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Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator 

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BOSS is pleased to offer another "Authentic BOSS" Compact Pedal; the AC-3. How many times have you been onstage or in the studio with your electric g...Click To Read More About This Product

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Instant acoustic!

BOSS is pleased to offer another "Authentic BOSS" Compact Pedal; the AC-3. How many times have you been onstage or in the studio with your electric guitar, and wished that you'd brought an acoustic along? For musicians who travel light, hauling an extra guitar isn't practical. The AC-3 gives electric guitarists an acoustic effect with a tap of the pedal.

BOSS's COSM Acoustic-Modeling technology is beautifully showcased in this small but powerful pedal, which simulates an acoustic guitar much more precisely and realistically than previous technology has allowed. Derived from BOSS top-of-the-line AD-8, the AC-3 pedal simulates the sound of an acoustic guitar with incredible precision.

Four simulation modes are provided: Standard, Jumbo, Enhanced, and Piezo-equipped; the latter supplies that famous "cut through the mix" direct piezo sound. Previous compact acoustic-guitar modeling-pedals were promising, but now the bar has been raised with Boss AC-3.


True acoustic sound in a pedal from the masters at Boss! You'll be glad you put it in the cart!

Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
BossAC-3 Acoustic Simulator
 
4.2

(based on 74 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (43)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (17)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (5)

81%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Compact (5)
  • Responsive (3)
  • Versatile (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Outdoor events / games (4)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (7)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (3), Professional musician (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Works Great Only When Using Both Outputs

I play in multiple cover bands. I'm the only guitarist in most of them. In those situations, this pedal works great. Make no mistake, we're not talking about replacing anyone's precious acoustic....Read complete review

I play in multiple cover bands. I'm the only guitarist in most of them. In those situations, this pedal works great. Make no mistake, we're not talking about replacing anyone's precious acoustic. But for that quick change from acoustic to lead tones (e.g. Marshall Tucker's "Can't You See") it's great, and I get lots of compliments.

The key is you must use both outputs and the Line Out must go to a PA channel, powered monitor or acoustic amp. It's the only way the COSM emulator will sound anywhere near an acoustic. If you can't do this, don't bother, it will sound horrible through a guitar amp. Simple as that. But what's cool is when you use both outputs, it acts like an "AB box" in that your signal will go to the PA/monitor when engaged, and to your amp when disengaged. This allows you to pre-set your amp to a solo channel right after accompanying a verse on "acoustic" (think "Can't You See" again - I also do this for "Wonderwall").

I've had this pedal over 2 years now and I gig regularly. It's stood up to constant stomping (like a Boss does) and its tone is convincing enough for audiences, and does have an "acoustic feel" when you strum. Other guitar players that have heard me play have bought one after hearing it. Like I said - both outputs with Line Out to PA… or don't bother.

I did have trouble on some house PA systems with the pedal sending a noisy and/or ground loop signal to the house. I bought Radial's JDI passive DI box to correct this and it worked beautifully. So now, I'm sure to send a clean, balanced signal and doing that made the pedal sound even better (more definition).

Hope this review helps…. and no, I don't work for Boss although it would be cool if they comp'd me a pedal for this review!! : )

Peace.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Simply A Failure ...

Really, I'll say it again. Look at the other ratings, and please look for this issue online. I
I'm very disappointed in this unit. I just sent it back for a full...Read complete review

Really, I'll say it again. Look at the other ratings, and please look for this issue online. I
I'm very disappointed in this unit. I just sent it back for a full refund today. There is an incredibly loud "hiss" that is always present. You can reduce the "hiss" if you turn the volume on your guitar down to about 5, and dial back the "TOP" knob on the AC-3 to almost zero. However, when you do this, you loose any resemblence of a true acoustic guitar sound.

I have a Standard American Strat, a Delux American Strat, and a Delux American Tele. They all had the same result. I only play through monster cables (no shortage of quality there), and through the required Boss 9v adaptor. I tried all my guitars, different cables, and differnt adaptors. Same result.
Do you homework on this before buying it. You'll see comments like mine all over the internet.
Honestly, I wouldn't use this in a live, studio, or practice scenario even if it were give to me for free.

