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Jinder

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

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Interesting that sometimes AER amps are mentioned. I know them mostly from Jazz Sessions, cause most of the "furniture guitar" players (... ES175, L5, ...) appeared with AERs from the 60 to Domino - and they are LOUD  with the AERs. But of course they are not using it for vocals. I know one Henriksen (this is a nice small amp), there is only one source in Germany. And I do not like AERs in the sessions as I am a die-hard Telecaster picker if I am using electric axes. The AERs sound very thin with a tele - as the L5-pickers always take all low frequencies out by the EQ :rolleyes: to avoid destruction of the loacation by the mighty signal they get from their boxes. Furtunately some of them switched to Fender tube amps in the last years.

Hughes & Kettner builds acoustic amps which should be quite good - at least following the reviews in guitar magazines. Schertler is always a topic.

I have an ACUS One 8 with the small "mixer" on the top for some weeks as I have tested the small Fishmann at the thomann store and needed something with more power. The ACUS design is quite stark and the amp is rather heavy an not too small, but it works for my Gibson acoustics. I have checked one of the cannels with a SM58 - it works, but a real PA-Box sounds better. So good enough for small sessions but not the thing Jinder is looking for.

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The AER Domino 3 arrived this morning. In terms of testing in the house, it sounds superb. Clean with great clarity, plenty of volume and far more detail with my Sennheiser condenser that I use live than either my Altos or the Mesa. Tried it with my SJ200 (Sunrise), '41 Reissue SJ100 (MagMic) and Hummingbird 12 string (K&K) and all guitars sounded crisp, warm and detailed. 

First gig with it is tonight. Really looking forward to trying it in a real world situation. 

Interestingly, it came with a brochure detailing the rest of the AER range, including the very appealing Compact XL which is of a similar size to the Compact 60, but has a driver and tweeter system and puts out 200w with significantly increased volume and headroom.

 

If (and I don't anticipate that there will be) there are any volume/headroom issues with the Domino, I'd consider returning it for the Compact XL. The extra channels of the Domino are great though, and it will be interesting to see how the stereo 2x100w system works in earnest.

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Jinder, I wish you all the best for the Gig and let us know how the Domino worked.

But I‘m shure it will ...

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Well first time out with the Domino went very well indeed-it's a great sounding amp, as is to be expected at the price point. 

I'm not sure why AER stuff divides opinion for vocals-the Domino is an absolute joy to sing through with my Sennheiser condenser and is SO much better sounding than my old Alto powered speakers. Crisp, clear, very hi-fi and detailed but not coloured. Absolutely 10/10 in that regard. It's unforgiving in as much as every inflection and expression is reproduced, whereas my woofly and indistinct Altos tended to hide more discrepancies, but 15+yrs as a session singer has taught me to adapt swiftly, so I just had to focus a little more on tuning and phrasing. This isn't a bad thing at all-quite the opposite!

Guitar wise, my Sunrise equipped SJ200 sounded excellent, although again the accuracy of the AER meant that I realised my guitar was a little fret-buzzy and would benefit from a setup (the action dropped considerably when I took out the Matrix Infinity that was in it before!). Overall though, a great guitar sound. The amp swallowed looping capably and didn't shy away from percussive playing or distort/compress noticeably.

Another huge bonus is that with my leads, mic and AD10 in my backpack, I was able to carry in an entire gig's worth of kit in one trip on my own. A big plus for me last night in particular as I arrived at the gig in a howling storm!

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Very happy for you, Jinder.

Finding the sound in your head is a lifelong hunt that appears to bob and weave from time to time making it quite the challenge.

My best.

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Jinder,

Thank you for your report. The Domino 3 is a quite expensive acquisition, is the equivalent value of a nice Gibson acoustic guitar. It should be reliable, at least I have not heard any complaints from the Jazz guitar pickers mentioned above.

Doc

 

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12 minutes ago, docr said:

Jinder,

Thank you for your report. The Domino 3 is a quite expensive acquisition, is the equivalent value of a nice Gibson acoustic guitar. It should be reliable, at least I have not heard any complaints from the Jazz guitar pickers mentioned above.

