Amplifier, Advice, Review

Busker Amps

Battery Powered Amps

I was asked about this the other day when a customer was looking for a small amplifier that he could run on batteries. Now, my first thought was the Roland Micro Cube GX.

It's a 10W digital amp that has just about every combination of effects and amp models you could imagine. It'll run at full chat for about 4 hours on 6 x AA batteries and is small enough to wear on a guitar strap if needed. An Aux input / iCube link allows for backing tracks and the built-in tuner is a real help. It's a great little amp that is great for guitarists looking to try out different effects and sounds in composition as well as a favourite for street musicians. 

Roland MIcro Cube GX - a world of digital effects in a single amp. Great for practice and busking.

Roland MIcro Cube GX - a world of digital effects in a single amp. Great for practice and busking.

But...

'No, no', said he, 'I need to put a microphone through it and maybe a guitar or uke and perhaps use it for harmonica too'. Hmmm.

Needed to think about that one and the solution for his needs was the Laney AudioHub AH Freestyle. Now, I'd seen Laney's bigger AudioHub multi-instrument amps such as the AH40 and AH80 but I'd never really explored the Freestyle battery-powered option. So, I got in touch with Laney and grabbed one. 

Laney AudioHub AH Freestyle - 3 channels featuring a Combination XLR input; Twin Input Stereo Line and an Instrument (High Z) channel. 

Laney AudioHub AH Freestyle - 3 channels featuring a Combination XLR input; Twin Input Stereo Line and an Instrument (High Z) channel. 

The AudioHub range is designed for multiple instruments and can run guitars, vocal mics, keyboards, bass etc. This little 5W AH Freestyle actually coped pretty well with all of them when I tested it in store. There is no getting around its relatively low output but it is easily capable of running as a busking amp and has huge flexibility because of its range of inputs.

The amp has 3 separate channels, all with the option of delay as well as an Aux input for backing tracks etc. Channel 1 is a combination XLR input that will take a vocal mic, whether it has a male XLR or jack connection. Channel 2 is a Line input divided into Left & Right channels - essentially it is designed for a keyboard or electronic drum stereo input. Channel 3 is the  straight jack input,  for a Line or High Z (guitar) signal. A simple 2 band master EQ (Bass & Treble) completes the picture. 

Flexibility Was The Key

The reason behind selecting the AudioHub was that it fitted into the customer's requirements. He needed an amp that was going to be able to handle several different acoustic inputs. Whilst it is not going to blow out anybody's windows, it was perfect for his needs, playing with a Ukulele group. He didn't need to be powerful - he just needed to be heard and able to play outdoors if necessary without having to have electricity. It doesn't make it a better amp than the Roland, it simply fitted the bill.