Justin Guitar Community

Tools of the Trade => Amplification, Effects, Pickups etc. => Amps and Speakers => Topic started by: markd85 on January 16, 2021, 02:35:08 am

Title: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: markd85 on January 16, 2021, 02:35:08 am
Hi All
I'm looking for suggestions for an acoustic guitar amp that I can also use for singing. It would be nice if it had blue tooth to play backing tracks and also vocal effects and harmonies built in. Not sure how well the harmonies work but it seems like a good idea? It would mainly be just for fun at home or possibly a small church setting of 100 people or so. Maybe even a PA system I can plug an acoustic guitar into? I can sing a little but the guitar playing is not as good so I guess the emphasis would be on the singing part at first. Something like a really good Karaoke machine that I could plug the acoustic into if there is such a thing? Want something pretty good quality as I only want to buy once! maybe up to $1000 USD. Thanks for any advice.
Mark
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: DarrellW on January 16, 2021, 06:46:10 am
If it were me I would be looking at something like an AER compact 60 at the top end of your budget or for less money a Fishman loudbox mini or maybe a Boss acoustic singer, all three would do the job pretty well but the AER is one very nice amp!
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: markd85 on January 16, 2021, 07:16:47 am
Thanks for the input Darrell. It's a little overwhelming with all the choices available. It looks like the Boss doesn't have blue tooth but has lots of vocal effects options. On the other hand, the Loudbox is blue tooth but only standard vocal options. The AER looks nice but I can't quite justify spending that much at my current skill level. But I am working on it lol. Maybe I could use something like the TC-Helicon VoiceLive Play Acoustic with the Loudbox Mini? Would like to hear if anyone has had experience with a setup like that. Also, what's the difference in the amps Darrell mentioned above and a powered speaker or PA system? Thanks for the help.
Mark
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: Rossco01 on January 16, 2021, 07:25:31 am
Might be worth looking at Laney Fresco very affordable two channel pa/amp . Works great for acoustic.
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: DavidP on January 16, 2021, 08:01:39 am
Maybe I could use something like the TC-Helicon VoiceLive Play Acoustic with the Loudbox Mini? Would like to hear if anyone has had experience with a setup like that.

Mark, for my long term future, so long term it remains more a dream than a goal, I have thought about this. The first step I have taken is to acquire a TC Helicon Play Acoustic.

My aim in doing this was to be able to perform acoustic covers and record them for YT with the same/similar kind of sound quality I was achieving when making a 2 track recording in my DAW, without using the DAW. Just as a live performance would be.

For context, in the DAW one track was guitar mic'ed and a second vocal track, with sufficiently reduced guitar bleed on the vocal track that I could apply fx in post-processing to have a vocal that sounded natural rather than a dry, flat home-recorded sound.

I have been pleased, received positive comments from the Forum on the results I have been getting. Takes some work to get the right blend of fx on the vocal, so it is natural but not over-processed. I did try once to apply additional fx in the chorus of a song, specifically the harmonies, and it ended up a little over-processed. But with fine-tuning I think can sound good. And of course the better one sings, the better that will work. Throwing the need to use a foot-switch was also harder than I expected, though it was literally the one and only time I tried it.  For reference the song was my cover of American Pie.

Similarly, some experimentation was needed to set up the fx on the guitar so the acoustic sound is natural, overcoming some of the undesirable qualities of the piexo pickup. My guitar is not budget but also not a high-end built-in system with an internal mic that blends with a piezo and didn't sound bad unprocessed. But still, I think the tone improvements gained from the different TC effects builtin to the pedal have been significant.

If you are interested, you can hear the results in these videos. Give you some sense from more of a novice rather than watching the more professional players in other YT demos of the pedal:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fxIxTQUCPw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fxIxTQUCPw)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylqbZ9TTvlc (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylqbZ9TTvlc)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY_T4Ezxjqo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY_T4Ezxjqo)

For now, this is working for me. And maybe a good first step for yourself, particularly if you have the ability to plug the pedal outputs into an Audio Interface and make recordings on your PC for purposes of learning and sharing here for invaluable feedback.

My next step would probably be a small mixer plus PA speakers, rather than a 2 channel acoustic-voiced amp. No idea of the options, pricing, etc. For now, that is just based on the extra flexibility of having at least a 4 channel mixer that would allow my wife to play and sing with me, which is part of the dream.

