An affordable, powerful, and portable acoustic amp with pro features.
by Teja Gerken
July 28, 2016
Fishman was one of the first companies to offer amplifiers designed especially for acoustic musicians. Fishman’s Loudbox Mini is the smallest amp offered in the company’s current line of Loudbox amps (the Loudbox Artist and Loudbox Performer offer more power and additional features). But don’t let its diminutive size fool you. This is a powerful unit that will be all the amp a lot of performers will ever need. Measuring a mere 12 x 13.7 x 9.7 inches and weighing 19.7 pounds, the Loudbox Mini is easy to carry and doesn’t take much space on stage. The unit features 60 watts of power, delivered through a 6.5 inch speaker and a 1-inch tweeter. The front panel offers two channels, of which one is designed as an instrument channel, and other as a microphone channel. As such, the first channel has a ¼-inch input, and controls for Gain, Low, Mids, and Highs EQ, Reverb, and Chorus. The second channel starts with an XLR input, following by Gain, Low, Mids, and Reverb. A Master Volume affecting both channels completes the front panel The amp’s back offers an XLR output for feeding a DI signal to a mixing board, and a pair of Aux inputs in ¼-inch and mini-jack formats.
I checked the Loudbox Mini with a variety of guitars, but like many acoustic amps, it is suitable for other instruments that require clean, full-range amplification, such as mandolins, fiddles, dobros, and ukuleles. The Loudbox Mini is a great amp for playing in restaurants, cafes, wedding gigs, and many other solo or small ensemble settings. While it might not be powerful enough to compete with a cranked backline of electric instrument amps, it has plenty of juice to serve as a stage monitor in a typical amplified acoustic band. I found the tone to have great dynamic range and a warm overall quality, and the EQ was musical and capable to dialing out problem frequencies. The reverb and chorus sounded great, and I was able to dial in a usable sound quickly. Particularly considering the Loudbox Mini’s street-price of about $330, it’s hard to not be impressed by its no-nonsense functionality and excellent sound.
In this video, I used a late 1990s Taylor 310ce with factory-installed Fishman Prefix electronics (Matrix pickup and onboard preamp) to demo the amp.
SPECS: Acoustic amplifier. 60 watt. 6.5 inch speaker and 1 inch tweeter. Two channels. ¼-inch input, Low, Mid, and High EQ, Reverb and Chorus on Channel 1, XLR input, Low and High EQ, Reverb, on Channel 2. Master volume. Digital effects. XLR DI output. ¼-inch and mini-jack Aux inputs. 19.7 pounds. 12 x 13.7 x 9.7 inches. Designed and engineered in the USA, assembled in China. $509.99 list/$330 street. fishman.com.
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