Doc

 

Sorry, I'm not knowledgeable on Gibson acoustic amps - for my education - what would you consider to be an equivalent to the Domino 3 in your opinion?

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billroy,

I took the prices from the "thomann" Website (www.thomann.de --> there is an English Version to choose), Thomann is the biggest internet store for instruments and equipment in Germany and maybe in Europe with 1.560 employees at the moment, they have a huge store close to the City of Bamberg which I am visiting from time to time - and always come home with new gear ... you know how things go :rolleyes:.

Back to the amp. The most expensive acoustic amp you find there is the Domino 3 for 2.799 Euro - which is a little more than a new J45 Standard costs in Germany at the moment. AERs cost always more than other acoustic amps (maybe Henriksen is in the same range, but very difficult to buy in Europe), but you see AERs typically together with professionell musicians who need a high grade tool or with amateuer guys who have enough money for a L5 just to play it in some Jazz Jam Sessions.

The next "cheaper" acoustic amp in thomann´s list is the L.R.Baggs Synapse - I never had the Chance to see or hear one in reality - it costs 2.399 Euro, followed by the MESA BOOGIE Rosette 300 Two Eight - Jinder has described his experience with I think another version of the Rosette 300 - it costs 1.999 EURO. There is not much choice in this price range, next is AER Domino 2.A with 2x 60 Watts insdead of 2x 100 Watts for 1.799 EURO and the 10" Version of the MESA BOOGIE Rosette - 1.758 EURO.

Leaving the AER - MESA BOOGIE field to lower Prices leads to the first Schertler amp - which was mentioned somewhere in this thread. Schertler from Switzerland has an excellent reputation and they build fine things like modular, complete anlog mixers or acoustic amps. The Schertler Roy with 400 Watts and two 8" Speakers costs 1.699 Euro. The next 4 acoustic amps are different AER versions - down to 1.249 Euro.

So it is hard to say what could be equivalent as my knowledge of acoustic amps is of course limited. But with the exception of switiching to active PA boxes or "column"-PAs like the BOSE or other typical constructions I have seen nothing with 4 channels and the high power Output of the Domino. One of our Jazz Session  L5-pickers even uses a Domino with an effect board for electric guitars if he wants to play other styles than the typicall Wes Montgomery style.

I want to hand over the question to other forum members - I am shure there are high end acoustic amps existing which are not known here.

Doc

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4 minutes ago, docr said:

billroy,

I took the prices from the "thomann" Website (www.thomann.de --> there is an English Version to choose), Thomann is the biggest internet store for instruments and equipment in Germany and maybe in Europe with 1.560 employees at the moment, they have a huge store close to the City of Bamberg which I am visiting from time to time - and always come home with new gear ... you know how things go :rolleyes:.

Back to the amp. The most expensive acoustic amp you find there is the Domino 3 for 2.799 Euro - which is a little more than a new J45 Standard costs in Germany at the moment. AERs cost always more than other acoustic amps (maybe Henriksen is in the same range, but very difficult to buy in Europe), but you see AERs typically together with professionell musicians who need a high grade tool or with amateuer guys who have enough money for a L5 just to play it in some Jazz Jam Sessions.

The next "cheaper" acoustic amp in thomann´s list is the L.R.Baggs Synapse - I never had the Chance to see or hear one in reality - it costs 2.399 Euro, followed by the MESA BOOGIE Rosette 300 Two Eight - Jinder has described his experience with I think another version of the Rosette 300 - it costs 1.999 EURO. There is not much choice in this price range, next is AER Domino 2.A with 2x 60 Watts insdead of 2x 100 Watts for 1.799 EURO and the 10" Version of the MESA BOOGIE Rosette - 1.758 EURO.

Leaving the AER - MESA BOOGIE field to lower Prices leads to the first Schertler amp - which was mentioned somewhere in this thread. Schertler from Switzerland has an excellent reputation and they build fine things like modular, complete anlog mixers or acoustic amps. The Schertler Roy with 400 Watts and two 8" Speakers costs 1.699 Euro. The next 4 acoustic amps are different AER versions - down to 1.249 Euro.

