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mendel
12-25-2011, 03:53 PM
First of all- Merry Christma to all.

Second- I installed a pickup all by myself! Checked ona friends amp today and it works! I had to do some adjusting of the transducer which onvolved stringing and unstringing as well as some more sanding of te saddle. Regardless, it works an i am very proud and pleased.

That said, I find myself in the market for an amp. I have never played another instiment which required an amp so I am not "in the know" about them. I've heard a lot about the Roland micro Cube as well as a Voc something or other. As always, I look to the UU for guidance and suggetions. This is not for playing shows. It is just for around the house/ classroom because I am a teacher. Please let me know what you think will best suit my needs. Thank you all for your advice.

coriandre
12-25-2011, 04:44 PM
Active or passive pickup ?

mendel
12-25-2011, 04:47 PM
Forgive my ignorance. I don't know the difference. It was a Mi-Si Acoustic Trio. An under saddle transducer.

kissing
12-25-2011, 04:54 PM
A Mi-Si would be an active pickup, as it takes some form of electrical power (in this case, needs recharging).

The Roland Microcube is a very popular choice, because its a small amp packed with features, and can actually be pretty loud for its size.
It's the one amp, but the modules on it enable it to act as though it's 7 amps in one, with plenty of built-in effects. Quite easy to use, portable and can even run on batteries too if you feel like taking it outside or somewhere without electricity.

They're as sturdy as amps get, affordable and a very good companion for the electrified ukulele.




If you don't want the plethora of features, and just want something to play a natural sounding acoustic tone, then it may be better to get an acoustic amp though.
Roland has some good acoustic amps too.

mendel
12-25-2011, 04:55 PM
Thank you!!

Doc_J
12-25-2011, 06:15 PM
If money is tight. This is an decent amp for $20 delivered.
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/rogue-g10-10w-1x3.5-guitar-combo-amp/430834000001000
Got one of these recently for my eleuke peanut.

kenikas
12-25-2011, 07:38 PM
I've got a Roland Micro Cube and love it, it's a great little amp for the money. I found mine used and got a great buy on it, but even the regular price is a bargain. I just bought one of the $20 Rogues from Musicians Friend for my sons birthday tomorrow and I'll let you know how it works out. I also hava a Danelectro Honeytone that is great to clip on a belt and wander around with.

bazmaz
12-26-2011, 05:14 AM
This question comes up a lot, and I always respond the same way.

Micro amps do nothing more than create a bit more volume, but to my ears are limited and thin sounding. If you really want to amplify properly with a view to performing in a coffee shop type scenario, invest in a full amp with a good acoustic stage. There are many about, but my money goes to the Marshall As 50 series. Beautiful sounding acoustic amp with seperate stage for a vocal input,

PhilUSAFRet
12-26-2011, 05:23 AM
As always, have to decide what you mostly want to do with the amp. As long as it has a jack, can always practice in private without disturbing others. Will you "need" a battery powered amp? How much volume? In "general" acoustic amps usually needed when the instrument is producing very good acoustic sound that you want to accurately reproduce.

coolkayaker1
12-26-2011, 05:32 AM
I agree with bazmaz.

Although I don;t have the AS50D, my teenage son and I own, between us, about 5 amps: Marshalls, a Rowland, and Fender DeLuxe Tube Amp.

I have found small and cheap amps to be, well, small and cheap. Not good for home. Certainly, not good for classrooms. PLus, the resale value of Marshalls (on eBay, Craigslist, etc.) is stellar. A cheap Roland Cube, etc., and the buyers will say, "Its so inexpensive, I'll just buy one new under warranty." So, hard to sell when want to trade up.

