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sventvkg
09-03-2008, 02:05 AM
Hey guys, I sold one of my bigger PA's and am going to go with a High end smaller rig that I can cart around on Tour with me on trains, buses, etc. After much research it's come down to a few contenders and I would love to hear your opinions on which one I should get and why. First a bit about me.

I do an acoustic singer songwriter show that blends between typical fare to a high powered looping thing with lots of guitar percussion. I'm pretty dynamic and I do a lead/rhythm hybrid playing style. I need something that sounds full across the spectrum. I also sing and play harmonica and don't do any instrumental music other then play lead over loops at times..The PA I use is pretty high end and I've got EV SX300 speakers which are very highly regarded. I'm used to good sound and will pay for it.

considerations:

Weight and portability.
Volume and low end output
clarity and prestine sound
HIGH QUALITY..NO CHINESE CRAP!

Price isn't an object here within reason. I've tried the Bose tower and I found it good sounding but over priced and it's not light or portable enough in size for me to cart on trains and buses in Europe.

The contenders:

After all my research it's come down to these babies:

Schertler UNICO-Great sounding, well built unit and suprisingly heavy for it's size. Had a chance to try one out last time I was over in Europe and was impressed with the sound low end out put but didn't have a lot of volume and I sensed it could be an issue for some pub gigs I do in the US.

Schertler David-Same considerations as the UNICO but this would mostly serve as a monitor and a PA in conjunction with a small powered sub for lower volume gigs.

AER Compact 60-Never tried one but the review are Glowing. Can use use their unpowered sup with this to give it a fuller sound? IF so I would get that as well for home gigs.

AER Alpha-Same thing, never tried one but i LOVE the size..Can it put out the volume and sound? Can you use an AER Sub with it?

Acoustic Image Corus-Never heard this one but the reviews are stunning. Appeals to me because of size, weight and it has a 10" down firing sub, 5" speaker and a tweater. PLUS it's 400 watts and you can get the matching extension cab. The price is right as well. Supposed to have the most volume as well. Also, even though this baby is more voiced for guitar, I could theoretically do bass gigs with it as well, as I'm a multi-instrumentalist. But I don't know anyone who has tried to do the singer songwriter thing with this rig yet.

Fishman Soloamp- Well I guess I had to put this one in there as well although it looks like it might be on the upper end of size for what i'm looking for but still might be portable. It's untested but I think it's probablyl chinese made which should exclude it from my consideration not to mention that all the other Fishman Acoustic amps are outclassed but the gear I have listed so I have reason to believe this unit will be as well. I don't know though, don't quote me and fell free to refute what I speculated.

So those are what it's down to for me. Like I said, I will get a sub to go whatever amp i choose for bigger, louder venues when i'm home but i still want something small, portable that puts out a clear full sound for small gigs, monitoring at big gigs and touring. Looking for insight and opinions and I thank you for the help.

delab
09-03-2008, 03:23 AM
I can help you with the AER compact 60.

It's a very portable amp, light in weight and comes with the carry case with a shoulder strap. The case also has three pockets for leads etc.

As for clarity of sound I couldn't find any other amp that comes close. The important thing with this amp, and others I imagine, is to get it off the ground. I found if the amp wa sat on the floor the sound was more muddy and the bass was loose. Once off the ground the bass is surprisingly full and controlled. The amp has a bracket fitted to the bottom to allow fitting to a mike stand or AER supply a bracket which screws into the existing bracket to slide it onto a PA speaker stand.

