’s purpose is different as it is already on a monitor’s angle.

i should also mention that depending on what guitar I use, I usually have to adjust its bass and treble to get to my instrument’s sweet spot.  But, that’s why the knobs are there.  I never seem to have to adjust the midrange knob, regardless of guitars.  And, for the acoustic guitar  I always use the plain instrument setting, never the acoustic guitar setting or any of the other settings.  Just the instrument one, so the actual instrument’s sound comes through.  Occasionally, I might add a little reverb or delay, but only in rare outdoor sound environments.

 I carry mine in a suitcase with wheels that I bought and put it in there to store it and move it.   Everyone keeps mentioning Bose, but I haven’t been too impressed with its sound or its battery charging frequency need.  Although, it now seems to be the “one” to have.  But, I’d still take the Roland Street Cube over it.

My Roland Street Cube lasts 15 hours, sometimes 20, with 6 AA batteries that I just toss and replace as needed.   In spring, summer, autumn, I’m using it 6 days a week for outdoor events or restaurant patio gigging,, so that works best for me.  No time to charge it.

Just my experience.

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

 

Edited by QuestionMark

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Thanks guys!

I like the Bose stuff, definitely something to consider. Ultrasound amps sound great but are almost impossible to find in the UK, I'm not sure if they have a distributor over here.

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Trying to bump this again through all the spam...thanks for bumping earlier Dave!

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I use the Bose units, I have an S1-Pro for small coffee shops and an L1-Compact for big/loud rooms. I use 2 mics with the S1-Pro and will simply line out to the L1-Compact when it's needed.

I also own a Carvin AG100D, I've had it for nearly 2 decades. It still works fine. 12", tweeter and 100 watts, cool rig.

Jinder, if I really needed an acoustic amp, I'd have to try the Boogie, I've gigged Mesa stuff and loved the power and quality.

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I also have an S1, it's great,  do you use a pre-amp or anything infront of what you'll plan to uuse?

 I don't use a Mic like Murph does.  So that is probably a totally different set of params.  The Bose Tone Match settings do help, (the EQ is just Bass/Treble, but very effective) Mostly I've found depends on the guitar.   When put something like a tonedexter in front of it, you're all set.

It DOES work straight in too,  I've had to do things I had to go battery only.  So it was guitar(Sj200)/cable,  vocal mic, with the s1 on a stand behind me.   Worked great in those situations, no one had any problems hearing what was going on. 

They definitely pack a punch for their size.  Two of them would be deadly.

 also I think the AER stuff is top shelf,   but out of my budget..

 

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Can I ask what the reason for the amp is, Jinder?

Better monitoring for your guitar?

Guitar/vocal gig?

And why the ‘larger and louder’ Domino and Mesa models?

For myself, my Genz B 60 AND my friend’s AER 60 while fabulous for guitar, are a bit disappointing on first hearing your vocal if you are used to the slightly more ‘megolomanic’ vocal in a nice PA with plenty of proximity effect from something like a 58......

I am guessing wanting the amp is to do with hearing yourself more consistently?

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

Edited by BluesKing777

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Thanks all! I should clarify that I need the amp to cover both acoustic and vocals, so it needs to be at least dual channel. 

I use a Boss AD10 as the front end for my guitars and a TC Helicon Voicelive 3 with a Sennheiser condenser for my vocals.

Normally I just run into the two input channels on the back of my Alto 800w powered speakers (usually just one) but both of my Altos are 9yrs old now and are ailing. I'm after a more compact and versatile setup, but ultimately I can do all my tonal processing outboard if required, so huge mixing/tone shaping power isn't necessary. 

My main concerns are pro level tone and reliability...I had such a nightmare with the Fishman amps and I don't want any repeats of their onstage hari-kari business, very embarrassing!! 

I love the look and sound of the new Mesa Rosette 300 1:10, and I've had many years of primo service from Mesa electric amps in the past, but the 10" Rosette is very hard to find in the UK and would have to be ordered in with a ten day lead time. The AER Domino 3 is the flagship of their range and is a very powerful and versatile bit of kit, can be ordered for next day delivery and off the peg flightcases are available for them which is a huge plus for me. A great deal of friends and collaborators use AER kit and love it, which is always a plus, too.

Many of the amps that have been recommended to me here and elsewhere (SWR, Rivera, Genz Benz, Acoustic Solutions) aren't distributed in the UK and are almost impossible to find here sadly...I'm rather limited to AER, Mesa (in limited quantities), Marshall, Fishman, certain Fenders, Acus, Schertler (again in limited quantities) and a very small number of Henriksen and Genzler amps. 

