Build Quality:4.9 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars

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Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Great build-quality
  • A lot of versatility thanks to Aura Image Gallery

Cons:

  • Does not have a tuner

Though we usually try to diversify our lists of products and include as many different brands as possible, sometimes some manufacturers perform so well that we can’t help ourselves. They have already mastered a specific instrument type or genre so everything they create is steeped with expertise and attention. And that’s why their pedals are able to work wonders! Though you can’t judge a stompbox by its manufacturer, the experience has shown us that in some cases, you can at least take a risk. That risk will show you that you did the right thing and in the end you’ll be left with an absolute perfection of a unit. Yeah, you have guessed it correctly, I’m talking about Fishman and their Aura Imaging pedals. Everybody raves about their Spectrum DI, which is truly an amazing acoustic preamp. Yet it doesn’t mean that we should neglect the rest of the series and concentrate only on that one. That’s why today I’ll talk about their Aura 16 Dreadnought and we’ll see if such meticulous approach makes any sense. If you don’t want something as sophisticated as Spectrum DI, but still want an amazing acoustic preamp, then stay with me and read this article carefully. Let’s get started!

Features

Fishman has succeeded once again in putting together a pedal that actually knows what to do and how to treat your instrument properly. Their Aura 16 Dreadnought takes an exhaustive approach and tries to perform the way your guitar requires to. Let’s all agree that the specific details, such as building components and peculiarities affect the way signal is produced and, in the end, perceived by a pedal. And when a stompbox is manufactured with that type of guitar in mind, it can truly do unimaginable things. But that is not the only virtue of Aura 16 Dreadnought. It offers quite a few useful and interesting features, as well. This puppy comes with 16 pre-loaded images that provide you with the acoustic sounds that work best with dreadnought. They don’t strive to emulate some other guitar, rather, they want to accentuate the qualities of the instrument you have by allowing you to make your performance brighter, darker or more prominent – depending on what the scenario requires. Similar to other acoustic preamps, this stompbox is capable of forcing your guitar to be the best version of itself. What this means is that this pedal will enable you to reproduce the mic’d sound of your dreadnought without losing any of its original qualities. Plus, you can eliminate the feedback and equalize any frequencies that don’t seem to be in the perfect shape. You can also modify the input volume and control the distortion (clip/bat indicator will be of great help in that matter). As you can see, Aura 16 Dreadnought is a unit that will help you improve your sound substantially and, thus, tweak anything that you don’t like. The fact that this unit is built to last is simply a cherry on top. The weird thing is the USB placement which doesn’t make any sense at all, but it still allows you to access the Aura Imaging Gallery and add even more versatility to the device. Typically, the powering possibilities here come down to two options: you can either insert a single 9V battery or skip all that fuss and stick to the good ol’ adapter. Either way, this wonderful pedal will be at your disposal and ready to turn your world upside down.

Controls

The control layout is rather simple if we compare it to other preamps on the market. We do have all the essentials (that we’re going to discuss in depth below), but all of that is provided without overcomplicating the surface and turning the tweaking process into a headache. Experimenting with your beloved acoustics has never been more enjoyable!

Let’s start with the Phase switch. This little toggle allows you to craft the bottom-end at lower volumes, and eliminate feedback that might occur as a result of higher volume. Then we have Volume, which adjusts the overall output of the pedal. It should be used in conjunction with the clip/bat indicator to make sure the next device in your chain doesn’t get distorted. The big round knob in the middle, a.k.a. Select enables you to scroll through 16 images and select the one that suits your style or momentary desires the most. Blend lets you mix together the images and your original sound. This way you can either saturate your signal fully or retain its natural state. It’s clear as day that this puppy knows how to deliver ease of usage and quality at the same time.

Sound

The sound of Aura 16 Dreadnought has a wider scope than you’d initially think. 16 images that come with the pedal are versatile enough to satisfy your needs and be useful in different settings. They sound wonderful and don’t add any artificial coloring to your original signal. Yet way more opportunities unveil themselves as you plug this one with Aura Imaging software and explore some more presets there. You get countless possibilities, since you are not limited in the amount of images you choose to download. You can listen to them, see how useful they might be for your guitar and if everything matches perfectly, you can proceed to downloading and creating fascinating content. Aura 16 Dreadnought is a simple preamp that will open many different doors for you – be it perfecting your dreadnought or experimenting with some other types.

Conclusion

All in all, Aura 16 Dreadnought from Fishman is something that you have to get your hands on immediately. If sophisticated units overwhelm you and you are not looking for that studio quality tweaking, then this might be the perfect unit for you. Though the USB port is in a queer place and might interfere with the whole process, it is really useful and will help you achieve the versatility we all long so much. This puppy doesn’t have tuner either, but I bet you already have one in a single pedal. Aura 16 Dreadnought is definitely worth a shot. Good luck! 

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