For the ultimate busking sound or for gigs in flowery meadows, AER offers
high-end off-grid acoustic amplification. Jerry Uwins counts the pennies
Battery-powered amps are usually budget buys, but AER’s Compact Mobile is aimed at the well-heeled player looking for high-quality, go-anywhere amplification. It’s based on the popular Compact 60 but adds a 12V lead-acid battery, doubling the weight to 14kg and giving up to six hours’ playing time. Use mains, and the battery automatically charges; there’s provision to connect an external battery, too. It also offers extra features: an Aux In with Level control for an external accompaniment source, and switchable 48V phantom power.
The Mobile has a 8" twin-cone speaker and two channels: Ch1 has three-band EQ and a mid-cut/high-boost Colour switch; Ch2, with a jack/XLR input, has two-band EQ. Each one provides gain switching and a clip LED. The Master section presents four preset digital effects, two hall-type reverbs and a couple of reverb/delays, all of decent quality. Rear-panel connection options are generous, and the black spatter-finish cab, with recessed carry-handle, is smartly finished, reassuringly sturdy and easy to carry.
AER amps are known for exacting, studio-grade reproduction, and the Mobile’s sound is clear and precise, conveying the natural nuances of your guitar. The EQ is responsive, and Colour adds a sparkling lift to Ch1. The only caveat is that Ch1’s main Midrange control has little effect between ‘min’ and ‘max’, save for a slight thickening towards full boost. AER is always cautious with the mids, offering only +/-3dB as against +/-8dB for bass and +/-11dB for treble. I reckon this is taking subtlety too far – but at least it’s impossible to dial up a crap sound.
The Mobile costs a lot more than the mains-only Compact 60. Sure, its a lot of dosh for busking convenience, but being an AER still made in Germany, not the Far East its a fine-sounding and versatile amp, and our quibbles over the midrange tailoring may well be regarded as a minor irritation at worst and an irrelevance at best. You decide!