Next up is Fishman, known for their cutting-edge acoustic guitar electronics and in recent years that have attracted a following with their Mini Loudbox Acoustic amps. The Loudbox series had been around for some time but the Mini amp was launched for increased portability for singer songwriters. Features include two channels (one Vv for guitar input and an XLR for mic), 60 watts of power, 6.5 inch woofer and a 1 inch tweeter, front mount controls with a built in tilt and it only weighs 8.6 kgs. I was first introduced to these at a Namm show and I like the warm sound quality plus they are light. If you do buy this one, I recommend buying the slip cover to protect your investment.

Yamaha made small portable amps retro cool with their THR series and although you couldn’t play a live gig with the THR5A, this little amp is perfect for home practice or recording. The amp enclosure is all metal with a metal handle on top, it drives 10 watts, has one channel, dual 3.15 inch speakers, virtual circuitry modeling, and a USB out for recording. It also comes with free THR editing software. This is a fun portable amp that sounds and looks great – and it can double as a personal music player with your iPod plugged into it.

All of these acoustic guitar amps mentioned in this shootout have different features and work best in different gig, recording or home settings. When you are ready to buy an acoustic amp consider these factors: 1. Wattage (How big are the rooms you typically play to?) 2. Channels (Do you play solo guitar with one vocalist or more?) 3. Effects (Do you want built in effects or prefer to use your external guitar pedals?) 4. Size/ Weight (How much room to you have to haul an amplifier and how much other gear are you carrying to the gig?) 5. Budget (How much do you have to spend on an acoustic I amp). Once you lock down these five variables then it’s just a matter of playing your instrument through them to see what sounds best to you. EricDahl


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