There are plenty of guitar amplifiers available on the market, many offering all sorts of features. Some are designed with a specific sound in mind, while others run the gamut of style and genre. They all have their place in the wonderful world of amplification, but that does not mean that they’re all made equal. The fact is there are specially designed amplifiers for acoustic guitars that also don’t do justice to the instruments they are intending to represent. That’s why an Italian family company has strived to deliver a quality of amplification worthy of the fine acoustic instrument it is working with. Let me introduce you to Acus Sound Engineering.
Based in Recanati, on the coast to the east of Florence, the Acus headquarters is where the Canale family have developed a unique range of acoustic instrument amplifiers aimed at staying true to the instrument’s natural resonance and tonal characteristics. All Acus amps are designed and manufactured in their Recanati factory, with most parts and components designed in-house for each model. Specially designed speakers are chosen to match the hand-built cabinets which are all custom made on the premises to ensure the best match of tone and strength is achieved for each build. Luxurious appointments and detail in design leave them pleasing to the eye in all aspect. With coated black cabinets available in all models, or beautifully stained timber finishes, the Oneforstrings range of acoustic amplifiers can fit right in at any venue, on any stage or in any home. The four models that have been made available for our listening pleasure complement one another, each one adding additional power and input options to the subsequent model. And as these are intended to be used out and about, they all come with a tough padded bag designed to match the specific cabinet, ensuring the finish doesn’t get damaged in transit.
This is the baby in the range, but is by no means an amp you want to underestimate. The 50-watt bi-amped design sees 40 watts RMS delivered to the woofer and 10 watts RMS powering the tweeter. This may not seem like a lot at first, but consider these are true RMS power ratings and not peak figures designed to make the unit appear more powerful than they actually are. In fact, the reverse is true in this case. The Oneforstrings5T is actually more powerful than the technical specs might have you believe and offers plenty of volume for small café-style acoustic performances. With two input channels, a solo artist can run a microphone and a guitar together, or a duo can have two guitars side by side. Input gain, three-band EQ and effects are adjustable on each of the channels. A separate master volume and auxiliary input volume round out the controls. The effects section offers a smooth reverb with a hefty pre-delay on it, so you get an effect that falls somewhere in between a standard reverb and a delay which works very well for both guitar and vocals at varying levels.
In my opinion, this is likely to be the most popular of all the models in the range. The Onforstrings6T represents the best value when it comes to volume and inputs. I was able to give this particular model a test run in the same room that I had tested a Turbosound system designed for a similar purpose only a day before. With the same guitar used as a reference and no change to the environment, the results were obvious.
What Acus offered was an extremely articulate reproduction of the guitar’s sound. There was an organic feel, with a dynamic response that was reflective of how one played the instrument. And this was when I had it sitting on the ground, with the speakers below my knees, throwing the sound across the floor. Even in this situation the spread of the sound around the room and up to listening level was excellent, but that all changed when the speaker stand mount on the underside was taken advantage of. Raising this or any of the models in the Oneforstrings range brings another level of clarity to their sound. The room came to life as the wide spread of the speaker’s throw was able to freely move around the room at listening level.
This is one of the big air movers from Acus. The 200-watt RMS bi-amped design is backed by an 8” woofer that delivers plenty of volume without speaker breakup or harmonic distortion. Rated at a maximum SPL of 116 dB, the Onforstrings8 has plenty of grunt in the reserve should you need it. But, in reality, this is better used at slightly lower volumes with plenty of dynamic headroom.
Like the Onforstrings6T, this features three input channels. Two are capable of either a mic or line input and one is available for line input only. This allows a duo to get by with two guitars and a microphone without any problem. There is also a stereo line input and record output both supplied on RCA connectors so you can feed backing tracks in as well. This model has eight effects to choose from, with a variety of delay and reverb settings to suit most players’ needs and of course, like all the models in the range, there is an XLR direct out for running to a front of house system should you require further sound reinforcement in larger rooms.
On a slightly different note is the Oneforstreet amplifier, which should be a bit of a giveaway as to its purpose from the name. This model has an in-built battery option for performances in public, including busking situations, where mains power may not be a possibility. As far as the features go, it falls somewhere between the 5T and the 6T, managing to be a completely different model in its own right aside from the battery unit. Of course, it will run on mains power just like any other model in the Oneforstrings range, but behaves a little differently. At 80 watts RMS, you get more power than the 5T, but it has a single amp design, allowing it to be more efficient when operating under battery load. The result of this is an amplifier that still delivers volume, clarity and dynamic response when operating without mains power. You do not lose any performance or power when running from the battery, meaning you can perform in public with the same tone and volume as your expect from your Acus amp anywhere else. The battery is supposed to last up to seven hours of operation when fully charged, so you could call that a full day at the office for any busker prepared to put in the hours. Best of all, it only weighs 15kg and is a very compact cabinet so it is going to be easy to travel around with this box when you are playing on the go.
ONEFORSTRINGS AND SOMETHING FOR ALL
It’s easy to see how any one of these amplifiers could be used for a wide range of applications, but for any acoustic guitarist, there is going to be a model that better suits you needs. What is important to understand about each of these amps built, is that they are all custom built to perform with your instrument in mind. These amplifiers need to be heard to understand how good your guitar can actually sound. With that in mind, they should not be limited to just guitar players. Cellos, violins, banjos, mandolins and even ukuleles can all be allowed to shine with the Acus Oneforstrings range.
For more details on the range of Acus amplifiers, head to drumpartner.com.au.
Hits and Misses
Beautiful Italian craftsmanship
Custom designed cabinets
Acoustic amplification that stays true to the instruments tone
These may fall beyond the price range of some guitar players. But consider what is on offer and you’ll see the value.