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Clip 1; Fender Precision Deluxe: Both volume knobs full, tone rolled to 1/2. Amp overdrive engaged, gain at 11 o'clock, overdrive at 3 o'clock, blend at 2 o'clock, low and high at 12 o’clock, notch at 2 o'clock, master at 10 o'clock.
Clip 2: Fender Precision Deluxe: Both volume knobs full, tone rolled to 1/4. Amp super-hi engaged, gain at 12 o'clock, low at 11 o'clock, high at 2 o'clock, notch at 2 o'clock, master at 9 o'clock.
Clip 3: Fender Precision Deluxe: Both volume knobs full, tone dimed. Amp super-lo engaged, gain at 9 o'clock, low at 2 o'clock, high and notch at 12 o'clock, master 10 o'clock.
In their 40-plus years in the amp-building business, Acoustic has as celebrated a backstory as any company of its kind. Originating in Los Angeles as the Acoustic Control Corporation in the late ’60s, the company became the prized name in amps suited to power the arena-sized venues that were becoming increasingly popular at the time. So much so that members of bass royalty like Jaco Pastorius, John Paul Jones, Larry Graham, John McVie, and many others relied on Acoustic Control Corporation rigs to help sculpt their legendary tones.
Fast-forward to today and Acoustic’s recent launch of the Class D/Neo Series group of bass amps, cabs, and combos that bring pro tone and aesthetically hip designs. Perhaps one of the most interesting items born to the series is the BN6210 combo, which boasts big power that belies its compact package. Beyond power, the BN6210 offers tone-customization galore.
Portable Power, Infinite Customization
One of the main focuses in designing the BN6210 was to keep the weight of the combo down for the utmost portability. The plywood enclosure houses two neodymium 10" speakers that are 40 percent lighter than their ceramic-magnet cousins, bringing the BN6210 to just a hair under 60 pounds—a manageable weight that should assist in back-grief prevention during load ins and outs. But don’t judge an amp by its enclosure. This class-D combo is all about power, with its 600 watts of wall-shaking punch.
Unlike some other 2x10 combos in its class, the BN6210 offers a wealth of tone-tweaking tools to achieve the sound you’re after and thoughtful features for various playing situations. There’s the 6-band graphic EQ that’s engaged at the touch of a button, built-in Acousti-Comp compression, an overdrive section, super-lo and super-hi frequency boost switches, a notch enabler switch for mid-range scooping, and a -10 dB pad switch to for use with active basses/high-output pickups.
The back panel is just as well equipped. It houses an XLR direct out, output-level knob, pre/post EQ switch, a ground-lift switch, footswitch jack, tuner send, effects send/return, and a link in/out for use with another head as a slave/master.
With so many bells and whistles to dig into, I eagerly plugged in a trusty Fender American Precision Deluxe to give the amp a go with a passive bass. Starting out with the EQ set flat, I was impressed right away with the level of note clarity. Each note up and down the neck was equally pronounced, and projected with booming sharpness. The amp pushes a notable amount of air and reached some impressive depths for a pair of 10" speakers, while the punchiness of the highs made playing in upper registers equally moving.
Before activating the 6-band EQ switch, I set the EQ levels to a typical “U” shape with the lows and highs topping off around 75 percent and the mids curving down to about 25 percent. I tested several variations with the sliders, and the 6-band EQ showed its worth for precise tone tweaking. The front panel also features low, high, and notch dials that ultimately serve the same function as the graphic EQ, but with quicker adjustability on the fly.
Variations in Tone
The super-lo, super-hi, and notch enable switches are excellent options for quick sound shifting through the touch of a button. Engaging the super-lo added a low-frequency boost of 3 dB at 40 Hz that enhanced the deep end and immersed my tone with rich lows, while the super-hi’s 2 dB boost at 7 kHz provided a dose of brightness that was great for soloing higher up on the neck. The notch enable button—and its accompanying dial for maneuvering the notch-filter frequency—proved to be the most diverse and dynamic of the three switches by filling out the body of the tone from the center out for the entirety of the bass.
When I activated the Acoustic-Comp switch, it added a nice—albeit light—level of compression that didn’t overly dry out or weaken the tone. Nope, it’s not going to replace a top-flight compression pedal, but will have you covered in a pinch when you need a little squeeze. The onboard compressor was most useful when playing heavily in the midrange or aggressively using a pick.
The BN6210’s overdrive section consists of an on/off switch and dials for blend and gain levels to fine-tune the amount of grit. With the low, high, and notch knobs all set to noon, I rolled the overdrive to 2 o’clock and kept the blend at 50/50. The overdrive tone was a little thin with this setting, but pushing the low and notch dials to about 2 o’clock gave the overdrive the bottom it needed. Balls-to-the-wall distortion isn’t on tap here, but the overdrive section of this versatile combo is a handy tool for mustering up some respectable grind for those heavier moments.
The Acoustic BN6210 is a powerful, solid combo with a wonderland of tone-shaping tools. Its sound is booming and clear, and the amp is portable and light enough to take to just about any gig. Players who want a simple control set they don’t have to fuss with might want to opt for a more basic combo. But when you consider all the sonic-sculpting options and the many tone junkies who love to tweak and craft their tone from the ground up, the compact BN6210 combo could be an ideal pairing.