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JoeMikkPaulTopper11
04-29-2009, 01:33 PM
I can only find uke-specific amps that are micro and battery.
Does anyone know if they make uke amps that aren't battery...
and
Would using a guitar amp or something work okay?

Brad Bordessa
04-29-2009, 05:56 PM
Well, there really is no such thing as an 'ukulele amp, but you can use an acoustic guitar amp. Most of the battery powered amps that you are seeing (like the Roland Micro Cube and Vox) are fairly cheap. But when you start looking for something that plugs into the wall, you are looking at more power (watts) and that equals $$$. But spending that extra money gets you a better product.

There are no definite answers in this field, so you will have to do your research and try some different amps out.

A non-micro acoustic amp is probably going to start at the 30 watt range. If you are going to be playing in a band you will want around 100 watts. Just FYI, more watts = more power and loudness. And also headroom so you don't get any distortion - clearer sound. Beyond 100 watts and you might as well plug into a PA system.

I haven't tried as many acoustic amps as I would like, but here are my opinions. I have a Kamaka with a passive Hilo soundboard transducer pickup.

The best amp I have tried so far is the Roland AC-90. 90 watts, effects, mic and line channels for $700 something. Just really sweet. If I were to buy an amp today, that's what I would buy.

The Fishman loudboxes are okay. I didn't like the Fishman Solo amp. The reverbs sounded like they were screaming after the notes went away.

The Fender Acoustasonic sounded quacky with too much mid-range and fed back.

There are plenty to check out, but the Roland is on the top of my list. It's also expensive.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/navigation?q=acoustic+amps

Other amps that will work with 'ukuleles are Keyboard and Bass amps. These will sound better than an electric guitar amp any day. Most of these are just little PA systems and they don't mess with the signal.

Something else to think about is a preamp. A lot of the acoustic amps have these built in, but you can get an outboard unit. I have the Fishman Prefix Pro EQ. Everyone else swears by the LR Baggs Paracoustic DI (direct-in box). I see that Baggs has a new pedal out though. The ad said it was a preamp plus tuner, etc...

Try, try, try. It's the only way to know what you like. And remember that you can buy used too.

buddhuu
04-30-2009, 12:42 AM
I wouldn't necessarily discount amps below 100w for gigging...

For a start, once you hit venues of any size and they fill with people, 100w will soon get lost. A crowd absorbs a surprising amount of sound. A decent acoustic amp of even 30w or 50w will be fine as long as it has DI out that you can put into the PA. You get all the sound shaping benefits of the amp, but for that extra push you put it through the PA so it's louder and so it gets projected from those raised speakers and not absorbed by the bodies in the front row.

There's world of difference between taking a decent amp through the PA and just plugging your uke into the desk.

I use a Marshall AS50 D acoustic combo for gigging and it does a terrific job. Modest price, portable, great anti-feedback features, reverb and chorus built in, FX send and return, DI out. Everything I need. If I want more volume I just DI into the PA.

Another benefit of putting smaller amps into the PA is that someone has control over all the levels. Loud backline amps, especially when owned by big egos, can gradually get turned up during a gig by band members who are convinced that theirs is the instrument everyone should listen to.

I'm tempted by the nice 100w version in the same Marshall range, but in practical terms I don't really need any of the things it offers over my AS50 D, so that's just gear acquisition syndrome.

I'd definitely recommend an acoustic amp over an electric guitar amp for piezo or mic pickups - huge difference in sound. Not so much if you play an acoustic instrument that uses magnetic pickups like some guitars and mandos.

UkeNukem
04-30-2009, 05:41 AM
Buddhu is right, look for one with a line out, preferably XLR but 1/4 phone will work. What I don't like is that most small amps (acoustic or electric) have a combination line out/headphone jack that mutes the speaker. A true line out keeps the speaker on.

buddhuu
04-30-2009, 08:52 AM
Yeah, a headphone socket isn't good enough. Proper DI out is best.

The XLR DI out on my Marshall is just the thing. Speaker stays on. One of the great things about that is that I can use it as a monitor if I need to. :) There's also a line-out jack. I don't think that mutes the speaker either, but I've never used it.

