Sponsored By
 
Four Fishman Preamps
 
A look at Fishman’s ToneDEQ, Aura Spectrum DI, Platinum Pro EQ, and Platinum Stage EQ.
October 11, 2021
 

For acoustic musicians who amplify with pickups, a multi-purpose preamp may be the most useful part of their signal chain. Even though many of today’s pickups have onboard preamps, a dedicated external unit can serve many important functions. At the very least, most preamps that are designed for use with acoustic instruments typically include XLR outputs and some form of EQ, giving the player their own D.I. box and the ability for basic tone-shaping. But acoustic preamps have become more sophisticated, and some include features such as built-in tuners, effects, and the ability to enhance the instrument’s tone with Impulse Response technology. Fishman began offering preamps almost at the very beginning of its pioneering acoustic amplification efforts in the 1980s, and today the company offers a complete range of stand-alone units. We’ve looked at the ToneDEQ, Platinum Pro EQ, and Platinum Stage EQ in the past, but for this video, I want to showcase the entire range and discuss the units’ individual features. I demo the preamps with a Taylor 712c guitar equipped with a Fishman Rare Earth Mic Blend pickup and played through a Fishman SA 330x, but these units can be used with any acoustic instrument that has a pickup. 

Fishman’s ToneDEQ ($329.95 street) is a unique pedal in that it combines a preamp, EQ, and D.I. box with a set of acoustic-friendly effects. Arranged in two banks, each with its own footswitch, the unit has two kinds of reverb and two delays in one bank, and tremolo, flanger, and two kinds of chorus in the other. The ToneDEQ also includes a compressor, three-band EQ (low, mid, high), and a footswitchable boost function. 

The Aura Spectrum DI ($399.95 street) not only includes basic preamp, EQ, and D.I. functions, it also has a built-in tuner, a compressor, and, as its name indicates, Fishman’s proprietary, Impulse Response–based Aura technology. Aura uses information from recordings of a wide range of guitars and other stringed instruments as well as a selection of microphones to create patches (which Fishman calls “images”) that are fine-tuned to enhance a pickup’s sound with the tonality of specific instrument types. The Aura Spectrum DI comes preloaded with image choices for most popular guitars, as well as some “bluegrass” instruments, such as mandolins, dobros, fiddles, banjos, and more. In addition, Fishman offers hundreds more images for download on its website, and up to 16 custom images can be loaded into the unit by way of a USB port. A “blend” dial allows the addition of the Aura sound to the pickup signal, and two footswitches allow for the activation of the tuner (while also muting the signal) and an anti-feedback control. 

The Platinum Pro EQ ($319.95 street) is a full-featured traditional preamp. While it doesn’t include effects or Impulse Response technology, this unit has a powerful EQ section with tunable mids, low-cut and brilliance controls, a notch filter (for controlling feedback), a compressor, built-in tuner, and a footswitchable boost function. The unit also has an effects loop, phase reversal switch, ground lift, and XLR as well as ¼-inch outputs. 

Finally, the Platinum Stage EQ ($169.95) is a stripped-down unit that packs essential features into a preamp small enough to be clipped to the player’s belt. It includes D.I. output, three-band EQ with tunable mids, phase control, low-cut, and a push-button boost function. And while the three other preamps require either a 9-volt battery or a power adapter, the Platinum Stage EQ can also run via a mixing board’s phantom power. 

All four Fishman preamps offer standard functions that make them capable of boosting a pickup signal, adding EQ and providing balanced D.I. output. But their approaches to accomplishing great onstage tone vary in ways that will make each one attractive to different players. The ToneDEQ is as much of an effects pedal as it is a preamp, and it’s a perfect choice for players who wish to alter their sound. The Aura Spectrum DI’s use of Impulse Response technology and the ability to customize it with images from Fishman’s website makes it an excellent choice for players who want to enhance their pickup tone with a dose of their type of instrument’s specific acoustic sound. The Platinum Pro EQ is the most full-featured of the four units in terms of traditional tone-shaping tools and onstage problem solvers; it’s a one-box solution to any amplification challenge. Finally, the Platinum Stage EQ packs a surprising amount of tone-shaping power into a tiny box, and players who move around onstage may prefer to have their preamp attached to their belt, rather than placed on the floor. 

fishman.com

Related Instrument Demos Posts
 

Fishman Blackstack

A great passive soundhole pickup.

Read More

 

Fishman Rare Earth Pickups

We take a look at Fishman’s flagship soundhole pickups.

Read More

 

Fishman Neo-D Pickups

A look at an affordable line of soundhole pickups.

Read More

 

Fishman Loudbox Amps

A look at the complete line of Loudbox acoustic amplifiers.

Read More

 

V-300 Violin Pickup | Fishman

IBMA Award Winning fiddler Becky Buller demonstrates her pickup and preamp of choice.

Read More

 

Fishman Resophonic Amplification

Mike Witcher on amplifying a dobro-style resophonic guitar using Fishman’s Nashville series pickup and Aura imaging pedal.

Read More

 

Acoustic Amplification 101

A basic guide to using pickups, preamps, amps, and PAs with acoustic instruments.

Read More

 

1910s Gibson H-1

Joe K. Walsh demonstrates his vintage mandola, which he set up with an old DeArmond pickup for playing electric.

Read More

 

L.R. Baggs M1 Active and M80

Two great magnetic soundhole pickups.

Read More

 

Ultrasound CP100

Ultrasound’s compact combo amp is a lightweight powerhouse

Read More

 
Sponsored By
 
 
 
Peghead Partners
 
What’s a Go-Bar Deck? | Elderly Instruments
Joe Konkoly demonstrates using a go-bar deck as he installs replacement bracing in a vintage Martin D-28.
 
 
 
 
 
  Follow Us:  
 
  About Us       Shop         Support         Contact Us         Email Sign up         Advertise         Sitemap         FAQ         Privacy         Terms         Subscribe   Sign In  
 
    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com
 
 
    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com