I use mine for guitar and vocals. The mike sound is first class and when played with guitar on top of vocals there's plenty of separation of the two. Just very clear acoustic and natural sound.

ocarolan
09-03-2008, 04:39 AM
AER Alpha? I use mine on a mic stand (or a chair)for either solo guitar; guitar/vocal; guitar/fiddle. In each case the instruments and/or vocal are well reproduced with great clarity and fidelity. It is considerably cheaper than the similarly excellent Compact 60, slightly smaller and lighter, and with slightly less power (though I doubt you'd notice). The main downside for some when compared with the Compact 60 would be the shared eq between the channels. I simply use the combo eq to suit the vocal input, and eq the guitar with the preamp I use for all my instruments.
It also works extremely well with one decent extended pickup microphone to pick up two e.g. singer-guitarists -put the mic two feet in front of the performers, the amp+stand four feet in front of the mic, and a really natural sound suitable for small, quiet venues is the result - very simple and quick to set up and use.
Keith

Mel
09-03-2008, 05:04 AM
It's not on your list, but as you require an amp that has a full bottom end, then it will have to have a big bass driver. There is no getting away from the fact that you need a lot of surface area to shift air for deep controllable bass.
So maybe have a look at the Carvin AG100D, and others with a 10 or 12" bass driver. Also steer clear of piezo tweeters.
mel

drive-south
09-03-2008, 06:31 AM
Here's another system to check out. It was designed with acoustics and resonator guitars in mind and is endorsed by Bob Brozman. A bunch of people on the Guitarseminar board have bought them and are getting great results.

http://www.bobbrozman.com/ra400.html

Lately, I've been thinking of down-sizing my gear as well. It's just too much stuff to haul around, set up/tear down, and control without a soundman. I have a set of Mackie SRM450's I mount on stands, and a set of stage monitors with power amp, as well as a mixer and rack of efx/eq. Regardless what I switch to I'll most likely still need a mixer. I'm thinking maybe an AER or Genz-Benz with extension cab. I've also been looking at very small monitors like hot-spots. I've also considered keeping the Mackie 450's and getting a set of SRM350's for small gigs or to use as monitors.

One consideration is the size of your' car. If you're driving a small fuel efficient car, chances are you don't have room for a large PA system. Down-sizing becomes a necessity.

sventvkg
09-03-2008, 09:24 AM
Here's another system to check out. It was designed with acoustics and resonator guitars in mind and is endorsed by Bob Brozman. A bunch of people on the Guitarseminar board have bought them and are getting great results.

http://www.bobbrozman.com/ra400.html

Lately, I've been thinking of down-sizing my gear as well. It's just too much stuff to haul around, set up/tear down, and control without a soundman. I have a set of Mackie SRM450's I mount on stands, and a set of stage monitors with power amp, as well as a mixer and rack of efx/eq. Regardless what I switch to I'll most likely still need a mixer. I'm thinking maybe an AER or Genz-Benz with extension cab. I've also been looking at very small monitors like hot-spots. I've also considered keeping the Mackie 450's and getting a set of SRM350's for small gigs or to use as monitors.

One consideration is the size of your' car. If you're driving a small fuel efficient car, chances are you don't have room for a large PA system. Down-sizing becomes a necessity.

Wow, that looks interesting for my home gigs. It's a bit bigger then I want to be lugging around Europe on Trains, planes, and Buses, not to mention walking but for my home gigs, it looks killer..no specs though on the site..:(

jwoertz
09-03-2008, 09:25 AM
I still really like the Fishman Loudbox 100.

Herb Hunter
09-03-2008, 10:09 AM
My preference is for a powered PA speaker like the JBL Eon G2 15, or a competitor's 12 inch version. Carvin's SM12A is one such version: https://www.carvinguitars.com/products/single.php?product=LM12A

Had you considered this unit?

https://www.carvinguitars.com/products/single.php?product=S400D

BuleriaChk
09-03-2008, 11:28 AM
I'll plug the LR Baggs A-Ref again (sigh)... the detail of my nylon string guitar is incredibly detailed and balanced up to moderate levels -I haven't really cranked it yet. And I, for one, really like the reverb.....

drive-south
09-03-2008, 12:13 PM
Wow, that looks interesting for my home gigs. It's a bit bigger then I want to be lugging around Europe on Trains, planes, and Buses, not to mention walking but for my home gigs, it looks killer..no specs though on the site..:(

The RA400 is made by SR Technologies. Here is a link to their site. They are located in Italy.

http://www.srtechnology.co.uk/

You can down-load the brochure for the RA400 from Bob Brozman's site in Adobe PDF format.

