Trying to play the guitar, but it sounds distorted and with tons of noise? Then it probably means you need the best acoustic guitar preamp.
Most built-in preamps and pickups are not enough to send a proper signal to the amplifier. This causes unwanted feedback and awkward noise. Instead of a guitar, it sounds like cats fighting.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can always set up your guitar with a quality preamp and send the proper signal to the amplifier.
This will not only reduce the noise and distortion, but it will also boost the volume, prevent feedback, and allow you to add special effects to the sound.
But to get all those advantages, you need the perfect model. Here, we want to help you get precisely that. Below, you’ll find some of the highest quality preamps for your guitar, a guide on how to pick the right one plus a little more. Take a look!
13 Best Acoustic Guitar Preamps Reviews 2020
Because finding a quality preamp takes a lot of effort and experience, we decided to make it easier for you.
We brought 13 of the best preamps for acoustic guitar in the market, then we analyzed each one, and brought all our findings to you. Here’s everything you want to know about them:
01. L.R. Baggs Venue Full Isolation DI
Top 3 Features:
- 5-band EQ
- Garret Null notch filter
- Audiophile level capacitors
Designed for portability, and offering exceptional sound boosts, the Venue Full Isolation DI doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. Coming from a high-end brand like L.R. Baggs – it is an exceptional preamp to pick.
As soon as you put your hands on it, you’ll find out how well-designed it is. You can get so much sound quality from it, starting from the 5-band EQ that adjusts low and hi bands as needed. Set it up with the adjustable gain for active and passive pickups for even better results.
At the same time, you get a variable clean boost with a footswitch. Your guitar will sound super-clean yet loud. And with the fully chromatic tuner, you can mute or tune the guitar as necessary.
Less Feedback & Noise
Everything you adjust on the preamp will come out the other side as neat as you can expect. This is only possible thanks to the Garret Null notch filter. It keeps the feedback-controlled, reducing the noise and magnifying the sound exponentially. You’ll love how your guitar sounds with this.
Lastly, you can expect every piece and component on the preamp to ensure maximum audio quality. From the high-end audiophile film capacitors to the hi-graded semiconductors, everything comes together to deliver studio-quality to your playing.
- Reduces all noise & feedback like no other
- Makes your sound unique with tons of adjustments
- Ensures excellent sound control
- Quality components for maximum clarity
- The tuner can lag from time to time
02. L.R. Baggs Para Acoustic DI.
Top 3 Features:
- 5-band EQ.
- Phase inversion
- Variable gain & feedback control
Coming with so many features that one review wouldn’t suffice, the Para Acoustic DI and preamp from L.R. Baggs is the best preamp for recording acoustic guitar. Even in the stage, it works like a charm.
Nothing makes a preamp enticing like a 5-band EQ. with tunable notch and midrange. When you pair that with a variable-gain control system and the ability to handle passive & active pickups, it becomes a go-to choice.
Don’t forget it also boasts a phase inversion system and feedback control for extra quality that keeps any noise and distortion away.
Every component on this preamp is made with the highest quality to improve the sound of your guitar exponentially. You’ll feel how the acoustic pickup sounds better, how the sound sounds completely, and how even the slightest of noise is blocked.
If you want to hook up this guitar with other instruments or devices, you can do so. With XLR inputs and ¼-inch output, it is one of the most practical in the list. Add the battery compatibility to 48V Phantom Power or regular 9V models, and it won’t let you down in the slightest.
- Clarity-inducing components
- Excellent outputs & inputs for ease of use
- Next-level sound enhancements & adjustments
- Gets rid of any noise or feedback
- Some controls can be confusing
03. Donner Alpha Acoustic Preamp
Top 3 Features:
- Full-metal aluminum shell
- Reverb, Chorus & Preamp
- True Bypass
One of the cheapest preamps in the list, but also one of the most feature-rich – the Alpha Acoustic Preamp from Donner will easily improve your guitar sound.
It all starts with the fantastic effects system. You can make the preamp work with a hall Reverb effect for exciting sound, a livelier Chorus model, and a high-end Preamp for maximum clarity.
It doesn’t matter what type of music style you play, this preamp will make it sound better. Especially with the True Bypass system, you can expect zero tone coloration that takes your music to another level.
