7 Best Acoustic Guitar Preamps of 2020

Table of Contents

The acoustic guitar is one of the most popular instruments all over the world.

It is a hollow-body instrument that can produce sound on its own, even without external amplification.

The strings are plucked or strummed to produce a vibration that resonates through the hollow body design.

It is a simple musical instrument that can be played almost anywhere, and it is an excellent instrument to bring on the beach or for just singing along with your friends.

In some cases, like concerts and live performances where you do need to connect it to an amplifier, you will need an acoustic guitar with built-in pickups.

These guitars are commonly referred to as acoustic/ electric guitars.

Some high-end guitars are built with high-quality pickups, but these guitars can cost a small fortune.

Cheap guitars, on the other hand, might through a high-frequency screeching sound that is just not pleasant to hear, especially when the volume is cranked up high.

The noise and humming can mask the clean tone that you want to hear, but the pickups are too weak to be processed by the amp.

If you have this same humming and noise problem with your acoustic-electric guitar, an excellent solution would be buying a preamp.

This device works like an effect pedal, where you connect it from your guitar to the amplifier.

Its job s to boost vibrations and the natural sound coming from the guitar to make it cleaner and produce an audio signal with better quality.

In a rush? Here is a quick rundown for you:

Most Affordable
BBE Acoustimax Acoustic Instrument Preamp Pedal with Full Featured Sonic Maximizer
Incredibly Durable
LR Baggs Para Acoustic D.I.
Top Pick
Fishman Aura Spectrum DI Preamp Acoustic Pedal
User-Friendly
Behringer V-Tone Acoustic Driver DI ADI21 Amp Modeler/Direct Recording Preamp/DI Box,Burgundy
Powerhouse
Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre Acoustic Preamp
BBE Acoustimax Acoustic Instrument Preamp Pedal with Full Featured Sonic Maximizer
LR Baggs Para Acoustic D.I.
Fishman Aura Spectrum DI Preamp Acoustic Pedal
Behringer V-Tone Acoustic Driver DI ADI21 Amp Modeler/Direct Recording Preamp/DI Box,Burgundy
Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre Acoustic Preamp
-
-
Most Affordable
BBE Acoustimax Acoustic Instrument Preamp Pedal with Full Featured Sonic Maximizer
BBE Acoustimax Acoustic Instrument Preamp Pedal with Full Featured Sonic Maximizer
-
Incredibly Durable
LR Baggs Para Acoustic D.I.
LR Baggs Para Acoustic D.I.
Top Pick
Fishman Aura Spectrum DI Preamp Acoustic Pedal
Fishman Aura Spectrum DI Preamp Acoustic Pedal
User-Friendly
Behringer V-Tone Acoustic Driver DI ADI21 Amp Modeler/Direct Recording Preamp/DI Box,Burgundy
Behringer V-Tone Acoustic Driver DI ADI21 Amp Modeler/Direct Recording Preamp/DI Box,Burgundy
-
Powerhouse
Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre Acoustic Preamp
Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre Acoustic Preamp

Now, let’s get to the juicy part!

Why do you need a preamp?

Some high-end acoustic guitars are equipped with a built-in preamp and equipped with high-quality pickups to make them sound better.

However, some guitars just don’t sound as good when connected to an amplifier, which is why it is a good idea to get a preamp to improve your acoustic guitar’s clean tone.

If you are a musician and performer, getting a preamp can improve your tone, especially for live performance.

Even if you are just a bedroom musician, and want to improve your tone, getting a preamp can be worth it.

If you are not sure about what preamp to get for your acoustic guitar, you came to the right place.

In this article, I will show you some of the best acoustic guitar preamps I narrowed down just for you. Now, Let’s dive into the list.

7 Best Acoustic Guitar Preamps of 2020

Let’s look at our contestants:

#1 Fishman Aura Spectrum DI Preamp

Fishman Aura Spectrum di - best acoustic guitar preamp for beginners

Fishman is well-known in manufacturing acoustic guitar amplification products, and the Fishman Aura Spectrum DI does not disappoint.

