Electric guitarists have enjoyed the benefits of small guitar amps that can effectively compete with much bigger amps for nearly a decade now.
However, acoustic-electric players or anyone who wants a compact amp with cleaner than clean tone and volume output that’s loud enough for playing gigs have been forgotten for the most part.
The Henriksen Bud amp resolves that oversight in a grand fashion. The Bud is a 135-watt, two-channel combo amp with features that put many full-size acoustic guitar amps to shame, yet it comes in a cube-shaped box that measures 9x9x9 (that inches, not feet, Nigel) and weighs less than 17 pounds.
The small, cube-shaped housing of the Henriksen Bud may look cute, but this is a serious, professional-quality amp. The 135-watt solid-state amplifier drives a 6.5-inch Eminence Beta speaker as well as a fluid-cooled, high-yield neodymium tweeter that can be switched on or off. The cabinet’s deep, cube shape and bottom port produces impressive low-end output.
The two channels provide an identical set of controls—input gain, volume, reverb, and an EQ section with 80Hz, 420Hz, 1.6kHz, 3.5kHz, and 7.2kHz knobs—as well as their own 48V phantom powered 1/4-inch/XLR combo input jacks. Channel 1 also features a 1/8-inch auxiliary input jack, and channel 2 has a bright switch. The rear panel offers an male XLR line output, 1/4-inch headphone output, and a 1/4-inch extension speaker output for connecting an 8- or 16-ohm speaker cabinet.
The Henriksen Bud is designed primarily for solo performers who need to amplify a guitar and vocals, but it’s more than loud enough to play in a band or ensemble setting. With the input gain properly dialed in, the Bud’s tone remains clean all they way up to the volume control’s highest setting. The EQ section is fine-tuned to frequencies ideal for most acoustic (steel-string and nylon) and archtop (acoustic and electric) guitars, and it provides a wide range of natural-sounding tones without any weird frequency spikes.
The bottom-ported cabinet produces tight, full bass frequencies, and the front-mounted 6.5-inch speaker spreads the sound around the room quite effectively. The built-in reverb is digital, providing a relatively conservative room reverb effect that sounds warm and natural. Gigging guitarists will love how the Bud lightens their load, providing the performance of a full-size sound system in a package that requires just one trip from the car (or subway or bus) to the venue.
STREET PRICE $999
MANUFACTURER Henriksen Amplifiers, henriksenamplifiers.com
THE BOTTOM LINE A 135-watt solid-state power amp drives a 6.5-inch Eminence Beta speaker and fluid-cooled, high-yield neodymium tweeter. Two independent input channels provide five-band EQ, reverb, and 48V phantom powered 1/4-inch/XLR combo inputs for amplifying guitars and vocals.
This surprisingly compact 9-inch cube-shaped combo amp performs like a full-sized sound system, making it a great choice for solo acoustic guitarists and singe-songwriters who value portability as much as performance.