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Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?

GutBucketeer 28 Feb 08 - 03:51 PM
Roger in Baltimore 28 Feb 08 - 04:07 PM
GutBucketeer 28 Feb 08 - 04:19 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Feb 08 - 07:13 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 29 Feb 08 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,TB 29 Feb 08 - 04:46 AM
GUEST,TB 29 Feb 08 - 07:31 AM
Jack Campin 29 Feb 08 - 07:36 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Feb 08 - 12:40 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 Feb 08 - 06:28 PM
Steve Shaw 29 Feb 08 - 07:09 PM
GutBucketeer 29 Feb 08 - 10:12 PM
HipflaskAndy 01 Mar 08 - 06:46 AM
treewind 01 Mar 08 - 08:41 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Mar 08 - 10:19 AM
GutBucketeer 02 Mar 08 - 11:16 PM
GutBucketeer 18 Mar 08 - 12:57 AM
Genie 18 Mar 08 - 04:11 AM
mandotim 18 Mar 08 - 04:14 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 Mar 08 - 07:19 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Mar 08 - 07:42 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 Mar 08 - 08:17 AM
M.Ted 19 Mar 08 - 12:42 AM
open mike 19 Mar 08 - 01:15 AM
Genie 19 Mar 08 - 02:39 AM
GutBucketeer 21 Mar 08 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,gerard. 18 Apr 08 - 02:32 PM
breezy 18 Apr 08 - 04:49 PM
GutBucketeer 18 Apr 08 - 04:52 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Apr 08 - 07:15 PM
GutBucketeer 19 Apr 08 - 06:48 PM
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Subject: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 03:51 PM

After I posted this to the Fender Amp Can Thread I got to thinking that it deserved its own Thread. Any comments/thoughts are appreciated.

Any new thoughts on the best portable battery/rechargeable Amp on today's market. My requirements are adding a little volume to my Jug playing/vocals when we busk, and maybe the acoustic guitar. Therefore, it needs to have both mic and instrument input jacks, and have pretty good bass response. The amps that I'm aware of that fall into this category are:

Fender Amp Can
Crate Taxi TX15
Traynor TVM-10 (seems to be a copy of the Crate)
Peavey Solo w Battery (10 watts on battery, 15 on AC)
Pignose Hog20 or Hog 30 (2 instrument inputs)
Jay Turser Classic 10 (only 1 input)

There are some others that are more guitar amps include that may or may not fit the bill for acoustic inputs, or be too small for my needs (not enough bass response for the jug, etc.)

Alesis Roadfire 15
Harmony POWER PAL Model 4060
Cubix G2R
Roland Microcube
Vox DA5
PY Bomb
Other $30 to $40 "mini amps" by Fender, Marshall, etc. (IMO I need at least a 6" speaker)

Any experience/opinions on any of the above? Do you know of others that might work? What are the tradeoffs of an amp with 2 instrument inputs (using a XLR to 1/4 in converter) versus having a built in XLR for mics and 1/4 in for instruments. What about buying a box that combines 2 to 4 input sources into one feed (either XLR or 1/4)?

JAB


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 04:07 PM

Jim,

I have been playing at Farmers Markets for the last three years using two Roland Microcubes. I use two, one for a vocal and one for a guitar mike. I don't use any guitar electronics. They have worked well for the purpose of allowing people to hear me in a noisy open-air environment. I don't know about the bass response as that hasn't been an issue. They last pretty well on one set of batteries as well. They also draw curiousity seekers since they look a bit like car batteries.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 04:19 PM

Thanks Roger - I hear great things about the microcubes, but wasn't sure about how they did with vocals. Roland now has a $250-$300 version out that has 2 speakers. Sounds like you beat them to it :-)

JAB


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 07:13 PM

I wish I'd bought the AER that works with a battery - I got the other sort

Brilliant amps - not cheap however.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 04:38 AM

This thread is timely for me. Last week some bast**d nicked my Roland Microcube out of the van (but not, strangely, the satnav)!

So thanks for the list JAB - I'm googling as we speak.