Everything on the small piece is made with high-quality materials. From the full-metal shells made of aluminum alloy to the high-quality semiconductors – everything works together for extra resilience. Don’t forget about its DC9V power supply, adding extra safety to the whole system.
Boasting one of the smallest designs on the list, this MINI preamp is one of the most portable you can find. This pairs up well with the ¼-inch mono audio jack, the LED light system, and a pedal adapter. You’ll have everything to enjoy a reasonably convenient experience.
- Extra-small and portable design
- Incredibly affordable for its quality
- Practical LED system & pedal
- Durable & sound-oriented build
- XLR outputs may cause hiss
04. Fishman Aura Spectrum DI Acoustic Preamp
Top 3 Features:
- 128 pre-loaded Images
- 3-band EQ
- XLR DI output
When it comes to audio equipment, few brands are worth considering. Among them, Fishman enters like a go-to choice with its Aura Spectrum DI preamp. This is an award-winning product to not dismiss.
Magnificent Sound Quality
It is so well-made that you can get one of the brightest and most vibrant sounds in the market. It helps you mix your studio mic with your soundhole or under saddle pickup. Along with the acoustic Aura Imaging Technology, the device ensures maximum-quality delivery every time.
Unbeatable Sound Effects
But honestly, the best about this preamp is the effect features you get. From the automatic feedback suppressor that goes 3 notches up to the 3-band EQ, the one-knob compressor, a chromatic tuner with bypass and mute, and even an effects loop. You’ll have everything for a complete sound-effect system.
Nothing compares to a super-convenient software with an Aura Image Gallery Software. This means you can access 128 pre-loaded images that match with your favorite instruments. You just need to hook the device to a PC and load the images through USB.
Even then, the preamp stands out for its excellent XLR DI Output system, and the all-metal case for resilience. It looks, feels, and sounds just like a quality acoustic preamp should.
- Practical pedal design for easy use
- Excellent effects for any type of sound
- Compatible with different pickups
- Well-made & durable with metal case
- Not compatible with power supplies
05. L.R. Baggs Session Acoustic DI Guitar Preamp
Top 3 Features:
- Multiband EQ
- XLR outputs
- Garret Null notch filter
As you may know already, we love L.R. Bagg’s preamps. For that reason, we couldn’t leave the Session Acoustic DI out of the list. It is one of the most quality-oriented and sound-improving options.
Maximum Sound Improvement
Everything starts with the addition of an analog Saturation system. You can change the harmonics of the guitar to make it sound exactly how you need it. Sure enough, this also adds a touch of warmth to the sound, something that will push the quality even higher.
Along with the saturation, you get a multiband compressor system that works like an EQ. You can play with the frequencies and polish your sound to the max. Every guitar should sound amazing with this preamp.
Effective Noise Reduction
This preamp combines a Garret Null Notch filter that controls feedback resonance effectively. Along with a variable high-pass filter, you can set it up to different frequencies and achieve exceptional sound delivery with no unwanted noise.
One of our favorite things about this preamp is the addition of a preamp pedal. You can mute and unmute the guitar at your command. Along with the ¼-inch XLR outputs, and the set of knob processors for easy adjustments, any person can improve their guitar quality with little effort.
- Maximum sound adjustments for any user
- Magnificent noise & feedback decrease
- Ultra-practical design for any user
- Saturation ensures exceptional sound changes
- A bit expensive
06. Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre Acoustic Preamp
Top 3 Features:
- Piezo pickup booster
- Pre-EQ settings
- Polarity-reverse protection
Despite its simple design, the Tonebvone PZ-Pre from Radial Engineering is a feature-rich model that takes your guitar performance to a whole new level. As soon as you hook the guitar to it, you’ll realize how astonishing it is.
Perfect Sound Quality
It all starts with the piezo pickup acoustic system, a set of signal boosters that increase natural sounds and deliver the clearest signal to your amp or speakers.
Combining that with the add-on instrument pickups and its high-end rendering capacity, you can expect every cord on your guitar to be outstandingly rich and bright.
There are way too many adjustments and features to enjoy from this preamp. You can consider the Mix function, adding the chance to mix two channels as necessary, so you can get a bass-rich performance, or a clearer one if needed.