Actually, now I think about it, I don't think there is a headphone jack on that amp that mutes the speaker.

JoeMikkPaulTopper11
04-30-2009, 12:32 PM
kay thanks guys.
conveniently enough i have a bass amp too, but this was really helpful ^_^

ichadwick
05-01-2009, 01:53 AM
I wouldn't necessarily discount amps below 100w for gigging...
I have a Roland Cube 30X and those 30 watts can blow the windows out at high volume. It's more than enough for a small venue like a restaurant or bar, or even a small theatre. It's got a bunch of nice built-in features too, and amp sims to help it sound sorta like something bigger and more famous.

JoeMikkPaulTopper11
05-01-2009, 05:54 PM
I have a Roland Cube 30X and those 30 watts can blow the windows out at high volume. It's more than enough for a small venue like a restaurant or bar, or even a small theatre. It's got a bunch of nice built-in features too, and amp sims to help it sound sorta like something bigger and more famous.

is that amp meant specifically for uke or is it a guitar or something?

buddhuu
05-04-2009, 09:41 AM
Nah. Not uke specific - it's primarily a guitar amp.

Don't let that put you off. Uke is within guitar frequency range. A guitar amp will be fine for uke.

Again, personally I have a strong preference for purpose-designed acoustic amps rather than electric guitar amps.

Gaby
05-06-2009, 11:43 AM
I work in a music store and get to try lots of amps and PAs and of course, I always plug ukes into them. Interestingly, for ukes, I don't necessarily always prefer acoustic amps; it really depends. Also, because the pickup quality varies so much from uke to uke you really want to take your uke when trying out amps. It could be advisable to have a look at pre-amps or DIs (like the LR Baggs) while you are there trying amps and perhaps PAs. Make sure you don't just skip the electric guitar amps as you might just prefer a valve amp with reverb; you never know.

buddhuu
05-06-2009, 10:45 PM
Definitely. It's all down to personal preference.

My own reason for leaning so strongly towards proper acoustic amps for piezos or mics is simply that I prefer as natural an acoustic sound as possible. I've played uke, mando and guitar through Roland, Vox, Marshall, H|H, Peavey, Fender and Orange guitar amps (these are what friends and bandmates own) and while most sounded great, they didn't make my instruments sound like themselves.

Piezos certainly need a preamp before going into a normal guitar amp, despite what some manufacturers claim. But a good acoustic amp will sometimes (not always) take a piezo into the high-impedance input and make it sound fine with no outboard preamp. That's not to say that an additional preamp can't help, but a plain multiband EQ might be more helpful in that scenario.

If you use a lot of FX, or you have a specific sound in mind - which may not simply be the natural sound of the acoustic instrument - then a normal guitar amp could be great. Certainly could be cheaper!

For the best acoustic sound with the gear I have, I find one of the following does the job best:

Piezo > preamp > 7 band EQ > high-impedance input of acoustic amp

or:

internal mic pickup > 7 band EQ > mic channel of acoustic amp

or:

external condenser mic > (optional EQ) > mic channel of acoustic amp.

It all depends what sound you're after.

JoeMikkPaulTopper11
05-13-2009, 12:51 PM
also who here has a honey tone mini battery amp and would you recommend it?

ichadwick
05-18-2009, 10:06 AM
is that amp meant specifically for uke or is it a guitar or something?

What Buddhu says....
Amps are mostly generic. You can use them for almost any instrument or mic. Some have specific features like effects or amp sims that are primarlily aimed at guitar users, but are not restricted to guitars. Anything that works with a guitar works with a uke.

GrumpyCoyote
05-18-2009, 11:01 AM
I really, really want a Fishman Solo (http://www.fishman.com/products/details.asp?id=106). 200 watts of hell yes in a PA style cabinet.

About 1k though.

JoeMikkPaulTopper11
05-18-2009, 04:25 PM
I really, really want a Fishman Solo (http://www.fishman.com/products/details.asp?id=106). 200 watts of hell yes in a PA style cabinet.

About 1k though.

oh that is nice.
once i get 1k that'll be on my list lol.

ricdoug
05-18-2009, 06:31 PM
also who here has a honey tone mini battery amp and would you recommend it?

