I’m personally really excited that we’ve just begun carrying Acoustic Image amps at GSI. I have a really old model (serial number #012) that I got maybe five years ago, and it literally changed everything for me in live situations, because for the first time in my life I knew that whatever the gig was, I’d be able to hear myself, and that’s huge. I’ll get to that in a minute.
The amps were originally designed for bass players, so they have tons of power – current models are rated at either 400 or 800 watts. Mine’s 300w, and I’ve never come anywhere near to cranking it. And the main thing about these guys is that they are just clean, no matter how much you push them. They have a simple great sounding EQ, a few choice effects and they sound glorious.
There are two things, though, that make them perfect for me: Each amp actually can power two speakers – the one that’s integrated into the amp, and a separate speaker. Acoustic Image makes extension cabinets that are the same size and shape, etc.. as the combo amps, but I’ve been using a passive EV speaker I used to use with my P.A. (which I rarely use anymore) and it works perfectly. But the point is that you can use any passive monitor you have and it’s powered by the combo. The other thing that makes this amp so useful to me is the direct out, which sends a clean signal to the house. The way I use it in bigger venues is as a monitor for myself of just me (more me!) that I have complete control over, and that sends a signal to the house that can be also added to the monitor mix for anyone who needs more of me.
For small gigs the combo by itself is usually plenty, and if you do solo gigs it’s probably all you’ll ever need. For slightly bigger gigs you can use it as a monitor plus house (with the extension cab.) or as a monitor system. You can even use it as a great P.A. by sending your mix to the amp.
I often play with a singer, dancers,and percussionist or even a drummer, and having my own monitor of just me has really allowed me to relax when I play, because I can actually hear myself, and I don’t have to compromise my sound by using a pickup or anything. I also don’t have to fight with all the other musicians to get enough of me into the monitor mix.
Of course with any monitor you have to know your mics and their polar patterns to figure out the best monitor placement to avoid feedback, but once you have that down, if you ever need to play loud and compete with a lot of much louder musicians these amps will kind of rock your world. And if you just need to be clean, I can’t even imagine a cleaner amp.
Here’s a little video review I found on YouTube that describes some of the features. I don’t see how hearing an amp played back on a computer will give you any idea of the sound, but it shows you the amp and some of the features, so, enjoy:
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