Then you get a combination booster, an effect loop bus, a tuner, a mute switch, an excellent output array system for monitoring, a pre-EQ feature, and more. You’ll have enough to modify your guitar sound to the max.
If there’s something we love about this preamp is the ability to eliminate feedback with its notch filter system. Along with its frequency control, high-pass filter, and polarity-reverse system, you won’t hear a single noise or feedback coming out of the speakers.
- Next-level sound quality for any guitar
- Prevents any type of noise or issue
- Offers exceptional effects and adjustments
- Very durable and easy to operate
- Makes a little noise when boosted
07. Boss AD-10 Acoustic Preamp
Top 3 Features:
- 4-Band EQ.
- 80-second looper
- MDP Dynamic Controls
If there’s a brand we will never stop recommending, then that’s undoubtedly Boss. And with the AD-10, they make it clear why. This is a small, practical, and super well-made pedal preamp.
Maximum Sound Improvement
Getting a quality sound from your guitar is not easy without a preamp. Luckily, this one comes with an Acoustic Resonance feature that amplifies your guitar like no other. You get the richness and warmth that every guitar should offer, perfect to take your music to a more expressive & vibrant sound.
When a preamp makes it possible to shape the sound and increase audio quality according to your needs, that’s a preamp you don’t want to overlook.
With the ability to offer ambiance, delay, and chorus effects, you won’t need a sound-processing device apart from this preamp. Pair this up with the 80-second looper, 4-band EQ, and variable low-cut filter for even better results.
On top of an amazing acoustic performance and tons of effects, you can also enjoy the anti-feedback controls that make it possible to reduce feedback to the minimum. Similarly, it boasts an MDP technology, so you can set up the sound as needed without damaging its clarity.
- Ultra-handy sound adjustments
- Allows maximum output configuration
- Easy to use with straightforward buttons and design
- Top-notch feedback and resonance controls
- A little tricky to use at first
08. BBE Acoustimax Sonic Maximizer
Top 3 Features:
- 3-band EQ. System
- Sonic Maximizer feature
- XLR Direct Box system
Offering maximum consistency while delivering crystal-clear sound, the Acoustimax from BBE delivers precisely what a quality preamp should offer.
Fantastic Sound Quality
It all starts with an analog system, perfect for boosting your acoustic guitar sound to the max. This pairs up well with the Sonic Maximizer, a feature that adds a punch and tons of definition to the sound, amplifying the overall quality.
Tons of Effects
You can pair this up with the 3-band EQ system. Along with a tuner output and a built-in XLR Direct Box, you get enough to configure the sound however you prefer. Don’t overlook the phase reversal system and the TRS effects loop – perfect for giving your guitar an even more enticing sound.
What sets this preamp apart is the ability to reduce feedback like no other, thanks to a low-frequency notch filter with tunable design. This pairs well with the ground lift and the hardwire bypass.
Other features to consider are the non-slip rubber bottom, a 12V power supply, and the line level, dedicated tuner, and switchable balanced DI outputs. Everything ensures super-consistent sound every time.
- Super-easy to use and adjust
- Excellent effects and tuning options
- Practical and reliable design overall
- Delivers clear & steady sound at all times
- Lacks some volume
09. NUX Stageman Floor Acoustic Preamp+DI
Top 3 Features:
- Piezo & Magnetic compatible
- 3-band EQ
- FX Loop system
You can get the features of a preamp plus the versatility of a DI box in the same piece. The Stageman Floor from NUX is easily one of the most practical options you can go for.
Astonishing Sound Clarity
Even though it mainly stands out for how convenient it is, there’s no doubt it will improve your sound quality more than you can imagine. Using ample headroom and an exceptional notch filter, it makes sure your guitar sounds perfect, with no feedback or unwanted noise.
You get every single effect a preamp can offer, despite being an analog acoustic preamp. Among the features, you get a 3-band EQ, perfect for adjusting your Treble, Middle, and Bass as needed. This goes well with the Chorus and Reverb effects for more sound options.
On top of that, you get a 60-second looper, allowing overdub recording. And when you add the MID scoop toggle switch, the input gain control, and the one-knob system for all adjustments – it becomes a go-to choice for most users.
The versatility of this amp comes directly from the ability to work with either Piezo or Magnetic pickups. But that’s not everything. You can also use the FX. Loop unit with a TRS cable, so you can connect any unit to the preamp. Add the footswitches and looper pedal, and it becomes an easy-to-use device.