Irreverent
09-03-2008, 03:48 PM
I'll give another recommendation for the Baggs A-REF. Phenomenal. Lightweight. And you can run two of them together, with the second being sort of a "slave" amp. And even two would be very lightweight and portable.

Good luck!

sventvkg
09-03-2008, 05:21 PM
My preference is for a powered PA speaker like the JBL Eon G2 15, or a competitor's 12 inch version. Carvin's SM12A is one such version: https://www.carvinguitars.com/products/single.php?product=LM12A

Had you considered this unit?

https://www.carvinguitars.com/products/single.php?product=S400D

I just sold my EON's but I still have my EV SX300's and Board. They are some of the best sounding Molded, small footprint passive 12's out there and I'll keep this PA but i'm looking for something small that I can tote around with me that still sounds great.

sventvkg
09-03-2008, 05:36 PM
The RA400 is made by SR Technologies. Here is a link to their site. They are located in Italy.

http://www.srtechnology.co.uk/

You can down-load the brochure for the RA400 from Bob Brozman's site in Adobe PDF format.

Wow...I'm pretty sure they build the Schertler stuff as I know it's made in Italy and looks similar. Besides the Bob Brozeman unit, I don't know if any of the other stuff is available in the US. I shall inquire.

bluende
09-05-2008, 10:27 AM
Wow...I'm pretty sure they build the Schertler stuff as I know it's made in Italy and looks similar.

I thought the same thing! The control layout is almost identical to the Unico, as well as the cabinet shape and handle design.

As far as which amp out of your original list, if the Unico isn't enough juice for you at 180 watts, I'd go with the AI Corus (or maybe the Coda, if you really are going to double on bass?). AI makes great (tiny) amps!

taropatch
09-05-2008, 10:36 AM
For me nothing beats the portability and sound of the AERs. I've heard good reviews for the Schertlers too, but they're heavier. You'll have to test out the Compact60 versus the Alpha.

FYI, my buddy that I played with around NYC had the Alpha and I have the 60. We used the two amps as our little PA. He never found the Alpha lacking headroom relative to the 60. Something to think about since it costs less and is lighter.

I agree with delab. Getting the amp off the ground really helps disburse the sound. Works really well if there are a lot of people and/or if you're outside. Nice thing is that a mic stand adapter allows you to use a mic stand (good for portability).

sventvkg
09-05-2008, 07:43 PM
I thought the same thing! The control layout is almost identical to the Unico, as well as the cabinet shape and handle design.

As far as which amp out of your original list, if the Unico isn't enough juice for you at 180 watts, I'd go with the AI Corus (or maybe the Coda, if you really are going to double on bass?). AI makes great (tiny) amps!

Yea I read that SR Technologies are part of Schertler, hence they look the same as they ARE the same!!...

The AI Corus is the most curious of the high end mini PA's because i don't know anyone who has used it who can give a report. The power of it and the reviews of their other products merit a serious look. Like I said I did use the Unico while over in Europe and it was fantastic sounding but yea, a bit heavy.

SongwriterFan
09-05-2008, 08:59 PM
Look at the Genz-Benz Shenandoah series.

Alter
09-06-2008, 04:31 AM
i 've also used the aer compact 60 for a number of years, i consider it a great buy.

Side Man
09-06-2008, 07:24 AM
First a bit about me.

I do an acoustic singer songwriter show that blends between typical fare to a high powered looping thing with lots of guitar percussion. I'm pretty dynamic and I do a lead/rhythm hybrid playing style. I need something that sounds full across the spectrum. I also sing and play harmonica and don't do any instrumental music other then play lead over loops at times..The PA I use is pretty high end and I've got EV SX300 speakers which are very highly regarded. I'm used to good sound and will pay for it.

considerations:
HIGH QUALITY..NO CHINESE CRAP!

