Just released today, Orange steps into the world of acoustic pedal board amps!
Orange Amps are one of the most beloved amplifier companies in the world, and for good reason. Whether it is tube amp stacks, solid state practice amps, or hybrid creations like the Terror Stamp and Tiny Terror, they just make awesome stuff. While it all generally leans in towards loud, high gain electric guitar territory, they’re doing something pretty neat here. The Acoustic Pedal, introduced today, is an acoustic guitar preamp/amp in a box. It’s based off their well received Acoustic Pre TC preamp and their Crush Acoustic 30 amplifier. It’s a low noise, JFET-based circuit that runs on 18v, a buffered FX loop, and it can be run directly into your audio interface (standard 1/4″ jack) or into a PA system thanks to balanced XLR output. It’s basically a whole acoustic rig in a box, that can make playing on the go much easier and recording demos/songs a breeze. The controls are pretty intensive too, with a “notch” control that lets you dial in how precisely you contour the mid frequencies via the middle control knob. Paired with the treble and bass knobs, and you have a very sensitive 3-band EQ. The Q Factor can set the total range of control you have over the EQ, while also helping to limit feedback when you roll it off.
Review & Opinion:
If the Acoustic Pedal is anything, it is tweak-able. I plugged my Acoustasonic Strat right in and was pulling out a quite a few useable sounds with ease. It’s definitely a treble-rich sounding amp, but rolling off some of the treble went a long way. It was very snappy, with some acoustic string buzzing but nothing crazy or disproportionate from other acoustic amps. Part of it is probably because I’m an awful acoustic guitar player. The notch and Q factor controls were super useful for me, letting me alter how much of the frequencies I could actually adjust using the EQ controls. When it got too buzzy or high pitched, I could perfectly dial in a better sound. But when I found something nice, it was easy to just set it and forget it while still exploring some more subtle changes. Overall though, this is incredibly useful and I think you’ll hear one or two performance-grade sounds on the short demo video I made, even if the playing is a bit rough. This can totally replace the acoustic amp you lug around, and for me, it was a blast to just be able to plug it into my audio interface and record some chords and riffs. It’s very user friendly, very convenient, and for the price, it gives you so much power in one little box. I think live performers will get the most out of this product, as they can take a much more complicated amplifier, shrink it down to this one box, and go direct into PA alongside a band or vocal mix. It does remind me a bit of the Terror Stamp in that it is packed with lots of good sounds, but doesn’t necessarily pack any that are truly life altering. Jack of all trades, master of none is kind of the territory here, but that’s not a knock on it, more of just a broad description of the sound and function. My favorite tones were with the bass rolled up, the treble cut, and the mid’s very precisely dialed in for a smaller range of frequencies. I would firmly take this on stage or in the studio with me with no reservations whatsoever!
Final Conclusions & Rating: 7 out of 10
I really like the direction that Orange took this Acoustic Pedal, prioritizing the functionality and diverse controls over copying a specific legendary acoustic tone. This is a product I would love to have demoed live, but with the pandemic, that couldn’t happen, because I feel it is really suited for performance. This isn’t some premium preamp that is meant to sit in studios, it feels rock solid, well built, and I’d throw this on a board instantly if I was keeping it for myself. The buffered FX loop was a killer addition to this pedal, because I think it opens up the possibilities even more for performing musicians. You could throw ambient reverbs, delays, or some sort of boost right into this on your pedalboard, and shrink your fly rig or travel rig immensely. Truth be told, I’m not crazy about all the sounds, like I said before. It felt buzzy at times, too snappy and treble-rich, but nothing that couldn’t be dialed out. It’s a brilliant idea, and a well executed one at that, for players getting back on stage in 2021, give this real consideration as it is ample function for the price!