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Thread: Amplifier recommendation

  1. #1

    Default Amplifier recommendation

    Question--beginner just got a mandolin and am looking for an amplifier--I will never be great and don't need to spend an arm and a leg but would like something good with the capability of using it with a microphone as well as inputting music from auxiliary sources--phone/cd/etc. to practice to if that is even possible. Have looked at Fender 20--but read that one should not get a guitar amp for a mandolin but an acoustic amp instead? What's your advice and recommendation? Thanks!.

  2. #2
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    Hello,

    First... does "Bilwlsn" stand for Bill Wilson? That's my dad's name 🤓

    I use a simple, but effective. Small, but powerful Crete ca30 like this one (nfi).

    I've had mine for over 10 years and haven't had any problems at all!

    It has an "insert" line that when paired with a 1/4 to 1/8 in adapter can be used for a phone/laptop/CD.

    It has some onboard effects that I don't use much with my mandolin but come in handy when I'm playing acoustic guitar.

    https://reverb.com/item/7310243-crat...EALw_wcB&pla=1

  3. #3

    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    What type of mandolin do you have, and what sort of pickups? Generally acoustic mandolins with a piezo or microphone pickup work best with acoustic guitar amps, and electric mandolins with magnetic pickups work best with electric guitar amps. If you're looking for a practice amp rather than a performance amp there are a wide range of affordable options, especially used.

  4. #4
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Bilwlsn View Post
    that one should not get a guitar amp for a mandolin but an acoustic amp instead? What's your advice and recommendation? Thanks!.
    Yea, I learned that the hard way. I don't know the specifics of why and how, but there are amps designed for making you sound acoustic, only much louder, for an acoustic instrument or for vocals. and there are amplifiers designed for electric guitars and such. Instruments work best with the correct amp.

    Just a warning. I have learned that there is something called amplifier acquisition syndrome. I got one amp, and now I have four. How the heck...
    Indulge responsibly!

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    Registered User wildpikr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Bilwlsn View Post
    Question--beginner just got a mandolin and am looking for an amplifier--I will never be great and don't need to spend an arm and a leg but would like something good with the capability of using it with a microphone as well as inputting music from auxiliary sources--phone/cd/etc. to practice to if that is even possible. Have looked at Fender 20--but read that one should not get a guitar amp for a mandolin but an acoustic amp instead? What's your advice and recommendation? Thanks!.
    How about this?

    https://www.fishman.com/products/series/loudbox/

    Not knowing what you want to spend, there seem to be some good package deals [with mic, stand, cord] at Sweetwater [look under acoustic guitar amps]. Good luck...
    Mike

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  7. #6
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    I recently bought a Fender Frontman 10G for $59. I really like it. If you decide you need to upgrade later, you'll have a spare. I'll try to post a pic.
    This space reserved for 5 year mandolin gift to self.

  8. #7
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    I can't figure out the pic right now. Try Google if interested.

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    Main difference:

    'Electric' amps will usually use a single full range loudspeaker (though in reality, its frequency response is pretty restricted). That delivers the 'tone' electric players are used to and seek out.

    'Acoustic' amps will normally have a separate 'woofer', a X-over, and a 'tweeter'. Rather like a hi-fi speaker. This delivers a far more 'realistic' tone.

    It is very much about what we have become accustomed to hear.....

    There will also be (major) differences in the input and tone/EQ circuits....
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    The loud box mini is the basic go to decent at a reasonable price acoustic amp. I find its vocal sound ok but not great. My Carvin AG 300 has served me well for everything from Uke to bass and all things in between, but alas, they closed down last year.

    I've found Roland to be a solid brand as well.
    Silverangel Econo
    Michael Kelly LSFTB

  11. #10

    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    I’ve played and sang through a few and the Fishman Loudbox artist is fantastic great sounding mandolin and vocal amp with separate effects on both inputs. I think you can get a good used one for around $350. I also recommend the Loudbox mini which I used but it wasn’t loud enough for use in a full band. You can get a good used mini for around $200.
    Lou

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    I love my "Acoustic Image" - minimal size and handles everything from mandolin to bass - but they ain't cheap!

