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Review: Fishman’s Aura Sixteen

Can this pedal help singer-guitarists create the ultimate live acoustic guitar sound? -asks Chris Kennedy

Item: Fishman Aura Sixteen, Acoustic Guitar Pedal

Price: US $199, UK £199

Mic Scale:

At a Glance: Fishman’s Aura Sixteen is an effects pedal that is designed to make the sound from the piezo pickup on an acoustic guitar sound like that of a mic’d acoustic guitar. Its main aim being to help you achieve a studio-like acoustic guitar sound in a live setting with great ease, less feedback and minimal setup time. It features a ¼ inch jack input and output and can be either powered by 9v battery or by a mains power adaptor.

High Notes: The Aura Sixteen comes with 16 preset sounds, however is fitted with a USB connection that can be used to download different models to the unit depending on the sound you are after. Currently there are over 800 different guitar model emulations that can be downloaded to the device, meaning it should not be difficult to find a close match to your particular guitar. You can upload the sounds that you want to the 16 memory locations, which you can easily change between if you want a range differing of acoustic tones in your set, and you can also blend this with the natural sound of your pickup to create your perfect tone.

Off Pitch: Fishman say that you get the best results with their Acoustic Matrix pickup – so you may find that you do not get optimal results using other makes or models of pickup. A lot of the models appear a little bright for some tastes, meaning you will most likely still require additional EQ to get the best sound. The unit’s main focus appears to be steel-strung acoustics, thus users have reported that the unit does not work particularly well with nylon strung guitars. Also, unfortunately, the unit does not ship with a power adaptor, meaning you will have to use battery power or buy a 9v adaptor separately.

A VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: The Aura Sixteen is designed to be connected to either a PA system or an acoustic amp and does a good job of coming closer to a more ‘studio’ acoustic sound than most piezo pickups will do on their own. The best results with the unit are found when matched with either the same or a close model to the guitar you are using – so you will not be able to make your jumbo sound like a convincing mandolin if that’s what you were hoping to do. With their ever expanding model library most bases are covered. However, if you still cannot find the tone you are after, Fishman say that (for a small fee) you can even send them your guitar and they will use their microphones to make a model of it for the Aura Sixteen.

Manufacture’s Website: http://www.fishman.com

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