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Just what are you plugging into? A Fender acoustic or Marshall stack? A Vox or Mesa? What's worked and what hasn't—and don't be afraid to share why!

Tags: amplifier, bass, cello, electric, viola, violin

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For most of my live performance, I use a Hilton AC300, of which this is the descendant of: http://www.hiltonaudio.com/ac205.html. What works about it is that I use that when I call square dancing. Only problem is, gotta turn that mic channel's single tone control all the way 2 the left (bass), otherwise, is too shrill.

But, I also use a Marshall Acoustic Soloist: sounds the best thru that: without fiddling w/the tone controls. Smooth, but a certain "vibe" to it that i can't explain. I like it, and tried several acoustic amps b4 I decided on this one. I think mine is no longer made, but there are descendants of it still available.
I have found two that I like. One is a Roland cm-30. That one has a very neutral response. 30 watts into a 6.5” coaxial woofer/tweeter speaker. It is like a mono version of the Roland ac-60 with no special effects. It has a very solid carry handle, weighs in at 12 pounds, and is very small. I can take it anywhere easily.

The second is an Epiphone Valve Junior. That one is meant for guitars but is not as treble heavy as competing amps. It is an all tube amp with 5 watts of class A power and an Eminence 8” speaker. Tubes have a sound that only tubes can replicate. It isn’t huge but it is bigger and heaver to carry than the cm-30. It has enough bass response that you can feel the G string in your feet. With no tweeter it smoothes out much of the “hornet in a can” sound. Volume up half way or more gives that familiar blues distortion sound.

Neither of these amps would be loud enough for a rock band, but they are more than loud enough to emulate an acoustic level of sound.
Thanks, guys. We'll have to check out these amps for a feature article or series (haven't yet decided). Maybe I should start another thread on preamps?
Lately I find myself using my Roland CM-30 more and more. It has microphone stand threads on the bottom so that with a sturdy mic stand you can get it up off the floor. The other important point are all the inputs, outputs, and controls.

I find that when in a group of fiddlers I can't pick out my own sound from the mix. Having an amp on the floor pointing at my feet doesn't help me. I can easily play out of tune because I can't hear what I am playing. Getting the amp up and behind me helps.

The headphone out on the CM-30 can be used to power a single ear bud that I put in my left ear. Since it has separate speaker and headphone volume (and the headphones don't turn off the speaker) I can adjust it so that I hear myself in my left ear and everyone else in my right without going deaf.
i trialled a roland ac-60 and was very smooth. quite decent chorus and reverb too.
Sounds weird, but I use a Fender "Amp Can" when I'm playing out on the street (occasional busking in summer) or even in a stage band setting. It's small, easy to carry, uses a lithium (I think) rechargeable battery so there's no issue with power outlets, and the sound is quite adequate for my humble needs!
When I plug in, which is very rare, I use a Roland AC-60. It seems to be a great amp for most acoustic instruments. I also run my guitar and banjo through it. Plus it has the second vocal channel. Everything I need as a solo performer in one single unit. The pickup in the fiddle itself is actually a cheap $12 clip-on tuning mic with a weak signal, but the Roland works quite well with it and can be mic'd if it's still not loud enough. For as often as I plug in, I can't justify the expense of a real pickup at the moment.

Update: I just got a Roland AC-60 and love it. I have moved the other two amps into the attic. I had been noticing the CM-30 was sounding a bit like a hornet in a can and this fixed that problem.

It has a kick stand on the bottom to angle it up a bit. But it also has a 1½” speaker mount on the bottom. So for use with a violin I have a tripod speaker stand to get it up off the floor to ear level so I can hear myself.

It weighs about double the CM-30 but it is still “man portable” as they say in the Army.

If this discussion is still alive....

I found the violin always needs a preamp if you are fussy about your sound being really good. I play classical recitals and rock gigs, and I always use the preamp. I use a SansAmp Paradriver with the 3000kHz range dialed out (it has parametric EQ which lets you select a frequency that is too shrill and lower or drop it out). It gives me a warm sound when I want it, and by pushing the bass and treble up to full it adds awesome tone for rock.

Then I run it into anything - guitar amps, PA systems etc - because I have already fixed my sound.

But my personal favourites are the German made HK-Audio PA with a small bass bin and 2 small satellite speakers for when I want a real violin sound or a huge range of tones (especially with a distortion pedal, or an octave pedal set to drop 2 ctaves down), or my Fender Blues Junior all valve combo amp which is a rock amp with real tone.

For FX I use SansAmp GT2 overdrive and amp simulator for creamy warm Mesa Boogie drive to edgy biting Marshall cabinet sounds, and from there a bunch of Electro-Harmonix pedals. I use the POG2 multi octave pedal, Cathedral Reverb, Memory Man delay, Pulsar tremelo, the Q-Tron+, and the Poly Chorus.

The tones are awesome. Have a listen on my page.

Hope that is some help.

 small Kustom tube amp with a Celestion speaker. 

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