Reviewed by 74 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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(7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Too much hiss and noise

By Big Rand

from Traverse City MI

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

If must have an acoustic sound from an electric guitar, and your in a band on stage where the hiss isn't as noticable, I guess it would work ok. I returned mine.
Features are OK, but it has a very "Processed" Sound. Lots of "Hiss" in the background
No pedal is made better than a Boss.
If it didn't have so much background hiss, I would have rated it a 10

(6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Works Great Only When Using Both Outputs

By blujonz

from Westchester, NY

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

I play in multiple cover bands. I'm the only guitarist in most of them. In those situations, this pedal works great. Make no mistake, we're not talking about replacing anyone's precious acoustic. But for that quick change from acoustic to lead tones (e.g. Marshall Tucker's "Can't You See") it's great, and I get lots of compliments.

The key is you must use both outputs and the Line Out must go to a PA channel, powered monitor or acoustic amp. It's the only way the COSM emulator will sound anywhere near an acoustic. If you can't do this, don't bother, it will sound horrible through a guitar amp. Simple as that. But what's cool is when you use both outputs, it acts like an "AB box" in that your signal will go to the PA/monitor when engaged, and to your amp when disengaged. This allows you to pre-set your amp to a solo channel right after accompanying a verse on "acoustic" (think "Can't You See" again - I also do this for "Wonderwall").

I've had this pedal over 2 years now and I gig regularly. It's stood up to constant stomping (like a Boss does) and its tone is convincing enough for audiences, and does have an "acoustic feel" when you strum. Other guitar players that have heard me play have bought one after hearing it. Like I said - both outputs with Line Out to PA… or don't bother.

I did have trouble on some house PA systems with the pedal sending a noisy and/or ground loop signal to the house. I bought Radial's JDI passive DI box to correct this and it worked beautifully. So now, I'm sure to send a clean, balanced signal and doing that made the pedal sound even better (more definition).

Hope this review helps…. and no, I don't work for Boss although it would be cool if they comp'd me a pedal for this review!! : )

Peace.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

(6 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Simply A Failure ...

By Greg

from Maine

See all my reviews

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

Really, I'll say it again. Look at the other ratings, and please look for this issue online. I
I'm very disappointed in this unit. I just sent it back for a full refund today. There is an incredibly loud "hiss" that is always present. You can reduce the "hiss" if you turn the volume on your guitar down to about 5, and dial back the "TOP" knob on the AC-3 to almost zero. However, when you do this, you loose any resemblence of a true acoustic guitar sound.

I have a Standard American Strat, a Delux American Strat, and a Delux American Tele. They all had the same result. I only play through monster cables (no shortage of quality there), and through the required Boss 9v adaptor. I tried all my guitars, different cables, and differnt adaptors. Same result.
Do you homework on this before buying it. You'll see comments like mine all over the internet.
Honestly, I wouldn't use this in a live, studio, or practice scenario even if it were give to me for free.

(6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Works as advertised

By Rockerduck

from Marietta,GA.

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

This would be a 10 if I didn't have to experiment to find the sound. You need a boost pedal or similiar to bring it forward in the mix. I used a Boss GE-7 eq pedal to boost and tweak the eq. This makes it work with any guitar. I know more people know this as you can look at the prices on Ebay that these pedals are being scarfed up. I used my USA Strat w/lace sensors, a 72 Thinline tele RI with humbucking pup's, and my Gibson Humminbird. Into a Deluxe Reverb RI, and a Behringer 450 acoustic amp. I made all the electrics sound good and then used this pedal to enhance my Hummingbird. Lastly, I use my Feluxe Deluxe Teleacoustic guitar into the Deluxe Reverb with this pedal and eq and nailed the acoustic guitar sound. Don't give up. Try this.

