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Amplifiers & SpeakersAmplifier Heads

Acoustic Image 'Original' CLARUS - Series 4plus instrument amplifier

         Manufactured by: Acoustic Image

Continental US - larger items may carry a partial shipping charge to AK, HI and PR
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FLAT RATE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING!14 Day Trial Period on Series 4 Acoustic Image amps and speaker cabinets

New owners have a fourteen day trial period during which they may return the amp in new condition -- NO QUESTIONS ASKED! -- for a full refund, minus our outgoing shipping cost and a small transaction fee to cover credit card or PayPal payment processing. Returns must be preauthorized; a restocking fee applies if the unit is not returned in new condition.

The Clarus amplifier head can be matched with most any speaker cabinet, for use with a huge variety of instruments. Its clean, transparent sound is exceptional for bringing out the best in acoustic instruments like upright or acoustic-electric bass, acoustic or jazz-box guitar, violin, mandolin, cello, harp, ukulele, and more. Unlike the amps of the (not so distant) past, you don't need a roadie to help you move it, either - this 650w preamp/amplifier is under 5 lbs, and fits easily into a small padded carry bag (included) that you carry with one hand.

The Clarus head is the same "front end" featured in Acoustic Image's popular combos, like the Coda, Ten2, and Corus models, with the newest, quietest, most reliable power amp yet.

Couple this amazing head with an Acoustic Image "EX" extension speaker, or with a bass or guitar speaker from another manufacturer. It even sounds great powering a passive PA speaker, like a JBL or Mackie wedge! Provides full-range, uncolored sound for the most realistic reproduction of your acoustic instrument. (Though it works great with keyboards, too!)

I use Acoustic Image gear for almost all of my URB and EUB gigs... what wins me over is -- when teamed with a good pickup or mic -- the amp tends to simply make my bass sound acoustically bigger, rather than giving it a separate electric voice.

— Bob

LOTS more detail below!

Bob's first Acoustic Image combo (a Contra) arrived in 1999, and we've been hooked on their incredible amps ever since. Its design was innovative, it was eminently portable, and its sound was unmatched by any other amp on the market. And the smart folks at Acoustic Image didn't rest on their laurels, they continued to hone the design by responding to the needs of their users; over the years, they made them lighter, smaller, and more powerful. Not to mention better-sounding, quieter, and more feature-packed.

They've come a long way since the first series of amps, and we're very proud to have made the journey along with them -- as a valued "partner" (not just a "seller") for Acoustic Image.

So now, we have the next generation of amps. With the advent of the new "Flex" system (see related links, below), Rick Jones -- the bassist and engineer behind the design of these fabulous amps -- seized the opportunity to improve on the design of the Acoustic Image preamps. As of now, all of the two-channel Acoustic Image models -- Ten2, Coda, Corus, and Clarus -- incorporate the new "Flex" design preamp, which features a new four-band EQ, improved effects, and more (see below.) These new models are therefore designated as "Series 4PLUS."

The Clarus amplifier is an amplifier "head", meaning that it contains a preamplifier and power amplifier; to get sound, you'll need to connect it to a speaker cabinet. We've broken down our description below into sections so that you can understand the various parts of the whole.

The Preamp:

A key ingredient in Acoustic Image gear is the very careful design of the electronics. They have always been engineered to deliver the natural sound of your instrument, no artificial flavorings or colors. Please answer this question... do you want to hear your instrument or the amp??

Me, too. My specifications for an ideal sound is for a pickup/mic and amp to simply make my bass sound bigger.

Besides the amazing transparent sound, useful features have been designed into the Acoustic Image preamps to provide the most flexibility for various playing situations. For instance, you get -- on each channel -- a parallel effects loop, and a selectable low-cut (aka high pass) filter to help with feedback or “boominess” elimination (see explanation in features list below). Both channels have on/off access to the built-in digital effects. You also get a balanced direct out with ground lift, as well as pre/post setting, to allow connection to a mixing board for PA support, or for recording purposes. There's even a Phase Switch, which alters the phase by 180°, which can often help with acoustic feedback.

The front end also features the input options for either microphones (XLR) or instruments (¼"), and switchable 48v phantom power -- and a 10db gain switch (for buffering the output of various mics) -- is available on the XLR input. Separate Input Level (gain) and Output Volume Controls allow for precise tonal vs. volume control, and a Master Mute Switch allows you to cut the output for silent tuning or for breaks.

The two-channel, Series 4PLUS Clarus has two separate channels which can be used to blend two sources - two different pickups or mics (or a combination of the two), or two different instruments. The XLR and ¼" inputs are on separate jacks. Additionally, they are separately buffered, which means that you could effectively use both at once, on each channel. You would only have independent control if at least one of those sources had its own volume control (like a keyboard, or an instrument with an outboard active preamp) but it does open up the possibility of actually "mixing" up to four different sources.

The preamp features a new four-channel equalizer, as follows:
  • Low: Shelving, ±12dB at 50Hz
  • Lo Mid: ±12dB at 250 Hz
  • Hi Mid: ±12dB at 1200 Hz
  • Treble: Shelving, ±12dB at 8 kHz
The built-in Digital Effects can be assigned to either channel (or both/neither), and the amount of the effects in your mixed signal can be adjusted with the level knob. The rate setting is now configurable (!) and the effects include the following presets:
  • Reverb
  • Delay
  • Reverb PLUS Delay
One last new feature - illuminated on/off buttons for the front panel controls to indicate whether the button is on (lit) or off (unlit). This is really helpful on a dark stage!

