A compact, yet powerful acoustic amp, the Fishman Loudbox Mini is a fantastic amp for practice and small venue performances. It’s pretty loud, yet it can be easily lugged around and tuck away. Its sound quality is superb.
Despite the praises received from users, the Mini has problems that many have encountered, as well. But, before I’m going to discuss all of Fishman Loudbox Mini problems, allow me first to have a quick background about this wonderful amp.
Somehow Fishman manages to squeeze all the amazing features of those big and loud amps on their Fishman Loudbox Mini. It’s the smallest in the Fishman lineup of acoustic guitar amps. It looks great, designed elegantly like the mid-century hi-fi system. Its brown-tan motif is outstanding on stage and seems professional.
Weighing only around 20lbs, this amp measures around 13.7-inch wide, 12-inch high and 9.7-inch deep. It has two channels — an instrument channel with the standard ¼-inch input and a mic channel with an XLR input. For microphone input, it can only accommodate dynamic and condenser mics that are already internally powered. It doesn’t have phantom power, so it cannot power all types of microphones.
The instrument channel has a three-band EQ with Reverb and Chorus built-in. While the Mic channel has a two-band EQ with Reverb only. At the rear, you’ll find two Aux inputs — ¼-inch and 1/8-inch jacks — and a Mix D.I. output for connecting the amp to a mixer or a recording device. No headphone output, so you can’t do the silent practice.
With 60 watts of power, a 6.5-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter, you can’t expect its power. What’s great is, it’ll efficiently project the original tone of your guitar. When you’re playing a steel-string guitar you can appreciate its mind-blowing sound quality. It has enough power to liven up small to medium-sized venues.
Despite all the good reviews about the Fishman Loudbox Mini, problems and issues are also reported by some users. So, we are now going to unveil some common gripes of the users on this small, but terrible acoustic amp. Additionally, Fishman and other users have solutions to these problems, which I’m going to include below.
Issue 1: Hissing and humming occur in the system
When connecting the acoustic guitar with a pickup, there are hissing and humming that occur when you crank the volume up. The noise persists even when new cables or guitars are being used. This is not the normal behavior of the amp as it’s generally good.
Solution: Fishman recommends to use “compressed air” to blow out the potentiometers. Although this may not be a normal solution to hissing, some users said this solution works, and they didn’t have humming problems anymore.
Issue 2: Need for a ground lift
Loudbox Mini is great in a lot of ways. Though it’s small, it’s equipped to be able to deliver Fishman quality in all aspects. During the first use, it’s performance is smooth and promising. However, after a year or so of using this, humming issues occur. Since there’s no ground switch on the line out, it’s difficult to get rid of the hum in the system when it occurs.
Solution: Actually, the XLR output is already permanently ground isolated, so you don’t need to have a ground lift switch. This is a great move from Fishman to prevent ground loop when connecting the amp into a PA system. However, if you experience some hissing and humming in the system, you could refer to the first issue for the solution.
Issue 3: Not that loud when playing at larger venues
This acoustic amp provides loud low-end and clear highs. It offers great sound and projects the natural tone of your guitar. Since it only has 6.5-inch woofer, it’s not ideal to be used on a large crowd and with loud bandmates.
Solution: Though this is an issue for some users, other users find this as an adequate amp for a crowd of around 600+. It depends on your definition of a large crowd. To be able to keep with a loud band and larger venues, you must stick to the instructions. You need to turn up the master volume to full and set the gain to about 6/10. If you do this, you’ll be too loud and might need to turn the volume down.
This YouTube video will help you get the right setting in case you really need to play for a much larger crowd.
Issue 4: Cosmetics issues
Since it’s small and compact, it’s very easy to carry around. You can travel in a car and put it in the truck or just put it in the back. It has a nice weighty feel and no matter how you carry it, it still sounds great. However, the sides of the cabinet are easily dinged up and the brown vinyl will literally peel off. Although it doesn’t affect the sound quality of the amp, if you’re playing live, it’ll affect the looks of your gears.
Solution: There’s an optional cover purposefully made to alleviate this problem. If you want to keep the looks of your amp, you might want to grab one. However, its looks doesn’t match the looks of the amp. And, although it’s just a cosmetic issue, some users are very particular about it. So, it’s your call to get the cover or just keep the amp in a safe place when traveling to and from gigs.
Such a powerhouse given its compact size, the Fishman Loudbox Mini is among the well-praised Fishman acoustic amps. It has enough power and amazing sound quality. It’s a perfect acoustic guitar to be used during practice, gigs, and small venue performances. And, at a price you can’t beat, people are excited to get one for themselves.
With the popularity of the Fishman Loudbox Mini, problems and issues are also surfacing. While these are not deal-breaking issues, it’s very important to know about them and their solutions so you will be warned. I hope this article has helped you get the maximum potential of your Fishman Loudbox Mini.