it (wow—there’s a word I never thought I’d
get to use in a review). My windows were
rattling, and my ears were about to bleed.
BY GAYLA DRAKE PAUL
So far so good! I took it with me to a
gig at a small, L-shaped venue. No
problem getting sound everywhere
and hearing myself. However, the
sound seemed a little too bright
in some parts of the room. I
was playing the Tanglewood,
which is a very bright guitar, so
I beefed up the bass a bit to
compensate and dialed back
the highs just a bit. A friend
plugged in a Kirk Sand nylon-
string guitar, and it sounded
spectacularly beautiful. Every detail
was audible, every frequency seemed utterly
balanced with all the others.
Regular readers, I hope you’re sitting down. I
actually like an amp that’s not compact and light
and easy. Yeah, it’s that good. It’s boutiquey and
extremely cool, too.
The SanGreal acoustic amp is a smokin’ 400 watts
(bi-amped, 200 watts per low-frequency and high-frequency driver) with two input channels that
can be customized for your specific applications.
Since I sing while playing the guitar, the folks at
SanGreal gave me an instrument channel with
line and instrument inputs, and one channel with
both XLR and instrument inputs—and the XLR in
has phantom power. Both channels have input
Gain, three-band EQ, and multi-mode Reverb.
Channel one includes a narrow-band notch filter,
and our review unit had the optional vacuum
tube, which adds some additional warmth. Master
and Monitor volume controls and an FX loop
complete the control section.
The beautiful acoustic tone
comes from the combination of a
neodymium-powered ribbon driver and an
advanced low-frequency driver. The cabinet
is monitor-shaped, made of birch multi-ply
with a handle at one end and a speaker pole
mount on the other. It is hefty at 42 pounds,
and a little bulky at 24”x16”x19”, but if killer
tone is your thing, you probably won’t care.
There are three reverb modes, medium-
length bright, medium-length warm, and
short-length bright. The medium warm is nice
and really useful for guitar and vocal.
Turn it up ‘til your ears bleed
Without spending any time to get to know what
I was working with, I plugged in a Tanglewood
TSR2 (also reviewed in this issue) which has an
active B-Band pickup, and started turning up. And
up. And up. I had the Gain and the Master both
at 3 o’clock before I couldn’t take anymore—
but there wasn’t even a hint of feedback or
distortion. If I’d had earplugs, I could have dimed
In a live situation, you can lay it flat on the
floor in front of you like a conventional amp,
or set it on a speaker stand behind you, where
it can serve as main and monitor all in one.
On a speaker stand, the ribbon driver spreads
the sound over a very wide area, filling large
rooms easily. In addition, the ribbon driver
technology keeps the volume from dropping
off as dramatically as a conventional speaker.
Usually you lose 6 dB every time you double
the distance away from the speaker. With the
SanGreal, you only lose 3 dB. Handily, the
SanGreal has a monitor input on the right side
panel, allowing it to be used as a floor monitor.
Now, this is not just a simple monitor function—
this allows you to turn your guitar up as loud as
you want and then mix in the rest of the band,
so you hear you as much as you want, and the
rest of the band is perfectly balanced to your
needs. For a small-to-medium sized gig, this
could become indespensible.
At home again, I pulled out my trusty
Gallagher GA- 70 (rosewood grand auditorium)
with an LR Baggs iMix, which my ears know