I see this video for the Marshall AS50D, and must honestly say, it looks lovely. And the ability to power an XLR mic, which none of my amps have but the Marshall AS50D does have, is a wonderful and lovely feature (even in front of the classroom). While still portable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIqmxgVSSDY

And here it is with superb reviews on Muscians Friends. MF almost always have codes and sales, for 10-20% off the price you see here, no sales tax and free shipping, so it's quite a deal when you get down to it.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/marshall-as50d-50w-2x8-acoustic-guitar-combo-amp?source=3WWRWXGB

manapualabs
12-26-2011, 06:18 AM
We have the SWR California Blonde and it is sweet. It will run two `ukuleles and a mike simultaneously. However, it is *very* heavy (I just had to carry it for a gig yesterday) and it can be overkill for your needs. For "backyard" kine kanikapila we have the Roland Micro cube and for just fooling around Santa bought my boyfriend a Honeytone.

Gillian
12-26-2011, 07:44 AM
The Roland AC-33 i (http://www.roland.com/products/en/AC-33/)s a nice little acoustic amp that has lots of features. Lightweight, can run for quite a long time on batteries, has separate controls for uke and mike, reverb and chorus and room 'ambience'. Headphone and MP3 player jacks, and a feature called a 'looper' that can record around 30 seconds of a repeated riff or phrase that runs through a song. It is plenty loud with accurate sound reproduction. I use mine for our uke club meetings which is held in a big room that holds 60 and people in the back hear it just fine.

Skottoman
12-26-2011, 07:52 AM
The VOX MINI 3 is a great small amp. Can be run off batteries if needed, can input instrument AND mic. Has many different amp modeling effects, delay, reverb, chorus, etc. Can use FX on instrument and Mic.

I was just playing with mine, I don't have pickups, so use a mic and play my uke into it. I primarily use the reverb to pretend I'm playing classical ukulele in some big hall to a crowd of amazed fans like I'm Jake S. or something. Haha.... :P

http://www.voxamps.com/mini3/

Cheers,
Skottoman

raecarter
12-26-2011, 08:04 AM
This question comes up so much! As with anything you should try as many as you can as what sounds good to you can sound different to someone else. I have a misi pickup in both my ukes and have a Marshall as50d it is beautiful for me and works wonderful in a live environment mic'd up.

ricdoug
12-26-2011, 04:17 PM
Mendel, go with the Vox Mini3 over the Roland Microcube. It has more
power, the addition of a seperate microphone channel and a lower price. I
own both.

Not knowing your budget, I highly recommend bumping up a bit more in
price to an acoustic purpose amp. Stay away from the Behringer brand.
Here's a 30 watt amp you can use in the classroom, plus take to a gig. I
own this one, too. It averages a 5 star rating accross the board, from 7
reviews:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/acoustic-ag30-30w-1x8-acoustic-guitar-combo-amp


Fast-Tone technology allows you to dial up great sound in an instant.


The Acoustic AG30 acoustic amp is perfect for performing
singer/songwriters looking for an easy and excellent way to amplify their
instrument and voice without having to cart around multiple pieces of
gear.

The AG30 is designed to maximize projection, with its angled, floor-
monitor-style cabinet. For warm, full frequency sound, the cabinet
features an 8" studio monitor style speaker for strong mid and low-
frequency response and a coaxial tweeter for ultra-clear, sparkling high
end. Each of the two channels has a combination input that allows you to
plug an instrument into the 1/4'" unbalanced plug or a microphone into
the XLR balanced plug. The 3 band EQ with sweepable mid band provides
satisfying control over your tone. Also included is a selectable effects
section, with 16 high-quality digital effects, including reverbs, delays and
choruses. A chart detailing each effect is located on top of your the amp,
so you'll never lose it.

For quiet practice, use the 1/8" stereo headphone jack, and for pre-
recorded accompaniment, the AG30 amp has an 1/8" stereo aux input.
Plug in a CD or MP3 player and play along. Finally, a Line Out affords you
the opportunity to send your signal to a PA, for amplification in larger
spaces.

