Fishman Aura Spectrum DI Reviews4.5/5.0 based on 14 customer reviews
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March 2, 2013Music Background:
Can make anything sound goodI don't really use this much, because I usually play short open-mic type sets where the setup time has to be measured in seconds. But... I have this Martin Cowboy mini guitar, all laminates, that generally sounds like crap. I bought a cheap Lawrence pickup for it (A-300), plugged it into this thing and then into a random amp, and after about a minute fiddling with the settings.. presto! I was Ed Sheeran. Only better sounding... SO if this can make that guitar sound great (and rescue if from abandonment), what can it do for one of my better instruments? We shall see...
February 20, 2013Music Background:
Excellent productI use this as a DI/tuner for my Taylor 814CE as well as a DI for my piezo pickups in my electric guitars. It's a wonderful unit. The tuner is the best tuner I've ever found for acoustics and it's silent and the imaging is great - especially for piezo equipped guitars.
from Philadelphia, PEAY
September 26, 2012Music Background:
Ok, I admit it......this thing is awesome. I have to admit, for whatever reason, I kind of didn't want to like this product. The whole concept seemed a little....I don't know.....unnatural to me. I wanted to hear my guitar, not a recording of a similar guitar laid on top of my signal.
I play a Guild F50R Jumbo, which has nice, rich, deep tones, and I wanted to translate that well when amplified through a system. My guitar came with a Fishman Matrix undersaddle transducer, which I wasn't in love with, so I went looking for something better. After a decent amount of research I chose an LR Baggs Anthem, which is a combination microphone/undersaddle pickup. This was a big improvement over my previous pickup (see my review for the Anthem).
However, at my church, where I regularly play music, we bought a few different DI boxes, including the Aura Spectrum, so I was able to try out several different setups for my guitar. The Anthem pickup in my guitar has a knob that allows you to select the blend between microphone and undersaddle pickup, and it generally sounds best with as much mic as you can give it before getting any feedback (which I've never had a problem with, so I always use 100% mic). Well, one day I decided to do some comparisons, so I switched my pickup to 100% undersaddle (the Aura Spectrum doesn't work as well with a microphone pickup) and went through the Aura. Fortunately my guitar is one of the options in the guitar list (which is pretty extensive) along with four different microphones used for recording (which are surprisingly different). After a few minutes of testing the different microphone options and the blend of the image and the original signal, I found myself with a stunningly rich, warm, and most important NATURAL sound that just blew my Anthem microphone out of the water. I asked a couple friends to listen to the Aura Spectrum versus my mic pickup through a different preamp, and they were similarly stunned by the difference.
I still really like the sound of the Anthem pickup (and I left a positive review for it), but the Aura Spectrum wins hands down, however unnatural the process is. If you find yourself playing lots of different venues, where you might not always have access to an Aura Spectrum, it may still be worth the money to get a nice pickup with a microphone and an undersaddle (like the Anthem). But if you play in a single venue a lot, like a church, and will almost always have access to an Aura Spectrum, you can probably get away with a plain old undersaddle pickup.
Now, not everyone may be as fortunate as I was to have several different microphone recordings for their actual guitar pre-programmed in the Aura, but I bet it will still work well for most people. I have found, though, that the closer you get to your actual guitar - in body style, wood, etc. - the better the Aura Spectrum sounds. If they have your actual guitar - even better. I'm not really a fan of the tuner, but I don't really care about that.
One last random note - I found myself listening to Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds from Radio City a while back, and I noticed that Tim's guitar just sounded richer and more natural than Dave's to me. I did a little research to find out what gear Tim uses, and......you guessed it....he uses an Aura Spectrum.
from AR, USA
June 16, 2012Music Background:
Fishman Aura Spectrum DIBought this to use with my Godin Multiac - guitar out, by itself, or when using my GR33. Was able to get this guitar to sound almost like my Martin HD28 SE (miced), using this DI. Compared tuner to my boss tuner, it was right on.
from Fayetteville, AR
June 14, 2010Music Background:
Live and studio
Easy To Get A Good ToneSo far I've used it with fiddle, dobro, and mandolin. It didn't take a lot of effort to get a good tone. I have a Barcus-Berry fiddle and it sounded especially sweet through an amp.
January 5, 2010Music Background:
Love ItA great piece of gear, solidly built, nice features, and sounds great. Worth the extra bucks.
November 5, 2009Music Background:
Recording/Performing Guitarist (banjo, dobro, mando too)
Very impressed with Aura Spectrum DII play a variety of acoustic stringed instruments, but guitar is my focus. Since I got my Aura Spectrum DI, I've played small duo gigs and loud full band country rock gigs in big rooms and never sounded better. That applies to my D28, Hummingbird, and Dobro, whether I'm using a SoloAmp (I like that too) or plugging into the house PA. I tried with a cheaper Crate acoustic amp that I keep in my trunk as a backup, and it even made that sound pretty good.
