How it Works and Final Score: 8.2
The Mooer Acoustikar is a fun pedal that’s small in both size and price. Sure to please most pedal heads, an acoustic simulator is far from a pedalboard staple, but provides some unexpected tonal fun. The Acoustikar has three modes, Piezo, Standard, and Jumbo, which model three common acoustic sounds. Jumbo has the louder, fuller Gibson Jumbo acoustic guitar while Standard is a fairly straightforward Dreadnought sound. The true bypass Acoustikar gives you three controllable parameters, including the “Top” knob which gives you supreme control over the high frequencies in your tone. The “Level” setting pretty obviously cover the output, and the “Body” control gives nice control over the resonance of the simulated acoustic tone.
The Acoustikar is a really fun pedal to mess around with, especially because it gives your electric a very clean and snappy tone even when it doesn’t quite get that acoustic tone you may want. I felt the Jumbo setting with the “Top” rolled all the way up gave the most rich, realistic acoustic tone. All three settings felt closer to a true acoustic tone when played fingerstyle, it really amplifies that percussive, bass response well. At some points it did make the guitar’s tone sound too thin or organic to really replicate the sound, and I would generally avoid the “Standard” setting if you’re trying to sound like an acoustic. What the “Standard” setting can do though is provide really interesting texture to your tone, that sounds really good mixed into backing tracks as a rhythm tone. The “Piezo” setting is the most responsive to mixing and matching the parameter settings, and to be fair does an excellent job of getting to that bright, metallic piezo tone.
The all metal case seems incredibly sturdy, and the small size makes it incredibly easy to pack and travel without worrying about damage. While the Boss Acoustic Simulator may have the brand name and legacy of rugged performance, this Mooer pedal seems well constructed and gig ready. One issue for me was the amount of noise produced by the pedal, which was far and away worse with my single coil Telecaster than with my humbucker laden guitars. For me, that’s not a durability concern, but for some players it may require them to have some sort of noise reduction pedal on their board.
The Boss Acoustic Simulator is probably the biggest competition here, and the Acoustikar is a good bit cheaper. However, in my opinion it doesn’t quite provide the same level of acoustic simulation as the Boss alternative. While I don’t have a review up of the AC-3, I have used it extensively and really enjoy it. The Acoustikar’s Jumbo and Piezo settings get really close to a nice, acoustic simulation, but just not close enough to justify purchase over the AC-3. It’s a phenomenal little pedal, but it is more fun if you’re just looking for a cool pedal to use live. It’ll add some snappy, percussive textures, and as long as you aren’t expecting pristine acoustic tone, it may make you re-think taking an acoustic on stage.