A few years back, the British amplification company Orange entered the acoustic market with the introduction of the now-discontinued Acoustic Pre TC preamp. The Crush Acoustic 30 amplifier soon followed and, while both of those pieces of gear are very cool, they are targeted toward very specific players. Orange is now addressing more general acoustic amplification needs with its super practical new Acoustic Pedal preamp.
Orange has put its own spin on this latest entry into the growing market of similar devices. The Orange Acoustic Pedal ($169 street) is a single-ended class A preamp that runs at 18V, giving the JFET circuit plenty of headroom to provide a clean and low-noise signal. The pedal’s utilitarian circuitry makes it transparent, versatile, and especially useful. Its three-band EQ is easy to tweak: The fixed bass and treble knobs have a wide range, and the treble doesn’t get too harsh, even at the highest settings. The middle control is fine-tuned with notch control and Q-Factor knobs, both of which I found helpful in dialing in everything from a robust, full-bodied sound to a more neutral, supportive tone. These two controls, along with a phase reverse switch, help avoid feedback as well.
The Acoustic Pedal’s buffered effects loop is a nice feature that I took advantage of for running my looper and reverb pedals. The top-mounted balanced XLR output and the side-mounted 1/4-inch out can be used simultaneously, but I found the side of the pedal to be a little cramped when I used the effects loop and the 1/4-inch output together. This is a minor gripe that really has more to do with the pedal’s small size and light weight than a design flaw, so I’m happy to call it the price you pay for an easily portable pedal.
For plugging into either an amp or a DAW, I found the Acoustic Pedal to be a useful—and cool-looking!—addition to my setup that offers transparent EQ options whether using an undersaddle pickup or magnetic soundhole pickup. At $169 street, it’s a competitively priced alternative to the other acoustic preamps on the market and definitely worth considering.
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2021 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.