I've had an OU28T for a long time. It's strung with Aquila NylGuts. As a fun project I installed a tuner/pickup as a convenience, but found I really don't need an amp unless I'm in the middle of a bunch of banjos.
The OU28T is a soft-sounding instrument, or at least mine is, when only finger-strummed. It's no louder than any of my other full-bodied ukes My 6-string is normally louder. When used with a pick, the OU28T's volume level can change quite a bit, however, that's true with all my ukes, 4-6-8 string alike. I use a pick all the time with all of my stringed instruments and have learned over time how to control volume by selective pick use. The pick can make that much of a difference
If one is playing indoors, the pick may provide all the amplification one needs. When outside, depending on environment, things may be different. Perhaps playing with a pick with what one currently has in the instrument stable and evaluating the results should be attempted first. Having the ability to"go amp" when the situation leaves no choice is indeed a convenience.
Oscar Schmidts do seem to be a bit overbuilt and muffled, sounds like the OU28T follows in that pattern. Thanks for the data point! I think I'll focus on reso ukes, maybe find a cheaper used one to play around with before committing to a National. They're pricey, but they do look (and sound) pretty fun...
Seriously I hardly hear my own amp when I busk. If I can hear it then its TOO loud.
Oh man, do I wish more buskers thought like you, rather than having the Nigel Tufnel approach. I did my undergrad degree in classical voice, where singing over a full orchestra for a few hours is all in a day's work. The amount of people who tell me that they need to crank an amp up to 11 "so people can hear my voice" drives me nuts (along with anyone who has to walk by that amp at full blast).