The Microcube is excellent for a little 'invisible' reinforcement for finger-picked guitar - something I sometimes want at what are supposed to be unplugged gigs. As Hipflask will agree if he reads this (it was his idea!) it stops you over-playing, which is the chief source of errors, I find.

I've found it so useful that now that I have to replace it, I plan to go one better, and get an 'invisible' PA for those unplugged gigs with lousy acoustics. I'll probably use a Sampson Qv headset mic into a small battery amp. But I'll still want guitar too, so the Roland is only viable if i use a little mixer - which is one thing too many.

The thing I'm looking for is a proper 'torch' battery amp, like the Rolands, rather than a rechargeable, like most of the rest, it seems. (The reason is that I already have too many things to cover on tour. Remembering to take the damn amp into people's houses to recharge is just a job too far - so it'll always be flat just when I need it).

This rules out the Fender which looks the right size and has an excellent flexible design.

Can anyone recommend anything?

Thanks.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: GUEST,TB
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 04:46 AM

I forgot to add. I already have a Roland Solo. Not really a good enough sound, and too big for the slot in the van-pack! I need Microcube size, ideally.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: GUEST,TB
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 07:31 AM

Well as I might need to use it very soon I just spent an hour at Sound Control, and have come away with the Vox DA5. It has a lot of silly lead guitar effects, and the clean guitar sound is not quite as true as the microcube (I always used the mic setting for guitar, by the way), but you can choose between louder (busking, morris?) or longer battery time (loud enough for me - I don't really want the audience to even notice it's on).

I set up a microcube to cross reference, and the guitar channel is adequate, though the mic channel is dire-sounding, with no eq or ANYthing. However, on those very very rare occasions when I do need mic AND guitar, I can just reverse the channels. A pedal eq can take care of the guitar, mandocello, mandola (new), mandolin and dulcimer, while I use the main channel (including reverb for whistles) for the mic.

The mic through the main channel is a big improvement over a mic through the microcube - that's the better speaker, I guess.

JAB, the bass end it pretty good. Like the microcube there is only one basic tone control, but I've found that the Danelectro 5-stage pedal eqs are reasonably transparent, plus very cheap, and small enough to sit on a small amp. One of those might give the you pump you need for jugs.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 07:36 AM

For my assortment of wind instruments the AER has given by far the best response of anything I've tried. But I can't afford one.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 12:40 PM

If you want a portable battery PA set up Tom, my wife has just got a very nice little Carlsboro unit for the PA at her club meetings. It wheels about on a shopping trolley that you get with it. I think it was about £170. the only thing about it - from our point of view I don't see a hole to plug in a footswitch to turn the reverb on and off - for when you want to talk, then sing


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 06:28 PM

This is the one - there is an even smaller one for £100 called the Carlsbro speakeezee

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Carlsbro-Wanderer-PLUS-DP-PA-System_W0QQitemZ370025424526QQihZ024QQcategoryZ47094QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQ


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 07:09 PM

I've been happily using a Yamaha VA10 to amplify my harmonica for years. It isn't rechargeable but the batteries last for ages and you can run it from the mains. It gives out an alleged 6 watts (who am I to argue) and is loud enough to get me heard even in a fairly noisy pub environment and is great for outdoors. It has treble, middle and bass controls and there is a variable delay that takes the dryness off your sound if you want it (Gain and chorus controls too if you want them). I can get a pretty clean sound at good volume from it, which is what I want. They look a bit like one of those big old radio sets and have a nice leather carry-handle, weighing in at around 10lb I suppose.   I don't know whether they're still available so you may have to look for them on eBay, etc. I paid £100 new for mine in 2002.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 10:12 PM

I ended up winning an e-bay auction for a Jay Turser Classic 10 portable amp. It seems to have what I want except it only comes with 1 input jack. I'll report back when it comes in.

Now does anyone know of a cheap battery powered mini-mixer that can combine a mic input (low impedence XLR) and an instrument input (high impedance 1/4") and then plug into the amp input jack? Does it screw up the quality to use a XLR to 1/4" converter for the min into the amp?

