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Review: Harley Benton HBAC-20 – Crazy Cheap Acoustic Amp

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.*

harley benton hbac-20 review

As an experienced guitarist and the owner of this blog, I’ve had the privilege of testing a wide range of amplifiers and guitars over the years.

Today, I’m excited to share my insights on the Harley Benton HBAC-20, an acoustic amplifier that’s turning heads for its unbeatable affordability without compromising on performance.

Let’s get started – here’s what makes this combo so cool and popular.

About Harley Benton HBAC-20

I’m sure that you all are aware that Harley Benton is a very popular brand that makes really good gear.

The HBAC-20, a 20-watt acoustic amplifier, continues this tradition by delivering a compact yet feature-rich amplifier suitable for various musical applications, from intimate solo performances to small ensemble settings.

Here’s a really good sound demo.

Specifications

Before we dive into the details, let’s take a quick look at the essential specs:

SpecificationDetails
Channels2
Power20 Watts
Speaker8″ speaker and tweeter
Mic CD/line channelwith volume control
Instrument channelwith volume control
Active/passive switchYes
3-Band EQ with parametric midsYes
Reverb and chorus switchableand adjustable
Line OutYes
Energy-saving modeYes
Voltage230 V
Dimensions (W x D x H)423 x 360 x 250 mm
Weightapprox. 10 kg

Now that we’ve covered the technical details, let’s explore what sets this acoustic amplifier apart from the competition.

What Makes This Amp Good

When it comes to the strengths of the Harley Benton HBAC-20, it’s all about versatility and performance. Here’s what makes it shine:

  • Astonishing Versatility:

    Despite its modest 20-watt power, the HBAC-20 surprises with its performance. It handles a range of settings exceptionally well, from gentle practice sessions to small venue performances. The inclusion of two channels—one for your acoustic-electric guitar and another for a microphone—makes it a versatile choice for singer-songwriters and solo artists.
  • Precision Sound Sculpting:

    Guitarists understand the importance of tailoring their tone to perfection. With the HBAC-20’s 3-band EQ featuring parametric mids, you have complete control over your sound. Whether you prefer warm, mellow notes or bright, sparkling tones, this amp lets you dial in your ideal sound with precision.
  • Effortless Effects Integration:

    The built-in reverb and chorus effects are an unexpected delight in an amp in this price range. These effects add depth and dimension to your acoustic guitar sound, giving it a polished and professional touch. Being switchable and adjustable, they provide room for creative experimentation.
  • Active/Passive Switch:

    The active/passive switch is a thoughtful addition for guitarists with both active and passive pickups on their acoustic-electric guitars. It ensures that input sensitivity is optimized, preventing issues like distortion or low output, providing a seamless performance.
  • Eco-Friendly Operation:

    In an era where environmental consciousness is vital, the HBAC-20 incorporates an energy-saving mode. This feature not only conserves electricity but also prolongs the amp’s lifespan. When left idle for a set duration, it automatically enters standby mode, ready to awaken with your next strum.
  • Seamless Integration:

    The inclusion of a line-out feature makes it a practical choice for connecting to larger sound systems or recording equipment. This flexibility allows this amp to adapt effortlessly to different setups, whether you’re performing live or recording in the studio.

Who Should Get It

This combo will be appealing to a diverse range of guitarists, including:

  • Beginners: If you’re embarking on your musical journey and seek an amplifier that strikes a balance between affordability and quality, this is an excellent choice.
  • Singer-Songwriters: With its dedicated microphone channel, the HBAC-20 simplifies the setup for artists who sing and play simultaneously, making it a practical companion for live performances.
  • Intimate Gig Performers: Musicians frequently performing in smaller venues or cozy settings will appreciate the HBAC-20’s 20-watt output, which is more than sufficient to captivate your audience.
  • Home Practitioners: Even if your primary playing space is your own home, the HBAC-20’s flexibility allows for tone exploration and experimentation, making it a versatile practice companion.

What I Don’t Like About It

While the Harley Benton HBAC-20 offers an array of impressive features, there are a couple of minor drawbacks to consider:

  • Limited Power for Larger Venues: If your aspirations include performing on larger stages, the 20-watt output might fall short, necessitating additional amplification solutions.
  • Plastic Components: To maintain affordability, certain components of the amplifier are constructed from plastic, which may affect long-term durability. It’s essential to handle the amp with care.

