BY GAYLA DRAKE PAUL
Fishman has a way putting out handy and cool acoustic amps like clockwork.
The Loudbox amps are among the handiest
of the whole Fishman family—small, light,
easy to use, great sounding, and yes, sometimes pretty loud.
The Artist is the newest incarnation
of the Loudbox. At 25. 5 pounds, 13. 5"
inches high, 15. 5" wide, and 11. 5" deep,
it’s compact and easy on the back like the
rest of the Loudbox family, but with more
power and a few extra features that make it
remarkably versatile–but, it still made me
giggle when I loaded it in the trunk.
Feature Packed Goodness
At 120 bi-amped watts, the Loudbox Artist
has oomph enough for a coffeehouse or
a small-to-medium sized room. There are
two identical channels, each with a 10dB
pad and clip indicator, which is useful if
your high-output pickup is hitting the amp
too hard. The clip light is actually in the
center of the pad button, so it’s easy to find
no matter what the lighting situation. In
addition to gain, anti-feedback tools, and a
3-band EQ, there is an effect section that
includes two reverbs, delay, echo, two choruses, flanger, and slap echo. Immediately
to the right of the effect selection knobs are
controls for Time and Depth. The effect
level controls are immediately to the left of
120 bi-amped watts
The back panel has the On/Off switch and
power cord input, a foot pedal input, both
1/4" and 1/8’ Aux ins (handy), a post-EQ
Mix DI out, and each channel has independent effects send/returns and pre-EQ DI outs.
I barely had to tweak the tone controls
to get a gorgeous natural sound and
added a little of Reverb 1 for some
fine-tune and mix high-end tones into the
overall tone of the amp.
The feedback controls are simple and
effective. There’s a low-frequency feedback
knob that you can sweep until feedback
is eliminated, and a Phase switch that can
also be engaged. Although the manual
doesn’t specifically suggest it, I found that
cutting the tweeter level back by about 2dB
really helped bust high ringing feedback.
At the right of the front panel, there’s an
Auxiliary level, a Master volume control,
and a headphone jack. At the bottom right
are three small controls that pack a big
punch: Channel Mute, Tweeter level, and
24V Phantom power switch.
The driver section is a single 8" paper
cone acoustic suspension woofer, and a
1" cloth dome tweeter with a neodymium
magnet. And the Tweeter Level control
provides up to a 6dB cut to the tweeter
volume that gives you more power to
Verb, Slap, and Flange Me
The Loudbox Artist’s effects are digital,
and sound quite similar to Fishman’s
acoustic effects pedals, which are exceptionally clean and more or less free of
coloration. There are two banks of effects.
Effect Bank A contains two reverbs, a
delay, and an echo, and immediately to
the right is a Time control which can be