An acoustic guitar amplifier is a must when you’re practicing or playing live. Blackstar’s new Sonnet 60 Acoustic combo amplifier is much more than a simple amp for your guitar. It is a portable 60-watt PA system and it has built-in Bluetooth for playing tracks, or just a playlist when you’re on break.
When the Sonnet 60 arrived at the American Songwriter offices I assumed this was just going to be a more compact version of Blackstar’s popular Sonnet 120 amp that boasts 120 watts through a 1 x 8” speaker. The Sonnet 60 is a smaller-sized acoustic amp, which I prefer for gigs and sessions since it only ways in at 16.9lbs, and has a small footprint to fit in my car. When you’re carrying a guitar, mic stand, cables, and accessories, a more portable lightweight amplifier is definitely the way to go.
Here is a snapshot of what Blackstar has built into this pint-sized powerhouse. Four total inputs, meaning a dedicated ¼” for your guitar and an XLR/1/4” combo input that can be used for a microphone or another guitar, plus an MP3 line in and Bluetooth connectivity. What blew me away, besides the Reverb effects on the Sonnet 60, was how fat the bass tones are coming from a 1 x 6.5” speaker and a tweeter with a sub port on the side. To test out Channel one with the ¼” input only, I plugged in my Yamaha Silent acoustic and was able to quickly dial in my sound with the 3 band EQ with a touch of Reverb. The shaping option is also very usable to fatten up your guitar sound and take some of the Piezo pickup effect out.
Blackstar did a great job on the controls for this amp by setting up the Master Reverb and Master Volume at the far right of the control panel on top. For the mic check, I plugged in a Shure SM58 since that is what most of us sing through at songwriter rounds and it is the standard. To tweak the sound in channel two for the vocals I rolled up the High EQ and added a touch of Reverb.
The Sonnet 60 does offer you Hall or Plate Reverb depending on what you prefer. I ran a guitar through channel 2 and it sounded fabulous also. The connectivity in the back of the Blackstar includes a USB computer audio connection, XLR DI Output (so you can take your sound straight to a PA system and use the amp as your monitor), MP3/ Line in, and a Footswitch plug. There is also a built-in ground lift for the DI in case you are getting any unwanted electricity noise like you’ll find in most venues in downtown Nashville.
The Blackstar FS-17 two-button footswitch is an optional purchase at $44.99 but if you are going to be changing effects or channels, I would recommend it. I’m a fan of the tilt-back face on this amp but if you plan to use it as a stage monitor and need it elevated, the Blackstar SA-2 stand adapter is only $11.99.
For an acoustic amplifier, 60 watts is a sweet spot level-wise. My favorite features on the Sonnet 60 combo are the four input options, smooth Reverb, thumping bass sound, and the portability factor. For acoustic gigs, practices, rounds, pulls or even sessions I don’t believe you will need anything more than this combo delivers. At $399.99 street, you’re getting an acoustic amp, a small PA system, and a Bluetooth speaker to play your music. Blackstar pretty much put everything but the kitchen sink into this new Sonnet 60 combo. The Blonde tolex over Birch plywood cabinet will take a beating in your trunk or on a stage too.
Plug in and play this Blackstar Sonnet 60 Acoustic amp for yourself and watch for an upcoming video about it from American Songwriter.