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January 15
more... GearAmpsReviewsAcoustic AmpsJuly 2009SR Technology

SR Technology Jam 150 Plus Acoustic Amp Review


Download Example 1
Dry
Download Example 2
Reverb
Download Example 3
Delay

The SR Jam 150 is a thing of beauty, convenience and simplicity. Our review model was packaged in a handsome laminated birch cabinet (also available in black), and weighing just 29 pounds, it offers nearly everything a gigging or recording guitarist would ever need to get the job done in style. It functions much like a mini PA and boasts a 40Hz–20KHz response with a max SPL of 115dB, which should be plenty to cover small to medium-sized venues. The system is biamped using a two-way bass reflex cab housing an 8" woofer and a compression tweeter that combined put out an RMS of 150 watts. If you need more power than that, they have included an XLR output to send the signal to an external amplification system. Conveniently located on the top of the amp are all of the controls, including what you’d see in just about every modern compact 6-channel mixer and then some. Channels 1 and 2 offer your choice of XLR or 1/4" input for either a mic or high-impedance signals. Channels 3 and 4 offer hi and lo sensitivity inputs to accommodate keyboards and active pickup instruments, while channels 5 and 6 are set up like stereo RCA inputs to plug in your iPod or similar device. EQ on channels 1–4 offer up 3 bands of fixed frequencies of high, mid, and low, while channels 5 and 6 remove the mid control. In addition to the built-in FX, there is a full-featured FX loop plus a recording output and accompanying volume control for feeding an external recorder to document your performances.

If plugging the Godin Multiac in direct yielded very usable sounds, going into the Jam brought out its best. Plugged into channel 1 of the Jam with all of the settings flat and the Volume and Master Volume set to noon, a new body and warmth opened up on the Multiac that was incredibly musical. At this point, the sonic differences of each of the Mic Imaging settings became much more apparent, and all of them showed their true tonal colors. Cranking the amp to full up revealed no feedback from the guitar whatsoever and the amp remained fairly quiet. There is a point on the Master past 3 o’clock that a level of hiss comes into play, but nothing too bad in terms of getting in the way. At that volume things are getting fairly loud, and the hiss was of little concern to me. Grabbing the EQ on the amp allowed for musical but not precise adjustments, much like on a Mackie 1202 or a good stereo system. I believe this is a smart design, because it doesn’t allow for extreme EQ mistakes to be made that would negatively color the sound due to user error. Back in the old days, a lot of equipment was built with a simple interface that always offered a musical choice, but over time that simplicity has been replaced with complex setups allowing for massive flexibility… and potentially disastrous settings. I prefer the set-it-and-forget-it nature, as it makes getting a great sound very easy. That said, it would be nice to have a graphic EQ onboard to aid in just a bit more overall adjustment when necessary.

Moving on, the Jam offers up a great little set of effects, courtesy of Alesis. Like the Multiac’s Mic Imaging settings, there are also four different effects to choose from: three reverbs and a delay. Working exactly the same as an effects send/return, you can adjust the amount of effect per channel and the overall wetness of the signal with the EFF RTRN control. All of the reverbs sounded quite good as basic reverbs go, but I found the delay to be a bit of an odd choice because of its fairly fast and pronounced repeat. There is no control over the settings, other than volume, and only one can be used at a time—but this is really more of a freebee if you don’t want to carry around an external effects device. Of course, they thoughtfully included a true effects loop, in case you do decide to use a high-end device, and when plugging in an external unit the Alesis effects are simply taken out of the circuit. Nice touch!

Because there are six channels on the Jam, I took the time to plug in a mic, my iPod and the Multiac to play through it like I would at a solo coffeehouse gig. Just using the onboard effects and a little EQ, I was easily able to put together a great mix of music, voice and guitar that would project nicely in a smaller environment. It was surprising to hear the fullness of the amp, covering such a broad frequency spectrum through just an 8" woofer and small tweeter yet retaining the best properties of the Multiac’s tone. Pushing the amp too far with this setup did reveal that the Jam is “only human,” and the speaker and power configuration work well as long as you respect their limits. The good news is the XLR Master Out is just one step away from plugging into the main system at any club, giving you the power needed for the gig but with you in charge of your mix. Brilliant.
Buy if...
portable, lightweight and flexible is your aim.
Skip if...
you need more power.
Rating...
4.5 

Street $999 - SR Technologies - srtechnology.co.uk