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Usually most multi-effects pedals are meant for electric guitars, meaning acoustic guitarists tend to get left out in the cold. But the new Trace Elliot Transit A acoustic preamp pedal brings the world of practical effects and utilities to acoustic guitarists.
At just over 12” long there’s still five well-placed footswitches that handle reverb, tap tempo, delay, chorus and boost. Each footswitch is lighted when engaged, and the control knobs for each effect glow brightly. When the tuner is engaged, the centrally located notch filter EQ control becomes the visual cue for the on-board tuner function.
Connectivity is covered by a 1/4” input, as well as dry signal out, and XLR outputs for DI purposes, pre- and post-signal (as well as 1/4” left and right outputs). For personal monitoring a 1/8” headphone jack is available. Simply plugging in an acoustic guitar to this opens up a new level of ambience and tone shaping. The controls don’t get overwhelming; for example, the reverb and chorus effects are just one knob each and both (thankfully) musical in their simplicity. A 3-band EQ is quite flexible, as well, and the pre-shape control engages a preset EQ that Trace Elliot has used in their older amps. A notch filter and phase reversal controls can eliminate any odd tonal issues that may arise from your acoustic, and the piezo switch increases the input signal impedance for added clarity.
Overall, each of the effects are tuned especially for acoustics, meaning that they don’t go into unmusical areas, and add dimension and ambience. The EQ, gain, and boost functions can make the signal powerful enough but maintain the guitar’s character (exactly what we had hoped for during our tests). For those times an acoustic needs a boost, such as a breakdown section of a song, it just adds “more,” no woofyness or any feedback prone elements to hamper an otherwise flawless performance. Acoustic players tend to like things simple, and this is one of those simple units that falls under the “set it and forget it” umbrella, all without a fuss. For live use, it’s perfect — a DI, EQ and effects unit under the complete control of the player. It’s small enough to fit in most gig bags, but TE includes a nylon bag just in case. Nice touch.
The street price is $299, and considering the cost of separate EQ, DI and effects units, the cost is more than sensible, and it’s an all-in-one, simple unit that’s well-lit for stage and won’t be overwhelming to figure out. Plus, it sounds great and doesn’t cause unwanted feedback, so there’s really nothing to hold us back from giving it our strongest “buy it now” recommendation.
Simple to use, well-tuned effects for acoustic guitar.