I have no research or experience to share as to the pros and cons of that approach vs an amp, assuming you only ever anticipate needing two channels. Maybe Jason or Darrell would have more knowledge and experience to comment on that.
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: DarrellW on January 16, 2021, 08:21:15 am
Might be worth looking at Laney Fresco very affordable two channel pa/amp . Works great for acoustic.
Yes that’s also a nice option, I’d forgotten about it, typically me, they are only just up the road from where I live 😂😂😂
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: DarrellW on January 16, 2021, 08:30:06 am
The AER looks nice but I can't quite justify spending that much at my current skill level. But I am working on it lol. Maybe I could use something like the TC-Helicon VoiceLive Play Acoustic with the Loudbox Mini?
Mark
The AER I would regard as a buy once option, it’s an absolutely superb amp, I wouldn’t want to use one for busking because of its high value that’s why I included lower price options!
You could add aftermarket Bluetooth to the Boss or the TC Helicon to the Loudbox mini, both ways would work. Personally I would steer clear of the PA option (if you would be buying it yourself) purely from a portability point of view, the combos are lighter and easier to transport I think, put it this way if I do decide to have a go at busking locally the combo will be my choice!
Bluetooth systems can lag so not the best idea but here’s an easy option  https://www.andertons.co.uk/guitar-dept/electric-guitar-accessories/other-electric-guitar-accessories/blackstar-tonelink-bluetooth-audio-receiver
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: J.W.C. on January 16, 2021, 08:43:12 am
I agree that AER would be a stellar choice. I have a Boss Acoustic Singer Live, and it's a solid choice, as well (personally, I'd avoid Bluetooth -- especially in a live performance -- so that lack doesn't affect me).
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: markd85 on January 16, 2021, 08:56:57 am
The Laney Fresco is an option I hadn't heard about. I will look into that. Thanks Rossco.

And thank you David for a detailed response. I have to admit, I'm not sure I totally understand everything you said lol. I did listen to your video examples and I thought they sounded really good. I think what you are saying is that your vocal and guitar went through the TC helicon directly to the DAW with no amplifier or speaker was used? Sorry if I am not understanding, but I don't really know anything about the recording side of things yet. Mainly right now, I'm just trying to figure out the difference in amp vs. powered speaker and what I might need to sound decent in a live setting. You demonstrated the TC Helicon sounds pretty darn good I think, so very likely likely I will start there as you did. Still have to figure out the amp vs. speaker question though. Thank you for the advice!
Mark
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: markd85 on January 16, 2021, 09:12:52 am
You learn something new every day. I had no idea bluetooth could be added that easily. And yes, I would agree the AER would not be thrown in the back of my pickup truck and hauled to the farmers market very many times ;D If I were singing or playing over a backing track, where would the lag be introduced?

Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: markd85 on January 16, 2021, 09:14:37 am
I agree that AER would be a stellar choice. I have a Boss Acoustic Singer Live, and it's a solid choice, as well (personally, I'd avoid Bluetooth -- especially in a live performance -- so that lack doesn't affect me).

Thanks JWC...How are the vocal effects in the Boss?
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: close2u on January 16, 2021, 09:19:15 am
No mention yet of the Roland Cube Street?

It is a go-to for guitar/vocalists and is a buskers dream in terms of form and function.

It is bulletproof and has all you need for all the settings you mention.
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: DavidP on January 16, 2021, 09:20:02 am
The Laney Fresco is an option I hadn't heard about. I will look into that. Thanks Rossco.

And thank you David for a detailed response. I have to admit, I'm not sure I totally understand everything you said lol. I did listen to your video examples and I thought they sounded really good. I think what you are saying is that your vocal and guitar went through the TC helicon directly to the DAW with no amplifier or speaker was used? Sorry if I am not understanding, but I don't really know anything about the recording side of things yet. Mainly right now, I'm just trying to figure out the difference in amp vs. powered speaker and what I might need to sound decent in a live setting. You demonstrated the TC Helicon sounds pretty darn good I think, so very likely likely I will start there as you did. Still have to figure out the amp vs. speaker question though. Thank you for the advice!
Mark

My pleasure, Mark, and you understood what I was trying to say 100% correctly.

As I said, I am sure others were more experience than I can talk through pros and cons of amp vs PA. As Darrell did referring to the aspect of portability.
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: DarrellW on January 16, 2021, 10:08:19 am
If I were singing or playing over a backing track, where would the lag be introduced?
With the Bluetooth system basically it’s just the signal transfer time, it’s not instant so it’s possible to not get quite in sync.
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: Rossco01 on January 16, 2021, 12:44:58 pm
The Laney Fresco is an option I hadn't heard about. I will look into that. Thanks Rossco.


