Acoustic Image is at it again! Building on the success of the Clarus and Clarus SL, now they have the most compact, two-channel amplifier head yet!
The Clarus amp has been a longtime favorite among bassists, jazz and acoustic guitarists, and many other musicians for many years. The Clarus SL was just reissued to great success a couple years ago; it put the pristine sound and clean power of the Clarus amps into a smaller, one-channel model.
Never a company to quit while they're ahead, now AI has given us the Clarus SL-2 - a TWO-Channel version of the diminuitive (yet deceptively powerful) Clarus SL amp. Perfect if you want to mix two pickups, two mics, or a combination of the two. The "smart" inputs automatically sense the type of connector you've plugged in, and corrects to the appropriate preamp circuit for either mic or high-impedance pickup. It even has 48v phantom and a 10dB boost for microphones.
At under 2.5 pounds, this amp is incredibly portable. Yet, it's ridiculously powerful; it uses the same power section as the larger Clarus, and therefore has up to 650w of clean, uncolored power. It's rated at 4 and 8 ohms, but will safely and effectively handle a 2 ohm load.
All of the Clarus SL amplifier heads can be matched with most any speaker cabinet, for use with a huge variety of instruments. The 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 2.5 lbs, and fits easily into a small padded carry bag (included) that you carry with one hand.
The Clarus head uses the same preamp components as the other AI gear, and features the newest, quietest, most reliable power amp yet.
Couple this amazing head with an Acoustic Image "EX" or UpShot 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! It 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.
How can I use this amp?
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.
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 and amp to simply make my bass sound bigger than the bass can sound on its own. Don't add or take anything away -- MY bass, only LOUDER.
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 a selectable low-cut (aka high pass) filter on each channel, to help with feedback or “boominess” elimination (see explanation in features list below). You also get a balanced direct out with ground lift and 10 dB pad, as well as pre/post setting, to allow connection to a mixing board for PA support, or for recording purposes.
Separate Level (Gain) and EQ Controls allow for precise tonal and blend control of separate inputs, and a Master Mute Switch allows you to cut the output for silent tuning or for breaks.
The two discrete inputs are designed to be ideal for high-impedance pickups (like the piezos we commonly use on basses) but auto-switch to mic impedance when you use the (included) XLR adapter; each channel also includes switchable 48v phantom power, so most any mic will work great with this amp. Mix and match; two pickups, a pickup and a mic, and so on. Sweet.
The preamp features the new, FLEX-Style four-channel equalizer, as follows:
- Low: Shelving, ±12dB at 30Hz
- Lo Mid: ±12dB at 250 Hz
- Hi Mid: ±12dB at 1200 Hz
- Treble: Shelving, ±15dB at 10 kHz
One last handy feature on the Series 4PLUS amps - 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 creating 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.
Other Fun Facts to Know and Share
The S4 Clarus SL2 is the newest version of the Acoustic Image Clarus Head, and is equipped with two discrete channels that can each properly handle a mic or pickup.
Each channel has a low cut filter, which is a variable frequency type that inserts a 12 dB per octave rolloff at frequencies between 30 and 180 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.
Sure, we mostly sell the Clarus amps to bassists, because that's what we do here at Gollihur Music. But AI Clarus amps are full-range, and therefore also very popular with jazz box and acoustic guitarists, mandolin players, violinists, cellists... the list goes on.
- 1/4" TRS inputs; mono cable is optimal for high-impedance pickup, TRS uses impedance and gain structure for mics (and phantom power)
- Low Cut Filter (per channel): -12 dB/octave sweepable from 30-180 Hz
- Balanced XLR DI 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
- Automatic Voltage Switching for universal AC Mains Operation (comes with USA Cable; to use in other countries, you can source an IEC-C13 AC Cable, also commonly used for computer power supplies.)
- Lightweight- less than 2.5 lbs!
- Durable Powder-coated Aluminum Enclosure
- 7.4 x 7.2 x 2.1
- Padded Carry Bag included
- FIVE YEAR(plus) WARRANTY
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.
14-Day Trial Period
Your purchase of this Acoustic Image Amplification Equipment is covered by the exclusive Gollihur Music 14-day Trial Period, under the following terms:
You may contact us to return this item, for any reason (or no reason), within the first fourteen days of ownership. The timer starts on the day that you receive the item, not the order date.
Returns are subject to deductions as follows:
- Any shipping costs you paid are not refunded, and if the item shipped free, the costs we incurred to ship the item to you will be deducted from your refund or credit.
- All shipping costs you incur to return the item are your responsibility.
- A small fee is deducted from your refund to cover credit card/PayPal fees which are not refunded to us even if we refund your charge. Note that if you choose to accept a store credit instead of a refund, this deduction does not apply.
Items must be returned in 100% "as new" condition, with all original packaging, shipping materials, and accessories/manuals/bonus items. Deductions are assessed for missing or damaged items.
IMPORTANT: You must contact us for authorization BEFORE shipping the item back.
Need to figure out some of the more in-depth features of this product? Here's a copy of the manual, in PDF format, here.
You may wish to visit the manufacturer's website to see if a more recent version is available.
We stand behind our products with a full warranty of five years from the date of purchase. Speaker components are warranted for 180 days. Should a problem arise, please call us before returning your amplifier or enclosure. Naturally, our warranty does not cover products that have been damaged through misuse.
Bottom line, we don't say that ours is a "lifetime warranty" or even a "limited lifetime warranty". We do, however, commit to treat you the way we would like to be treated. For good.
This amp is, bar none, the best & most versatile amp I’ve ever plugged my upright into. Very easy to dial in a clean, nuanced sound for jazz & a big, warm sound for my blues/roots/rock/country band. The “filter” control removes the boominess from when you need more bass frequencies, especially in hard-surfaced rooms. The EQ is near flawless & smooth. Loaded with features that I really dig, like DO with ground lift, a mute button, dB padding & 2 channels with “smart” jacks that can tell the difference between low-z & high-z inputs (mine came with a low to hi-z adapter) This little beast also works well with passive or active bass guitars, acoustic guitars…pretty much anything with strings. Very well built (in the USA!) and reliable as I’ve been gigging hard since I purchased in 2017. Highly recommended for my double bass brethren.
Expert advice and excellent service for my DPA 4099 microphone and Clarus SL2 and Doubleshot combo. I got the package less than 24 hours after my order. Everything arrived in order and the included tip sheet was very helpful. I needed to check the DPA website for some minor detail on mounting the mic and connection and I had a question about which output on the back of the Clarus to connect to the speaker. They are not labeled but it doesn’t seem to matter which one is used. Everything was easy in the end. I am extremely happy with the products,. My bass sounds like my bass - very natural, just more volume and not at all electronic. In fact, it seems to me that the sound is coming out of the bass, not the speaker, like a feat of ventriloquism. It’s exactly what I was looking for. Feedback is not much of an issue. At higher volume it seems to be better moving the speaker onto a thin rug instead setting the speaker on the floor. Also, turning the filter up a quarter of the way dampens the feedback.