What Do Others Think About It?

As you already know, this is a pretty popular combo. Most of the reviews I’ve seen are very positive.

If you want to check out the reviews (both positive and negative), feel free to use the link below.

Other Acoustic Amps Worth Mentioning

Before making your final decision, it’s worthwhile to consider some alternative amplifiers that cater to specific requirements:

fender acoustasonic 40 amplifier
  • Fender Acoustasonic 40: For those willing to invest a bit more, Fender’s Acoustasonic 40 is known for its warm and natural sound reproduction.
  • Boss Acoustic Singer Pro: If versatility and top-tier sound quality are your priorities, Boss’s Acoustic Singer Pro offers a feature-rich experience and exceptional sound quality.
  • Marshall AS50D: Musicians in need of additional power for larger gigs may find the Marshall AS50D appealing, thanks to its 50-watt output.

My Experience With Bentons

My experience with Harley Benton gear has been nothing short of impressive. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of testing a variety of their amplifiers, including the Harley Benton HB-20R and the Harley Benton HB-10G combos.

me and my harley benton guitars

If you’re interested, you can check out my article about 10 Best Harley Benton Guitars For The Money.

These amplifiers consistently delivered excellent sound quality and reliability, making them ideal choices for both practice and small gigs. Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity to play on a range of their guitars, such as the JA-60, HB-35, ST-20, TE-62, and many more.

The craftsmanship and value for money that Harley Benton brings to the table have made me a dedicated fan of their instruments and gear.

Their commitment to providing quality music equipment at affordable prices is truly commendable, and it’s no surprise that they continue to gain popularity among musicians worldwide.

FAQ

Q1: What is an acoustic guitar amplifier, and why do I need one?

An acoustic guitar amplifier is a specialized amplifier designed to enhance the sound of acoustic guitars. You need one to ensure your acoustic guitar is audible in various settings, from small venues to recording studios, while preserving its natural tone.

Q2: How does an acoustic guitar amplifier differ from an electric guitar amplifier?

Acoustic guitar amplifiers are tailored to faithfully reproduce the natural sound of acoustic instruments, with features like microphone channels, EQ settings, and effects designed for acoustic tones. Electric guitar amplifiers, on the other hand, are optimized for electric guitar pickups and the associated effects used in electric guitar playing.

Q3: What features should I consider when choosing an acoustic guitar amplifier?

When selecting an acoustic guitar amplifier, factors like wattage, channels (for instruments and microphones), EQ options, built-in effects, portability, and connectivity options (such as line outs for recording or PA systems) are essential considerations.

Q4: Can I use an acoustic guitar amplifier for vocals as well?

Yes, many acoustic guitar amplifiers come equipped with a dedicated microphone channel, making them suitable for amplifying vocals alongside your acoustic guitar. This versatility is particularly beneficial for singer-songwriters.

Q5: Are there amplifiers specifically designed for acoustic-electric guitars?

Indeed, many amplifiers are explicitly designed for acoustic-electric guitars. These amplifiers often include features like feedback suppression, notch filters, and EQ settings tailored to enhance the acoustic-electric guitar’s unique characteristics.

Q6: Can I use an electric guitar amplifier for my acoustic-electric guitar?

While it’s possible to use an electric guitar amplifier for your acoustic-electric guitar, it’s not ideal. Electric guitar amplifiers may not accurately reproduce the natural sound of your acoustic-electric guitar and lack the specific features designed to enhance acoustic tones.

Q7: What is the difference between a combo amplifier and a separate amplifier and speaker setup?

A combo amplifier combines the amplifier and speaker in a single unit, offering convenience and portability. In contrast, separate setups allow more customization, as you can choose different speakers to achieve your desired sound.

Q8: Any maintenance tips for acoustic guitar amplifiers?

To keep your amplifier in top shape, ensure proper ventilation, regularly clean the speaker grille and cabinet, inspect and clean input jacks, and protect it from moisture and extreme temperatures. When not in use, store it safely to extend its lifespan.

Final Thoughts

In the realm of budget-friendly acoustic amplifiers, the Harley Benton HBAC-20 stands out as an exceptional choice. Its compact size, extensive sound customization options, and budget-friendly price make it a solid pick for guitarists of all levels.