Features
16 high-quality digital effects,
Two channels - combination inputs accept 1/4'" or XLR cables
1/8" stereo headphone jack
1/8" stereo aux input
Line Out
Heavyweight cloth grill
Heavy-duty 8" coax studio monitor-style speaker
Angled monitor-style cabinet projects sound upward
Rugged and comfortable handle
Easy-to-read control panel
Protective, long-lasting covering

AG30 30W 1x8 Acoustic Guitar Combo Amp Specifications:

Power: 30W RMS
Equalizer: Low - &plumn;15dB at 80Hz, Med - 15dB at 500Hz, High - 15dB at 10kHz
Channels: 2 each with combo input jacks and volume controls
Speaker: 8" Coax Studio Monitor Style
Dimensions: 18.3" x 17" x 18.8"
Weight: 44 lbs.


http://static.musiciansfriend.com/derivates/19/001/268/850/DV020_Jpg_Jumbo_500133.001_black_V.jpg

Gillian
12-26-2011, 05:31 PM
I forgot to mention I carry my Roland AC-33 around in a gym bag, as it only weighs 11 lbs.

DaveY
12-26-2011, 05:55 PM
From my non-expert but earnest experience amplifying a Flea a/e and a Fluke solid body electric (w/B-Band active pickups), and echoing some others' advice:

1) I've tried the MicroCube, and own the ($100) Vox Mini3, and the Vox sounds much better to me — more natural (and less expensive, as noted).

2) I'm very happy with my ($300) Fishman Loudbox Mini, which also has mic + aux inputs, line out, with just chorus & reverb for effects. But I've read many recommendations for Roland acoustic amps, and now I'm hearing more about the Acoustic brand.

3) I don't think I'd buy an amp without trying it out, to match ear and taste and instrument to amp.

Plainsong
12-27-2011, 12:37 AM
An acoustic amp doesn't have to be a big ole 30w thing ya know. Everyone talks about the Microcube, and forgets about the Mobile Cube, which unlike the Microcube is a general purpose all-instruments type amp. You could plug into a keyboard amp just as well as an acoustic amp, and Roland knows that, which is why they made the Mobile Cube. You don't HAVE to get a big ole Marshall or Fender, or whatever the cool kids are saying you have to get.

Basically, it's just that electric guitar amps generally sound better with electric guitars. You have to get more of an acoustic or keyboard or all-purpose amp for uke. Yes a big speaker is nice and yes lots of room for the speaker to move is nice, but you don't really need to lug around a 30 or 50W amp if that's not what you need.

fitncrafty
12-27-2011, 12:58 AM
The VOX MINI 3 is a great small amp. Can be run off batteries if needed, can input instrument AND mic. Has many different amp modeling effects, delay, reverb, chorus, etc. Can use FX on instrument and Mic.

I was just playing with mine, I don't have pickups, so use a mic and play my uke into it. I primarily use the reverb to pretend I'm playing classical ukulele in some big hall to a crowd of amazed fans like I'm Jake S. or something. Haha.... :P

http://www.voxamps.com/mini3/

Cheers,
Skottoman

I love my Vox Mini3. It is perfect for my needs, sounds great, can run a mike through it and easy to transport around if you need to.
I just bought a Vox Valvetronix (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/vox-valvetronix-vt20-20w-1x8-guitar-combo-amp/h67603000001000?src=3WWRWXGB&ZYXSEM=0) second hand for my son (for a steal). That thing is amazing. My youngest likes his Line 6 spider 15. Too crunchy for my taste.

Good luck

austin1
12-27-2011, 10:16 AM
I've got the Roland Microcube as well. In all honesty, I only bought it because it was bright red, but at the end of the day, it turned out to be super useful, portable, and a great buy for the money.

ricdoug
12-27-2011, 10:39 AM
An acoustic amp doesn't have to be a big ole 30w thing ya know. Everyone talks about the Microcube, and forgets about the Mobile Cube, which unlike the Microcube is a general purpose all-instruments type amp. You could plug into a keyboard amp just as well as an acoustic amp, and Roland knows that, which is why they made the Mobile Cube. You don't HAVE to get a big ole Marshall or Fender, or whatever the cool kids are saying you have to get.