  13. #12
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    Typically Acoustic Amps have 2 channels for a sing and play performer, your open mic guitar solo player..

    If you have a Piezo * type pickup, one from a company like Fishman that also makes the pickups, would be a place to start..

    * they're popular because they're easy to make.. so dont cost much.


    Me, ? Roland AC 60 works.. not big but, transformer power-supply heavy
    decent padded bag to haul it around in..



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  14. #13
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    I went with the Marshall Acoustic Soloist AS100D. 100 watts and 4 separate channels which I thought would be pretty versatile. The 4th channel has two RCA jack inputs for use with stereo devices. Two of the channels can deliver phantom power for mics that need it. I believe it is a pretty versatile unit, but heavy as an anvil, which makes it less popular.

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    For me, the key to getting it was to shop for deals, either dented or used, and I pounced when I found the right deal on one.
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    Registered User Freddyfingers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    I have had great success with the Schertler Jam. It runs a bit more than the standard fishman and assorted main stream acoustic amps, but it’s a world of difference in sound. Small package, 8” speaker and a horn with 200 watts of power. I have plugged two guitars and a vocal mike into it and filled quite a few indoor and outdoor venues with sound. It also doesn’t color my instruments the way some fishman and Roland amps did. It sounds like my guitar just louder. If you can find one used, don’t hesitate. New around 899.
    Its not a backwards guitar.

  16. #15
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    Levon Helm played his Stiver through an older generation Fishman Loudbox Performer 130 w. That was reason enough for me to pick up the 100. Compared with the current line the older ones sound at least as good, are robust with features (love my fx loops per channel) not to mention a better build for gigging (metal vs cloth grill) and are a huge value for the money.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Dave Greenspoon; Jan-12-2018 at 11:40pm.


    Axes: Rigel A Natural #1774 w/mods, Andrew Jerman Irwin-style 5 string electric "Stealie", Paul Newson custom blonde SCW "Feivel", Epi Mandobird IV, The Loar LM 370, Grandmom's solid mahogany teens bent-top, Baglamas 002
    Amps: Peavey Classic 30, Laney Cub 10, Fishman Loudbox 100
    Rigs: Main rig Grab&Go Acoustic

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    Registered User saintjohnbarleycorn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    I have 2 loudbox artist and very happy with them both violin and vocals, the impedance is an important factor 10m ohms is recommended for piezo .
    don't know where you are but I would sell my extra
    for 350
    "I'm still not dead" j barleycorn

  18. #17

    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    One line that doesnt get talked about so much, but are reasonably priced and work well, are Peavey eCoustics. Some of the smaller ones, like the dual 8” or the 110 (get it, one 10”) might be worth your while, they are actually marketed as practice amps now, not having ouputs to hook into a larger PA. I have one of the original 112s, still works well after 15 years but a bit heavy and doesnt sound as good as the newer, lighter ones.

    Some folks like Fender Acoustasonics, I never have, always found them tinny-sounding.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    I've been playing through a Fishman Loudbox Performer, and have it dialed in the way I want. I think the Loudbox Artist sounds better, less bass heavy for mandolin, but I got a Performer in on trade at the shop and kept it for myself. I think the Loudbox amps are some of the best sounding acoustic amps, but the aren't cheap, and the material tears easy, so it's hard to keep them looking pretty.

    Jeremy

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Amplifier recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by saintjohnbarleycorn View Post
    I have 2 loudbox artist and very happy with them both violin and vocals, the impedance is an important factor 10m ohms is recommended for piezo .
    don't know where you are but I would sell my extra
    for 350
    Actually 1M ohms is what several great sounding preamps are and a lot of piezo pickups are too. 10M gives you a factor of ten and can work with anything, but an actual match is the best. K&K preamps match their pickups with a 1m ohm input.
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