GODIN’S INTRODUCTION OF THE Multiac Grand Concert Duet Ambiance gives nylon-string players an instrument with an electronics package that now features Fishman Aura Imaging technology.This system replicates the actual sound of a Duet Ambiance guitar being miked by a selection of different high-end condenser microphones.Just click the Duet’s selector to one of the four Images and Aura does the rest (more on this later).
Details of the Grand Concert Duet Ambiance include a chambered mahogany body with a solid cedar top and a classical-width bolt-on neck with a 24"-radius ebony fretboard. The neck has a comfy “C” carve, and its medium thickness coupled with a nearly flat fretboard creates an ideal configuration for electric players who don’t want to feel hindered when they switch over to nylon string. The neck’s width might be an initial concern for some, but it’s easy to get into the generous string spacing once you start playing the Duet Ambiance. (Godin also offers the new Multiac Nylon Duet Ambiance, a non-Grand Concert model with a narrower nut width that’s more comfortable for players not used to a classical neck width). The contoured, recessed heel and deep cutaway also make it easy to access the full length of the fretboard.
The Duet Ambiance intonates sweetly,and once the strings are fully stretched, the tuning remains stable and true. This is an enjoyable guitar to play, and whether you’re doing fingerstyle pop tunes, comping jazz chords, or playing single-note lines, it always delivers the right sounds. There’s a decent amount of acoustic volume on tap, and the chambered body certainly brings a nice sense of airiness and resonance to the Duet’s amplified tones that you can appreciate when playing it either direct through a P.A. or through a good acoustic amp.
In the latter case, we paired the Duet Ambiance with the amp that Godin recommends for it: the SR Technology Jam 150 Plus, which is made in Italy and distributed in North America by Godin. With its wood sides, curved metal grille, and top-mounted controls, the SR looks more like a hi-fi speaker than an acoustic guitar amp. The biamped power stage pumps 120 watts into an 8” synthetic cone woofer and 30 watts into a small compression tweeter. Though 150 watts total isn’t a ton of power for an acoustic amp, in this efficient design it’s enough to get the job done.
The Nylon SA sounded sweet and natural though the Jam 150. With the amp’s EQ set flat (i.e. no boost or cut) and the guitar’s Blend slider in the full Image position (no signal from the under-saddle pickup) you can easily grok the differences between the four Mic Image settings.These consist of a Danish Pro Audio small diaphragm condenser, a Soundelux E47 large diaphragm condenser, a Schoeps CMC64G small diaphragm condenser, and the same Schopes again at a distance of 16". All settings produced sounds that captured the airiness of a miked guitar, so it was really a matter of personal taste as to which Image was preferable. The Danish Pro Audio setting sounded best in our test environment, and whether you even need to adjust the Blend control to add signal from under-saddle pickup, it’s great to have the option of, say, adding in some snappier piezo sound to make a lead part stand out.
The SR Technology 150 Plus is a great choice for the Duet Ambiance as it doesn’t impart any appreciable coloration and has the headroom and speaker complement to clearly translate the sounds of the Fishman Aura images. It’s worth noting too, that the Jam 150’s mixer-style interface provides way more signal routing options than you’ll find on most acoustic amps, making the Jam 150 useable even with a small ensemble in low volume situations.
Other amps we tried with the Duet Ambiance—including a Genz-Benz Shenandoah and a Kendrick Bad Ass Man 4x10 combo—produced similarly good results, which highlights the flexibility of the Grand Concert Duet Ambiance. This guitar’s tonal attitude is inspiring, and its ability to cut it for everything from classical to jazz to pop makes it a serious choice for anyone who wants to bring some nylon-string goodness into their life.
CONTACT Godin Guitars, (514) 457-7977; godinguitars.com
MULTIAC GRAND CONCERT DUET AMBIANCE
PRICE $1,795 retail/$1,495 street
NECK Mahogany w/25.5"-scale ebony fretboard
NUT WIDTH 2"
TUNERS Open-gear w/pearloid buttons
BODY Mahogany w/solid cedar top
BRIDGE Rosewood w/compensated saddle
PICKUPS Fishman under-saddle
ELECTRONICS Fishman Aura w/four Mic Images
CONTROLS Volume, Treble, Mid, Bass, Blend (Image/piezo)
WEIGHT 6 lbs
FACTORY STRINGS Godin HTC Hard Tension Classical (.0285, .0327, .0410, .030, .036. .044)
KUDOS Excellent quality. Plays well. Aura Images sound excellent.
SR TECHNOLOGY JAM 150 PLUS
PRICE $1,499 retail/$999 street
INTERFACE (Channels 1 and 2) 1/4" and XLR inputs; High, Mid, Low, Effects, and Volume controls, (Channel 3/4) High- and Low-sensitivity 1/4" inputs; High, Mid, Low, Effects, and Volume controls. (Channel 5/6) Dual RCA line-in jacks; High, Low, Volume controls. Dual RCA recording-out jacks with level control, effects send and return jacks, XLR master line out, master volume control, 48-volt phantom power switch.
EXTRAS Alesis DSP effects (three reverbs, one delay) POWER Bi-amped; 120-watts low frequencies/ 30-watts high frequencies
SPEAKERS 8" woofer, high-frequency compression driver
WEIGHT 28 lbs
KUDOS Accurate sound. Multiple channels with lots of input and output options.