No problem. It can also be battery operated which is a big plus. Either lithium batteries or standard double A.
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: Majik on January 16, 2021, 05:16:50 pm
With the Bluetooth system basically it’s just the signal transfer time, it’s not instant so it’s possible to not get quite in sync.
Which isn't a problem for streaming backing tracks.

Cheers,

Keith

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: CT on January 16, 2021, 08:37:20 pm
I bought a high-value entry level 130W, 8 channel (EQ on 4 channels) PA system from Monoprice (something like $150 with free shipping). Works great for this kind of application and doesn't break the bank. 
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: J.W.C. on January 16, 2021, 10:37:06 pm
Thanks JWC...How are the vocal effects in the Boss?

The mic input has its own volume/pad, of course, and also can provide phantom power to condenser mics. It also has its own own EQ section (bass/mids/treble). To control feedback issues, it provides phase switching, and also a "notch" knob which allows you to suppress certain frequencies. That can be very useful.

None of the above is exactly effects, though. The mic channel's effects include delay or echo (although not both at the same time), reverb, and harmony. They're all digital effects, of course, and I'd say they're sufficient, especially for the kind of "live performance" approach the amp is targeting. If I were recording a "studio" track I'd probably favor alternative effects added in post, with the DAW.

The harmony effect is pretty cool. You can choose a high, mid, or low harmony, and you can adjust the reference pitch used to add harmony (from 437 Hz to 443 Hz, with 440 Hz being the default).

If you add a GA-FC foot controller (and optional expression pedals) you have a very easily controlled setup for live performance.

If you want to use a backing track, you can plug into the Aux input.
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: markd85 on January 17, 2021, 12:59:19 am
Thanks to everybody for the advice. I think I have ruled out an actual PA system but still not sure what is the difference or pros/cons, for example, between one of these...
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/S1ProSys--bose-s1-pro-multi-position-pa-system-with-battery
and one of these...
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ACSLiveLT--boss-acoustic-singer-live-lt-60-watt-bi-amp-acoustic-combo
Other than the Bose is battery powered. Maybe just the form factor?
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: glpguitar on January 17, 2021, 01:53:30 am
First of all, I can second Roscco's suggestion. Been using Laney A-Fresco2 for the past month hoping for some socially distanced busking but then harsh restrictions happened again so didn't get to test it on the streets but it's a great piece of kit that sounds great. Did not know about it until entering the shop in December but so far it's being a good investment. Probably won't get much use until the situation in the world improves but no complaints so far. And the battery actually lasts 24-26 hours.

Regarding the Bose S1 PA vs. Boss Acoustic amp I am not familliar with any of the two but what I really do NOT like about this Bose PA product is that it only offers you a 2-band EQ (so only low and high EQ with no mids to adjust). If you scroll down on both of them and compare the specs you will see some differences.

The main two advantages for the Bose S1 PA are Bluetooth and the fact that you can easily put it in different positions + battery also helps if you happen to be somewhere with no chance of plugging it in. But if I would have to choose between the two, I would go with Boss. Others will probably give you a clearer explanation on the differences and what they think about them, so I will stop here to not confuse you too much.
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: close2u on January 17, 2021, 08:26:41 am
Did you look at the Roland Cube Street?
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: markd85 on January 18, 2021, 01:00:36 am
Thanks everybody for your responses. The Laney A-Fresco2 looks really nice but it doesn't seem to be widely available in the US right now.

And to Richard, I have not researched the Street Cube yet but I am starting immediatly.

Regarding the Bose S1 PA not having a mid-range EQ....If you were using an effects processor like the TC Helicon Play Acoustic, wouldn't that negate the need for the on board EQ?
Thanks to All...Mark
















Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: markd85 on February 02, 2021, 06:06:46 pm
Thank you to everybody who replied in this thread. I wanted to let you know, I ended up with a Fishman Loudbox Artist and Shure Sm 58 mic. as well. This setup is way better than I am at this point and is likely all I will ever need. Very happy....Thanks!
Mark
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: glpguitar on February 02, 2021, 09:59:56 pm
Glad you are happy with the gear Mark! Have fun playing music loud 8)!
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: DavidP on February 03, 2021, 07:12:50 am
Sounds great, Mark. Have fun and looking forward to hearing you perform soon.
Title: Re: Acoustic/Singer songwriter type Amp
Post by: DarrellW on February 03, 2021, 08:22:21 am
Great stuff Mark, I think that you picked wisely it’s a very nice amp and will definitely cope very well with all that you can throw at it!