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Very useful

By Dr. A

from San Juan, PR

Pros

  • Compact
  • Easy to set up
  • Line Out Direct To Pa

Cons

  • Piezo Lacks Luster

Best Uses

  • Home Practice
  • Small gigs
  • Worship service

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

I bought this to stop switching guitars mid set. It has helped me a lot! I find it works best with single coil guitars or humbuckers w/ coil splitting to get more of a "authentic" acoustic sound. The direct output works great with the PA system or with a acoustic amp. If you are using the PA you better have good monitors. I recommend using a separate amp. Overall it sound ok but the Piezo mode is no to impressive. For me the best modes are the standard and jumbo settings.
I also recommend putting it first or second in the signal chain so that once activated it mutes everything else in the chain and you just get clean acoustic sound. This helps a lot when going from clean acoustic to lead guitar since you can have both pedals on simultaneously. All you have to do is disengage the AC-3 and you have your drive already present no need to stomp around.

I use this a lot and I recommend it if you don't want to bring so much gear to gigs.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Stop Using Your Amp With This Pedal

By Please Don't Use A Guitar Amp

from Chicago

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

This is a great pedal but please, please don't use your guitar amp to run an acoustic simulator. Would you run your acoustic through a standard guitar amp? I run this through a couple of effect pedals with a tube pre-amp (Must have an XLR out) and then straight to the PA. The tube pre-amp really thickens the tone. Your able to reduce the level on the simulator, thereby reducing the noise and with the tube pre-amp bring back the volume and thickness. You can get amazingly close to the sound of real acoustic using this set up.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

As Good As It Gets!

By Rabidclam24

from Eastern Washington

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

I was unlucky enough to have a factory defect that stopped working after a few months but I'm going in to get it replaced today. However I have some things to say about the pedal from when it did work. I have an HH Ibanez AX S42 (Two Humbuckers) and I just placed the pedal directly after the wah in my chain, so that I could easily switch between clean, distorted, and acoustic. Initially I didn't notice much of a difference, but when I plugged it into a PA System it really did sound almost perfect! The AC-3 is as close as you can get to an acoustic sound as you can get with a standard solid electric guitar. So when I play a gig I just put it in my chain and use the line out function to bypass my halfstack directly into the house speaker system and it sounds great. However, it sounds muuuuch better out of a single coiled guitar, like my friend's strat. It's BOSS, so its indestructibly built like a tank, it sounds great, its very simple (C'Mon, 5 knobs) One selects the body type, one (Top) let's you dial in the high end presence, another (Body) dials in the bottom end of the sound that would exit the sound hole of an acoustic guitar, and the last is a stacked knob that controls the effect level, skirted by a reverb knob. Overall its a great purchase. 4.5

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Save The Acoustics!!!

By Gear Junkie

from Central, NJ

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Pros

  • Less Gear To Carry
  • Typical Boss Quality
  • Wide Tonal Choice

Cons

  • Not An Acoustic Guitar

Best Uses

  • Live gigs
  • Rehearsal
  • Studio

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

So you have a really good acoustic guitar (or several acoustics if you are a gear junkie) and you are a musician who gigs regularly, why would you want to expose your good acoustic to the random elements of gigging? If you are a touring musician with your own crew, bring whatever you want, but if you are playing club dates, this pedal is a really good option instead of trashing your acoustic guitars. Bad enough your good electrics take a beating, but hey, a solid slab guitar is just more durable. Plus, if you are carrying a ton of gear, why carry another guitar?? The Boss AC3 is no replacement for a real acoustic, but a practical pedal for those who want or need an acoustic sound that is better than decent quality. What I like about the pedal is that it has a wide range of acoustic guitar types and tones and I can quick change sounds live. I also like that I can use my other pedal effects with my AC3 and get unique sounds that I couldn't get with my acoustic guitar with an electric (Piezo) pick-up as acoustic pick-ups aren't set to push the same type of sounds as electric pickups. The downside of using an AC3 is if you finger pick and like the feel of finger picking an acoustic, you lose that on your electric, but if you don't care or don't play a style that requires extensive finger picking then this pedal is a good option. The pedal is typical solid Boss quality and the price isn't a killer for a new pedal and I've seen these pedals used on a pretty regular basis. Everyone once in awhile I take an acoustic out, but I find more often than not I just use my AC3.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Boo. Hiss.

