Updated: Feb 25, 2019
Ask any musician if they have a wishlist, and I bet you they start spouting off all the awesome gear they are looking forward to getting their hands on.
On my list for the longest time was a good acoustic amp, and boy am I glad I waited. It's so easy to rush into a cheaper model or getting something more entry level that "works for now", but adding some time in there to save a couple extra dollars produces a stronger addition to your arsenal.
Case in point, my new Fishman Loudbox Artist.
Here are some of the big selling points on this that may help you lean towards or away from it (selling points for me could be different for you).
1. The sound is so clear. As someone playing often with just a guitar and vocals, this puppy does justice. It's such a high quality of sound that the guitar and voice stay completely separate of one another. Even as you crank up the volume that clarity stays. If you are singing songs and telling stories, you want folks to be able to hear what you're saying as well as groove to the music. With this amp that is easy.
2. Inputs. It's great having two inputs on this. That said, I normally need three. (Vocal, guitar, stomp), and for that I use a path y cable cord (male to dual female). I haven't used it at very high volume, but it seems to handle it without any problem. You can always throw a mic on it and go into a system if you need more volume.
3. Speaking of going into a system, you don't even need a mic at all. This speaker acts as a DI no problem, which is another great feature. You can use this as a stage monitor in a noisy situation and just plug in and then send that right to the main mix. Check out all the options!
Who doesn't love dials?
4. The size vs. volume was the big finisher for me. As a performer I find myself in small places where lugging a full PA just doesn't make sense. This is the perfect alternative for those small to medium venues where you don't want to stuff you car to the brim, but need some juice to cut through the noise.
For me, I am coming a little late to the amp scene and don't know a ton. I know that my guitar, a Martin GPCRSG uses a Fishman Sonitone, and they certainly play nice together. That guitar tends to be a bit bassy, but its so easy to adjust on the amp and still sounds natural. The vocals are clean every time, and quality doesn't degrade as the volume gets pushed, and it cuts through everything (I especially like the reverb sound on these amps).
Lastly, I would say if you are looking for one of these, check out a local music shop. It may be a couple bucks more than online, but your dollars are going a long way to help keep music accessible to a community. My go to shop in our area is Woodsys. If you are a serious musician, having a store that knows you makes a difference.
You can find more technical specs and further reviews on Fishman's site.
Ben Gage is a songwriter from Akron, OH.
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Songs, videos, and more can be found here.