JAB


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: HipflaskAndy
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 06:46 AM

Tom's right above.
I started using the Microcube at supposed 'unplugged' folk-type clubs merely as a personal monitor. This was to stop me playing 'too hard' - which always results in my making more errors! - so now I can pick lightly and still hear myself - especially if Steve's accompanying on his melodeon!
I made a wee 'device' from a spare jack plug and a short length of stiff plastic tubing that I plug into the (unused) AUX IN on the back. this means I can have the amp tilted back at a 45 degree angle - pointing back at myself!
The purpose therefore, being to use it as a personal monitor - though a spin off is that slightly more of my finger-picking gets 'out there' to the audience.
As Tom says, we don't really want the 'amplification' that apparent to the audience. But the extra volume does help get the picking better heard in a decent sized folk club.
Other portable amps are far superior (louder) for street busking - a quite different application from that which I require. I didn't want to have to lump loads of gear around (using a shopping trolley etc) - and so the the (tiny) battery-capable Microcube is ideal for my purposes.
I too plug into the MIC setting for my passive Fishman undersadddle pickup - quite a reasonable acoustic sound results - though having 'Oakwood' guitars as a starting point may also be a contributing factor!!
Cheers - HipflaskAndy (Duncan McFarlane)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: treewind
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 08:41 AM

I've seen rave reviews of the Nobels Streetman 10 along the general lines of "it shouldn't be as good as it is for the price". I've never heard one and when I wanted to buy one I couldn't find one, but I didn't know about Thomann then...

Worth considering anyway.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 10:19 AM

At Cheltenham Guitar festival - there was this guy who had cut an oblong shaped hole in the topside of his guitar - and this acted as a sort of monitor. If its just a monitor at acoustic gigs you want - maybe one of these sort of guitars might be the answer. No need of an amp!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable batteryamp thoughts ?
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 11:16 PM

It seems that you have different options in the UK. Nebels Streetman 10, Yamaha VA10, Carlsboro, etc. either aren't available over here or are very rare.

I think there is more busking and therefore more of a market over across the pond anyway.

JAB


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 18 Mar 08 - 12:57 AM

Jay Turser Classic 10 report. The first amp I "won" on E-bay was the Jay Turser Classic 10. It's a 10 watt amp with built in NiCad battery that is supposed to last 4 hours. It looks wonderful, with a natural wood front and tweed sides. Like an old time radio. It only has 1 instrument input so it really is a guitar amp. It has treble, middle, and bass equalization, which work nicely. It also has a main volume and Gain control, with an overdrive switch. My son loves its sound when there is   overdrive on with a little gain.

However, we may have charged the battery wrong the first time we plugged it in. It only lasted about an hour on the street which is way less than the advertised 4 hours. I'm going to deep drain it, and then do a total recharge to see if it helps.

If the batteries lasted longer it would be a great street amp. I've ordered a 4 channel battery powered mixer to overcome the only 1 input problem. We will see.

JAB

I also on impulse ordered a Crate Taxi TX 15. I think that this will be the one for me. 2 inputs - 8 hours of battery life. We will see.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: Genie
Date: 18 Mar 08 - 04:11 AM

I've been using Fender AmpCans for years. While I've had to have a couple of them repaired (one under warranty), and they don't have great bass sound, I find them quite adequate for many of the gigs I do.   I particularly like that they have a built-in rechargeable battery; no need to keep replacing a bunch of D-cells, etc.

I recently bought an Alesis Transactive Mobile PA System. It' pretty heavy, but it's on wheels with a handle like those common roller suitcases, so it's easy to move about.   It has a plug-in spot for an iPod, and it can take 2 mics (1/4-in. jack) or 1 mic (with a 3-prong jack or 1/4-in.) and one direct-in line from a guitar pick up.   It's more powerful than the Amp Can, and it can be run on its own internal rechargeable batteries or on AC via the cord and plug that come with it.    It has better sound than the Amp Can too, but no reverb.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: mandotim
Date: 18 Mar 08 - 04:14 AM

