Choosing the right amplifier for your acoustic guitar can be a challenging proposition, especially since so many of them offer a forest of controls, stereo speaker systems that involve woofers and tweeters, and more DSP effects than anyone in their right mind needs to get their game on with a flat-top. An acoustic amp is like a mini P.A. system in many ways—or at least it should be—but the devil’s in the details with these things, and it’s really important to focus on how well a prospective amp translates the natural acoustic sound of your guitar rather than how many dials and buttons it has.
It’s easy to get sucked into looking over a specs list and think, “Wow, this amp has so many features, how can it not have a sound I’ll like?” And that might be true, but it definitely pays to audition any acoustic amp by dialing up its least effected sound and listening carefully to how it responds to picking and strumming dynamics across the volume spectrum. Some amps do a better job than others of handling the transient spikes that piezo pickups can put out, so playing one quietly in a showroom can lead to a much different impression once you get the thing out on a bandstand. That leads to the question of power rating too, and since most acoustic amps are solid-state, you’ll routinely encounter models with seemingly enormous wattage for their size and weight. Once again, use you ears to determine what’s enough for the gigs you plan to do. Headroom is a virtue with an acoustic amp, and, quite honestly, it seems you can never have too much when it come to amplifying an acoustic guitar.
Ready to throw down? Here’s a sample of the many acoustic amplifiers currently on the market. Good hunting!
2 x 50 watts of stereo power. 2 x 8" full-range Neodymium co-axial speakers. Two channels. 3-band EQ with sweepable midrange on each channel. Dual digital FX processors. 20 Preset programs/20 User programs. Automatic feedback elimination circuit (12 filter, DSP-based, each channel). Bluetooth connectivity. XLR direct output with ground lift, pre-post EQ and Level (each channel). Effects loop.
AER Alpha Plus
Single channel, two inputs (line and mic/line) Dynamically controlled 50-watt power amp. AER 8" twin-cone speaker. 3-band EQ. Digital reverb.
ACX900 90 watts of power. 2 x 8" dual-cone speakers. Two channels (instrument and vocal) with independent controls. Two integrated 24-bit digital FX processors, each with 16 programs including reverb, modulation, delay, and various effects combinations. FBQ Feedback Detection System. Individual 7-band graphic EQ on each channel. CD/mp3 input. Balanced XLR line out with ground lift. Dual footswitch included.
90 90-watts. 8" cloth-surround low-frequency woofer and high-frequency tweeter. Instrument and microphone channels with independent tone and effects controls. Smart feedback elimination circuit with on/off switch for each channel. Studio-quality effects, including reverb, echo/delay, chorus, and Vibratone. XLR line output with ground lift. Auxiliary input for CD/mp3 player. Brown textured vinyl covering. Weighs only 18 lbs.
Battery-powered acoustic guitar amp. Two channels (guitar and mic/line). 30 watts (15W + 15W) through twin speakers. Advanced anti-feedback function. Reverb, chorus, and new ambience effects. Phrase looper with 40 seconds of record time. Stereo auxiliary input. Headphone output. Built-in tilt-back stand. Runs on AC power or eight AA batteries.
ZT Lunchbox Acoustic
200 watts. Custom high performance 6.5" speaker. External speaker output. Two channels (instrument and mic). Ultra-low latency circuit for player responsiveness. Pure, Hi-Z analog Instrument front-end. Plate-style reverb with independent channel controls. 3-position Anti-Feedback Control with bypass. Variable headphone/DI output. Aux input. Effects loop with active send for multi-amp setups. Direct Power Amp In option. Anti-clip limiting circuit. Phantom power.
Fishman Loudbox Mini PRO-LBX-500
60 watts. 6.5" low-frequency driver and a 1" tweeter. 2 channels (instrument and mic). 3-band instrument EQ (low, mid, and high). 2-band microphone EQ (low and high). Digital reverb and chorus. Feedback suppression. Phase switch. Balanced mic-level XLR direct output. Auxiliary input for mp3/CD player or metronome.
150 watts. 1 x 6.5" speaker plus tweeter. Two channels with independent 3-band EQ (Bass, Mid, Treble) and Color controls that let you tailor the frequency response to suit your guitar and your voice. Chorus and reverb on each channel. Tube-powered Pre channel. Instrument input and XLR mic input with 15V phantom power. Tube Pre channel. Aux in, Direct out, and Tuner out.