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User Review

Once you try it, you will never go back - Reviews Fishman Aura Spectrum DI

The Spectrum DI pedal provides a very unique effect for acoustic guitars. There really isn't anything else available to compare it with. After playing live with the pedal, I can't ever imagine plugging a piezo pickup directly into a PA system again. The pedal makes my guitar sound very smooth and airy, while also removing the harsh transient/attack of the piezo pickup.
The technology used is some really advanced digital signal processing. This might turn some people off who don't like 'modeling'. In my opinion, this kind of 'modeling' has come a long way since it is introduced. Although there is still room for improvement, the results are quite convincing at this point.
There are bunch of different 'models' or 'images' that come loaded on the pedal. Each sound a little different, and some work better with different guitars than others. The pedal can be connected with a computer to download more 'images' than what comes stock on the pedal. This is great if you want to load an 'image' specifically of you guitar model on the pedal to use. Honestly, I have never connected the pedal to the computer to download different 'images'. I tried out all the different ones that come on the pedal and liked number '1' the best. I have stuck with it ever since. In hindsight, I may have been better off just purchasing the less expensive Aura pedals with less features because I don't really make us of all the options on the Spectrum DI. This may be something to consider if you are looking at buying the different pedals.


Using this pedal is pretty easy. Plug in guitar, and send the signal out through XLR. Then you can switch between the 'images' to see what works for you. The EQ section is well suited for acoustic guitar, the frequency ranges of 'bass', 'mid', and 'treble' complement each other well. It usually doesn't take a whole lot of boosting/cutting to make a big difference. The compressor is a nice feature and helps glue the 'dry' signal' with the 'image' signal. The 'blend' control allows you to control how much 'dry' signal and 'processed' signal there is at the output. My preference for live performance is around 75% 'wet'.
The pedal is powered off a 9v battery or a typical guitar pedal power supply. I really wish they would have made the pedal powered off of Phantom Power. This would save a lot of hassle for setup. I have other fishman preamps that run off phantom power, but I guess its possible that the internal DSP chip needed more power than phantom power could supply.


The sound quality of the aura pedals is amazing. I only own an intermediate level acoustic guitar (Martin DM), but I feel like the pedal makes my guitar sound really, really good. For a while I wanted to upgrade my guitar to something more expensive and top-of-the-line. However, after purchasing the Aura Spectrum DI, I think I can make do for a while long with my Martin.
For live performance, this thing is a no-brainer. Once you try it, you will scoff at anyone that plays guitar without one.
I also find that the pedal has a lot of utility in the recording studio. Although this wasn't what it was originally intended for, it is hard to argue with something that sounds so good. Granted, my recording setup is pretty humble (but there are probably a lot people that are in the same situation). I record in the spare bedroom of my apartment, and don't have an expensive microphone collection (I just own a pair of NT2s and some SM57/58s). Typically, I run the aura along with a couple microphones on my acoustic guitar. Mixing them together achieves some good results. Obviously if I was recording in a professional studio with great acoustic and amazing microphones the aura might not be worthwhile. However, if you are anything like me, adding the aura to your recording setup can make a huge difference for a cheap price.


The Fishman Aura Spectrum DI is a unique effects pedal for acoustic instruments. It was designed to transform the sound of a magnetic piezo pickup into the sound of a microphone.
For several reasons piezo pickups have become common and even the industry standard for live performance with acoustic instruments. Piezo pickups don't have the same same signal-to-noise ratio problems of a microphone on an acoustic guitar in the presence of much louder instruments like drums, amp'ed electric guitars, etc. Indirectly, this also alleviates any concerns about 'feedback' problems with a quiet acoustic instrument. More practically, if a microphone is used to capture the sound of an acoustic guitar in a live performance, the musician has to remain stationary. (It would be hard to imagine a Garth Brooks concert if he had to stand in front of a stationary microphone to pickup his acoustic guitar, ha)
However, there are also several reasons way piezo pickups are terrible for acoustic instruments. The sound of a piezo pickup is completely different than the sound of a microphone. This is because they are completely different transducers. The microphone depends on the vibrations of air, the piezo pickup depends on the vibrations of the solid body of the instrument and the bridge.
Enter - Fishman Aura signal processing to transform the sound of a piezo pickup into the sound of an acoustic guitar recorded by a microphone in a professional recording studio. It is like the best of both worlds!