For the ultimate busking sound or for gigs in flowery meadows, AER Compact Mobile 60W 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 Compact Mobile 60W everyone know as exacting, studio-grade reproduction. Firstly, 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. Secondly, 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, it’s a lot of dosh for busking convenience. But being an AER Compact Mobile 60W still made in Germany, not the Far East it’s 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!