I came across an interesting home made approach the other day. A guy was playing an electric 'stick' bass through an amp made by cutting a speaker hole in the side of a small aluminium case, of the sort used for cameras and microphones. He's installed a 10" speaker, and this is driven by a small but very powerful amp from a car stereo system. The whole thing is powered by a small 12v motorcycle battery, and there are input and charging sockets on the outside. He even had a little reverb/effects unit in there too. It sounded great.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Mar 08 - 07:19 AM

well its easy enough in these days of e-bay to get stuff from the states. we do it all the time in this country. I bet you can do the ssme with goods over here.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Mar 08 - 07:42 AM

But your rechargers will be different.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Mar 08 - 08:17 AM

How different - I have a MXR graphic eq that has a stateside plug that I stick in an adaptor I got from Maplins.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: M.Ted
Date: 19 Mar 08 - 12:42 AM

A compressor/limiter stomp box can be amazingly helpful when you're using a small, battery powered amp. Downside is that it is one more thing lying there on the sidewalk, but it will really help a lot with the sound--


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: open mike
Date: 19 Mar 08 - 01:15 AM

My music partner has a Crate (presumably the Taxi) portable battery amp.
He is quite happy with it. I think it has a re-chargeable battery, not
using regular batteries. so it coul dbe aproblem if it runs out...if it had D cell or other such easily replaceable batteries it might be an advantage.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: Genie
Date: 19 Mar 08 - 02:39 AM

As long as there's still someone who can service the unit, I don't see built-in rechargeable batteries as a drawback.   I've never found D-Cell or 9-volt batteries that can hold up, even when you use several of them, as long a the rechargeable ones.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 21 Mar 08 - 03:36 PM

I just got a Crate Taxi TX15. I think it will be perfect for my needs. I'll report once it gets warm again and we can get out on the street without freezing our hinnies off.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: GUEST,gerard.
Date: 18 Apr 08 - 02:32 PM

I am a classic guitar player and busking for 5 years roughly in london, japan ireland and mars. The Crate taxi is crap. I had one, the controls are very fragile, and after carrying around your amp, you ll look much like jesus and his cross walking around.Heavy!..No, no no..the real Mac Coy is
Peavey, the Solo!! Forget the nobels forget 10 watts, tiny 5' speakers, if you want to get big cash you want to be heard and not looking too shy!! So? 15 watts and 8' speaker is ok. 20 is better but the battery will not last long enough and 30 or 50 Watts for what? are you in a hurry to go to jail? Or do u want to be heard in china? see my point? one great amp to me, for 30 pounds or 60 euros,,the Peavey. Thanx and good night everyone.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: breezy
Date: 18 Apr 08 - 04:49 PM

Fleggy and I use the Vox DA5 having graduated from the Yamaha VA10

easy to carry, can be used discreetly, batteries last for over 100 hours , plenty of poke, many sound options . plus separate mic input though a 2nd amp would be better

also i have taken to miking up the DA5 with my Peavey PA for gigs   and it seems to work

Well there you go and its been very good value at about 80 smakkers

this sunday Fleggy's CD launch at the Rose and crown St Albans


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 18 Apr 08 - 04:52 PM

Thanks Gerard. I bid on a number of Peavey's but never won one. The Crate seems to fit my needs. We tried it out last night on the street, and it worked great for sound fortification for my jug playing. Everything else was un miced. Except I don't know what I'm going to do when the battery wears out. The Peavey seemed to use regular batteries.

JAB


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Apr 08 - 07:15 PM

GB -

Of course nobody has mentioned that the first thing you need to do for a portable anything is get yourself a good sturdy rack with big wheels on it so that once you get everything hooked up all you've got to do is wheel it to a place to play.

The advantage of doing this early on is that when you finally decide on the last piece for the kit, it won't quite fit the rack, so you get to buy a bigger rack.

(You can always unload the first rack on someone else who's just getting started ... maybe.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Portable battery amp thoughts ?
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 19 Apr 08 - 06:48 PM

Thanks John.

Since we are going for sound re-inforcement and not trying to blast the neighborhood. The 15 watt over the shoulder amp works great. I think you are thinking of a much bigger system.

I agree though that when you start trying to be heard in a big space, you need a bigger system, and a rack, wagon, or trolley is really useful.

JAB


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