By Vernonstock

from Virginia

See all my reviews

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

I wanted to love this pedal, but the noise was just unacceptable. The hiss swelled every time I picked or strummed. It might work if the guitar is buried in the mix of a four- or five-piece band, but the other musicians better be playing noisy tube amps. I brought it back for a refund. Twice.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Amazing! Love it!

By DonnyEd

from Brownwood, TX

See all my reviews

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

I received this pedal as a birthday present a few months ago and I must say I love this pedal. I play this pedal with my Sammy Hagar Yamaha guitar and my Fender 100 watt amp. I know you get a lot of complaints from people not able to get a realistic acoustic sound from this little guy, but let me assure you that you can. I throw my guitar onto the neck pick-up and as for the actual pedal I play on standard mode with the reverb at about 1 o'clock, the body at 11 o'clock and the top at 12 o'clock. The trick to this pedal is that you have to give it enough volume. If you don't you can't actually hear what the pedal is doing, so it sounds bad.As far as adding versatility to my rig is concerned, this pedal is unbeatable. I play mostly Christian music, which is almost always acoustic guitar driven, but also has an electric solo pretty often. This pedal has allowed me a new range of songs in my set list now that I can lead off with acoustic, but switch to electric when it's time to rip up a solo. For examples of the kinds of songs I can now play as the only guitar player listen to Hillsong United's stuff. Great versatility. Get this pedal. It's way worth it.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

With the right tweaking... not too bad

By Boomurl

from Quebec city

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

A few days ago I bought that pedal from my usual music dealer who recommendend it instead of a possible Epiphone LesPaul Ultra II with acoustic integrated sound. His advice is usually very good. Well this time I thought he was wrong. The same day I wanted to return the pedal, so hard it was to get anything decent from it. A few days passed and I thought I would give it another try. Meanwhile I had discover on a parallel research that using my new Gretsch Electromatic G5122 with a MXR Micro Amp pedal (signal boost) was giving the pick-ups the kick they needed to sound great (no more apetite to upgrade to costly TV Jones PU?s). I thought maybe I should try it before the AC3 in the pedal chain since that pedal was absorbing a fair bit of the signal strength when switched on. Well Bingo! It changed my opinion on the pedal, I could get a fairly decent acoustic-like sound from it, more output, more brightness, a little more of everything. But, but : only with my Strat (FMT American De Luxe HSS), not the Gretsch and only on the neck pick-up or better, with the neck/middle p.u. combination ( I agree here with previous posts that humbucker type PU?s don?t sound too good with this pedal). I also found that the pedal had to be tweaked a lot, to me the best setting so far is the Jumbo sound at full effect volume, body at 11 o?clock, top at 10 and a bit of reverb. The whole thing has to go through a P.A. system, not the tube amp. Another hint from my dealer is to pass the signal through a direct box with a XLR cable to the console to get rid of some of the background noise. I think I may have decreased that noise with the signal boost in the first place. Of course this is all personal taste but it could give some ideas to those who want to throw the AC-3 in the garbage in the first place.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Very accurate!

By CS93

from Monticello, GA

See all my reviews

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

I bought one of these because i was tired of having to switch from playing electric to having to walk up to an awkard stand so that i could play acoustic. This pedal has alot to offer. The setting i use most is the jumbo setting. This really gives me a bright, cut-through-mix, sound that isn't too harsh or "pointy" sounding. I also like that it has a separate output for the acoustic sound, which makes it easier for switching b/w electric and acoustic. I also like the piezo setting, it makes the guitar sound like a dobro (sp?). It's definitely worth the money!

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Returned - Tone Sucking

By GC

from NY

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

Was hoping to use this for an occasional acoustic sound while gigging without having to bring yet another guitar. The hum this pedal generates is ridiculous. I inserted a digital in unit which solved that problem. Unfortunately, the pedal when not activated sucks the tone out of the guitar worse than I've ever experienced. Doesn't matter where I have it in the pedal chain. Had to return it. Very disappointing because the acoustic sound is pretty decent.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

LOVE IT!!! BUY IT!!!