For a little bit more, get a small acoustic combo amp. I have reviewed my Honeytone amps and other battery powered amps in the following link. They are loud for their size, but they eat through 9 volt batteries:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5333

Here's a small acoustic combo for $39 bucks:

http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Squier-SA10-Acoustic-Amplifier?sku=480878

http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/8/7/5/331875.jpg

Designed for acoustic-electric guitar.
The Squier SA-10 is a 10W amp voiced for acoustic-electric guitars. It features a 6" speaker, headphone output, and wide-range EQ controls. Perfect for beginners, practice, and for playing parties or performing in living rooms and small spaces. Very affordable and it sounds great.

Squier by Fender SA-10 Acoustic Amplifier Specifications:

10-1/4"W x 10-1/2"H x 5-3/4"D
9-1/2 lbs.
Squier by Fender SA-10 Acoustic Amplifier Features:

10W power
Special-design 6" driver
Preamp voiced for acoustic-elecgtric guitar
Wide-range EQ controls (treble and bass)
Headphone output
Red LED pilot light

ricdoug
05-18-2009, 06:38 PM
What Buddhu says....
Amps are mostly generic. You can use them for almost any instrument or mic. Some have specific features like effects or amp sims that are primarlily aimed at guitar users, but are not restricted to guitars. Anything that works with a guitar works with a uke.

This is true, with some distinctions. Playing a uke through a guitar amp gives it an "electric" voice, while playing a uke through an acoustic amp gives it a more natural sound. I use both and like both. They are different voicings. Many of the battery powered amps have a selection for natural acoustic voicing. Ric

buddhuu
05-18-2009, 10:27 PM
I would LOVE one of these - Marshall AS100 D (http://www.marshallamps.com/product.asp?productCode=AS100D)

I had a go on one in a local music store and it is a staggeringly great amp.

I am trying to start a second band - an acoustic trio - with guitar, uke/mandolin, and bass. If I had one of these I wouldn't need a PA. It can work as mini-PA!

No way will I ever be able to afford a PA, but in a year or so I might be able to go for that Marshall. Guess the new band will wait until then! :D

Hang on... a year?! Drat it, I'll be 50 next year! Time is short!

grappler
05-18-2009, 10:44 PM
hey guys,

i highly recommend

Roland Mobile Cube
or
Roland Micro Cube RX
search for them on the net or youtube, theyre pretty awesome

ricdoug
05-19-2009, 04:50 AM
I have two of the Roland Microcube RX's and one of the Roland Microcube Bass RX amps. We used those, the Vox DA5's and Crate Profiler 5's along with a Crate Taxi TX-15 as a monitor and a Carvin S400D for the P.A. at the Cardiff by the Sea beach last Sunday. This was for the Jonathan Tarr Foundation Scholarship presentation. No AC was available. All amps were used on battery for over three hours to a crowd of over 100. I'm going to buy more of the Microcube RX's, as they are clearly superior for that application. The regular Microcube's are a bit weak for guitar reproduction. At the same pricepoint, try a Vox DA5. Twice the power, a larger speaker and a seperate microphone input with it's own volume control, so you can sing along through the amp, while you are also playing your uke/guitar through the amp. Evaluation here:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5333

salukulady
07-23-2009, 11:31 AM
Currently looking at this: http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/msg/1285028445.html

My hubby is all for me getting this. Anyone have one? I know I just gotta drive out there and plug into it in order to decide if I like it. Just wondering if anyone had one and their opinion.

ricdoug
07-29-2009, 09:11 AM
Currently looking at this: http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/msg/1285028445.html

My hubby is all for me getting this. Anyone have one? I know I just gotta drive out there and plug into it in order to decide if I like it. Just wondering if anyone had one and their opinion.

Did you buy it, Sally? What was it? The listing has been pulled down. Ric

salukulady
07-29-2009, 11:28 AM
No I passed on it. It was a crate 120 acoustic amp. It was a great deal but a little large. I'm watching out for the crate 60.

NukeDOC
07-29-2009, 11:37 AM
Other amps that will work with 'ukuleles are Keyboard and Bass amps. These will sound better than an electric guitar amp any day. Most of these are just little PA systems and they don't mess with the signal.