Basically, it's just that electric guitar amps generally sound better with electric guitars. You have to get more of an acoustic or keyboard or all-purpose amp for uke. Yes a big speaker is nice and yes lots of room for the speaker to move is nice, but you don't really need to lug around a 30 or 50W amp if that's not what you need.

Those are the same qualities of the Vox Mini3, Plainsong:

http://www.voxamps.com/mini3/

"A new non-distorting clean model – ideal for acoustic-electric instruments and keyboards"

"VOX's superior modeling technology, the MINI3 provides a total of eleven amp models, ranging from a powerful high-gain sound to a sparkling clean sound. Also included is a new clean, non-distorting setting that supports a direct line connection from a keyboard or other source. A full complement of effects is also provided, as well as a built-in tuner. In addition, the MINI3 provides a versatile array of connections. You'll find a dedicated mic input, plus an AUX input ideal for connecting an MP3 player, making the MINI3 the perfect unit for street performances"

"Eleven on-the-money amp models, covering a broad range of authentic tones"

The Roland Mobile Cube and Vox Mini3 are both modeled for acoustic and electric instruments. Both sound better than the Roland Microcube (which I also like and own two) with acoustic instruments. The reason I recommend stepping up to the Acoustic AG30, is that Mendel stated he's a teacher. Classrooms tend to have a lot of ambient noise that might need some more punch. IMHO, Mendel will be pleased with a Roland Mobile Cube or a Vox Mini3. The Acoustic AG30 will give him better coverage in a classroom environment. Knowing more factors like budget, number of students, and physical size of the classroom would further narrow down recommendations. Ric

ricdoug
12-27-2011, 11:42 AM
The Roland AC-33 i (http://www.roland.com/products/en/AC-33/)s a nice little acoustic amp that has lots of features. Lightweight, can run for quite a long time on batteries, has separate controls for uke and mike, reverb and chorus and room 'ambience'. Headphone and MP3 player jacks, and a feature called a 'looper' that can record around 30 seconds of a repeated riff or phrase that runs through a song. It is plenty loud with accurate sound reproduction. I use mine for our uke club meetings which is held in a big room that holds 60 and people in the back hear it just fine.

My favorite acoustic amp is the Roland AC-33, Gillian. I use mine all the time on NiMH rechargeable batteries with medium large crowds. At the open mic a couple of years ago at the Inland Empire Ukulele Festival for a crowd of about 400. Keep in mind that this festival is comprized mainly of SoCal senior clubs, so there was not a lot of noise to overcome.

Small, lightweight and powerful. If Mendel has a budget of around $500 bucks, the AC-33 would be my recommendation. Ric

Plainsong
12-28-2011, 02:27 AM
I still like the Mobile Cube over the Mini 3 because of the two speakers. I can plug in a mini-to-rca cable into a headphone amp/DAC, then into a iphone/ipad/computer and get the whole two-speaker audio thing going. It even has an "audio" setting for just that very thing.

But the Mini 3 is smaller I think, and people tend to prefer Roland or Vox (I generally prefer Vox), so as long as an amp can take acoustics or keyboards, everything else is preference. :)

mendel
12-28-2011, 10:13 AM
I decided to go with the Micro-Cube. I like it a lot��. I plugged in and I find that I have a bit more volume from the "C" string then the others. I guess that I will have a tech take a look at it eventually. Overall, I am very pleased with this amp.

bazmaz
12-28-2011, 12:47 PM
To the OP, I think it still depends on budget and what you plan to use the amp for,

If you can afford it and have any aspirations of playing in public, I'd still go with a full size acoustic amp

Despite the comments on this thread saying you don't need a big ole 30 watter, a good large amp will allow you to play quietly as well as when performing. The Marshall AS 50 does this.

