Keeping up with the acoustic-amp market can be a challenge, as manufacturers release new units and update existing models at an ever-increasing rate. We tried to keep you in-the-know about these products as they were released, and, as our 2018 NAMM reports are coming soon, we thought we’d take a look at some excellent amps of yore, before all of the new models hit the street.
This guide includes some previously reviewed amps that got high marks from me and/or the GP staff, as well as some 2017 models we didn’t have a chance to look at before, and every one of them carries solid features that acoustic players should check out. There’s even a peek at some 2018 amps! Please note that this guide covers compact guitar amps with a vocal channel. We’ll investigate larger, more full-featured amps-as-P.A.-systems in the May 2018 issue.
This 40-watter offers programmable digital effects, and it gets bonus points for automatic feedback elimination, a stage-monitor-style cabinet that can be tilted to disperse sound to both performer and audience, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Compact 60/3 TE
Tommy Emmanuel put his signature stamp on the already responsive 60/3 by smoothing out and warming up the tone circuit, putting high fidelity effects pre-line out, and adding personalized appointments. This astonishingly powerful, über-compact amp feels like it practically plays along with you. Read the full review in the April 2017 issue.
Acoustic Singer Pro
The key word here is “singer.” This intriguing all-in-one proposition—which we reviewed in the August 2017 issue—is aimed at the performing singer/songwriter. We liked how strummed chords sound luxurious (via Acoustic Resonance processing), and it also includes a vocal harmonizer (that follows your guitar chords) and an onboard looper.
The venerable Acoustisonic Series hit the market with a boom back in the mid ’90s, and the recent addition of the Acoustisonic 40 shows that the technology is still terrific. When we reviewed this model in the June 2017 issue, we noted the toaster-sized 2x6.5 combo delivers surprisingly full sound, and also offers flexible I/O and onboard effects.
Loudbox Mini Charge
Fishman’s Loudbox range is ubiquitous on the acoustic scene for packing pure tone and high power into small enclosures. For 2018, the company is adding a new ’box that runs on a rechargeable battery. Look for a review in the April 2018 issue.
HUGHES & KETTNER
Hughes & Kettner’s first foray into acoustic amps was designed in conjunction with AER’s Michael Eisenmann. Released last year, we discovered that Frets cover artist Petteri Sariola [March 2018] digs the era 1’s quality sound, simple design, and flexible I/O—including the ability to send a flat signal to a P.A. system, while having your own EQ preferences dialed in on the amp.
If you’re a rocker doing an “unplugged” set, you can retain your edgy vibe by using this 50-watt, 2x8 combo that includes digital reverb, delay, and chorus.
Mesa made a big splash when it finally entered the acoustic amp area last year with the Rosette 300/Two Eight—a 300-watt 2x8 combo that earned an Editors’ Pick in the September 2017 issue for its clear sound, powerful EQ, and signal-routing options.
This classy modern/vintage-looking amp offers two channels, onboard effects, and flexible I/O, but add the free mobile phone app and/or the optional Bluetooth Control Pedal to unlock features such as a looper with unlimited overdubs and 20 banks of drum sequences.
The affordable E208 delivers up to 30 watts, and includes a pair of 8” speakers, analog chorus, and a real spring reverb.
Sedona Lite 25
The tube-driven Sedona is an innovative dual-channel hybrid designed primarily as an acoustic amp, but that doubles as an electric amp. It’s a gas to loop an acoustic rhythm part, and then pick up your electric to wail away over the top. This 25-watt, 1x10 combo won an Editors’ Pick in August 2016.
Designed specifically for home practice (or busking, as it can run on batteries), this 10-watt desktop modeling combo offers four acoustic-mic simulations, a clean-amp model for electric guitar, onboard effects, and USB connectivity.