Music gigs come in all sizes. Sometimes, it’s the smaller ones that present performers with the biggest challenges. When push comes to shove and space is at a minimum, most of us have had to opt for the little rig giving up on some sound quality or, worse, plug a microphone into an amp designed for a guitar. We get through it to get the job done, but it has sometimes been “painful”. With the arrival of amps designed for acoustic instruments, providing music for small and ultra-small venues got better. Now, the Acoustic Singer Pro amplifier from Boss takes performing in the smallest of places to the next level. Not only does this amp fit where you need to put it, but it delivers remarkable sound quality. In addition, it integrates some of the performance tools that some solo performers count on.
We auditioned the Boss Acoustic Singer Pro acoustic amplifier on both guitar and piano gigs and were immediately impressed with the 120-watt bi-amp design. The unit is only 13 inches high with an 8-inch woofer and dome tweeter, but sounds much bigger. It was the perfect solution for our all-too-often tight playing situations and worked great for rehearsals. With a face that is slightly tilted back, the amp works fine on the floor in many situations, but we liked it on a chair or other low surface giving us both easy access to all the controls and a good direction to the listener. The amp was actually a little too small to fit safely on our amp stand (something I never thought would happen).
The amp has mic channel and guitar/instrument channels that each feature discrete analog input electronics and three-band EQ. In addition, acoustic players will appreciate a number of special features including a phase switch and anti-feedback notch control. The dedicated guitar channel adds acoustic resonance circuitry designed to restore natural tone to popular electric acoustic guitars and the mic channel offers phantom power and a ¼-inch/XLR combo input. We found that the mic channel worked well for both vocals or a second instrument source. A nice chorus effect is available on guitar channel, delay/echo effect on mic channel, and both channels have a good sounding reverb and anti-feedback controls.
If a harmony processor is part of your act, the amp’s built-in harmony function will do most if not all of what your pedal does for you, including real-time key/chord analysis of the instrument input, two harmony types and a unison setting to “double” your voice. The amp also includes a built-in looper for live performance or practice saving you both set-up space and time–both valuable on a small gig.
The back panel is well organized with two XLR DI jacks to get your sound into a mixer. The jacks are assignable to output individual channels either directly or post-effects. You can even opt to mix both channels together. A USB output is provided for direct recording to a computer. Footswitch jacks control the built-in looper, harmony, and effects (footswitches are not included) and a Rec/Phones jack provides a standard ¼-inch stereo connection for practice or recording.
It’s important to note that there are two models of the Acoustic Singer Amplifier: the Pro (that we auditioned) and the Live. They look identical, but the Pro is the more powerful of the two and ‘beefy’, weighing in at about 32 lbs (well worth the weight in my opinion). The Live version, weighing just 23 lbs, comes with half the power of the Pro with the same efficient bi-amp design. As you might expect, the Live model also has a lighter price tag. The amp designs don’t consider a pole or other mounting and neither amp comes with a cover or case, which would be a great purchase to consider to protect the case, amp knobs and grill.
The Boss Acoustic Singer Pro Acoustic Amplifier lives up to the company’s claims to produce a natural sounding all-in-one amp for acoustic players with good presence and a three-dimensional feel. What I appreciate most about this little box–aside from its nice size–is the broad frequency response that projects great bass and brilliant (not brittle) highs. Overall, this is a great all-in-one amplification solution for performing musicians bound for tight places who don’t want to sacrifice their sound.
Pro Street Price $699
Live Street Price $499.