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Product 481996

SWR California Blonde II Acoustic Instrument Amp  

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The new California Blonde II amp is designed to meet and exceed the changing needs of acoustic instrumentalists of all styles! Great for live work, s...Read More

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OVERVIEW

Briliantly detailed sound for your acoustic instrument.

The new California Blonde II amp is designed to meet and exceed the changing needs of acoustic instrumentalists of all styles!

Great for live work, solo gigs, stereo monitoring, non-PA sound reinforcement, the 2-channel, 200-watt California Blonde II gives you the tone of the original SWR California Blonde—a longtime favorite—with additional features including a 1/4" Lo-Z balanced input, mic input phantom power, upgraded power amp circuitry, a tuning mute switch, reverb defeat switches for each individual channel, dedicated XLR outputs for each channel, a summed Channel Two 1/4" line out, and flexible patching and signal-routing capabilities. Smooth looks and warm, rich tone make it the ideal amp for acoustic instruments of all types!

FEATURES
  • Mono and stereo inputs
  • Custom Celestion 12" driver and Eminence Supertweeter
  • 2 channels (instrument and instrument/vocal)
  • 1/4" Lo-Z balanced input
  • Master volume control
  • Foot-switchable spring reverb with Master Reverb Control
  • Discrete solid state front end
  • 2 side chain effects loops (one for each channel)
  • Channel 1 1/4" line out
  • Summed 1/4" line out
  • Balanced XLR line out (one for each channel)
  • Summed balanced XLR line out (post reverb)
  • Tuner out
  • Tilt stand for easy angling
  • Top handle
  • Chrome protective corners
  • Bottom slot port
  • Blonde textured vinyl covering
  • Vibration-free speaker grille
  • Tweeter attenuator control
  • Channel 1 controls: gain with clip indicator, push/push phase reverse, Aural Enhancer, bass, mid, treble, and effects blend)
  • Channel 2 controls: mic/aux switch, gain with clip indicator, push/push phase reverse, bass, mid, treble, and effects blend

Order today and enjoy amplified acoustic sound that shines.

SPECIFICATIONS

California Blonde II Acoustic Instrument Amp

  • Weight: 51 lbs. (23.1 kg)
  • Dimensions: 15"W x 25"H x 14-1/2"D
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz - 16kHz
  • Power Output: 160W RMS (200W with 8 Ohm extension cabinet)
  • Impedance: 8 ohms
Reviews
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Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
SWRCalifornia Blonde II Acoustic Instrument Amp
 
4.7

(based on 7 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

Reviewed by 7 customers

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Best Acoustic Amp Under A Grand!

By Greg Lawrence

from USA

About Me Professional Musician

Ask me a question

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • 2 Channels
  • Aural Exciter
  • Easy To Use
  • Excellent Sound
  • Good Warmth
  • Independent Channel Outs
  • Independent Eq On Each Ch
  • Powerful

Cons

  • 2nd Channel Limitations
  • A Little High Priced
  • Stereo In Defeats Xlr In

Best Uses

  • Amateur Recording
  • Events
  • Home Studio
  • Performances
  • Professional Recording

Comments about SWR California Blonde II Acoustic Instrument Amp:

While searching and researching acoustic guitar amps I kept noticing a familiar trend -many people recommended the California Blonde II over just about every amp out there that is under eight bills. They specifically say that the model II is preferred over the first production series because of the Piezo tweeter being much better sounding, not as harsh and handles highs with more clarity. I don't know about this, but I am taking a large amount of people's word for it at face value.

Mine came today and when I plugged in my guitar, dialed up some Aural Exciter and added a little reverb it simply came to life with punch and clarity, very sensitive and articulate response. I play a Gibson Songwriter Deluxe EC Custom with the Fishman pickup set all the way to straight pure under-saddle bridge pickup. It was glorious.

Absolutely quiet, no hiss or hum and quite loud without sending my guitar into uncontrollable feedback, though there were a few times I had to approach the amp to adjust the tone and it "got me!"