The Power Amplifier:

More Power!! (please insert your own Tim Allen Home Improvement TV show grunts) Yes, it can put out up to 650 watts (at 4 ohms). That said, the Clarus heads are not rock and roll amps — it's clean power, and can get LOUD (depending on the speaker) but it's not designed for distorted or overdriven effects (though you could certainly accomplish these sounds with effects pedals or processors).

With so much wattage, this head can get quite loud. But the wattage is there to ensure smooth, clean response. Bass frequencies, in particular, take a great deal more energy to produce that high frequencies, and the somewhat percussive nature of upright bass can be very demanding. The "extra" energy (commonly called "headroom") is available to cleanly handle those peaks and percussive plucks, so you don't get that "squashed" sort of attack many bass amps often deliver when they hit the wall.

I've taken the head out of the Coda combo (basically identical to the Clarus), for use with a larger speaker setup, on electric bass/classic rock gigs. It did an admirable job driving a pair of Euphonic Audio Wizzy 10 cabs -- it makes for a formidible, yet still very light and highly portable, rig.

Other Fun Facts to Know and Share

The S4 Clarus is the newest version of the Acoustic Image Clarus Head, and is equipped with two identical input channels. All models include built-in digital effects.

These amps were a real breakthrough when first developed by Dr. Rick Jones, a bass player (check out his CD at right for firm cred) as well as founder, and President of Acoustic Image, and they continue to get better with each generation.

The amps have a low cut filter and phase reverse switch in each channel. The low cut filter is a variable frequency type that inserts a 12 dB per octave rolloff at frequencies between 30 and 400 Hz, depending on the position of the control. The low cut filter is used to reduce the bass output in cases where room location or instrument/pickup combination results in “boomy” sound. Experiment with the position of the control to give you the sound you like best.

What about electric bass?? I have taken my small AI combo out with my five string (low B) fretless electric bass on rather enthusiastic gigs with a drummer. It does a good job, but these are at moderate volumes and I'm not competing with a Fender Twin. For a more aggressive bass, or your Led Zeppelin cover band, you might want a more traditional rig - but in a pinch, this amp can cover the gig. Also see my points about using the head separately, and the sidebar (below) about the head being the ultimate back up amp...

Is the Clarus the Ultimate Back-up Amplifier???
(The removable head in this combo amp is exactly the same, feature-wise, as the Clarus)

These days I actually gig electric bass more than upright (hey, the market dictates what pays, not taste, and I'm sure we both could name some artists that evidence that fact!), and I've been enjoying gigging with the Random Act of Blues this summer of 2011. Anyway, I was auditioning a new bass head that I didn't completely trust, so rather than lug my heavy rack case on this particularly hot day, I stuck a Clarus in one of our Gollihur Gig Bags just in case.

As it turned out, the guitarist's Marshall head died after the first song! I grabbed the Clarus as a temporary replacement; ok, it wasn't a Marshall but he plugged his pedalboard output into it, and it got him through the rest of the set. Thanks to this experience, it occurred to me that the Clarus may be the perfect "backup" amp! Think about it:
  • It is very compact and less than 5 lbs. -- so it's hardly any trouble to carry
  • It has plenty of power to cover bass guitar or URB requirements
  • The Clarus has effects on-board for guitar
  • The 2-channel model has two separate channels with EQ, so along with reverb or delay, so it can act a little PA or keyboard head
  • With its high-pass filter and EQ controls, it can make a solid stage monitor amp
How cool is that?!?

  • 1/4" or XLR input; input impedances are 1 megohm or 600 ohms based on jack chosen, separately buffered
  • Switchable 48 volt phantom power to XLR input jack
  • Switchable 10db cut filter (Mic Attenuation) on XLR input jack
  • Effects Loops via 1/4" phone jacks for each channel
  • Low Cut Filter: -12 dB/octave sweepable from 30-150 Hz
  • Switchable limiter for high volume situations
  • Headphone output
  • Balanced XLR Line Output with Ground Lift
  • PRE- or POST- switch for XLR output
  • AC Power On/Off switch with LED Indicator
  • 650-Watt (@4 ohms) "Digital" Power Amplifier -- (650w @4 ohms, 350w @8 ohms - 2 ohms minimum load)
  • 2 External Speaker Outputs (Neutrik Speakon)
  • Detachable AC Input Connector with Built-in Fuse
  • Dual voltage operation (115v/230v, 50/60 Hz) via automatic switch (comes with USA Cable; to use in other countries, you can source an IEC-C13 AC Cable, also commonly used for computer power supplies.)
  • Comes with Speakon to 1/4 inch adaptor

  • Lightweight- less than 5 lbs!
  • Durable Powder-coated Aluminum Enclosure
  • 10.2 x 8.2 x 3.5
  • Padded Carry Bag

Not 100% Sure? New owners have a fourteen-day trial period during which they may return the amp, in like new condition, for a full refund less actual shipping cost.

This item is made in USA! Click for more 'Made in America' items!

Is this product returnable? Click here for our return policy.
Is there a Factory Warranty? Click here to find Warranty Information for all of our manufacturers.
International customer? Click here for important information about ordering from outside the USA, and what to expect concerning taxes, VAT, delivery times, and more.

Check Out the FAQ Resources That Apply to This Product:
   AMPLIFIERS: Why Would I Want a 'Transparent' Sounding Amp?

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