Fishman Loudbox Mini
The quest for the perfect amplified acoustic guitar tone has been on for almost a century now, and few manufacturers have been as active in the search as Fishman. Famous for their preamps and pickups, the company debuted the Loudbox acoustic guitar amp in 2003. A hit, it was quickly followed by the Loudbox 100 and the Loudbox Performer, which have also been well received. This fall sees the introduction of the littlest family member, the Loudbox Mini. Like its siblings, the Mini is set up with the stage in mind. Not much bigger than an overly stuffed briefcase, it boasts sixty watts and should be fine for a coffeehouse setting. And with its D.I. out, it would be ideal to send through a P.A. The front of the amp has two channels for guitar and mic and both have high, low, and mid controls, and reverb. The guitar channel adds chorus. Around back are additional inputs for a drum machine, iPod, CD player or what have you. All told, it's perfect for the solo musician. So how does it sound – is it the runt of the litter or a family star? Much closer to the latter. Tested with a Larrivée parlor guitar and a Bill Lawrence A-300, the Loudbox Mini delivered a fantastic clean tone with plenty of sparkle in the high end without the spankiness of some acoustic amps and a nice full roundness without mud. Overall, it sounded big and loud and natural whether the guitar was strummed or fingerpicked. Both the guitar and a SM57 could be cranked without concern for feedback. And an added Roland MC303 Groovebox sounded great in the low-end as well. Great for practice or small gigs, the Loudbox Mini brings Fishman ever closer to the Holy Grail of amplified acoustic tone.