Yes, this amp is a little "pricey" but after playing it for an hour I am keeping it. I left the High Freq Tweeter Control (on the back side) straight up, 12 o'clock and worked the rest from the tone and Aural Exciter controls.

I sat about 2 feet directly in front of it and cranked it up fairly loud, enough to have to shout over it to be heard and there was no feedback problems.
I did end up putting it in the corner of my small home studio and it seemed more "touchy" and prone to low-end feedback even though I was farther away from it when playing, so keep that in mind how frequencies bounce around and certain standing waves are more prevalent in different area of every room. Any veteran acoustic player who uses an amplifier knows that he needs to "find his spot" in front of the amp where it is plenty loud, clear and punchy without becoming uncontrollable.

The reverb is a little cheesy. Not a deep rich full Fender large pan but works just fine with an acoustic, plus the Effects Loop circuit you can insert any reverb, delay, chorus, compressor, etc., that you like.

The second channel (the one with the XLR Mic input) is very flat compared to the other channel with the Aural Exciter. If you have two acoustic guitars playing through this amp, before the end of the night, they will be fighting over who gets to plug into the "juicy" channel! -lol.

I did plug a keyboard (Korg Triton)into the second channel and it sounded just fine after tweaking the EQ. Nice and full, not overdriven or harsh. Very smooth amp.

I plugged a nice EV Mic into the Mic input and it sounded "okay at best." Surely nothing to write home about, but if you are doing a small act it will work "okay." If you have a gifted "singer's voice" naturally, then it will be much better. This channel, unlike many mixing boards, will not make your voice sound better, fuller or warmer than it already is unless you again use the Effects Loop for signal processing.

Another nice attribute, are the separate EQ's on each channel, separate Effects Loop circuit for each channel and isolated outputs for each channel (XLR).
You get to mix your own channel without affecting each other. You DO have to share the Reverb and Master Volume, but you have a Gain control on each channel to set levels.
The only problem I see with this setup is that if you want to share an effect, it might get tricky or impossible. You may end up having to use two identical (or similar) effects, one for each channel's Effects Loop, or use a stereo effect unit in a mono-sort-of mode...uh, get it? If your "effect" is set to a stereo mode, it may not produce the results as you might expect or want.

SWR Does not include a footswitch to turn the reverb on and off remotely, but it has a jack to plug in a footswitch to do so. I am sure any old "clicking" footswitch will work just fine.

At first I was having a hard time hearing the low E string. I figured out I had cut the Mids a little to much and when I dialed it up a little more it started coming out more defined. The 12" speaker is great and works well.

The amp is a little too honest and it might take a little getting used to, but honest it is. Is does not make your playing sound any better than it really is as well as it does not help to hide mistakes, and you cannot rely on a hot amp to make sloppy playing go unnoticed. Playing this amp will only make you better than you are right now. It is very sensitive and responsive. It will reproduce all your mistakes quite faithfully! (lol) When I lay into it and bang hard on the guitar...the amp can handle it very well. I am impressed.

SWR/Fender did a really good job at packaging this in a thick sturdy factory carton that can withstand the abuse the gorillas in the brown suits may unleash upon it. The amp is heavy, but the weight combined with the big 12" speaker and a deep cube design gives it a full chunky clean tone that I fear I can not live without. I am spoiled in less than 60 minutes. This amp will do just fine onstage, on a fairly large stage with a fairly loud band.

The tuner output line is a convenient perk. The Tuner Output is always "on" unless you depress the Mute button next to it. This will mute the sound for Channel One only.

The internal speaker plugs into the back of the chassis using an unmarked speaker output jack. SWR cautions against operating the amp without this speaker plugged it, but you could always use it to power an external 8 Ohm speaker along with the secondary Speaker Output hooked up to another external 8 Ohm speaker. Do Not turn on this amp unless you have at least one speaker plugged into the unmarked internal speaker jack in the back.

Below the 12" speaker there is a long slot port at the bottom of the cabinet to let the lower frequencies project. I like this design and it works well. Much better than a "hole" somewhere in the rig.

