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  #1  
Old 06-08-2024, 05:02 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Default NAAD... Fender Acoustasonic 40

New Acoustic Amp Day!

I debated about the need for this, but since I have other amps that work fine I justified it by simply saying, "It's something I want!" I've been looking for a smallish combo amp that I could make a nice solid walnut splined corner cabinet for, instead of buying a Taylor Circa 74! Well, drats. When this one came and I got the last of (THREE!) boxes open, it turns out it's really well made, solid, and gorgeous. I guess it will have to wait a while for a new cabinet!

It's styled like all the classic Fender combos, and I started with a 65(?) Super Reverb, a 67 Twin, and a few of their solid state amps in later years. I own and gig a Fender Rumble 100 which is just a great bass amp.

It will actually serve a few functions beyond what I'm already using. Since it's so small it will be even easier to throw in the car for band practices, and in my playing space at home it can be set up directly in front of me with the controls facing me! My other amps don't have that configuration, but I find it handy. I'm not exactly sure what ever made several manufacturers figure the controls would be better on the TOP of an amp...

Anyway, since There's a general 10% off on Fender products I figured I'd pick up a Fender Acoustasonic 40 and give it a try.

There's a couple of features that I really like about this amp.

TWO 6-1/2" drivers instead of the usual single driver in some other brands.

Low, Mid, High EQ on BOTH channels.

Both channels have combo jack input so you can plug a mic or instrument in either or both channels. About those combo jacks... they both allow easy insertion or removal. ALL other equipment that I've owned with combo jacks required wrestling with the plugs to get them out. These are smooth and easy! Kudos to Fender!

The combo inputs are 4.7 megohm, so accommodate piezo instruments.

The reverb is quite good and doesn't sound "digital" at all. It's fully usable up to about 75%, which is a bunch of reverb!

It's 40 Watts, but plenty loud enough for a small venue or club if you needed to use it.

The XLR Direct Out on the back panel of the chassis would let you use this as a personal stage monitor while routing the combined output of the two channels to additional amplification or PA.

The 6-1/2" drivers have a whizzer cone, if anyone remembers those. I think it's turned out to be a good idea, as this amp is plenty bright, so it doesn't need a tweeter. Some users actually don't like tweeters, stating the amps with tweeters suffer from sounding overly bright. Taylor relates in their Circa 74 amp advertisements that they chose to go with a single "full range" 10 inch speaker to address the tendency of amps with tweeters to sound excessively bright.

Well, I've been plenty verbose and it's time to fix dinner!




Last edited by Rudy4; 06-08-2024 at 10:10 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-08-2024, 07:20 PM
jricc jricc is offline
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Cool classic Fender look Rudy, very nice. I'm definitely a little surprised, as you always speak so highly of the Cube Street. Looks nice and compact.
Enjoy it!
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  #3  
Old 06-08-2024, 08:09 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Originally Posted by jricc View Post
Cool classic Fender look Rudy, very nice. I'm definitely a little surprised, as you always speak so highly of the Cube Street. Looks nice and compact.
Enjoy it!
Yes, I used a Cube Street for a few years and then went deep dive with a Cube EX. I don't anticipate moving from the Cube EX for gigging, but there are some practicalities that flavored my interest in an even smaller amp.

The number one reason is that it's VERY RARELY if ever I have need of the battery power option, and that's one of the key features of the Cube EX.

When playing by myself I absolutely love the stereo reverb and chorus of the EX, but most of the time I only use the reverb.

So, if I consider that I'll always be using the plugged in option and I can learn to be satisfied with the mono reverb, then the Fender Acoustasonic 40 turns out to be a really great alternative. This is especially true considering the recent price hikes of the Cube EX.

Sadly, that $550 plus price is just putting the Cube EX beyond what I think of as a good choice for anyone looking to have a simple home / small gig amp.

The Fender is coming in at a third of that, and it's a very solid contender for the market segment.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Cube EX, but this Fender is built like the proverbial brick poo house.
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Old 06-08-2024, 09:08 PM
jricc jricc is offline
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Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
Yes, I used a Cube Street for a few years and then went deep dive with a Cube EX. I don't anticipate moving from the Cube EX for gigging, but there are some practicalities that flavored my interest in an even smaller amp.

The number one reason is that it's VERY RARELY if ever I have need of the battery power option, and that's one of the key features of the Cube EX.

When playing by myself I absolutely love the stereo reverb and chorus of the EX, but most of the time I only use the reverb.

So, if I consider that I'll always be using the plugged in option and I can learn to be satisfied with the mono reverb, then the Fender Acoustasonic 40 turns out to be a really great alternative. This is especially true considering the recent price hikes of the Cube EX.

Sadly, that $550 plus price is just putting the Cube EX beyond what I think of as a good choice for anyone looking to have a simple home / small gig amp.

