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AER compact mobile amp

I'd love to hear comments from people who have bought or used the AER compact mobile amp... the notes say that it is favoured by violinists and so I wonder how it sounds for guitar and vocals...
Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."


  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    Posts: 1,151
    Avoid. I've used them on several occasions. The sound is awful for gypsy jazz. I would never buy one for playing Django music. They're also, perhaps, a bit pricey, and the "mobile" version (i.e. with a battery) is very heavy to lug around.

    They do sound great for other types of acoustic guitar, like a flat-top (it's a super clean sound, which is the opposite of what you want for that 40's Django sound).

    None the less, it's still a very popular amp and a good quality product. Just not a good match for the style.
  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    edited July 2017 Posts: 1,151
    Hi Jim, I use pêche à la mouche amp, the 6W version of it. Sounds like this.
    Jim Kaznosky
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,896
    Generally speaking the Compact 60 has been the most popular amp for Gypsy jazz. It's been used by countless pros over the years and for most players, it's the first choice.The Compact Mobile is just a battery powered version of the Compact 60. There's nothing that even comes close in terms of weight/size/power. They are phenomaly loud for their size and are designed to make even the rattiest piezo pickup sound good.

    With that said, some people just don't like it (see Wim's post above.) it's smaller size and response curve is such that it tends to sound very midrangey, lacking the bass that the Schertler units have. People who want a more even, clean response usually go with the Schertler amps which are almost dead flat in their response and have way more bass than the AER units. However, the Schertler units are much larger, heavier, and not nearly as loud (i.e. the Compact 60 is louder than Schertler 250W Unico.)

    I should also mention, that if you need a battery powered acoustic amp, then the Compact Mobile is pretty well the only game in town. Some people have tried to use the Roland AC33s but they are way too small and underpowered to be of much use.

  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    edited August 2017 Posts: 1,151
    The roland street cube is worth a mention, works pretty great and is a fifth of the price.
    When someone asks a battery powered amp, I think a lot of the time they are thinking about busking. Then you want something portable - light and easy to carry around - and you probably don't need the kind of output like the AER has. The idea of dragging the compact mobile up and down the steps of the Paris metro gives me sore arms just thinking about it.

    I have also seen guys that use an external battery + inverter and just use whatever regular amp they prefer with good results.

    Anyway, definitely get into a guitar shop and try one out to see if you actually like the AER's sound or not before ordering one online.
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,501
    Thanks, everyone for your comments. Our band has had a few outdoor gigs this summer and I'm considering getting a nice battery powered amp.

    This Traynor battery powered PA system was surprisingly good-sounding...

    but I've heard a lot about how great the AER amps are and thought it might be even better... guess I'd better try one!
    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."
  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2017 Posts: 667
    Another inexpensive way to go is Crate, our rhythm guitarist has 2 of them and they can last a while and get the job outside done. Also can double as a pa.
  • These amps are going to make the guitar sound electric. I've used the Roland Street cube for years and its not bad. AER has improved sound over the Roland. But depending on your needs, the street cube has an attractive price.
  • edited August 2017 Posts: 2,947
    Thanks, everyone for your comments. Our band has had a few outdoor gigs this summer and I'm considering getting a nice battery powered amp.

    If that's the case, then check this out
    @Mandobart built a rig for exactly that purpose and did a great job doing a research and providing all the necessary info. You can follow his recipe and end up with a battery pack that you can plug your own amp in and play for several hours.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20, Shelley Park Encore
    Posts: 426
    I have a Compact 60 and agree with Michael that it is the first choice for Gypsy Jazz. It is portable, loud and it sounds pretty good with both piezo pickups and magnetic pickups.

    Are there better sounding amps? Sure. The small size of the Compact 60, while great for portability does result in a "boxy" sound. Angelo Debarre borrowed my Compact 60 for a gig once. I played a gig with Stephane Wrembel and he was using a Compact 60. I did several gigs with Mimi Fox and she was using a Compact 60 with her signature Heritage guitar. Like all things guitar related, it is all pretty subjective in the end.

    As far as battery powered amps go, outside of using an external power source with your amp of choice (a bulky and cumbersome method to be sure), the Compact 60 mobile is, IMO, the highest quality battery amp on the market. That said, I do not need a battery amp very often, so I have no need for a Compact 60 mobile. If I was busking on a regular basis, in a place where amps were allowed , I would have one.

    Years ago, I bought a Crate Taxi, thinking I would use it for Busking in downtown Santa Cruz. On my first day of using it, I was threatened with a very expensive ticket (I did not know that one needs a somewhat expensive "amplifier permit" in Santa Cruz. I put the Taxi away, thinking, oh well, it can be useful to have for a potential gig where power is unavailable. About two years later, I got a well paid gig on the beach (wedding ceremony) and used the Taxi. But the Taxi uses an expensive internal battery with a lifespan of about ten years. Three years in, I decided to sell it as the cost of replacing the battery every ten years for an amp I was likely to need two or three times in a ten year period made no sense.

    A few years later, I got another gig where I needed a battery amp. I borrowed a small Peavey Battery amp from a friend. It used D batteries so I bought a new set of batteries to insure power throughout the gig. By the time I factored gas to and from his place and the cost of a set of batteries, I thought that if another gig showed up where I needed a battery amp, I would be better off buying a small battery amp that uses regular batteries.

    A few years went by and a last month I got a well paid July 4 gig that was outside with no power. The bandleader said that I could do it acoustically, but I thought that if I could find a small, cheap, used battery amp on my local Craigslist, I would do so. I found a Line 6 mini Spyder. It is a 5 watt modeling amp that uses 6 C batteries. It has an acoustic guitar model. The seller wanted $40. I thought, why not? It worked great on the gig and now I have a battery amp for the once every three or four years that I need one. But it is a small, underpowered amp with a barely adequate tone.

    If I wanted great tone and a pro level Battery amp for true portability, the Compact 60 mobile would be my choice.
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass
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