One thing I found concerning is, when I plugged in the AC power cable into the back of the amp chassis, it kind of "gave" and bent inward. Be cautious and gentle. There are no screws holding the back panel in place. It did not bend, but it "moved inward" and felt a little fragile.

There are chrome metal corner protectors on the protruding four corners where the speakers and grill stick out and four on the backside of the amp, but there is no corner protection on the two front corners where the amp head is recessed. I admit, it would make the amp look ugly, so if you are going to drop it, don't drop it on the front top!

There are separate XLR outputs for each channel (Pre-reverb) and one "Mixed/Combined" (Post-Reverb)XLR output for both channels mixed, making a total of three XLR line outs. Likewise there are the same outputs in 1/4" jacks, too.

There is also a couple of nice features - "Phase Invert" switch on the front for each channel. This will help cut down on feedback (or make it worse - lol!) and you can selectively Mute the Reverb for each channel independently. Nice.

As of now I can only imagine what using a compressor, chorus, (or whatever) will sound like. I am sure I can get this amp to do everything I want it to. It just about did it without anything at all. It will surely come in handy when recording using the XLR outputs. Sometimes the fans in the PC are a little noisy or a truck rolls by, or I just want to be lazy. Usually I am lazy.

If you can afford it, or able to justify it, I highly recommend this amp for acoustic guitar. I did not even try electric guitars with it for I have my "purist tube" preferences and only got this for acoustic.

I hate to say it, but it would be nice if they made this amp with just the one single channel for a couple of bills less on the price tag. I don't think I will ever use the second channel for a vocal Mic, but probably will use it for a keyboard or bass. Either way, it's nice to have the option, but I would rather have the option of saving money instead.
That said, it would also be nice if it came in different color covering...but then I guess they would have to rename it...and then the marketing people would have a conniption fit.

I gave it four stars instead of five because it is "pricey", and the second channel does not offer the sonic capabilities as Channel One.

Once again, just got through playing it fairly loud in my studio room and I couldn't be more happy with the amp, sound, quality, punch and clarity, versatile and meaty...wouldn't trade it for the world. I am so glad I bought this amp.

You can also find the Owner's Manual online if you do a simple search.

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Calif Blonde Fan..

By Rockin G

from San Jose Ca

About Me Experienced

Pros

  • Excellent Sound
  • Good Warmth
  • Portable
  • Powerful

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Events
    • Home Studio
    • Performances

    Comments about SWR California Blonde II Acoustic Instrument Amp:

    I've owedn mine for years but when I purchased I tried everything on the market for that TRUE acoustic sound.. I wanted the truest guitar sound I could get, I was really impressed with this one.

    Comment on this review

    (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Professional Musician 40 years

    By Chuck Whitlock

    from Myrtle Beach S.C.

    Comments about SWR California Blonde II Acoustic Instrument Amp:

    Only and 8 because I think that if they install a better 12 inch speaker in the unit it would have alot more bottom end. Other than that, the amp sounds great.
    I rated it a 8 because of the celestion 12 inch speaker. I replaced it with a 12 inch JBL E120 8 ohm speaker and the amp really came to life. Alot more bottom end and clarity.
    This amp is built really well, and detailed excellent. I woud recomend this amp to any Musician that plays out or in the recording studio.
    For the Money it is totally worth it. SWR and Fender really make a great product, and built road tough. Buy one and try one. You will not be sorry that you bought it.

    Comment on this review

    (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Second Wind

    By Flatus/Second Wind

    from Stockton, CA

    Comments about SWR California Blonde II Acoustic Instrument Amp:

    I purchaed the original Blonde from Musicians Friend in 1992. Love at first sight. I initially bought it to play my Takamine classical guitar thru it. It has been fabulous. There is virtually no noise, hum at all. The sound I get out of it is so natural it needs no adjustment. I select what I want with the guitar's onboard preamp. Just what I was looking for.

    Since then I have used it for vocals, harmonica and bass. The aural enhancement and reverb soften the harmonica beautifully. I turn heads. I can say what I say because I have the recordings to prove it.