So it is hard to say what could be equivalent as my knowledge of acoustic amps is of course limited. But with the exception of switiching to active PA boxes or "column"-PAs like the BOSE or other typical constructions I have seen nothing with 4 channels and the high power Output of the Domino. One of our Jazz Session  L5-pickers even uses a Domino with an effect board for electric guitars if he wants to play other styles than the typicall Wes Montgomery style.

I want to hand over the question to other forum members - I am shure there are high end acoustic amps existing which are not known here.

Doc

thank you sir - i appreciate it!

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Well, this took an unexpected turn...sadly channel 3 of my Domino doesn't work properly, so it has to be returned. The store don't have a replacement unit so I had the option of a refund or sending to AER for repair under warranty. 

I'm not of the mind to drop that kind of money on something and to then be without it for several weeks during a warranty repair, so I went for the refund. 

I really only require two channels, so I've ordered an AER Compact XL, which is 200w (as opposed to the Domino's stereo 100w power amps) and is smaller, lighter and louder than the Domino. If there are any issues with the XL I will probably ditch the idea of an acoustic amp and go for a pair of powered speakers, but I REALLY hope that the XL will be the end of my search!

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That´s a real shame! Even high-end amps have quality problems. But - the Compact XL looks nice, 4 kg less weight, but only two channels - and about 1.000 Euro less money. It is interesting that the Compact XL is louder as it has only one 8" speaker.

I can understand that you do not want to wait weeks for a repair especially in this price range. Had a smiliar problem some months ago - the brandnew Fender 62 Princeton Chris Stapleton I have bought worked for 5 minutes at home (have tested in the thomann store, everything was working there). The rectifier tube was dead or the power supply of the heater of the rectifier tube. Furtunately thomann had a second one and replaced the Princeton, the new one is working perfect.

Powered Speakers - there are so many on the market, if you spend as much money as the AER costs you should get high quality boxes - but mostly a small mixer is necessary. Good luck with the Compact XL!

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Good luck with the amp jinder 

Gave your latest tune a listen this morning as it popped up on my suggested spotify new releases,  interesting tune . Heard ryan Adam's prisoner album in the 80's ish production and overall sound . 

Im wondering about your amp here though . Why do some artists choose an amp over the speaker array systems on poles,  which is surely the most fitting solution for a guy like yourself who performs solo ?

Is it a case of having it when the band is also playing? A best of both worlds scenario?

I know I'm not at your level where people actually come and listen to you perform as opposed to me , sitting in the corner of a bar running through a few cover songs background to the drinking and chatting ....

My Fishman soloamp is superb and I love it , but I'm just trying to learn things I may  not be seeing due to my inexperience playing out .

 

Good luck with the new songs   

 

Edited by blindboygrunt
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15 hours ago, blindboygrunt said:

Good luck with the amp jinder 

Gave your latest tune a listen this morning as it popped up on my suggested spotify new releases,  interesting tune . Heard ryan Adam's prisoner album in the 80's ish production and overall sound . 

Im wondering about your amp here though . Why do some artists choose an amp over the speaker array systems on poles,  which is surely the most fitting solution for a guy like yourself who performs solo ?

Is it a case of having it when the band is also playing? A best of both worlds scenario?

I know I'm not at your level where people actually come and listen to you perform as opposed to me , sitting in the corner of a bar running through a few cover songs background to the drinking and chatting ....

My Fishman soloamp is superb and I love it , but I'm just trying to learn things I may  not be seeing due to my inexperience playing out .

 

Good luck with the new songs   

 

Thanks for giving the song a listen! Oddly enough I wrote it the day after seeing RA play in Bournemouth back in 2017, in my head I wanted to write something that sounded like Tracy Chapman had written it for RA to cover (if that makes sense!), not that I would consider myself anything close to an equal of either of course. 

