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This article was originally published in issue #65
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MSRP (UK) £699 (US) $TBC
MSRP (UK) £799 (US) $TBC
Going back to their roots, Ashdown's AA acoustic amplifier range follows in the footsteps of some of the greatest sounding acoustic amps ever made, but with the added bonus of Bluetooth connectivity, enabling wireless audio for your practising and listening needs. Sam Bell reviews the Ashdown AA50R & AA100R Combos.
Ashdown Engineering is known for an impressive history of building quality Acoustic Amps. In this review, I am happy to be bringing you the AA50R and AA100R Professional Acoustic Amp. Both are identical except one (the 100) is a bit bigger and more powerful than its younger sibling and features two more speakers (The numbers also stand for Watts!) So as I go through this write-up, I'll be referring to the main functionality of this amp. The only difference aside from size and volume is that the AA100R features 4 5 Inch Celestion speakers rather than the 50s 2 Speakers. One thing I have to say before I get started is how compact and light these units are, super awesome for the gigging singer/guitarist needing to be mobile between gigs and fitting into tight spaces. Let's dive in and take a look at the features, be sure to check out the video for more details and most importantly, hear how it sounds. We took a D.I (post EQ/Processing from the amp) from the unit and we also miced it up with a Condenser Mic, so hopefully, you can get the personality more faithfully of how it sounds in the room.
The amp features two channels, one dedicated to instrument input, giving us the option of FET or ACTIVE inputs. This channel also has its own Bass and Treble notch knobs for controlling overall EQ and generally dialling your tone in for the room and to avoid feedback. The Second channel is for Microphone input, the XLR input doubles as a TRS Jack input as well. Next to the two channels is a reverb control knob, this changes the level of whatever programme is selected (the knob on the far right that features 16 different presets) this can be sent to either of the channels. The next set of shiny controls is a 5-band EQ letting us fine tune the overall EQ of the amp. Then we have another set of controls for the overall notch settings and feedback busting. Around the back of the amp we have an FX Loop, phase switch, Post and Pre EQ XLR D.I outputs and Bluetooth level. Yes, this amp has Bluetooth, so you can wirelessly send your (Elvis/Blues Brothers/Rick Astley) backing tracks through the same amp. Very useful.
I was very impressed by the size and weight. Plus the build quality and affordability of these units. They packed a serious punch volume wise as well. I can imagine many singer-songwriters, buskers and frequent gig dwelling musicians finding this unit very practical for their needs. It sounds great in the room and translates everything your putting into it very well.