American Songwriter checks out the Loudbox Mini Charge

“If this amp isn’t loud enough for you, you need a full PA!” The subhead on American Songwriter magazine is, “The Craft of Music.” More so than most other magazines, American Songwriter reviewers “laser-in” on the very real performance aspects of a product. Their reviews are brief and straight forward. In his recently published review, Andy McDonough goes on the record about the Loudbox Mini Charge.

“Acoustic performers have come to rely on Fishman products to faithfully reproduce and reinforce great, natural sound of wood and strings. With the Loudbox Mini Charge, Fishman is offering a truly portable acoustic amp with their popular preamp and tone control designs that will give acoustic players enough volume to be noticed. Plus, there are some additional features that make this amp a real asset for acoustic performers who take to the stage.”

Andy set up the Loudbox Mini Charge in his studio “to get a feel for just how much ‘loud’ I could count on for performing.” When he compared the amp to similar-sized amps in his collection, “I was impressed. Not only did the amp sound great with acoustic instruments and stage piano sounds, but it lived up to its name providing more than enough volume for acoustic performances. If this amp isn’t loud enough for you, you need a full PA!” Andy continues his player-centric take on the Loudbox Mini Charge, “In my studio, I simulated a performance situation using both the instrument channel (quarter-inch input) and mic channel (XLR). While some acoustic amps provide input selection and combination XLR/quarter inch connectors, for most performing situations, this amp’s dedicated channels would work well. Plus, the dedicated instrument channel provides important additional features for instrumentalists, like a phase button that can help with feedback on stage and a chorus effect. A good sounding reverb is available on both channels. Another nice feature is a master volume control that provides convenient overall volume control. For rehearsal, playing break music, or working with tracks, the amp has Bluetooth wireless connectivity and a rear panel aux input.”

Andy’s review continues on to list the amp’s features focusing on power, battery life, weight, speakers, tone and more.

As a side note, here at Fishman we love it when players find new or expanded uses for our products. Designed originally for guitar and voice, Andy had this to say about how the Mini Charge sounded with his piano, “I played… stage piano through the instrument channel and [it] sounded amazingly real–really good for an amp of any size, let alone something as portable as the Loudbox Mini Charge. There was plenty of bottom end with low, mid, and high tone controls set flat and plenty more available.”

Lastly, here’s Andy’s take on the #1 question we get about the Loudbox Mini Charge, “Since the rechargeable battery and power management circuitry are important features for this portable amp, I decided to put them to the test. The manufacturer claims that the battery circuitry is “specifically designed to maximize output levels and playing time”. Right out of the box, with only 30 minutes or so of charging, I unplugged the amp to see how it would do. There was no difference in sound quality with the unit running on battery power and I was able to complete several hours of rehearsal (with stage piano and voice) without putting the plug back in the wall. Indicator lights on the front panel indicate battery operation, low battery, and charging status. The manufacturer advertises up to 12 hours of performance at ‘average volume’. I suspect that ‘average volume’ could be different for each player, but based on my experience you could easily cover a few hours of a typical indoor gig at moderate volume without a problem. One thing to note is that, for optimal battery power, the Loudbox Mini Charge takes 10 hours to fully charge.”

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