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  #1  
Old 09-03-2008, 02:05 AM
sventvkg sventvkg is offline
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Default High End Acoustic Amp/Mini PA Shootout.

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.

Last edited by sventvkg; 09-03-2008 at 02:15 AM.
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2008, 03:23 AM
delab delab is offline
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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.
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:39 AM
ocarolan ocarolan is online now
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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
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:04 AM
Mel Mel is offline
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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
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Old 09-03-2008, 06:31 AM
drive-south drive-south is offline
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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.
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  #6  
Old 09-03-2008, 09:24 AM
sventvkg sventvkg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive-south View Post
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..
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:25 AM
JCW308 JCW308 is offline
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I still really like the Fishman Loudbox 100.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:09 AM
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Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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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/produc...?product=LM12A

Had you considered this unit?

https://www.carvinguitars.com/produc...?product=S400D
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:28 AM
BuleriaChk BuleriaChk is offline
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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.....
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:13 PM
drive-south drive-south is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sventvkg View Post
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.
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Old 09-03-2008, 03:48 PM
Irreverent Irreverent is offline
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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!
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:21 PM
sventvkg sventvkg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herb Hunter View Post
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/produc...?product=LM12A

Had you considered this unit?

https://www.carvinguitars.com/produc...?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.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:36 PM
sventvkg sventvkg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive-south View Post
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.
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  #14  
Old 09-05-2008, 10:27 AM
bluende bluende is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sventvkg View Post
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!
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:36 AM
taropatch taropatch is offline
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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).
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