I repeat, micro amps do little more than amplify as if you plugged into a radio set. If you want sweet tone, only a good acoustic stage will cut it. Don't be put off by watts, they work well as practice amps as well as being driven top volume


(sorry to others if that sounds stotty, and I appreciate it all depends on budget and space, but aside my two full size acoustic combos I own, I've tried every micro amp under the sun and been totally underwhelmed at the thin, fragile, boxy sound. The only one I love is a Pignose, but that's less about amplification, more about raw tone and growl.)

mendel
12-28-2011, 01:58 PM
It really has to do with the fact that I have an 18 month old and I sincerely believe that he is out to destroy everything I own. I think that once he is bigger, I can rationalize spending more on a truly awesome amp. For now; however, i think the. Attery operated tiny ones are the best fit for me. If it gets ruined, i will not feel as bad about it.

Jon Moody
12-28-2011, 03:33 PM
I repeat, micro amps do little more than amplify as if you plugged into a radio set. If you want sweet tone, only a good acoustic stage will cut it. Don't be put off by watts, they work well as practice amps as well as being driven top volume

I agree; it's all about headroom. A practice amp at full bore will sound horrible compared to a bigger amp running at half or below.

For my small purposes, I've had good luck with the Kala Roundabout amp. I've gigged with it a couple of times and it works well. If I need something louder, I'll run the uke through any of my PJB bass rigs; they sound fantastic and very clear on their own, and accentuate ukes very nicely.

Plainsong
12-28-2011, 04:11 PM
I can't get anywhere near what even a tiny 30w acoustic amp should sound like in an apartment. Yes, headroom is nice, but to say that small amps sound like radios just isn't accurate. There was this headphone audiophile forum that would rake people over the coals for generalizing gear they had not properly auditioned. Know what I get from a Marshall? Finger thud and percussive noise. It's all it's capable of at the tiny volume I need. How does that help me enjoy the sound? You can have small electronics done badly, and small electronics done well. Yes yes more headroom is better, but only if you can get to that audio sweet spot. If you can't, it really doesn't matter.

I'd love to be able to take advantage of what a larger speaker in a larger cabinet can do. But I can't, and luckily manufacturers are catching onto the fact that there is a lot of us out there who can't.

If I compare it to headphones, yeah having a 40+ mm driver housed in a circumaural housing and properly angled is ideal. But sometimes we can't have that, so we get something else that was made to be as good as it can be. Or I guess we could just move to a bigger house so that we finally have forum-approved amps, but I don't see anyone lining up to contribute to that fund.

I guess people are going to believe what they will, which is why these amp threads are just pointless.

Tootler
12-29-2011, 04:36 AM
To the OP, I think it still depends on budget and what you plan to use the amp for,

If you can afford it and have any aspirations of playing in public, I'd still go with a full size acoustic amp

Despite the comments on this thread saying you don't need a big ole 30 watter, a good large amp will allow you to play quietly as well as when performing. The Marshall AS 50 does this.

I repeat, micro amps do little more than amplify as if you plugged into a radio set. If you want sweet tone, only a good acoustic stage will cut it. Don't be put off by watts, they work well as practice amps as well as being driven top volume


(sorry to others if that sounds stotty, and I appreciate it all depends on budget and space, but aside my two full size acoustic combos I own, I've tried every micro amp under the sun and been totally underwhelmed at the thin, fragile, boxy sound. The only one I love is a Pignose, but that's less about amplification, more about raw tone and growl.)

I think you are being a little unkind. Surely it's horses for courses.

I've heard someone use a Roland Microcube in a folk club - typical folk club premises, back room of a pub. Doesn't really need PA at all, but he was using it for effect on that particular occasion and it worked well.

This summer at Whitby Folk Festival, in two tune sessions I went to there was someone who was using a little mini key Casio keyboard. It was plugged into a small battery amp (a Casio I think) and again it was fine. He was playing chords in a mix of instruments with at least twenty other people playing in the room and the volume was low and sufficient for the keyboard to be audible but not to overwhelm the rest of the session. Again, in the situation, it worked well, the quality of the sound was more than adequate and it was unnecessary to have anything more expensive in that situation.

On the other hand, if you are expecting to play on stage in a "typical" village hall or larger then you need something with a bit more punch and it is worth spending the money on what you are suggesting.

bazmaz
12-30-2011, 03:25 AM
I'm not trying to be unkind at all, and I am not telling anyone not to buy a micro amp. It's just that I've played dozens of them and found none that compare with the tone of a real amp with a dedicated acoustic stage.