- Amazing effects for any performance
- Super-easy to adjust and play with
- Delivers exceptionally clear & noise-free sound
- Magnificent compatibility and convenient features
- The loop may lag
10. Fishman ToneDEQ AFX Preamp EQ.
Top 3 Features:
- 4-band EQ
- XLR DI Output
- Discreet Class-A design
To push the quality on this list higher, we now find another Fishman preamp. This time, it is the ToneDEQ AFX – a versatile, well-made, and super-effective model to consider.
Every musician wants to achieve maximum-level performance with their sound. This preamp from Freshman will help you do precisely that through its magnificent adjustments.
It all starts with a dual-effect section, boasting tone controls, a level booster, a compressor, and a balanced DI. Then, you can find the 4-band EQ, boasting a unique low-cut filter that keeps passive pickup controlled.
With such an exceptional level of personalization, you also want next-level sound quality. That’s where the analog system enters into play. Every part of the circuitry works wonders with your acoustic guitar, ensuring a rich, clear, and beautiful sound in every note.
Compatibility & Results
Last but not least, this preamp also comes with exceptional extra features such as the ¼-inch amplifier output, an XLR DI output, and the ability to automate your ground-lifting and EQ systems. Along with the Class-A discreet design, you can set it up with passive pickups and enjoy next-level results.
- Compatible with any amp and other Dis
- Excellent array of adjustments & effects
- Optimizes the sound exponentially
- Boosts volume and overall clarity
- Some effects don’t run at the same time
11. BOSS AD-2 Acoustic Preamp Guitar Pedal
Top 3 Features:
If there’s a brand that never disappoints, then that’s Boss for sure. And with the AD-2 acoustic preamp, it is clear how much work this brand puts into delivering quality over anything else.
Unmatched Sound Quality
Boasting high-end Boss processing, this preamp takes your sound to another level. It manages acoustic resonance, ensures exceptional tone, and lets you tinker with all the dynamics or techniques while playing.
Thanks to this Acoustic Resonance system, you can achieve a beautiful guitar tone that adjusts to your demands. Whether you do simple fingerpicking or go hard with the strumming, it will make your guitar sound spectacularly neat.
Decent Effects & Adjustments
Another fabulous feature you won’t find easily in other preamps is the wide array of parameters and effects that you can adjust. You can go from using its Ambience effect that adds depth to the sound, as well as the reverb system, for maximum sound transformation, and a lush that complements the guitar.
All of that is totally controllable through a one-knob Stompbox system. Just turn the knob, and you can adjust.
The last sought-after feature to consider comes from the notch filter and the DI output system. You can reduce feedback exponentially while ensuring a DI system for easy muting with the hold of a pedal. These functions reduce your standby time and prevent any low-frequency distortion from happening.
- Practical and precise effects
- Super-straightforward operation
- Improves your sound in any style
- Reduces feedback and noise well
- Not many adjustments to enjoy
12. Trace Elliot Transit A Acoustic Guitar Preamp
Top 3 Features:
- 3-band EQ.
- Unique Tempo Pre-Shape
- Back-lit dials
One of the highest-quality preamps you can buy for your acoustic guitar, the Transit A from Trace Elliot not only boasts all the features you need but also manages to last a lifetime.
Taking your guitar sound to another level will be a total pleasure with this acoustic guitar. You get everything from a 3-band EQ. to excellent effects like Chorus, Reverb, Delay, and Boost.
Even then, you can enjoy the built-in chromatic tuner, Piezo button, Gain adjustment, Notch Filter, Compression, and even Tempo Pre-shape features. Everything comes together to increase your chances of achieving master-level sound.
Want to have total control of how your guitar sounds? Then you’ll love how well-designed it is. You can adjust the EQ and other effects directly from a simple set of knobs. But if you can take your effects to another level, then you can always use the pedaling buttons below.
Similarly, it comes with a back-lit control panel for easy tuning as well as Post XLR output, Stereo outputs, Dry output, and even a Stereo output. It delivers unmatched convenience every time.
Good-looking & Resilient
Boasting one of the weirdest designs when it comes to acoustic preamps, the Transit A will make you feel cooler with the vast array of lights and back-lit panel. And even then, it is the quality components and overall sturdiness that make it last a lifetime.