This pedal is equipped with an EQ and amp modeling knobs that help in transforming your acoustic guitar tone.

One of its defining features is the “Helmholtz Resonance” that replicates a more natural tone, of an unplugged acoustic guitar.

The Fishman Aura Spectrum specializes in making your guitar tone sound more natural despite the many devices that can compromise the tone, such as amps and pickups.

The Helmholtz Resonance does an excellent job of keeping your tone sound as natural and less digitized as possible.

This device also comes with a set of presets that are suitable for any type of guitar playing style.

Asie from the EQ, the preamp is also equipped with a tuner, compressor to tighten up the frequencies, and an anti-feedback switch.

Overall, the Fishman Auda Spectrum DI and Preamp is an excellent choice for any guitarist at any skill level looking for a more natural-sounding tone with fewer digital effects.

The built-in presets that make it suitable for beginners.

Pros:

  • Natural tone
  • Built-in compressor
  • No feedback issues
  • Suitable for beginners

Cons:

  • Not suitable for large crowds

#2 Radial Tonebone Acoustic Preamp

Radial Tonebone - best preamp for acoustic guitar

This professional preamp is popular among professional performers and guitarists.

If you are looking for a fantastic preamp that has more functions, the Radial Tonebone Acoustic Preamp might be the device you are looking for.

Aside from being an effective preamp, it is a 6 in 1 gadget that features effects, feedback reduction, preamp, DI, and a booster.

With this device, you can connect two guitars at the same time without fighting over the signal.

For a single device, you are provided with tons of features and possibilities to create a unique acoustic guitar tone.

One of its notable features is the effects loop.

You can use this feature to connect it with other modulation effects without causing too much feedback.

If you want to plug in two guitars at the same time, just note that they share the same EQ, which can be great if you want two guitarists to have the same tone for a fuller performance.

The Radial Tonebone Acoustic Preamp comes with a 15V power supply and everything you need to get started.

Overall, the Radial Tonebone is a beast.

However, it is one of the most expensive preamps on this list.

It is a pro-level preamp that is suitable for live performances at any venue.

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Natural tone
  • You can plug two guitars at the same time

Cons:

  • Same EQ settings for two guitars
  • Bulky

#3 Grace Designs Alix

Grace Designs Alix - best preamp for acoustic guitar for beginners

The Grace Designs Alix certainly gives out a pleasant tone.

I recommend this DI preamp for beginners because it is easy to use.

Adjusting the tone and levels is straightforward, and it works for almost any acoustic guitar.

It has a natural tone, and it comes with EQ controls, boost, and effect loops.

It is an excellent choice for your studio, or for playing live.

However, it does not come with a built-in tuner like most of the choices on the list.

Pros:

  • Natural tone
  • Suitable for beginners

Cons:

  • No tuner

#4 LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI

LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI - best budget cheap affordable acoustic guitar preamps

The LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI is made for professional musicians who need a reliable device that would accompany them in live performance.

This small device is not just a preamp.

It also features a built-in EQ, DI (direct input), and chromatic tuner.

It has everything you need to adjust your levels to improve your tone on-stage.

It also comes with a feedback suppressor that ensures a clean sound with less distortion, truly bringing out the clean tone of your acoustic guitar.

This acoustic guitar preamp is one of the best for live performances as it equipped with LED meters, so you can check your levels with a glance.

Plus, it also comes with a volume boost button to add dynamics and intensity to each performance.

You can power up the LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI with a 9-volt battery to make it more portable, or you can also use an AC adapter.

Overall, this preamp has superb quality and performance, making your acoustic sets more intense and memorable.

If you are a professional musician looking to enhance your acoustic performances, you should definitely check this one out.

Pros:

  • Superb sound quality
  • Excellent features
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Not very suitable for beginners

#5 Tech 21 Sans Amp Para Driver DI

Tech 21 Sans Amp Para Driver DI - best professional preamp for acousic guitars

The Tech 21 Sans Amp Para Driver DI and preamp have built-in power that can boost an acoustic guitar sound.