The Marshall, contrary to the comment above, works extremely well at low volumes as well as high. It's what it's designed to do - be flexible at all volumes to suit the space you are playing in.

Sure, if you have an electric guitar and you play through a Marshall stack at low volumes you get very little joy as the guitar is designed to be overdriven a little. The Marshall acoustic isn't the same thing, it's dedicated acoustic stage works well at all volumes.

So it beats micros on tone, but also has the flexibility of extra volume when you need it.

So to be clear, I'm not dragging anyone over coals, and I HAVE played both the Marshall, plus other full size acoustic amps, plus a range of micros (orange, vox, Roland, Pignose, to name but a few)

To me, micro amps are fun, and superb for travelling. It's why I still own the vox and the Pignose. Ive taken them camping.

Plainsong
12-30-2011, 05:08 AM
I'd hate to be the nextdoor apartment neighbor of the audiophile using the 50W amp in order to get the proper sense of soundstage and headroom. That must be lovely to live nextdoor to.

When your Koaloha concert is the loudest you can get, 30, 50, 100W amps just aren't for you. And no, I didn't confuse electric with acoustic anymore than I'd confuse tubes with solid state or hybrid.

It's like saying an in-ear-monitor must have 4 armature drivers, or headphones must be open, or cables must be silver, or you must/must not use EQ. The list goes on and on, when what matters more is the quality of product over the size of the product.

Edit to add: ZT Lunchbox acoustic: small amp, well made. I'd much rather play with a pedal running through something made as well it can be, without angering the entire building, and getting quality sound.

2nd edit to add: Yeah it's rated at 200w, but tiny speaker in a tiny housing. Is it magic? No, it isn't...

ricdoug
12-30-2011, 12:42 PM
I can't get anywhere near what even a tiny 30w acoustic amp should sound like in an apartment.

I guess people are going to believe what they will, which is why these amp threads are just pointless.

The Roland AC-33 has a Volume and Master volume, so you can control the levels. It sounds great in apartments, as well as clubs. It has a more natural sound than the low wattage micro battery powered amps.

Most of my performing is done by mic'ing my ukulele and voice through a single microphone. I like this sound the best. When I need more gain before feedback I plug in to an LR Baggs Paracoustic DI to notch out the thumps and squeels and use the EQ to get a more natural sound. I do use my Roland Cube Street's more than my AC-33.

As for people believing what they will, that's true in every facet of life. I like to share from personal experience as a performer and former owner ofa music store. My equipment mistakes over many decades have cost me thousands.

Neither the Roland Mobile Cube or the Marshall AS50 are a one trick pony. I would not want to pay for the weight of an AS50 to carry in my luggage on an airplane and I would not attempt to use a Mobile Cube performing at a large venue.

Many times I respond to amplifier threads with questions about budget, size of audience and the type of venue they're playing. This helps to narrow down the selection. Ric

ricdoug
12-30-2011, 12:47 PM
Edit to add: ZT Lunchbox acoustic: small amp, well made. I'd much rather play with a pedal running through something made as well it can be, without angering the entire building, and getting quality sound.

2nd edit to add: Yeah it's rated at 200w, but tiny speaker in a tiny housing. Is it magic? No, it isn't...

I own two ZT Lunchbox amps. They're as loud as a Fender Twin Reverb. They do not have the low end of the Twin, but impressive for the size. This goes back to what Bazmaz states, you can turn down the ZT Lunchbox and play it quiet. Ric

Plainsong
12-30-2011, 01:07 PM
But for the proper sense of space, taking volume out the equation in this case, the conventional wisdom says you need a big speaker in a bigger cabinet, which the Lunchbox has neither of those and still is well thought of, and is still able to get louder than I'd need.

I use amping as a way to get to the effects. I don't care what instrument it is, I need my chorus/reverb/delay. :)