Price isn't an object here within reason. I've tried the Bose tower and I found it good sounding but over priced .

Fishman Soloamp- Well I guess I had to put this one in there as well although it looks like it might be on the upper end of size for what i'm looking for but still might be portable. It's untested but I think it's probablyl chinese made which should exclude it from my consideration not to mention that all the other Fishman Acoustic amps are outclassed but the gear I have listed so I have reason to believe this unit will be as well. I don't know though, don't quote me and fell free to refute what I speculated.S

It's interesting that you liked the Bose - which is made in China - but stated in your opinion that Fishman is "outclassed but (by?) the gear I have listed".

I'm surprised you haven't received hate mail from the legion of satisfied Fishman amp owners out there- myself included - but that's probably because they're too busy playing gigs to get involved on these forums.:D

I read on this forum that Fishman just began shipping Solo Amps. I'm sure someone will have their own review of 'em soon. According to the info I read about it, you can use it on either U.S. or European voltage, which is a big plus for touring overseas.

And - if you haven't already done so, traveling by train or plane with a guitar (hard shell case of course), amp (any sized) and suitcase full of clothes and cd's to sell at gigs can be a real challenge. Good luck no matter which piece of gear you settle on.

sventvkg
09-06-2008, 09:16 AM
Look at the Genz-Benz Shenandoah series.

LOVE IT...AWESOME Amp!! However, I'm looking for something I can walk around with...Small and portable.

sventvkg
09-06-2008, 09:20 AM
It's interesting that you liked the Bose - which is made in China - but stated in your opinion that Fishman is "outclassed but (by?) the gear I have listed".

I'm surprised you haven't received hate mail from the legion of satisfied Fishman amp owners out there- myself included - but that's probably because they're too busy playing gigs to get involved on these forums.:D

I read on this forum that Fishman just began shipping Solo Amps. I'm sure someone will have their own review of 'em soon. According to the info I read about it, you can use it on either U.S. or European voltage, which is a big plus for touring overseas.

And - if you haven't already done so, traveling by train or plane with a guitar (hard shell case of course), amp (any sized) and suitcase full of clothes and cd's to sell at gigs can be a real challenge. Good luck no matter which piece of gear you settle on.

Oh, I'm sorry I offended you with my China Remark. I did like the Bose for about a grand less i MY OPINION, it would be worth it. And of course it's not as portable as I would like. As far as Fishman goes, have you compared your amp with Acoustic Image, AER, and Schertler? Maybe it holds up, I don't know. I'm basing my opinions on scores of reviews I have read on line. I'm a Fishman fan for sure..have the original Aura, their pickups, etc but I'm a serious Audio snob, studio guy, etc and I want the best I can get. Within reason. If Fisman SoloAmp or any or there Loudbox Amps are the best I will flat out buy them.

As far as the Europe thing, plane, train, buses...Done it..It's tough for sure. NO HARD CASE is going to do it..Gotta have a gig bag that I can carry over the shoulder, this time I have a traveler backpack and Traveler Guitar..Only taking a a few pants shirts, shoes etc. Believe me, you really have to watch how much you bring and I think I have it down this time. I'm shipping my CD's over.

Side Man
09-06-2008, 01:45 PM
Oh, I'm sorry I offended you with my China Remark. I did like the Bose for about a grand less i MY OPINION, it would be worth it. And of course it's not as portable as I would like. As far as Fishman goes, have you compared your amp with Acoustic Image, AER, and Schertler? Maybe it holds up, I don't know. I'm basing my opinions on scores of reviews I have read on line. I'm a Fishman fan for sure..have the original Aura, their pickups, etc but I'm a serious Audio snob, studio guy, etc and I want the best I can get. Within reason. If Fisman SoloAmp or any or there Loudbox Amps are the best I will flat out buy them.

