Pros: Competitively priced practice and small room acoustic amp
Cons: None, really, you get what you pay for
Those of you guitar heads who are in the market for a reasonably priced practice or small room performance amp that will leave enough dough in your wallet to buy some mics and cables, you should take a look at the Crate CA 30 DG Taos (the new version of the CA 30) acoustic guitar amp. I was pleasantly surprised at both the volume and tone that this machine delivered as I ran a Taylor acoustic electric through it at my local Guitar Center. There are also some included effects so the tech heads have something to play with. Its not going to set any records for volume, but for $300 or so, this is what the doctor ordered for those of you who arent allowed to blow out the windows at home.
Here are the technical specs:
Power: 30 Watts
Highs: +/-15dB @10kHz
Mids: +/-15dB @ 400-1.2kHz
Lows: +/-15dB @80 Hz
Internal Speakers: 8 Poly cone coaxial with dome tweeter; 4 ohms; 50 watts: 1: voice coil
Size and Weight: 13H by 15 W by 12 D, 30 lbs.
The control panel has eight controls and four jacks, besides the power switch. There is a line out jack for connection to a sound board, recording console or another amp. An insert jack adds external effects to the signal, or permits you to chain multiple amps together. There are two input jacks for an instrument, tape player, mic or other source. Each input jack has a separate gain control. In other words, you can play and sing simultaneously. Signals from the two jacks are summed together after their gain stages.
Tone controls set your treble, mids and lows. A contour control permits you to set the center point of the mid control, so you may set the frequency that gives you the most natural midrange tones. The Effects mode permits you to set the one internal effect for the amp, and the effects level control the strength of the signal. The reverbs, delays and chorus that you get with this model are nice enough given the bargain price.
All in all, this is a very straightforward amp. I took it through a number of machinations. Open chords sounded nicely full and rang well. Scales came across full and smooth, notes on the high end were very clear. The tone controls allow a multitude of choices. The amp is suitable for virtually any kind of acoustic guitar playing, from country and western to Celtic tunes to your run of the mill Dust in the Wind or Michelle wannabee. It looks like its strong enough to take a certain amount of abuse, but I wouldnt toss it down the stairs just for the heck of it.
The Crate 30 wont set any records, like I said. But its a nice, versatile, and competitively priced practice and low-key performance amp. Its light enough to cart around by yourself. Its worth a strong look from budget buyers. Portability plus affordability aint a bad combination, and thats why this has been Crates best selling acoustic amp for years.
Other amp reviews from buffoonery:
Marshall Super 100 JH
Peavey Classic 30 Combo
Crate Power Block
Roland Micro Cube
Mesa 5:25 Express
Mesa Stiletto Ace
Fender Cyber Twin
Line 6 Vetta II Combo
Mesa 5:50 Express
Line 6 Spider III 75
Mesa Lone Star Combo
Vox Valvetronix AD60VT
Mesa Stiletto Deuce
Mesa Triple Rectifier Head
Fender DSP 65
Peavey Triple XXX Head
Fender Super Sonic 1x12 Combo
Hughes and Kettner Switchblade 50 Combo
Fender MH 500 Metalhead
64 Fender Vibroverb Custom Blackface
Mesa Dual Rectifier Roadster
Peavey Penta Head
Peavey JSX Joe Satriani Signature Head
Line 6 Spider II Head
Crate Acoustic CA30
Line 6 Flextone III Plus
And you may also be interested in a few books such as:
Hugo Pinksterboer Tipbook Amplifiers and Effects
Ritchie Fliegler Amps: The Other Half of Rock and Roll
Michael Ross Getting Great Guitar Sounds: A Non-Technical Approach to Shaping Your Personal Sound