I give it a high rating mainly as it compares to other acoustic amps, but the whole Im cynical about amplifying acoustic guitars, so I wont bore readers by saying an amp will make your guitar sound just like it does in your favorite room in the house only louder. The Compact is not going add any magic, but it will bring out the best your pickup can likely do, and when using with a mic, it makes for a very very transparent little PA.
I used this amp a few different ways (I actually use two most of the time). In some places Ill use just a mic; either AKG C1000 or a little Audix i5 dynamic. I also have a K&K Pure Mini in the guitar (SCGC OM/PW). But more often than not I pop in a Fishman Rare Earth, or some combination. With the exception of the K&K- because it really needs the mids cut- I only use the mic channel. I cant personally get a decent sound out of the instrument channel with the Rare Earth, I would use the mic channel for the Mini too if if had a mid pot. I think one beef with the instrument channel is that the mid pot, if I remember right, is only a 3db cut at 500hz. Thats a good frequency to hit, particularly with a soundhole mag, but Id like to be able to make a cut about four times as deep as 3db. The Contour button has a prefabbed smiley face eq curve which sounds ok with the K&K, but its not that great.
With the Earth, I find the using the mic channel with the bass very high sounds really nice. But with the mics I keep things pretty flat, maybe a slight bass cut for the Audix. The miced sounds obviously are much better than the soundhole mag or the K&K mini, but its hard to make that work in many gigs. But when it does, the AER really shines.
The reverb is better than the Ultrasound, and miles better than the SWR, but still not great. I wish it had four different reverbs, with a little more tweekability... why put chorus and flange in there?? What a waste.
One great thing for sure is that these little guys can put out. Again, I tend to need to push the bass to move some air, but Ive had these guys on mic stands for a few pretty big rooms and they sounded great. And with the great little shoulder bags and my gig bag for the guitar, I can move both amps and my guitar in one trip- yippee.
Ive used both Compact 60s for quite a few gigs over the last few months with no problems
These Compact 60s replaced two JBL EON15 G2s, which replaced two SWR California Blondes... Ive also had two Ultrasounds, and some Carvin acoustic stuff over the years too. I think these are the best in terms of overall tone and connivence. Very transparent, but in contrast to the JBLs and SWRs, I know theres going to be a few gigs this Summer where Ill need to rent some reinforcement... All in all its a great sounding, solid, easy to move rig. I recommend the AER stuff very highly.