Of course the option remains to replace my Alto speakers with a pair of new powered cabs and just continue down that road...I'd rather have my Altos serviced and semi-retired though and pursue the amp based solution.

The Bose line array units are brilliant, but I think to get the spec I'd want I'd end up spending more than I can afford...they're mighty expensive over here! For the L1 Model 2 with the B2 sub and T4 mixer I'd be north of £2500, which is a little out of my grasp budget wise. Terrific sound, though!

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13 minutes ago, BluesKing777 said:

 

Can I ask what the reason for the amp is, Jinder?

Better monitoring for your guitar?

Guitar/vocal gig?

And why the ‘larger and louder’ Domino and Mesa models?

For myself, my Genz B 60 AND my friend’s AER 60 while fabulous for guitar, are a bit disappointing on first hearing your vocal if you are used to the slightly more ‘megolomanic’ vocal in a nice PA with plenty of proximity effect from something like a 58......

I am guessing wanting the amp is to do with hearing yourself more consistently?

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

The main drive behind the amp idea is to have a more convenient and compact solution for smaller venue gigs that I can subsequently use as a monitor/personal mix that feeds to FOH for the larger shows. 

I find that with a big powered cab on a stand, some audiences "see" the gig as being too loud before I even turn the speaker on, and squirrel themselves away at the back of the room which diminishes the intimate, storytelling element to my shows that requires an up-close-n-personal audience. In my experience in the past, an amp is a far stealthier form of amplification! 

I've used a Compact 60 previously at a friend's gig, and was impressed with it although I agree that it was a touch boxier than ideal for vocals. I gather the Domino is the better amp for vocals as it has more spread and provides a slightly deeper soundstage with the extra 8" driver and tweeter...I may be wrong though!

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10 hours ago, Jinder said:

My main concerns are pro level tone and reliability...

 

 

10 hours ago, Jinder said:

I love the look and sound of the new Mesa Rosette 300 1:10, and I've had many years of primo service from Mesa electric amps in the past, but the 10" Rosette is very hard to find in the UK and would have to be ordered in with a ten day lead time. 

 

10 hours ago, Jinder said:

The Bose line array units are brilliant, but I think to get the spec I'd want I'd end up spending more than I can afford...they're mighty expensive over here! For the L1 Model 2 with the B2 sub and T4 mixer I'd be north of £2500, which is a little out of my grasp budget wise. Terrific sound, though!

 

It's only money.  And what's a few days wait.

Let's all help Jinder spend his money.....

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If you want a great vocal sound look no further that Schertler. I've been using the Schertler Roy for my PA this year and it's an amazing sounding amp. It's handled every room I've played without breaking a sweat. The Roy is their biggest amp but they make different amps in smaller sizes 

 

I own a music store and I have all of the Schertler amps in stock so contact me if you're interested.

Added: I see you're from the UK, someone over there must have them in stock

 

20190602_170858.jpg

Edited by The dman

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After much deliberation, I ordered the Mesa Rosette. I decided that 300w in mono is going to give me more headroom than the twin 100w amps in the Domino running in stereo. 

I love the quality of Mesa gear and the fact that it was designed by the same guy who was behind the Genz Benz amp design, plus their customer service has been superb when I enquired directly to Mesa about the amp's suitability for the purpose I require, and their 3yr warranty gives me peace of mind. 

I'll try it and see how it fares-as with either option, I have a 14 day returns window so if I don't get on with it, back it goes.

It should land on Monday so I'll report back! Thanks so much to you all for your thoughts and comments 🙂

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Cool!

Hmm...300 watts on 11 would sort out the people next door to my place!

They don't care for my Genz Benz 60 much, depending on what time I play it. 🌛

Mesa should be 300 watts sounding like 900, if it is anything like my face peeler Boogie 22 watt which sounds like ???

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

Edited by BluesKing777

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18 hours ago, BluesKing777 said:

 

Cool!

Hmm...300 watts on 11 would sort out the people next door to my place!

They don't care for my Genz Benz 60 much, depending on what time I play it. 🌛

Mesa should be 300 watts sounding like 900, if it is anything like my face peeler Boogie 22 watt which sounds like ???