S

this is genius! i dont know why i ever overlooked using a keyboard amp. ive always wanted a guitar amp that would just have an awesome clean channel and nothing more. no amp models. no onboard effects. just a straight up clean channel and power, since all my effects are on my board anyway.

and keyboard amps are so much cheaper because they dont have all that junk i dont ever use! im kicking myself right now.

ricdoug
07-29-2009, 12:18 PM
No I passed on it. It was a crate 120 acoustic amp. It was a great deal but a little large. I'm watching out for the crate 60.

That's some serious power for a ukulele, Sally! Also, check out the Acoustic AG60. there's a nice article on it in issue 6 of Ukulele Player Magazine:

http://www.tricornpublications.com/issue6.pdf

I bought the AG30 when they were on sale at Guitar Center for only $138 bucks and am quite happy with it for using with ukulele and acoustic guitar. I got the tip from Deach:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15786&highlight=ag30

The AG30 has two XLR / 1/4" inputs and the AG60 has 4 XLR / 1/4" inputs. You can plug a small band into an AG60! LOL!

you might try offering your local Guitar Center $138 for an AG30, as that was their 4th of July price.

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Acoustic-AG60-60W-2x8-Acoustic-Guitar-Combo-Amp-104839105-i1425485.gc

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Acoustic-AG30-30W-1x8-Acoustic-Guitar-Combo-Amp-104839055-i1425156.gc

salukulady
07-29-2009, 12:19 PM
this is genius! i dont know why i ever overlooked using a keyboard amp. ive always wanted a guitar amp that would just have an awesome clean channel and nothing more. no amp models. no onboard effects. just a straight up clean channel and power, since all my effects are on my board anyway.

and keyboard amps are so much cheaper because they dont have all that junk i dont ever use! im kicking myself right now.In my band we use a roland 550 for our guitar, uke and keyboard. Works great for that, but I still want an acoustic amp for myself.

salukulady
07-29-2009, 12:26 PM
That's some serious power for a ukulele, Sally! Also, check out the Acoustic AG60. there's a nice article on it in issue 6 of Ukulele Player Magazine:

http://www.tricornpublications.com/issue6.pdf

I bought the AG30 when they were on sale at Guitar Center for only $138 bucks and am quite happy with it for using with ukulele and acoustic guitar. I got the tip from Deach:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15786&highlight=ag30

The AG30 has two XLR / 1/4" inputs and the AG60 has 4 XLR / 1/4" inputs. You can plug a small band into an AG60! LOL!

you might try offering your local Guitar Center $138 for an AG30, as that was their 4th of July price.

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Acoustic-AG60-60W-2x8-Acoustic-Guitar-Combo-Amp-104839105-i1425485.gc

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Acoustic-AG30-30W-1x8-Acoustic-Guitar-Combo-Amp-104839055-i1425156.gcThanks Ric. I'll check these out.

Yeah, I thought the 120 was a little overkill for the uke but try telling my hubby (our band's sound man) that.

He also found a Carvin 100AG on craigslist he was trying to get me to buy. They were both great deals ($200 each) but I want something I can actually carry.

ricdoug
07-29-2009, 01:03 PM
The 60 watt Crate Gunnison is lighter than both of the previously mentioned Acoustics. None of these amps are light, Sally:

Crate Gunnison 60 watts - 37 pounds
Acoustic AG30 30 watts - 44 pounds
Acoustic AG60 60 watts - 58 pounds
Crate Durango 120 watts - 45 pounds

You should try/look at the Roland AC60:

http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Roland-AC60-Acoustic-Chorus-Combo-Amp?sku=480176

It is only 22 pounds and has superp sound and volume. Ric

salukulady
07-29-2009, 01:15 PM
The Gunnison is what I'm holding my breath for. The roland 60 is good but I'd rather have a second complete channel with separate EQ etc, (not just a mic input), which the Crate has.

I'm really in no hurry and I never have any extra cash, so I'll wait until I happen on that "good deal". In the band we run the ukes, guitar and keyboard off of the Roland 550. It works fine, but the "soundman" would rather us all have separate amps, and I understand why.

I will check out all those others you listed. Thank you for the info. (Isn't UU great for researching gear?) I love this site!