I'm very particular - I play nice instruments that are well set up with good pickups, but the Aura imaging adds a dimension of detail that I've never been able to get live. And I've owned a TON of gear over the years. I tried it as a direct box in the studio with guitar and mandolin, and it really shines. We miked the same instruments and it was very difficult to tell the difference between the miked and direct signals, which was very surprising. I probably won't bother miking acoustic instruments at home anymore because the sound quality is so good.
The Aura feature is great, but I'd probably buy it for the rest of the DI functions anyway. The eq is simple and stage friendly, the compressor is very sweet and doesn't "pump", and the tuner and anti feedback feature are spot on. A really well designed piece of pro gear and worth every penny. I'd buy a replacement in a heartbeat if mine was stolen.
from Tawas, Mi.
September 30, 2009Music Background:
Aura Spectrum DiI play rhythm guitar in church with praise band and I wanted my Martin OOOCXE to have a fuller sound going through the church P A and it made the guitar sound amazing. I've only used the Spectrum for a few weeks but I am very pleaswed with the outcome and our sound tech is also very impressed.
from Dover, Florida
October 18, 2012Music Background:
Fishman Aura Spectrum DII play a Taylor 414CE in the Praise Band at church and though I have been extremely satisfied with my live amplified sound, I wanted a more natural sounding tone. This pedal will enhance the sound of any guitar and allows you to blend your sound to taste. I have also used this pedal with great results on my other acoustic guitars with far less sound quality pick-up systems. It has features like balanced output, compression, a tuner, a feedback eliminator, and you can also add more images via the internet. In my opinion, this is one of the best tools for an acoustic/electric player that has ever been built.
from Phoenix, AZ USA
October 21, 2011Music Background:
Can't live without itI've been using the Aura Spectrum DI for about two years, I migrated from the dreadnought 16 aura pedal. This preamp sounds fantastic, is very durable and reliable, and has everything you could need on a gig.
I have used it with a variety of quality guitars, mandolins, and dobros. It sounds great on everything, though it takes a few minutes of auditioning sounds to find the magical one. One of my gigs is in a duo with a guitarist who has the LR Baggs Venue DI. While that is a nice unit, I feel it is made more for 'hiding' the unwanted characteristics of a piezo undersaddle pickup, where the Spectrum fixes it.
The EQ is great and very flexible, I use it to EQ the piezo signal only, to blend some low end with the Aura tone. The aura is very accurate to a mic'ed tone, so it's nice to be able to add some low end to it. The compressor is very transparent, it can be easy to overuse it. The effects loop is a great feature, I use a boost and loop station there when needed and it works great. I don't find much of a need to use the feedback filter, usually flipping the phase takes care of any issues.
I also use it occasionally to record, although not in the studio. It doesn't beat an acoustic in a great room with great mics, but it works very well for home recording and demos, and live it can't be beat. Every now and then I do a gig without it because I'm lazy and enjoy the easier set-up. I always regret it. It has set a new standard for how I expect my guitars to sound live, I can't live without it.
The only thing I don't love is the tuner, it isn't very fast reading notes, and it isn't bright enough to read easily on outdoor gigs. If you are a little patient it is very accurate though.
April 21, 2012Music Background:
Fishman Aura Spectrum DII've been trying to find the right pre-amp for an acoustic guitar for some time and have tried many of the different models and brands, as well as pickups. The Aura Spectrum DI gives a lot of acoustic options so you can balance the sound of the guitar to the room more easily as well as control the EQ. You can download different models from a broad selection in order to match virtually any guitar to your own. Good unit.
from vermont, usa
August 26, 2011Music Background:
pro musician, recording engineer, live sound
Great acoustic DII use this pedal with my Ko'Aloha 'ukulele and Fishman undersaddle pickup for live performance and recording. The unit is very user friendly and the imaging sounds are diverse ranging from plucky and bright to full body and warm tones.
I find the tuner to be unreliable as it usually reads a half to whole step off from the desired note.
March 7, 2013Music Background:
25 years playing guitar, Band, Solo and Church
Does what it does very wellThe tone it will give your guitar is fantastic.
It can sound a little synthetic at times.
Not always- but a small digital/ synthetic buzz comes through when you fret out or tack on. Kinda unnatural for an acoustic.
It doesn't scratch well. Actually it doesn't capture scratching across the strings at all. I play with my fingers without a pic and it doesn't do well capturing subtleties or finesse of playing. Finally, I find the choices of guitar profiles kinda limited. I play a Gibson J45 rosewood and a Martin J40 Jumbo. Neither guitar is available as a profile. I don't find either to be that rare. I really wanted it for my J45 but it can't seem to emulate a similar sound. For the money I should have bought a nice condenser mic. Not bad, but really not for me.
from Cleveland, Oh
July 5, 2011Music Background:
A really good do all pedal for acousticA really good pedal. It's doing everything I was hoping for.