REVIEW: AER acoustiCube 3

TAKING IT FOR A SPIN

I plugged a Tanglewood TSR-2 Grand Auditorium into “the cube” for my test drive. This amp is fully revealing. Every nuance comes through with clarity which can be a blessing or a curse. For those with impeccable technique, the sound is amazing. Those not as pristine in their playing will still experience great joy from the crystal clear quality but may experience a wake-up call as even the slightest flub comes through. But fear not! 100 effects including varying degrees of reverb, delay, chorus, and flange are available to blend to taste with the dry signal. These effects are not adjustable on the amp, but there are numerous varieties within set groups that this need is questionable. However, a USB interface and proprietary software are included for those who want to tweak the presets. Unfortunately, the software is PC only. Despite claims that a Mac version is on the way, I was miffed by its exclusion. In my opinion, there is little excuse these days to release PC-only versions of software, especially in consideration of a premium and costly piece of hardware.

A footswitch is included which allows two user-defined presets. I would love to see additional control allowing cycling through presets. But the footswitch does more, including, but not limited to, activation of external effects which can be triggered to include just the internal effects, just external, or both. As with the internal effects, the amount of signal from external processing can be adjusted. This adjustment is on the back, which makes it tough to dial in on-the-fly, but there is so much packed into this amp, it’s nearly forgivable.

Returning to the front, a 3-band EQ controls bass, mid, and treble. These tone-shapers are very effective but are limited in their extremes to what one might consider “usable parameters”. In other words, you can’t get out of hand with your adjustments. A row of LED’s provides reference for various settings: clipping, mute, input source, and phantom power.

A word of warning: switching between input sources is as easy as pushing the mode button. If you do this by mistake and get the wrong combination of source and choice of input, you can experience a nasty surprise and the volume doesn’t even have to be up that much. I would prefer to see this button repositioned to the back panel where there’s less risk of bumping it by mistake.

THE FINAL WRAP

I could go on and on describing all the great features contained in this neat little package but that would take away from time spent playing through it! Its compact size is very portable. It’s chock full of features and there’s little I can think of to add. The sound is full, rich, and clear and enhances the acoustic playing experience. My complaints are the lack of Macintosh support and the possible risk of accidentally switching modes and blowing out the speaker. I would prefer to see a more durable and attractive speaker cover than the open-cell acoustic foam, but the speaker itself is well protected.

PROS: Compact and portable. Full of great features. Sounds fantastic.

CONS: Expensive! Too easy to flip the mode switch to the wrong setting and risk blowing out the speaker. No Macintosh support.

MSRP – US $3499 / Euro €2255

Dan Coplan is senior staff writer at SMG. Dan is a Los Angeles based cinematographer and self-admitting guitar junkie. Email: dancoplan@sharemyguitar.com

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  • This baby just seems very cool Dan. I think my Taylor 314ce with the Expression system would work well with the AER acoustiCube 3 huh?!

  • Your Taylor would work great with this amp, especially as the Expression System in Taylor guitars is really well done.

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