    It's only 50 lbs. I have a bad back, so I don't want any heavier, but I can handle it fine myself. 50 lbs isn't too much when I put everything (bass, vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitar) thru it at small gigs. I just run the line out into the PA system and use it as a monitor for larger venues.

    Admittedly, it does not compete well as a bass amp in a larger band (6 piece) when they are already deaf (some just can't be reasonable or responsible with their volume, so everyone keeps turning up), inside a livingroom or enclosed space. In this circumstance, you can't hear anyone else either. But I don't have to carry another amp to pick up the bass. For everything else - Wow.

    I blow harp thru a Shure Beta 57. I want to hear the harmonica the way I play it for melody and harmony and not trashed up with a Green Bullet. The Bullet is fine for blues.

    In summary, this is not a bass amp, but it does a good job of acting as one. What it does do is allow me to sing back-up vocal and play the bass thru the same amp. For everything else, you can get anything better, in my opinion.
    I have owned the original Blonde for 19 years. I have a friend that has the Blonde II with the up-grades, that would be very nice, but I have been so impressed with mine and continue to be impressed by it. YOU DON'T NEED ANYTHING MORE THAN IT HAS.
    I have never heard a small acoustic amp/PA that even comes close. I am amazed everytime I jam with local musicians by the clearity of the Blonde. It is so quiet, some times I forget that it is still on between numbers.
    Worth every penny, if you can afford it. And just anyone can afford it.

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    (15 of 15 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Excellent sound-more than enough power

    By Kevin

    from Columbus, Ohio

    Comments about SWR California Blonde II Acoustic Instrument Amp:

    Pros
    Excellent sound-especially with an acoustic guitar
    Vocals sound very natural
    durable-built to last
    Has XLR outputs, and standards outputs-- to conect to a Pa system or for recording.

    Cons
    Amp is heavy
    If you plug into the stereo input- the mic input will be disabled
    Reverb is not very good.
    I purchased the California Blonde II several months ago. I have been very impressed with this amp. I use it to perform solo guitar/vocal, and solo keyboard/vocal music at small to mid-sized venues.
    It is impossible to get a bad guitar sound from this amp. I move all of the eq knobs and the sound changes but it is still good.
    This amp really shines when used with a guitar, but also sounds good with my yamaha P-80 keyboard; although, I eventually intend to upgrade to a portable pa because I want to hear my digital piano in stereo. I will still keep the Blonde to use with my guitar.

    I use it as a mini pa and it has plenty of power for what I use it for.
    I perform in bars to crowds of 50-100 people and I have never had to turn the master above 5.
    However, the two hundred watts that is advertised is a little misleading. The amp will only have two hundred watts if you purchase another piece of equipment. As is, the amp has 150 watts.

    Vocals sound very authentic and natural. The delay with this amp is not very good but if you like very natural sounding vocals this may be the amp for you. It has an effects loop built in if you would like to add your own effects. I like my vocals with just a hint of reverb so the built-in reverb is good for me.

    This is an excellent amp for the singer-guitarist. I get lots of complements on the sound of my guitar and voice through the Blonde.
    Built like a tank-indestructable.
    Very solid
    Knobs are very durable
    It is a bit expensive but of very good quality.

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    (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Original Blonde

    By Anonymous

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about SWR California Blonde II Acoustic Instrument Amp:

    I have owned my Ca Blonde for over 10 years. It is the original. I only rated features 5.0 because, not having used the Blonde II, because the balanced inputs and out-puts and routing capability would be wonderful. I play a Takamine classical guitar, harminica with a Green Bullet, and bass guitar thru this thing with equal beauty and power. For small environments, I wouldn't own anything else! No problem competing with my bands over driven electric guitars.

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    (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    The best acoustic amp

    Comments about SWR California Blonde II Acoustic Instrument Amp:

    This is the best acoustic amp for small gigs. The 12" speaker gives you a lot of bottom and the tone and sound is very clear and defined. I have owned fenders and tried the Fishman. But my Talors and Martins all sound great with this amp. I have giged with it indoors and out, and it is able to project the sound well.

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