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  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    edited April 2008 Posts: 5,812
    I've been waiting a long time to get these in stock. As many of you know, acoustic image amps have long been the favorite of archtop players. But they can do a lot more then that and are arguably the ultimate amp for Gypsy jazz.

    I'll be testing this rig extensively over the next few weeks. But so far it's clear that the power, clarity, and tone of this Acoustic image amp with a Raezers Edge speaker is hard to beat. I think this will be my "reference amp" from now on as I don't think it gets much better then this.

    The main thing that you get w/this rig is a huge amount of headroom (400 watts!) AND a clear, warm tone. Other amps all seem to fall short in one catagory or another (AER: loud but a bit harsh, Schertler: Great tone but not too loud, Evans: loud but very "colored" sound and only 1 input, GypstKat: nice tone but not very loud). The AI/RE rig has it all: loud, clean, nice effects, two channels with combo XLR/1/4" plugs, notch filter, etc. Hard to beat IMO.

    I also noticed that I can get a lot louder before feedback with AI/RE combo. The AER starts howling if I start cranking it while the AI/RE was completely clear.

    We'll see how it works with various pickups...so far I've tried humbuckers and Stimers and both sounded the best I've heard.

    'm
  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20
    Posts: 386
    This is the best amp for Gypsy jazz (or straight ahead jazz for that matter) that I have found and I have tested most of the amps out there.

    It is expensive, but the best things in life always are. It is foolhardy to spend thousands on the best guitar and then be a cheapskate when it comes time to amplify it.

    Cheers,

    Marc

    www.hotclubpacific.com
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,812
    This certainly is a miraculous piece of technology, and with prices on imported gear going through the roof, domestically produced boutique amps likes these are starting to look really affordable.

    Just like with guitars, everyone is different and there is probably no one solution for everyone. Most of the other popular amps all have their merits and some characteristics which may be annoying to some are actually desired by others. For example, the AER compact 60 significantly modifies the sound of anything you put in it. So, if you have a pickup system that you really like the sound of then the AER will probably mangle it beyond recognition (the DYN-G is a good example). But if you have a pickup which is a bit harsh then the AER can actually make it sound better.

    While I think the AI/RE setup is one of the best sounding rigs I've ever heard, I will probably still end up using the Phil Jones cub on my most of my gigs. It's so small, inexpensive, and it's sound is not all that far off from the incredible tone of the Acoustic Image amp. Since 75% of my gigs are in smaller venues, the CUB is fine. But for the really loud gigs the AI/RE is the ideal solution. The incredible amount of headroom, feedback resistance, and flexibility are a dream come true. We'll see how it goes on the gig, but it seems pretty clear to me already that it's a very, very reliable rig. and that's what I look for above all....the least amount of hassle on the gig and the best possible tone. It's much less stressful going to a gig when I know everything is going to work. It's really a drag if every time I go to a gig I have to wonder "will I be loud enough?", "Will it sound good in the room?", "will it feedback?," etc, etc.

    Anyway, I'm pretty psyched about the AI/RE and am looking forward to using it. I keep mentioning this, but it's incredible resistance to feedback has really got me excited because this is the #1 problem for me on gigs. So often we're playing in small space with the amp sitting only a few feet away. And if we're playing really loud as well then feedback will rear it's ugly head. The AI/RE system looks like it will perform really well in these situations which is just a dream come true for me.

    'm
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,812












    I've now had some time to try the Acoustic Image Clarus/Raezer's Edge combo so I'll give you all my assessment:

    The Acoustic Image Clarus with a Raezer's Edge speaker gets my highest recommendation!!! Every problem I've experienced with other systems is solved with this rig:

    1) Feedback - the Raezer's Edge speaker cabinet is the most feedback resistant speaker I've ever used. I lined up every amp I had here, cranked them to around the same volume and pointed my guitar right at the speakers. Nearly every other amp howled with feedback, with the exception of the Raezer's Edge. It took 30% more volume before it started to feedback....this is a huge plus for me as feedback is a big problem when playing small rooms at high volumes (something I do a lot).

    2) Tone - the Acoustic image amp is incredibly clean and balanced. Although, through other speakers it can sometimes be a bit "cold" and clinical sounding. The Raezer's Edge speaker seems to add just the right amount of warmth and complexity. single coil, humbuckers, piezos, Schertler pickups, etc all sounded great!

    3) Headroom....the Clarus has 400W of power. Not once have I had to get it even close to full volume. Whereas nearly every other amp I have needs to be cranked to get enough volume in loud bars, and sometimes that's still not enough. I really like knowing I have the power if needed....

    Essentially, I've found the AI/RE rig to be flawless in it's performance on the gig. I didn't have a single problem...just plug and play. Audience loved it....fellow band members loved it. It's clear to me that it probably doesn't get much better then this (for a solid state sound anyway.)

    The only drawbacks I can think of are:

    1) the weight...the Clarus amp is only 4.5 lbs, but the when mounted in the Raezer's Edge NY8 ER combo speaker cabinet it comes to around 31 lbs total. You can shed some pounds by using the Raezer's Edge cabinet w/out the tweeter. About 2 lbs less. (if you're using a magnetic pickup you won't need the tweeter, but piezos and microphones will sound better with the tweeter.) You can also shave another 2lbs by using the non-combo cabinet, but then you won't be able to mount the Clarus so it will have to be carried separately. Also, there is no gig bag and/or shoulder strap so you have to carry it with only the top handle. Not too bad, but you wouldn't want to go more then 2 or 3 blocks.

    2) The price....we sell this unit as a package for $1600 which compares pretty favorable with the AER and Schertler stuff. But it's still more $...but IMO well worth it.
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