Amp wise, I play a lot of smaller shows and house concerts for which my Alto TS112 powered speakers are overkill at 800w a piece. They're also heavy and cumbersome, so for the smaller shows I find an amp is a good solution. I used Fishman Loudbox Performers for a couple of years but had issues with failing op-amps in them and managed to kill three before giving up on them and going back to my Altos. 

The thought of a light, powerful and compact amp has always appealed though, something a bit further up the ladder quality and durability wise than the Loudbox, that would be road tough and dependable. 

It's been a journey of trial and error but I think the AER Compact XL is the one. I've done two gigs with it now and it's a very good sounding unit. It's GREAT to sing through, with my Sennheiser condenser and the subtle and very musical compression that the amp has it's vocal heaven for me. Warm but with exceptional clarity, present but never harsh. The Domino I had before was more sibilant and less refined at the top end, probably due to the twin cone speakers of the Domino being fundamentally different to the driver/tweeter configuration of the XL. 

The XL works very well for guitar too, and has a surprising amount of headroom for looping and similar. It really puts out a great deal of high quality sound for such a small box. Projection and dispersion is remarkable too. 

It's early days but I like it a lot so far. Certainly more so than the Rosette and the Domino, although the latter was very good too.

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12 hours ago, Jinder said:

Thanks for giving the song a listen! Oddly enough I wrote it the day after seeing RA play in Bournemouth back in 2017, in my head I wanted to write something that sounded like Tracy Chapman had written it for RA to cover (if that makes sense!), not that I would consider myself anything close to an equal of either of course. 

Amp wise, I play a lot of smaller shows and house concerts for which my Alto TS112 powered speakers are overkill at 800w a piece. They're also heavy and cumbersome, so for the smaller shows I find an amp is a good solution. I used Fishman Loudbox Performers for a couple of years but had issues with failing op-amps in them and managed to kill three before giving up on them and going back to my Altos. 

The thought of a light, powerful and compact amp has always appealed though, something a bit further up the ladder quality and durability wise than the Loudbox, that would be road tough and dependable. 

It's been a journey of trial and error but I think the AER Compact XL is the one. I've done two gigs with it now and it's a very good sounding unit. It's GREAT to sing through, with my Sennheiser condenser and the subtle and very musical compression that the amp has it's vocal heaven for me. Warm but with exceptional clarity, present but never harsh. The Domino I had before was more sibilant and less refined at the top end, probably due to the twin cone speakers of the Domino being fundamentally different to the driver/tweeter configuration of the XL. 

The XL works very well for guitar too, and has a surprising amount of headroom for looping and similar. It really puts out a great deal of high quality sound for such a small box. Projection and dispersion is remarkable too. 

It's early days but I like it a lot so far. Certainly more so than the Rosette and the Domino, although the latter was very good too.

Sounds very cool , my point , which perhaps I wasnt articulate about , was why some guys swear by a speaker rather than a pole/column system ... when the poles are designed specifically for solo acoustic performers. 

Does an amp have something over these pole/column/array systems that I dont know about ?

Have you tried using a column system and didnt like it ? 

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Jinder.   How about a direct box to a PA?  The Baggs Venue is a fantastic box for that purpose.  Good tone shaping ability without losing the basic sound of the guitar.   Never was happy with acoustic direct to an amp sound.   This thing just kills it, both indoor and outdoor venues.  The boost button for solos is a godsend.  

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21 hours ago, blindboygrunt said:

Sounds very cool , my point , which perhaps I wasnt articulate about , was why some guys swear by a speaker rather than a pole/column system ... when the poles are designed specifically for solo acoustic performers. 

Does an amp have something over these pole/column/array systems that I dont know about ?

Have you tried using a column system and didnt like it ? 

 

I think  players using effects, compression, distortion, delays, loopers and such an amp is preferred. I think you can get more PUNCH from an amp.

I've gotten to where I want a totally clean acoustic guitar sound and I think that's one reason I'm drawn to the Bose units. And the vocals sound better to me.

 

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On 8/24/2019 at 2:06 PM, blindboygrunt said:

Sounds very cool , my point , which perhaps I wasnt articulate about , was why some guys swear by a speaker rather than a pole/column system ... when the poles are designed specifically for solo acoustic performers. 