As far as the Europe thing, plane, train, buses...Done it..It's tough for sure. NO HARD CASE is going to do it..Gotta have a gig bag that I can carry over the shoulder, this time I have a traveler backpack and Traveler Guitar..Only taking a a few pants shirts, shoes etc. Believe me, you really have to watch how much you bring and I think I have it down this time. I'm shipping my CD's over.

No offense taken on the China remark. Looking around my living room, I see a Sony HDTV, Panasonic DVD recorder, Canon digital camera and Motorola cellphone - all made in China.

And how can you call yourself an audio snob if you haven't yet tried any of the amps you listed, yet go by what others say on these forums is the "holy grail". Like my grandfather used to say, "if somebody told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?". I've said it before and here goes again: sound is subjective... I wish I had a dollar for every "greatest ______ ever" I've read on these forums.

Take the time to do the listening yourself and don't base your decision on what a bunch of people with way too much time on their hands (myself included) tell you to buy.

As for the comment about being a Fishman fan, have you tried any of their Loudbox amps? If not, you should check 'em out. I've seen more of them onstage with pros than any of the others you listed. Just saw Cheryl Crow with two of 'em recently. I believe she could afford to buy any of the others as well.

sventvkg
09-06-2008, 06:55 PM
[QUOTE=Side Man;1597143]No offense taken on the China remark. Looking around my living room, I see a Sony HDTV, Panasonic DVD recorder, Canon digital camera and Motorola cellphone - all made in China.

And how can you call yourself an audio snob if you haven't yet tried any of the amps you listed, yet go by what others say on these forums is the "holy grail". Like my grandfather used to say, "if somebody told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?". I've said it before and here goes again: sound is subjective... I wish I had a dollar for every "greatest ______ ever" I've read on these forums.

Take the time to do the listening yourself and don't base your decision on what a bunch of people with way too much time on their hands (myself included) tell you to buy.

As for the comment about being a Fishman fan, have you tried any of their Loudbox amps? If not, you should check 'em out. I've seen more of them onstage with pros than any of the others you listed. Just saw Cheryl Crow with two of 'em recently. I believe she could afford to buy any of the others as well.[/QUOTE

Just getting in to the whole mini PA thing..My main PA stuff is tops..I live in Alaska so there isn't anywhere to try those Amps out bro. As stated, the ones I have tried, Schertler, were in Europe. I've used the Bose a bunch up here and around the country. Chinese made Musical gear is inferior FOR THE MOST PART because they use cost cutting techiques and materials in the manufacturing process. I'm not aware of any high end audiophile quality components coming from China at the moment but I could be wrong. It's cheap and it's good, but TOP quality is what I going for. You know full well what i'm talking about man.

I will certainly try out the Loudbox amps and compare them to AER, Schertler and Acoustic Image and if they are best, I will buy for sure! Living in AK sucks but I'm heading to LA in about 10 days before Europe and I plan to try everything out!!! hahahahaha!!..I will report my findings.

sdelsolray
09-06-2008, 11:23 PM
Given your "on the road" needs, a Schertler Unico would be a good choice.

There is little the Chinese cannot do. Building quality audio gear, for the most part, is not dependent on the country of origin. It is dependant on design, parts and process of manufacture. That can be done anywhere on the planet. The Chinese can kick out a populated board as good as anyone else. Now, the Chinese are not world class at designing audio products or making microphone capsules (not many folks/companies are). They can be world class with just about anything else (if their customer's so direct), and they do so at a lower price, even with the exact same specs and parts. That is changing (their prices are rising and will continue to rise).

You'd probably be surprised at how many Chinese parts (boards, metalwork, caps, resistors, transistors, wiring, etc.) are in even the most boutique/exotic gear. It doesn't matter to the boutique designers - they're fine with it, just ask them.

sventvkg
09-07-2008, 05:00 AM
Given your "on the road" needs, a Schertler Unico would be a good choice.

