For professional studio recording, you won’t be able to get away without a proper preamp. There are many options on the market, both for the beginners and the pros. But what about a relatively affordable model that will be equally suited for the practicing musicians and the professional artists, the ones that performs on tours and record commercial tracks/albums? Let us introduce to you Fishman ToneDEQ AFX – a preamp and a DI box. It is equally reliable, lightweight, easy-to-use, and powerful enough to back you up. Fishman, the company, is known for its meticulous attention to details and superior quality of production.
It’s not being operated by businessmen in suits, but rather by real-world engineers that always put quality and durability first. Today, their musical equipment, including preamps, amps, and midi controllers, is considered to be among the leaders of the industry. In this review, we will take a good look at ToneDEQ and see whether it will be a good match for your rig or not. One thing is clear: this is a high-quality preamp, ideal for the fans of acoustic guitars (or any other acoustic instruments like banjos, for example).
Fishman ToneDEQ AFX – What Is It All About?
So, the preamp weighs only 2.5 pounds, which equals a bit more than 1 kilogram). Naturally, that means you’ll be able to store it in a little box (or even a bag) and forget you ever put it there. In a studio, or in a small bedroom, you’ll always be able to find a spot for it. The size is also very tiny. As for the materials used in construction, you gotta know that while the plastic-made box is quite sturdy, the top with all the controls is a bit more fragile. Keep that in mind and be gentle. The EQ section is pretty cool: along with the standard Low, Mid, and High, there’s also a Low Cut switch that allows you to get rid of the extreme lows.
If you go with Phase Invert, that will kill all the feedback, resulting in a very nice and clean sound. The effects line-up is also pretty impressive. You’ve got dual reverb/delay/chorus, along with standard flanger/tremolo. The outputs include a basic ¼-inch instrument, a ¼-inch amp, a balanced XLR, and a D.I. output for, well, direct recording into the mixer. The best thing about the Fishman ToneDEQ AFX preamp – it doesn’t change the tone, or, rather, the characteristic of the sound. All it does it keep it clean and make it louder, which is exactly what a preamp is supposed to do.
The Verdict – Is This Preamp Worth It?
Please remember that this is a class a preamp, meaning it will work perfectly with passive pickups. The sound is very balanced and even, without any distortion or “clicks” at louder levels. And with all those effects and the 3-band EQ section, you will be able to sculpt out an ideal tone that will find its place in a busy mix or in an open, laid-back kind of production. Fishman did a fantastic job of creating a relatively affordable preamp with the electronic elements and the level of control of a much more expensive piece of gear. The biggest downside is the construction of the body; at the same time, if you keep it in the studio or your bedroom 24/7, that won’t even matter.
We’re not saying that this is the best offer on the market right now, but it definitely is among the best ones. Don’t rush it; keep searching for your perfect preamp and check out other products by Fishman, including loud box and Loud box Mini. Summing up, let’s just say that the company’s legendary reliability, the preamp’s adjustable and versatile nature, and the reasonable price tag might just turn it into the most attractive option out there. Oh, and one more thing: it can also work on batteries: one battery will last for 12 hours.