- A fantastic feedback control system
- Allows excellent adjustments & effects
- Practical XLR output system
- Easy and convenient to use
- Somewhat heavier than expected
13. Fishman G-II Acoustic Preamp
Top 3 Features:
- Slider controls
- Stainless steel build
- Piezo-style system
Amazingly affordable but capable of offering excellent performance, the Fishman G-II is an acoustic preamp you don’t want to dismiss.
The most important thing you look in a preamp is the ability to deliver a clean and noise-free performance. With the G-II – that’s exactly what you get.
It works like a charm with any Piezo-style pickup, manages to improve your guitar’s delivery, and reduces the amount of noise in the process. You’ll love how well it performs.
You can adjust the treble, bass, and volume directly from its top area. This goes well with the well-positioned AC adapter jack, the compact design for portability, and a heavy-duty stainless steel belt clip. Whether you want it on the floor or your trousers, it doesn’t disappoint.
Simple & Durable
Despite its minimal design, the preamp still offers a light construction made of injection-molded plastic. This goes well with the simple design that you can bring anywhere. Along with the straightforward input and output ports, it allows smooth operation.
- Super-small design for maximum portability
- High-quality sound despite its costs
- Excellent adjustments & effects
- A total piece of cake to use
- Not enough volume for stage use
How to Pick the Best Acoustic Guitar Preamp (Buying Guide)
After reading our acoustic guitar preamp reviews, you should now learn how to pick the right one. And for that, you’ll have to consider the different factors that make them suitable or not. Here they are:
- Types of Pickup Compatibility
First off, you need to consider the type of pickup on the preamp. This refers to the way they work, changing the sound accordingly. Here are three kinds of pickup to consider:
Active Piezo Pickup
Also known as “transducer” pickup, it works wonders with acoustic-electric guitars. The focus of this pickup is to shape the tone of the sound. If the preamp comes with a pedal and active-piezo compatibility, you can reduce the quacking noise that comes out of the piezo.
An active piezo pickup is called that because it has a built-in battery. It usually connects to the preamp separately from the guitar.
Passive Piezo Pickup
In contrast with an active piezo, the passive pickup usually goes directly into the guitar or other instruments. It relies entirely on the preamp to produce proper sound before going into an amplifier.
The main focus is to increase overall impedance while reducing sound. Most preamps are compatible with piezo pickups, delivering high-quality sound.
Finally, you may also find preamps more compatible with magnetic pickups. That means you can connect it directly into the preamp without problems. However, these pickups offer more of an electric-guitar sound than an acoustic one – so not all models are compatible.
· Presentation (DI or Pedal)
Once you’re done finding a preamp compatible with your piezo, you may want to consider what type of preamp you want.
Some of them are DI, and others are pedal-oriented. Even then, you can find models that offer both at once. Here’s how they differ:
A DI is simply a preamp that reinforces the audio signal to make it of higher impedance. This ability usually comes with excellent feedback suppression and tone shaping, adding more functions to the preamp.
Most DI box preamps are usually input-oriented, with tons of XLR connections for the instruments and other devices.
A pedal preamp is a little more practical, meaning it can usually work as a DI box as well but with a few special effects. At the same time, a pedal allows you to mute and add a bypass to the sound if necessary.
Most pedal preamps are excellent to blend with mixer and interface lines. This adds even more sound quality, ensuring the perfect acoustic tone.
· Feedback Suppression
After considering the pickup and overall design, you’ll want to go directly into the preamp most essential features.
One of these is the feedback suppression. This is an essential function to have because it reduces unwanted feedback, a sound that makes the guitar distort.
The primary type of feedback suppression system is called a notch filter. It is the go-to choice if you want to keep the feedback to a minimum or eliminate it completely. The preamp you go for must have one of these.
· Effects & EQ.
Another excellent set of features to include in a preamp are the EQ. or equalizer, and extra effects. Some of these effects are reverb, looping, signal boost, and even a tone shaper or tuner. All these features will take your sound to another level.
You may also add special sound effects like compression, saturation control, gain control, and more. They will help you improve the sound of your acoustic guitar exponentially.
Want to enjoy all the effects a preamp may offer? Then be sure it offers easy-to-use controls.
