If you’ve been looking for a classy, high performance acoustic amplifier, you may have found your perfect match. Let’s run through some of the key features of this great new gig rig.
The Acoustic SFX is a 2 x 80w amplifier geared towards acoustic players and vocalists, with a strong vintage aesthetic in keeping with what many people consider Fender’s golden age – the 1950s and ’60s. The cabinet is made from a light-weight but durable honey-coloured plywood, with the lower portion and integrated carry handled covered in protective grey rubber.
The top-access control panel provides a simple two channel configuration, each with a combi-jack input. It also features an auxiliary mini-jack input, making the Acoustic SFX nice and versatile, covering the usual gigging set-ups easily:
- 1 mic / 1 instrument – common for singer-songwriters
- 2 instruments – useful for acoustic duos
- 2 mics – nice for using a pair of microphones to amplify a group of singers or performers
- 2 instruments – handy for reproducing the stereo output of a digital piano or keyboard
- aux input – plug in your phone to provide background music between sets, or just for ambience
- aux input – increase your channel count by plugging the output from a small mixer into the aux
Aside from the basic uses of the amp, the real star player is the built-in effects section. Each channel has its own discreet 3 band EQ, its own reverb knob, and its own effect level control. The 4 options of effects – digital tap-tempo delay, tape tap-tempo delay, chorus, and “vibratone” – are all exceptionally high quality and very, very usable. The side-facing speakers also give a decent, noticeable stereo width to the sound.
The overall tone of the amplifier is nicely balanced with a crisp, but not piercing top end, solid mid-range performance and a decent, tight bass response. It’s not the loudest of amplifiers, but acoustic amps tend not to be as pesky feedback can be difficult to curb on stage with hollow-bodied, naturally resonant instruments. If you are looking for maximum power, check out the Acoustic SFX’s big brother: the 200w Acoustic Pro.
One quick word of caution on the build, though… the handle has caused a bit of contention here at Red Dog Music HQ. Basically, if you try to carry the amp by the handle as you usually would with a weighty piece of kit, the curl of your fingers will end up pushing the cabinet cover away from the face of the amp. Not ideal, but not a deal breaker. When carrying the unit, try to rest the underside of the handle in the hook of your fingers, rather than the top of your palm. As we mentioned previously, the amp is significantly lighter than the competition, so bearing the weight on your fingers isn’t too strenuous.
All in all, the Acoustic SFX is a fantastic amplifier, and definitely one to consider if you’re looking for a bit of a kit that simply sounds amazing. Small construction quibbles aside, it feels rugged enough to go the distance and would look the part on any stage.
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