FBT AMICO 500
If you’re anything like me, you probably thought all-in-one PAs were best left to aerobics instructors or school assemblies. The idea is simple: plug a mic into an on-board mixer, along with a CD player (sometimes built-in as well) and away you go… and a 1, and 2… work it… 3 and switch etc.
As it happens, this generalisation is largely correct. The Fender Passport-style PAs or the Chiayo speaker-on-a-trolley type systems are limited, but extremely convenient and extremely portable.
The FBT Amico is an entirely different beast. There are two variants – the Amico 1000 and the 500 – both are portable and convenient but there’s not a single whiff of Jane Fonda about them – they’re serious rigs. I’ve been in the market for a system like this for a little while. You may recall I had a look at the Sound King 0815M back in Issue 54. That system had a lot of nifty features, but sonically was quite limited – okay for hit ’n’ giggle rehearsals, school assembly or a wedding reception but not something you’d want to put in front of a paying audience necessarily.
We reviewed the top-of-the-range Amico 1000 a while back (Issue 40). I recall Grahame Harrison giving it a good wrap, so I thought I’d bring the smaller Amico 500 in for ‘questioning’.
Just to quickly sum up what the Amico 500 is: within the one ‘trolley’ you have a powered (300W) 15-inch sub, an 11-channel mixer, two 6.5-inch two-way satellites (80W a side) that slot in/out of the rear of the sub, and all the cables. The only items that can’t be integrated are the (supplied) tripods… they come in their own bag.
As soon as you spark up the Amico 500 it just confounds all expectations. It sounds big – big, smooth and accomplished. Plug in a mic and the impression lingers – lots of gain, clarity and headroom. If you hire out gear and you’re making three or four trips to the van to take care of even the smallest jobs, then the Amico is a total winner. Equally, if you’re a muso or a small band then I can hardly think of a scenario where the Amico 500 would let you down. It’s a pocket rocket. – Christopher Holder
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