Acoustic Cello vs. Amplified

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6/30/18 – Setting up for a wedding at Oaks Pioneer Church, in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland.  I love playing at this church; the acoustics are absolutely amazing, and there is something magical about the light and lines of the building.

Acoustically the amp wasn’t necessary, but when I want to use my looper I have to play amplified.  In instances where the acoustics of the room are so perfect, I turn the looper up to the volume of another cello, so it sounds like I’m playing acoustically with another person.  Using an amp does not have to detract from the pure sound of the instrument, and I am careful to maintain the cello sound we all love, but just use the amp to fill out the volume.

People often have questions about whether to have me play acoustic cello or amplified, and I always recommend amplified whenever possible.  An acoustic cello in a setting where the crowd is silently listening can be heard quite well, but add 10 or 15 people conversing over mixed drinks and the mellow sound of the cello disappears in the background.  Playing indoors with an amp is an easy way to boost the sound so everyone can enjoy the music.

Outdoors is  a place where having amplification is very important.   Since there are no walls to hold the sound, it travels and fades away.  With an amp the sound can be adjusted to travel far enough to reach the whole audience.  I have a battery-option amplifier for places with no power source, and I use the tower PA in the picture for larger rooms and groups.  So, when planning your event be sure to consider the following when considering acoustic vs. amplified: 1) Is amplification allowed,  2) Is there a place to plug in,  3) How many people will be at the event  4) How big is the room.  If in doubt I am happy to offer some suggestions on what I think would be the best sound options for your event.