AC-3 Acoustic Simulator review by Boss

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  • Sound: 5
  • Overall Impression: 5
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 6.8 Neat
  • Users' score: 8.5 (17 votes)
Boss: AC-3 Acoustic Simulator
1

Price paid: $ 119.99

Sound — 5
I suppose the right connotation, if not the most strictly accurate description, would be 'MIDI'. Really it's more the *suggestion* of an Acoustic guitar sound. In my setup -- MIM SSS Strat, Crate GLX30 amp -- the most realistic is probably 'Jumbo' mode, body and top at about half, maybe a hint of reverb. But even that's a very artificial sound. You'll actually get a more convincing Acoustic tone just running the guitar on a regular clean channel -- quite a few people have mistaken my Strat's middle pickup sound for an Acoustic guitar. This pedal is basically a fancy equalizer, and it's actually more useful that way -- you can fine-tune the bass and treble sounds, and even add a bit of reverb on cheap amps that don't have it built in (like mine...) Try using it with some distortion to thicken the tone. A couple notes. I've never run it loud enough to really hear the buzzing some people have complained about, but there is a slight hiss if you listen to it closely. I've also never tried running the line out through an Acoustic amp (because I don't have one lying around), which is what you're 'supposed' to do and which apparently gets a much better sound.

Overall Impression — 5
It's a fun toy, but quite expensive, and certainly not worth the price unless you have money to burn. Personally, I don't use it much since I already have a middle pickup and two Seagulls, the latter of which get a much more convincing Acoustic sound (I would hope so, anyway, since they're actual Acoustic guitars -- yeah, sorry for the cheap sarcasm). In theory it's a quite interesting idea, and given time I'm sure it could improve, but for now it's mostly another cute gimmick for the Line 6 crowd.

Reliability & Durability — 7
This pedal is quite solidly built, and I have yet to damage it. Purely from a reliability perspective, I'd happily gig with it without a backup. But it loses points because it will drain 9v batteries like... well, I can't think of a good analogy. Buy stock in Duracell or Energizer or something (alternatively you can just buy their convenient AC adapter).

Ease of Use — 10
This is a very straightforward pedal to use. I've never had to look at the manual, although then again I never read those anyway. Volume and reverb do what you'd expect; the 'body' knob controls the bass sound, while 'top' affects treble attack; and 'mode' in essence approximates different-sized acoustics (including a piezo pickup setting).

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    bchick11
    I have just bought a new AC-3 and am awaiting delivery. My issue is switching guitars during a set with two amps to switch with a Fender Mustang II floor pedal. I also do the song intro's and other 'MC' type stuff. I really messed up the last gig with just too much to do, not to mention capo switching. If I can get a decent enough 'acoustic' sound, I just might get away with 'it'. I also have a GE-7. I will test out my electrics, one of which is a new Epiphone ES339 which has coil tapping in place. I intend to run the 'acoustic' output through my Behringer PA mixer system like I did with my real acoustic guitar(s) using a Boss AD-3, which was really sweet. We'll see !
    bchick11
    I have just bought a new AC-3 and am awaiting delivery. My issue is switching guitars during a set with two amps to switch with a Fender Mustang II floor pedal. I also do the song intro's and other 'MC' type stuff. I really messed up the last gig with just too much to do, not to mention capo switching. If I can get a decent enough 'acoustic' sound, I just might get away with 'it'. I also have a GE-7. I will test out my electrics, one of which is a new Epiphone ES339 which has coil tapping in place. I intend to run the 'acoustic' output through my Behringer PA mixer system like I did with my real acoustic guitar(s) using a Boss AD-3, which was really sweet. We'll see !
    alfredkoh123
    I just bought mine as second-hand. but im not sure i got scam or what. the reverb function is still alright, but the pedal doesn't change my guitar to acoustic. and the "top" knob doesn't change any tone. im using epi les paul custom, line 6 iii spider 15. any help ? thanks..
    shriekrr
    mmm, i'm thinking of getting one of these.. how does this thing sound played through a boss ml-2?
    duzit89
    to get the best sound out of this is to have a guitar with single coil pick ups.. as in a strat.. tele.. or Godin .. something like that
    Damaged Roses wrote: Ive heard the stompbox in youtube and this sounds too metallic, maybe a steel acoustic but no way a nylon, by the way, Stairway to Heaven is played in an electric on the clean (or the amp cranked up with low lvl in ur guitar) lol
    just because you heard stuff on youtube.. doesnt mean you were there to hear it fully in person.. neither werre you there with Jimmy Page during the recording of Stairway To Heaven
    amnos.adikos
    I agree. I remember reading an interview about the whole double-neck guitar on stage because Page said it was easy to switch between the 6 string and 12 strings guitar during studio recording but it wasn't possible on stage, so they went with the double-neck. I believe he was referring to acoustic guitars during the studio recordings. The studio track sounds acoustic to me, anyways.
    miguelbaptista
    Damaged Roses wrote: Ive heard the stompbox in youtube and this sounds too metallic, maybe a steel acoustic but no way a nylon, by the way, Stairway to Heaven is played in an electric on the clean (or the amp cranked up with low lvl in ur guitar) lol
    Have you heard the album version ? Where on earth do you hear a electric guitar in the beggining ? Clean your ears. Then Listen to music. THEN give advice on the internet about sounds and whatnot.
    joeybcdt
    This is the most misunderstood pedal I've ever come across. Just like an acoustic guitar it must be run with a DI in to the pa to sound like an acoustic. Two outputs....one to bypass to guitar amp, the other for acoustic to pa, not a guitar amp.
    philwhite
    I picked up this pedal last week and it sounds pretty good on my rig. Gibson Les Paul Std->NS2->AS3->Blackstar HT5. I really don't get any hiss to justify the NS2 so I usually don't run it. I know you're supposed to run it to a PA but it sounds good enough through my amp's clean channel. I've noticed it softens the tone and adds in some body. It works well for me when I'm playing clean chord songs. I may be in the minority but I like this one.
    MaggaraMarine
    Damaged Roses wrote: Ive heard the stompbox in youtube and this sounds too metallic, maybe a steel acoustic but no way a nylon, by the way, Stairway to Heaven is played in an electric on the clean (or the amp cranked up with low lvl in ur guitar) lol
    :facepalm:
    notryt
    doesnt sound anything like an acoustic when pushed thru a guitar amp... waiting to get an acoustic amp to see if it models better... however if you use it in conjunction with an acoustic.. with the right settings and some of the onboard reverb added its a good acoustic...acoustic enhancer
    john.southern.1
    For those trying to use this pedal through a conventional guitar amp to generate acoustic sounds, forget it, the pedal was never designed for that....when performing it will sit inline with you other pedals, but when activated the output should be sent to a separate PA channel and run through there (as you would generally do with an electric acoustic), only then will you get the sound you are looking for.... Have fun... ;
    tekpro
    I have an AC-3. I can't get it to sound just like an acoustic. Also, I too, hear the "hiss" when I use this pedal. I was actually thinking about buying a GE-7 to get rid of the "hissing". Has anyone tried using the GE-7 (boss equalizer pedal) with the AC-3 in a loop on a switch to get a better sound?