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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Acoustic/Electric Guitar Preamp Recommendations

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Radspin, May 16, 2018.

  1. Radspin

    Radspin Friend of Leo's

    Mar 7, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    I'm looking for a preamp or multi-effects pedal for acoustic/electric guitar that will allow me to do the following: 1. Boost the volume for solos (would prefer stepping on a switch for a preset volume boost). 2. Improve the sound quality, whether by acoustic modeling, sweetening or whatever). 3. Add reverb. Other features like tuner, effects and so on would be nice but not essential.

    Any recommendations? I have a Taylor 114ce and it sounds good on its own, but I'd like to have a volume boost at the least. I tried a Boss GE-7 for this and didn't like it because the volume control was too sensitive for my needs. I currently have a Baggs Para Acoustic DI and it's a great-sounding unit (especially for my Epiphone Les Paul Ukulele which has a passive piezo pickup that sounds pretty bad on its own) but I have to keep reaching for the little volume knob to make adjustments, which can be impractical if not impossible at a gig.

    Would like to keep the cost down but if I have to spend more money to get what I want, so be it.
  2. FMA

    FMA Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 29, 2003
    I used to use a Baggs Para DI and a few years back switched to a Radial PZ Deluxe. It has a footswitchable boost. No reverb, though. I find it much easier to dial it in than the Baggs.
  3. Mr Ridesglide

    Mr Ridesglide Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Dec 11, 2009
    Bloomington, MN
    I use the Baggs Venue - Once you figure it out, it's really nice IMHO
    fakeocaster likes this.
  4. Macrogats

    Macrogats Tele-Afflicted

    May 15, 2017
    Auckland, New Zealand
    My Zoom G3 will do all you want and lots more. I play in an acoustic duo.
  5. Radspin

    Radspin Friend of Leo's

    Mar 7, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    Macro, I have a Zoom G1on already. (The G3 is discontinued.) Will have to try it for acoustic/electric! Now that would be an inexpensive solution!
  6. Random1643

    Random1643 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Mar 11, 2015
    Upper Midwest
    I've been using Fishman's analog preamp since they came out with it acoupla years ago. I like it for live sound. Volume boost, EQ, some feedback mgmt. - but >no< built-in reverb. (I have a reverb pedal, reverb on my tube amp, and reverb options in my sound system so I wasn't thinking about that in a preamp...)

    Compared to my other acoustic-electrics, my Taylor 12-string doesn't need much in the way of EQ or other attention, but I crank the compression a bit and that helps. Just my 2 cents.

  7. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 26, 2003
    Augusta, Maine
    There are a lot of great preamps out there, many of them named above. They'll all do it. But what are your criteria?

    If you want something built to take a lot of abuse, for instance, BBE and Baggs might be what you want. If you enjoy spinning a lot of dials (you wouldn't be the only one), Baggs, BBE, and Fishman offer tweak knobs galore. If you're after simplicity that doesn't sacrifice tone, the Fire-Eye Red-Eye is great: one tone knob, one boost switch and knob, in and out jacks for effects, and that's it. After trying Fishman and BBE, that's the one I've found I'm happiest with.

    But since you're into more features, be sure to check Tech 21's Acoustic Fly Rig. It has everything your mentioned above and more. A couple of my friends use Tech 21 preamps and love them.
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  8. Radspin

    Radspin Friend of Leo's

    Mar 7, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    Charlie, I like simplicity and reliability. I’ll check out the Red Eye. With its effects loop I could plug in my Boss reverb pedal. And that Fly Rig also looks good.
  9. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    La Quinta, CA
    I have a Red-Eye. I used to have a ParaDI, but it doesn't really work well with my K&K or JJB set ups (the pickups are looking for a different impedance).

    I don't have a lot of experience with different acoustic set ups, but I've been really quite happy with my Red-Eye. It sounds so good, that when I was in the studio a couple weeks ago (for the second time in this particular studio) the engineer made me pull it out to use in conjunction with the mic. He remembered it from a couple of months prior and was really impressed with it. So much so, he was bugging me about info so he could pick one up.

    I like the simplicity of it. Especially with acoustic, I really don't wanna be fiddling with knobs. I really love the tone... And so does everyone else, it seems. I am always given compliments on my tone (and occasionally my playing! LOL).

    It's a little pricey for the number of knobs and functionality... But, it does what it does really, really well and seems really well built. Solid as a little brick, really. Anyway, I've been quite happy with it.
  10. rute

    rute TDPRI Member

    Nov 28, 2012
    On the Water
    +100 on the Radial Deluxe.
  11. Radspin

    Radspin Friend of Leo's

    Mar 7, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    Just for the heck of it, I tried running my Taylor into my BB Preamp. I'd heard it was a good clean boost but I use it as an overdrive pedal with electric guitar (which it's great for). I turned the Gain knob almost all the way down and was amazed to find that the BB Preamp works well as a clean boost for acoustic/electric! I strummed really hard and did not hear any distortion. Also, even with the tone controls set flat the BB Preamp fattens up the sound somewhat, which works well for me for playing solos.

    I know it seems crazy but I'm going to have to try this at a rehearsal and see if this will really work as a practical volume boost in a real-life situation, not just playing in my basement.
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