Acoustic Amplifiers

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Acoustic Amplifiers

Postby Paganwolf » Mon May 07, 2012 7:37 pm

Hello all,
Yes I'm new but this is seems to be the logical place to pose this question
I'm after recomendations for a good acoustic amplifier up to about 30 watts, although preferable if it can take a mike as well, it isnt essential, now the problem I have is this, In all the years I have been playing, I have never even bought one and as a former rock musician using valve amps and the ubiquitous 4 x 12 cabinets, I have only ever piped an acoustic through a microphone straight into the P.A. and relied on the monitors for feedback.
Now, it seems to me that 12" speakers, although great for driven guitars are too muddy for acoustic guitars and 10" as used a lot by Trace Elliot lose a lot of top end, I notice that both Marshall and Peavey for instance are using 8" speakers in their amps, yet Vox are using 6.5" speakers. Would I be correct in assuming that a speaker size of between 6" and 8" is ideal for an acoustic amplifier?
With this in mind, what do people recommend and has anyone any experience with the products of the three mentioned above or are their other alternatives to look at?
For the record, I have an Ovation Applause AE28M Kamen Steel strung, Ovation Classic 2073 Nylon strung and a Takemine 12 string steel all with inbuilt pick ups if that helps although I'm hearing that external microphones do give a much better sound.

Thanks in advance

Witches ride brooms as nature abhores a vacuum

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Re: Acoustic Amplifiers

Postby GORDON » Mon May 07, 2012 9:27 pm

Hi Rich.

Welcome sir.

I personally don't use an amp on stage and just plug straight into the PA via my FX pedals. There are LOADS of great acoustic amps out there. Although I don't use an amp I do own a very nice Fishman LOUD BOX, a cracking little amp. My good friend Tommy Emmanuel uses an AER amp as do Clive Carroll and Martin Taylor I believe. Tanglewood have just bought out a great little amp very much like the AER. Good old Trace of course do a cracking amp as well.

So there you have it sir...too many options probably!

Do return when you can. We are a friendly bunch!

Be Well.


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Location: Walsall

Re: Acoustic Amplifiers

Postby Paganwolf » Mon May 07, 2012 10:43 pm

Hello Gordon and thankyou very much for the warm Welcome :D

Firstly looking forward very much to seeing you at the acoustic festival this month, I'm there for the weekend so no problems with the timing. I'll have a look at those amps you mentioned but I am pretty much retired from the rock music scene and so don't have the luxury of a P.A. anymore so thats why I'm looking for a small amp I can use for open mike nights and get togethers etc.
I must admit I do like the look of those AER you mentioned and the reviews are very good for them, will let you know how I get on and i will revisit Trace to have a look at their offerings, guess I'm too used to my JTM's at the moment so this is a whole new ball game for me.

best regards and thanks

Witches ride brooms as nature abhores a vacuum

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Re: Acoustic Amplifiers

Postby aviator » Thu May 10, 2012 12:46 pm

I'm going through this process too-evaluating small acoustic amps.

I'm after something just suitable for a small coffee shop or (quiet) pub. 30 watts seems sufficient - but I've included 60 watt amps in my list. I like to have reverb, don't particularly like chorus, but I do play with delay on occasions. I prefer my own pedals, so if the on-board f/x aren't well rated, I'd be happy with an f/x loop.

The Tanglewood T6 is a contender, though 60 watts.Its on-board f/x though gets poor reviews.

The AER Alpha and Alpha+ is 40/50 watts I reckon, but at £680+ a bit out of my price band. They seem to be the best rated though (

The Fishman Loudbox is 60 watts ( It's half-the-price of the AER and perhaps second best-sounding.

There are lots of other contenders;

The Kustom 35 W DFX has a notch-filter and lots of effects and is 35 watt ( Apparently geared towards piezo pickups.

The Headway Shire King SK60 is again 60 watts but comes from a well-known British acoustic pickup company. Once again it comes with some effects and the all-important notch filter, but its £469 and a tad pricey for something made abroad. It does claim though to match all sorts of different acoustic pickups. (

US amp manufacturer Crate have been selling a 30 watt acoustic amp for years, first called the Cimarron and now the Taos ( It comes with some built-in effects - though you can't have more than one-at-a-time, but best of all an F/X loop to add your own pedals. They get good reviews and at less that £100 are a bit of a bargain.

Scottish guitar manufacturer Freshman sell the AC30R ( at less than £150, with on-board chorus and delay, twin speakers and an f/x loop.

Marshall sell the AS50D 50-watter at about £250 and VOX the AGA70 with a tube pre-amp. There's also a range of Laney acoustic amps, including a 35-watter.

Of the ones I've tried the AER is clearly the best, followed by the Fishman. If you have an expensive acoustic then, just like an expensive electric it is best not to match it with a cheap amp. Price though is no indicator of quality (other than the AER). I have a Blackstar HT-5 and it beats amps of 4 or 5 x price and wattage hands down.

I have tried the VOX and Marshall and found them uninspiring. I still have to try the Headway, Crate and Freshman (the joker-in-the-pack).

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Re: Acoustic Amplifiers

Postby Russ Gannicott » Fri May 11, 2012 11:53 pm

Ok guys, the first thing you need to understand is that what you want is not a guitar amp at all, it is a small PA in a box that can sit behind you on stage. The cheapest and simplist acoustic amp would be a powered foldback monitor because at the end of the day, that is all the audience will hear if you are either miced up or DI'd. In my opinion, the closest anyone has got to the ideal acoustic amp at a semi-pro level is the Torque TA100. These went out of production about ten years ago but still crop up on ebay. Currently, both Tanglewood and Ibanez make good usable amps but both need to be considered as personal monitors. Don't forget, your stage sound might be great for you, but what the audience hears will be down to the PA and the engineer, not your amp.

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