Does an amp have something over these pole/column/array systems that I dont know about ?

Have you tried using a column system and didnt like it ? 

 

I'm not a fan of the array/pole things from a visual standpoint, personally. They certainly sound great but are a little too visually "present" onstage for my taste. A former bandmate of mine tours with an EV Evolve pole array setup, which sounds GREAT but is white and 2m tall...it looks like he's sharing the stage with a robot as special guest! 

Amps just look and feel a little more organic for me. They are also very unimposing so don't goose an audience's expectations in the same way as seeing two cabs on stands...I find in that situation people often "see" the volume before a note is played.

I spent the weekend gigging with the AER Compact XL and whilst it's very good, it's not quite right for me. It's VERY sensitive to the room and its location within it, and can sound wildly different from gig to gig. The lack of a mid control on the mic channel really limits the opportunity to dial the amp in according to the acoustics of its surroundings, 

So...the AER is going back, and I've decided to try the top of the line Schertler amp, the Roy. A lot of people have been raving about the Schertler gear, so I figured that would be the next in line to try. The demos online sound fantastic, so I'm looking forward to trying it.

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13 minutes ago, Jinder said:

So...the AER is going back, and I've decided to try the top of the line Schertler amp, the Roy. A lot of people have been raving about the Schertler gear, so I figured that would be the next in line to try. The demos online sound fantastic, so I'm looking forward to trying it.

Looks pretty nice

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10 minutes ago, Jinder said:

 

So...the AER is going back, and I've decided to try the top of the line Schertler amp, the Roy. A lot of people have been raving about the Schertler gear, so I figured that would be the next in line to try. The demos online sound fantastic, so I'm looking forward to trying it.

Hope you like the Roy! The Schertler gear I have (the predecessor to the Jam 400 made by the then named SR Technology and a Schertler extension speaker) has really served me well. The weight is a bit of a concern at times, but the tone is sublime. Good luck, Jinder!

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Jinder - although I'm sorry the AER didn't work out, I truly am appreciating your journey - and extremely insightful reviews - of the acoustic amp world.  I've been wondering about the Schertler's since they've been brought up, so happy the next one up is one of those.  Good luck with this being the end of the process.  

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While I realize this has been a lot of work and effort on your part, I must say one thing Jinder.

This is one of my favorite threads ever.....

👍

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20 hours ago, Jinder said:

 

So...the AER is going back, and I've decided to try the top of the line Schertler amp, the Roy. A lot of people have been raving about the Schertler gear, so I figured that would be the next in line to try. The demos online sound fantastic, so I'm looking forward to trying it.

Congratulations I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Roy  I absolutely love mine.  A small hand truck is highly recommended 

The mixer alone in the Roy will blow away any run of the mill mixer on the market.  All Class A and all discrete components 

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22 hours ago, Jinder said:

 I've decided to try the top of the line Schertler amp, the Roy. A lot of people have been raving about the Schertler gear, so I figured that would be the next in line to try. The demos online sound fantastic, so I'm looking forward to trying it.

Jinder, how did you settle on the Roy, seems awesome, but it's a pretty big piece of gear - 7 channels / 400 watts?  The demo sounded fantastic, I'd take it - but didn't think you were looking for something that big.

Rgds - br

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Thanks, all!

I went for the Roy because I figured that a little sacrifice in terms of weight is worth it in terms of tone. The AERs were small and convenient, but I felt like I was short changing the audience a little because I wanted a more convenient system to transport. As the audiences ultimately pay the bills and put food on the table, I figured that I should redress the balance a bit and go for something a little more geared towards tone and less towards convenience. If a little more weightlifting is required to give the audience maximum pleasure, then so be it!

I still wanted a "PA in a box" solution, and the Roy definitely seems to tick all the boxes. The mixer section looks brilliantly specced, and as an audiophile and fussy listener, I appreciate the B&O connection. It should be here by Monday, so looking forward to trying it out prior to next week's shows and taking it out live!

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