I recommend this preamp if your guitar comes a little short in volume because of the passive pickups.

It gives out a warm and natural sound, and it has onboard EQ controls for advanced tone adjustment.

It is a versatile choice that you can either use for acoustic or electric guitars.

In fact, you can also use it for vocals and bass guitars too.

Overall, it is a highly functional and durable preamp that both beginners and pros can use for studio and live performances.

Pros:

  • Excellent level controls
  • Versatile option

Cons:

  • Expensive

#6 Behringer V-Tone Preamp

Behringer V-Tone Preamp - best small portable acoustic guitar preamp

The Behringer V-Tone Preamp is an affordable but excellent option as well.

Behringer is a brand known for creating affordable but quality products that people can actually use for performances.

It may not have extra features such as boutique effects, but it does the job of enhancing volume levels and tones pretty well.

This preamp comes with a built-in EQ, hum and noise reduction, and a signal boost feature to increase the intensity for live performances.

It works surprisingly well in reducing feedback, considering its low price.

Overall, the Behringer V-Tone Preamp is for beginner guitarists looking for an affordable, but reliable, preamp they can start out with.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Built with an EQ and signal boost

Cons:

  • Limited effects
  • May not be suitable for pros

#7 BBE Acoustimax Sonic Maximizer

BBE Acoustimax Sonic Maximizer - best acoustic guitar onboard preamp

The BBE Acoustimax Sonic Maximizer is one of my favorite preamps on this list, which is why I am saving it for last.

BBE is a popular brand that manufactures high-end boutique effects processors and other musical equipment, and BBE Maximizer is one of their greatest creations yet.

They did an excellent jo equipping this innovative pedal with unique effects and sounds, truly enhancing one’s live performance.

It can transform the tone of your acoustic guitar to help musicians find their signature sound.

It is more than just a preamp.

It’s an effects processor that is equipped with an “Exciter,” an effect that helps enhance the tone harmonics.

Exciter will truly add color to an acoustic guitar with meh-sounding pickups.

The Acoustimax Sonic Maximizer has a built-in 3-band EQ, DI box with an XLR input (so you can run your microphone through it), a tuner, and a notch filter that resolves feedback issues.

To fire this device up, it comes with a 12-volt power supply.

This device is made for professional musicians looking to enhance their acoustic guitar’s overall tone and volume.

Pros:

  • Unique effects
  • Superb audio quality
  • Excellent EQ

Cons:

  • Fragile
  • Bulky

Related Questions:

Can you use a preamp for an electric guitar?

Yes, you can also use a preamp for an electric guitar to improve its tone.

Some preamps are explicitly made for acoustic guitars, while some are more versatile.

Using a preamp for your electric guitar can maximize the tonal possibilities, especially if you have a lot of effect processors.

Preamps for electric guitars can work as amp simulators.

For example – if you do not have an amp and want to connect your guitar to a mixer, you can use a preamp with an amp simulator to choose the type of amp you want it to sound like.

I have a preamp, what else do I need?

If you already have a preamp, make sure that your guitar has builtin pickups, so you can connect the guitar to the preamp, then connect it to the amp.

You will also need two guitar cables and an amplifier or PA system.

If your guitar does not have builtin speakers, you can use a dynamic cardioid mic and a mic stand.

Make sure you place the mic close to the guitar’s soundhole to capture the sound.

Then, connect the end of the mic to the preamp, connect the preamp to your amplifier or PA system.

You can also make a chain of different effects like a reverb or delay to enhance your acoustic guitar’s tone further.

Conclusion

Now that you have a better idea of how preamps can benefit your acoustic guitar’s tone make sure you pick one up from the list to enhance your live performances.

I hope this article and review helped you choose the best acoustic guitar preamp for you.

Each of these choices has its own sets of strengths and weaknesses, but all of them work great and do a great job in improving your guitar’s sound quality and volume.

Have fun playing!

Last update on 2020-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API