There is little the Chinese cannot do. Building quality audio gear, for the most part, is not dependent on the country of origin. It is dependant on design, parts and process of manufacture. That can be done anywhere on the planet. The Chinese can kick out a populated board as good as anyone else. Now, the Chinese are not world class at designing audio products or making microphone capsules (not many folks/companies are). They can be world class with just about anything else (if their customer's so direct), and they do so at a lower price, even with the exact same specs and parts. That is changing (their prices are rising and will continue to rise).

You'd probably be surprised at how many Chinese parts (boards, metalwork, caps, resistors, transistors, wiring, etc.) are in even the most boutique/exotic gear. It doesn't matter to the boutique designers - they're fine with it, just ask them.

Very true. Low and is low and Mid level is mid level and Higher end is higher end gear no matter where it's put together.

Yea that UNICO is nice for sure but I don't need as many channels and I have read reports that it's not loud enough for some gigs that the AER's are twice as loud and the Acoustic Image has even more headroom which stands to reason given the wattage. Going to try to find a place that has all of them when i'm down in Los Angeles in about 10 days or so.

sdelsolray
09-07-2008, 10:40 AM
The Acoustic Image Corus is probably the one you want to check out. It would be my choice among the Contra, Coda and Corus because it is designed more for an acoustic guitar (the others lean towards bass guitar).

As to the AER products, the Compact 60 is nice, and produces quite a nice sound, but in my limited experience (a local dealer carries AER, Schertler and Acoustic Image), the Unico has more throw weight and better dispersion. The David is quite nice too.

The Fishman Loudbox Performer is very good too - good features and sound.

I've been looking for a small portable amp to use when my mini-PA is overkill. For solo fingerstyle, the Unico has been at the top of my list, although I decided to wait for the Baggs A-REF and (now) the Fishman Soloamp before making any final decision. I briefly tried the A-REF at a store with two of their guitars, neither of which had the dual source combination I use. Pretty nice, but I need to check it out further. The Soloamp is just being released, so I haven't tried that one yet.

sventvkg
09-08-2008, 06:10 PM
So Ray, you've actually played the Acoustic Image Amps and compared them to the Schertler, an.d AER? I wish I could find other's who have so I can get some comparisons and reviews. It would be tough to chance it and buy one sight on seen or heard but it might be great. When I go to LA next week I will find and try out as many of the 3 that I can although I already know I like the Unico

bluende
09-08-2008, 07:01 PM
Yea that UNICO is nice for sure but I don't need as many channels and I have read reports that it's not loud enough for some gigs that the AER's are twice as loud and the Acoustic Image has even more headroom which stands to reason given the wattage. Going to try to find a place that has all of them when i'm down in Los Angeles in about 10 days or so.

I've heard other people play through the AI Clarus (mostly jazz guys) and they all sounded really great.

I love my Unico :)

sdelsolray
09-08-2008, 07:47 PM
So Ray, you've actually played the Acoustic Image Amps and compared them to the Schertler, an.d AER? I wish I could find other's who have so I can get some comparisons and reviews. It would be tough to chance it and buy one sight on seen or heard but it might be great. When I go to LA next week I will find and try out as many of the 3 that I can although I already know I like the Unico

Yeah, I've played many models from all three brands (AI, Schertler and AER), using one or another of my own guitars over the past many years. They're all very good amps. In a way, any of them would do just fine. And yes, I've played all three brands side by side, A/B/C, a few times. Another plus is that each brand has mathing powered extension speakers for some of thier models, which would allow for mini-PA like expansion. For my intended and limited uses - solo fingerstyle with a SBT and internal or external condenser mic, the Unico is currently top on the list. But that might change once I get a chance to fully evaluate the Baggs A-REF and the Fishman Soloamp. We'll see.

ray
09-08-2008, 11:46 PM
Steve, what are ya using for a PA these days?