We usually recommend simple dials and a pedal/button you can press with your feet. Switches are also excellent for controlling the preamp, especially for turning some effects on and off as necessary.
· Channels (XLR Inputs)
Then you can consider the channels or number of inputs available on the preamp.
It is common to find preamps with multiple XLR inputs. That means you can add phantom power, another instrument or mic line, and more.
Other inputs to consider include USB, S/PIDF, FireWire, and even DAW-friendly outputs. Anything that adds up to the practicality of your preamp is an input worth having.
· Construction & Design
Lastly, consider how well-made the whole preamp is. You will find a wide array of designs and builds out there, every one offering a different experience.
For example, some models are made of aluminum. This is an excellent material to consider if you want the preamp to last.
But even if it is sturdy, you’ll want the piece to also be good-looking. So don’t overlook those preamps that come with enticing designs, making it even more pleasant to play your acoustic guitar.
The FAQ of Acoustic Guitar Preamp
Having doubts is normal when you encounter such a level of complex and exciting preamps. That’s why we want to help you get rid of them.
The following section has some of the most popular questions people ask about acoustic guitar preamps. Then, you’ll find all the answers you need below. Take a look:
What is a preamp, and what does it do?
It merely grabs the audio signal coming from a guitar and transforms it into a low-frequency signal the amplifier can handle more easily. This produces higher-quality sound, less noise, and better consistency, making sure your audio gear can handle the sound smoothly.
Why do I need an acoustic guitar preamp?
Most guitars have a weak sound. It is not enough to reach the amplifier or speakers without causing distortion or sounding awkwardly low. With an acoustic guitar preamp, you can make it possible for this sound to be amplified, getting rid of any noise or volume problem.
It is important to note that some acoustic guitars with built-in preamp don’t need an exterior one. Similarly, guitars with magnetic pickups work well without one.
What is the difference between an amplifier and a preamp?
A preamp brings a weak guitar signal to line level. The amplifier brings the line-level signal into speaker-level sound. While the preamp makes the signal transformable, the amplifier makes it listenable.
Can I use a preamp without an amplifier?
No, there’s no way you can use a preamp without an amplifier. Either the audio gear won’t catch the sound at all, or the signal will have too much noise and distortion. You’ll need to hook up an amplifier obligatorily.
Do I still need a preamp if I have a mixer or digital interface?
No, most mixers and digital interfaces come with built-in preamp functions like notch filter, effects, and EQ. But even then, adding a preamp to your system even with a mixer or digital interface can improve the sound exponentially.
Can I use a receiver instead of a guitar preamp?
Similarly to a mixer and digital interface, you can power up a guitar with a receiver with no problems. However, the sound quality won’t be the same as that of a high-end preamp with an amplifier. A preamp will always sound a lot better.
How long does an acoustic guitar preamp last?
It depends on how much you use it and what type of use it is. For example, someone who uses the preamp once a week will make it last longer than someone who uses it every day. But overall, an acoustic preamp may last anywhere from 1 year up to 5 or 10 years with little use.
Does an acoustic guitar preamp work with other instruments?
Yes, some preamps are multi-instrument, meaning you can also pair them up with electric guitars and even basses.
Why does a preamp need a battery or power supply?
As an electrical device, it needs to get its power from somewhere. That’s why most of them are either powered by a set of batteries or a power supply. We usually recommend power supply models as they don’t run out and are more consistent.
What problems could I face when using an acoustic preamp?
These are several problems you may face with a preamp. But we’re going to show you only the main problems and their solutions. Here’s what we mean:
- Empty batteries (they run out fairly quickly, so we recommend always having spare ones around)
- Imprecise adjustments (if you aren’t experienced, you may have a problem adjusting the sound of the guitar)
- Too much feedback (when the notch filter or feedback suppression system of a preamp doesn’t work, it’s likely to cause unwanted quack sounds)
- No compatibility with the pickup (be sure that the preamp you’re using is compatible with the type of guitar pickup)
Want to boost your guitar sound exponentially? Then you need to consider our best acoustic guitar preamp reviews.
As long as you follow our buying guide and get rid of your doubts with the FAQ section, then you’re ready to pick the best acoustic guitar preamp out there. You won’t be disappointed.