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

Yeah I reckon it should be punchy and plenty loud enough! There seems to be a big focus on huge RMS ratings on PA/pro audio kit at the moment, I have been through an absolute maze of choices and options with regard to this purchase and am seeing that powered speakers rated at 2000w a piece are commonplace, with lower powered stuff considered to not give "enough projection" or "enough penetration".

My thoughts are that within a finite space, there is only so loud an amplified acoustic guitar can be without feedback becoming a major issue. I have a 50w Vox Escort electric amp from the '70s which is monstrously loud and clean and will cut through the most devastatingly loud rock group onstage. I know increases in wattage aren't linear, but why I would have any need for a powered speaker with a wattage rating forty times greater than that of my extremely grunty Vox is beyond me. 

 

300w in mono SHOULD be enough for what I need. I used a Mesa Studio 22 for years and that was, as you said, face peelingly loud! I know it's valve rather than solid state so not an apples-apples comparison, but a valid one nonetheless. 

 

I'll report back! 

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Well... the Mesa came this morning! 

...and is going back tomorrow morning.

It's beautifully made and well thought out in terms of spec and options, and sounds GREAT, but unfortunately it doesn't jive with the way I sing at all. There is a certain frequency in my voice which turned the 'limit' light on and sent the power amp into distortion at anything above moderate bedroom levels. 

I've had much better volume and headroom from AER Compact 60s I've tried in the past, and the Mesa is rated at 5x the wattage! Very strange and disappointing. 

If I'd tried it blindfolded, I'd have put the useable output power of the Rosette at around 40w. Playing my SJ200 (which now has a Sunrise in it, the highlight of last week!) through it, even hitting certain notes on the G string with some Nic Jones style forceful picking made the amp clip.

I'm not sure where Mesa are aiming this amp, market wise. It's a huge amount of money to spend on a bedroom amp, and who needs an acoustic amp for their bedroom anyway? Nobody records with these things unless looking for a very specific tone, and I wouldn't say it was useable in any conventional way for live work. 

Anyway, it's going back to the VERY helpful folks at GAK in Brighton and is being replaced with an AER Domino 3. If that doesn't cut it (although I suspect it will!) I'll return that and buy a pair of QSC K10.2 units.

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To be honest Jinder, I've never heard an acoustic amp that does vocals very well. I think that's why the Bose units are so popular. 

I have the little S1-Pro with 2 mic channels, and it's become my go to everything with resonator, mandolin and guitar and of course vocals. Even some banjo once in a while. I can line out to my L1-Compact for a pretty large room. Anything larger would have the full p.a.

Best of luck !

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On 8/13/2019 at 8:51 PM, Murph said:

To be honest Jinder, I've never heard an acoustic amp that does vocals very well. I think that's why the Bose units are so popular. 

I have the little S1-Pro with 2 mic channels, and it's become my go to everything with resonator, mandolin and guitar and of course vocals. Even some banjo once in a while. I can line out to my L1-Compact for a pretty large room. Anything larger would have the full p.a.

Best of luck !

 

So what are the vocals like in the S1?

Acoustic amps and vocals, to me = 🐷

I have a Genz Benz 60 stereo which I bought at the turn of this century - acoustics and various pickups I try sound pretty good, but it doesn't matter what I do my vocals sound horrid in it - I need all the help I can get. I did a few years as vocalist in a rock band many years ago and the guitar player owned (and hired out) his full concert rig and used smaller configs at various gigs but the vocal always sounded sensational - absolutly huge lunatic megolamaniac full sounding with plain old SM58. Great big beautiful boomy Bass boxes and horns and mids and Phase Linear amps and, and, and...- delightful!

Now I returned to the little  Genzer this week a few times after reading Jinder's adventures. No dice - Genz is still horrible.

So I have been enjoying the vocal/guitar sounds I get in my Boss VE8 in Sennheiser headphones with some of my (unmentionable pickup guitars) plugged direct and a Shure SM58 also direct.....so I braved it just a minute ago - ran a line out to the Genz from the Boss VE8, thinking maybe, just maybe the good sounds I am getting in the Boss will just magically get louder in the amp. No Dice!  Got a nice sound down very quietly but as soon as I turned the master up a smidge, uncontrollable feedback and notch filters on amp or Boss did zip. But even down low, the vocal was exactly as feared/remembered.

Forget it.

Maybe get a Boss VE8, Jinder and just wear nice headphones while you play and enjoy your sound - won't need monitors and the FOH gets the line out and whatever they get.....

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

 

 

Edited by BluesKing777

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