Review: Fishman Loudbox Artist Amplifier

Sometimes, you can become so used to the sound of your own gear that you’re blind to the fact that it’s not the right piece of equipment for the task at hand. Plugging my acoustic guitar into my “go-to” amp had always been acceptable, but not great. It was a little noisy, and the controls never quite suited my acoustic guitar.

Fishman’s Loudbox Artist amplifier reminded me of the importance of the right tool for the job. I’ll never be able to settle for the sound of my acoustic guitar run through a cheap D.I. box or even plugged into my favorite Fender amplifier. The Loudbox Artist amp is made specifically for acoustic instruments, and delivers a sound that I had forgotten was possible with acoustic amplification.

I tested an acoustic guitar, semi-hollow body electric bass, and a ukulele through the Loudbox Artist, and all three sounded fantastic. 120watts give you a superbly clean and powerful sound that you can customize with onboard EQ and effects for each of the 2 input channels. Each input is a combo jack, so you can plug in 1/4 inch or XLR (microphone) cable, and supply phantom power to microphones if necessary. In a small venue, you could get by with just the Loudbox as your PA system by running an acoustic guitar and a microphone into it simultaneously.

In a venue with its own PA, a direct output on the Loudbox allows you to send the pristine sound you’ve created directly to the house PA system. There are three direct outputs; one for each input channel, and one for a mix of the two. The onboard effects include reverb, delay, and echo on one FX channel, and chorus, flange, and slap-delay on another. You can blend the two effects as well as adjust the level or parametersto create vast hall reverb or seemingly endless delay.  Fishman’s anti-feedback controls provide a bit of a safety net in situations where feedback may be a concern.

In addition, an auxiliary input, useful when playing along with a pre-recorded track, or playing music from an mp3 player, is included in both 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch options. In addition to fantastic sound, the Loudbox Artist is lightweight, making it extremely portable, and the options available on just this one amp could drastically reduce the amount of gear you need to bring to your next gig.

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