The Fender is coming in at a third of that, and it's a very solid contender for the market segment.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Cube EX, but this Fender is built like the proverbial brick poo house.
Cube EX! That's what I was thinking of, couldn't remember the exact name. Anyway, I checked out the Fender on Sweetwater and that IS a great price. The XLR out on the back is a important/great feature.
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Last edited by jricc; 06-09-2024 at 07:44 AM.
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  #5  
Old 06-11-2024, 07:48 AM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jricc View Post
Cube EX! That's what I was thinking of, couldn't remember the exact name. Anyway, I checked out the Fender on Sweetwater and that IS a great price. The XLR out on the back is a important/great feature.
Agree. The Acoustasonic 40 has a feature set that makes it appealing as a small at home amp. Part of what makes it "better" is the control location. Since we would normally face an amp directly toward us then the front-facing controls just make a lot more sense to me.

Conversely, the Cube EX has the controls oriented in a way that makes them easily accessible when the amp is pole mounted at your side. I added an additional pole mount to the "handle end" of my Cube EX so I can use it to the left or right of me and still have the controls facing me.

The Fender Acoustasonic 40 could easily be used as a personal stage monitor by porting the rear XLR out to a house PA, of course.
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Old 06-11-2024, 11:28 AM
amcase amcase is offline
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Nice writeup Rudy. I've been playing this same amp for about a year now and it's the perfect tool for my playing. Instead of using the second channel for vocals I have my tele routed there after going through an "amp in a box" pedal. This acoustasonic holds up surprisingly well for the electric guitar with a decent amount of dirt on it. I love being able to record loops with the acoustic and electric guitar and have them mixed in the same amp. It also makes it easier to use the XLR out to go straight into a recording device for both instruments.

Have you noticed any ambient noise from the amp? My only complaint is that mine makes a hiss / static sound even when nothing is plugged into it.
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Old 06-11-2024, 12:03 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Originally Posted by amcase View Post
Nice writeup Rudy. I've been playing this same amp for about a year now and it's the perfect tool for my playing. Instead of using the second channel for vocals I have my tele routed there after going through an "amp in a box" pedal. This acoustasonic holds up surprisingly well for the electric guitar with a decent amount of dirt on it. I love being able to record loops with the acoustic and electric guitar and have them mixed in the same amp. It also makes it easier to use the XLR out to go straight into a recording device for both instruments.

Have you noticed any ambient noise from the amp? My only complaint is that mine makes a hiss / static sound even when nothing is plugged into it.
No, mine is totally quiet. I know some amps will have audible noise from the electronics if the channel volume is turned up, even with nothing plugged in. That's not the case with mine, although I usually turn channel volume down if it's not being used. That eliminates the possibility of unpleasant surprises when you plug something into a channel without realizing it was left up the last time it was used.

As you point out, one of the fine points of this amp is the combo jacks on both channels. Some of "instrument / vocal" amps use a dedicated XLR for the vocal channel that limit its usefulness. Two band EQ on the vocal channel is also seen.

It makes total sense to have two fully identical channels so the user can decide how THEY want to use the amp.
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Old 06-14-2024, 05:46 AM
J Buck J Buck is offline
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I bought mine to use a stage monitor at church in our fellowship hall. We were upgrading the house PA and struggling with all the new technology and I needed something I could hear at my feet. Worked beautifully. The sound is quite bright, but our stage is a beautiful 60 year old hard pine floor and I play a maple Guild Jumbo. Loud. I rarely turned it up past 3. Our drum kit is electronic so no real competition. Electric piano, bass and me. I would love to have the 100 watt version in our main sanctuary, but not really necessary, I plug in direct and have a stage monitor. Fender got this one right. This amp is very accommodating. I wish There were more choices for electric guitar voiced amps that had the XLR output in the 40 watt size in a similar price range. That would make my day.
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  #9  
Old Yesterday, 03:46 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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One of my playing pals was over with his Fender Acoustasonic 100 and set up amps and mics in the air conditioned living room to pass a very enjoyable 3 hours of playing. The Fender Acoustasonic 40 was great, partly because it's so small and compact.

Living room volume is no problem, and the verb on both channels as well as the 3 band EQ made setting tone super easy.

The diminutive size makes it easy to keep volume dialed back in this situation, but it will also get quite loud if you're looking to cop your best Cheap Trick moves.

It's been residing in the living room and my wife is great about not encouraging me to park it in the music room, but I really do think with a nice corner splined walnut cabinet and attractive stand that this might look good as a permanent addition...

Here's the general idea for the stand, but it will be more "fine furniture" than the utilitarian design shown here. This was an old 5 watt tube amp I made a tweed cabinet for and added the tilt stand. The concept for the stand works well, as you find the center of gravity for the combo amp and then install the pivot point there. The new design for the Fender Acoustasonic will hold the amp more at "chair level".


Last edited by Rudy4; Yesterday at 07:30 PM.
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