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

I have played for 30+ years. Many different styles. This pedal should be in your board. Made very well and will last forever. The sound is awesome. Allows you to adjust to different types of Acoustic Guitar Sound. Reverb too. Not to complex to use either. I enjoy this pedal and you will too.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Wish I had bought this YEARS ago!

By Karl

from Pierce, NE

See all my reviews

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Extra Output
  • Voice Selection

Cons

  • none

Best Uses

  • Performance

Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

I play in a Praise Band at our church, where a lot of the songs start out acoustic, then build and rock out at the chorus. As I am currently the only guitar player in the group, I've had to pick & choose which guitar to play....not anymore!! What sold me was watching the video demo on the BOSS website. If you run the line out separately through the system, it acts like a bypass & you can leave your other pedals (overdrive, distortion, delay, etc.) set for your electric sound.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Not quite what I was looking for

By Walt

from Billings, MT

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Built well
  • Simple Controls

Cons

  • Artificial Sounding
  • Strange Tone

Best Uses

    Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

    My experience was that this pedal seemed ok with a single coil pick up, using my strat, but sounded pretty terrible if I used a guitar with humbuckers. The tone is too twangy and bright, even if the top the control is dialed down. If you dial it up hang on…Ovation on steroids! In the end it took a clean sounding electric and made it sound like a strange sounding clean electric. Best results were using the line out function to go directly into the pa with the acoustic production from the pedal. If it was in a effect chain it was bad.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    pretty good stuff

    By angelo

    from Montreal, QC

    Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

    Hello people... this is my take on the AC3. I use this pedal thru a PA system (Mackie mixer and powered JBLs tops and subs). The order of connection is AC3-Boss EQ GE7- Radial ProDI using a Telecaster with a Blue Lace sensor in the neck position. Although this pedal will never sound like a miced Taylor acoustic guitar, it does a good job at replicating the sound of a plugged acoustic. When you need that sound once in a while during your set, to me, its good enough. As for the hiss, I was previously using a cheap Behringer active DI and it was hissing. It was annoying but nothing you could hear during the songs. I finally decided to invest in a good DI and chose the Radial ProDI (which is passive). What a difference!!!! super quiet. I use the boss EQ to have better EQ control, not to reduce the hiss (if that could work at all). Also, the Lace Sensor pickups are noiseless. So in response to people saying the Ac3 is a noisy pedal, try it with noiseless single coil pickup if possible, buy a good passive DI and plug it thru the PA.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    3.0

    Like it, but don't love it

    By dustable

    from montery ca

    Pros

    • Acoustic sound

    Cons

      Best Uses

        Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

        So, I've never used another acoustic simulator so I have nothing to compare this too, I can only give you my thoughts

        Positive First: This does have a very acoustic sound, which is useful cause my band plays cover songs and you can shift back and forth seamlessly between electric and acoustic sounds without switching guitars. In fact it's next to the distortion on my pedal board so I can go straight form acoustic to crunchy in one stomp.

        Now the negative: It has a very acoustic sound, but it does NOT have a beautiful sound. The biggest issue I have is even turned way up it cuts the volume of my guitar... so I both lose volume AND since the pedal is cranked the tone is just too sharp and there is lots of hiss.

        Bottom line... it's a useful tool, but don't get your hopes too high for sound quality... and definitely don't try to use it in the studio... you're better off micing the cheapest acoustic in the world ;)

        • Was this a gift?:
        • Yes

        (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        makes my Strat --> Acoustic!

        By Geoffrey Fish

        from SE Texas

        See all my reviews

        Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

        I play in an acoustic duo and decided to try this with my Strat in leiu of my acoustic guitar with a Fishman soundhole pickup. Amazing, the AC-3 and Strat sound more "acoustic" than the real acoustic guitar. People do a double take when they see me playing the Strat, getting that full lush acoustic tone. I love it!! And the bonus is that leads are soo much easier to play on the Strat than on the acoustic!! I've been using it about a month now. Awesome!!

        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        1.0

        Too much noise

        By realsounds

        from South Jersey

        Comments about Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator:

        The noise is too annoying. When you stop playing the noise lingers as if put through a noise gate and slowly fades. Not a bad concept if it wasn't for the noise problem. But it's unusable.

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