Red-eye pre-amp, matching gear, and GAS

jimvencejimvence Austin, TX✭✭
So, I'm a gear head with frequent GAS attacks!

(GAS = Guitar Acquisition Syndrome, or Gear Acquisition Syndrome. A condition in which one frequently buys, sells, and trades guitar gear.)

When I gave up other styles of playing to focus on Gypsy Jazz, I figured my GAS would be cured.
All I need is a Maccaferri style archtop and a good set of strings. But I never figured on that quest to get that sound accurately amplified. So in the course of that task, I’ve picked up a few acoustic amps and pre-amps over the years.

Having recently picked up a Bigtone equipped US Dell Arte Hommage, I decided to check out the Red Eye pre-amp. The Red Eye is not a particularly well known product; I learned of it because it is made in my town (Austin, TX). I am thrilled with this unit! The Red Eye, with the Bigtone Dell Arte plugging into my Fishman Loudbox, is providing a sound in the ballpark of a microphone set-up. By comparison, my Headway or Para DI pre-amps with the Bigtone/DA and the Loudbox do not compare.

So, I’d definitely encourage you to check out the Red Eye if you are in the market for a pre-amp, particularly if you use a Fishman amp. After testing this setup with my Loudbox, I then tested it through my Schertler David (did I mention my GAS attacks? <g>). After all, if the Red Eye and my Dell Arte/Bigtone sounded so good with the Loudbox, it should sound even better with the Schertler, right? But I could not dial in that microphone quality sound with the Red Eye/Schertler as I could with the Red Eye/Fishman.

Will Ray, a known country/rock guitarist and gear collector, was quoted as saying that he finds his ideal sound as the right matching of guitar and amplifier – it is not the case that your best sounding guitar plus your best sounding amp equals your best sounding set-up. While he was referring to electric guitar I suppose it is applicable as well to matching a pre-amp and amplifier for acoustic amplification.

PS: You may notice I changed my user-id, I am no longer using my old “jovation” handle, though I still have my Ovation acoustic. GAS is a terrible thing! ;0)


  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551
    Where have you been - Harmony Central?

    That's all right, we know where you've been....
  • StevearenoSteveareno ✭✭✭
    Posts: 349
    You're right. Sometimes the gear all seems to match up to produce the tone you're after. I used to fool around with blues harmonica...having difficulty with feedback and finding the right tone with an Astatic mic thru a Bassman reissue amp (all the "correct" gear). My friend (a very experienced player) was getting a better tone with a little Sony tape recorder mic (from the 60s) thru an old Harmony amp. He said it was about finding a mic that worked "in conert" with the amp. Some matches just seem to work while others don't, even though logically they all the right brands and models, etc. (you'll all be relieved to know I hung up the harp).
    Swang on, :wink:
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