VoiceCouncil will no longer be updated. Articles will still be available for some time.

Review: Fishman’s Portable PA

This small PA rises above the competition -says Chris Kennedy

Type: Solo Performance PA

Item: Fishman SA220

Price: US $999, UK £820-899

Mic Scale: 4.5/5

At a Glance: The Fishman SA220 is a lightweight and portable PA system primarily aimed at singers and acoustic guitarists who perform their music in small bars and clubs. It features 220 watts of power, an on-board mixer, weighs less than 25lbs, and comes with a neat padded bag and stand that is fitted with wheels to make it easy to move to and from gigs.

High Notes: The sound of the system is optimised for voice and acoustic guitar and, as such, vocals are clearly projected and sonically well defined. Unlike many typical small PA systems, the SA220 has six low/mid-range speakers instead of the usual single woofer/tweeter combination. As well as keeping the size down, this also has the added advantage of helping the sound to project more evenly over a longer distance – meaning audience members in the back of the bar should still hear a well balanced mix. The on-board 2-channel mixer section has all of the typical connections for plugging in your mic and guitar, and also features reverb, EQ, phantom power and a useful anti-feedback function.

Off Pitch: If you want to use the device for anything more than just guitar and voice, then there are probably better options out there – particularly if you are planning to use any bass instruments. Some may also be a bit put off by the price which some will find quite high for a not particularly versatile PA system. However, considering the excellent sound quality this piece of gear is not overpriced.

A VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: The Fishman SA220 is a very well thought out device that is targeted at a specific market and, as such, performs extremely well within these constraints. The sound quality is excellent and it is easily loud enough to fill a small gig setting. There is notable competition from similar systems such as HK Audio’s Sound Caddy One or Bose’s L1, however they both lack in some of the portability of the Fishman system (albeit with the advantage of having a greater bass reproduction). If you are a solo singer/guitarist performer wanting a portable quality PA system, the Fishman SA220 is hard to beat.

Manufacture’s Website

See Other Reviews

Review 1

Review 2

Review 3

Review 4

Review 5

  • I own one and, aside from the terrific sound, it easily saves me 2+ hours of load in, set up, break down and load out time. I was used to floor monitors in front of me and it took a little getting used the “monitor” coming from the side, but it really wasn’t a problem. If you need more channels, just connect a small mixer to the Monitor In and you can balance the mixer with the SA220. Solid, great quality, more flexible and a much better value than the same price Bose unit.

  • antonbuys

    Just got a pair this last weekend. First live gig in 2 weeks time. Currently rehearsing with them. They go LOUD, without sacrificing quality.Looking forward to the gig. Will report back after…

  • Antonbuys

    Reporting back (finally) after the first gig. Did a rehearsal before the time with only the Fishman’s in a 700 person capacity hall. Sound carried clearly throughout the hall. Was actually asked to turn it down, because the people in adjacent offices could hear it! Was very impressed with them during the actual show. Played to a crowd of about 300 people. But will still look at in ear monitors as well. Not 100% happy using them as reference and main monitors. And a pair of subs would round them out well… Especially for rock! Lacking the low end punch. But for acoustic work they should be perfect, which is what they were designed for.

  • Trainman452

    I own a couple of these and have used them entensively for over a year.. I run a mackie mixer with a boss drum machine.  vocals and guitar through a TC Helicon Voice Live Two.. into the mixer and out to the Fishsticks.

    All I can say is that these units as a PA  are just about perfect insoide and out.  I’m experimenting now with a sub.. just to get the kick drum out tof the mix, but other than that I have been very impressed with durability and pure usefull ness/sound of these units.. If you’re on the fence.. you can buy two of these for a little more thatn the bose L1 and comparable effects board, and get about six times the sound.. I know I had a bose L1 ( not impressive or  loud).

    Get the fishstick.. you’ll be happy..

  • How do you connect the sub?

  • Chris

     From memory, there’s a mix di out connection that you could use. There is reasonble bass in the unit, so you may not need one; however if you are definitely going to need more bass you may be better looking at the HK Audio SoundCaddy