6 Best Acoustic Simulator Pedals In 2021 (Mini, Budget & High End)

Best Acoustic Simulator Pedals

Are you tired of traveling around with your acoustic guitar just so you can play that one song in your set that needs it?

Maybe you’re looking to reduce the number of guitar changes you have to make in your set.

Or it could be that your acoustic guitar doesn’t have any electronics and you want to play acoustic songs live.

All of these can be solved by one pedal: an acoustic simulator.

In this article we’re going to help turn your electric guitar into a convincing acoustic imitator as we look at the best acoustic simulator pedals in 2021.

Snapshot: Top 6 Acoustic Simulator Pedals in 2021

  1. Boss AC-3
  2. Mooer Acoustikar
  3. JOYO Wooden SoundBest Mini/Best Budget
  4. Line 6 HX Effects: Acoustic Simulator Model – Best High End
  5. Zoom MS-50G: Acoustic Simulator Model
  6. Hotone Omni ACBest Overall

Shopping for a Great Sounding Acoustic Simulator Pedal

When I was a kid, I saw a video of the band, Rush, performing their song “Nobody’s Hero” live. In this video Alex Lifeson played a PRS electric guitar, but he made it sound like an acoustic. I was amazed and confused at how he pulled this sound off. I came to find out that he used a Piezo pickup, and that you could also achieve this with effects pedals.

In compiling this list, I considered the most likely ways that guitarists use these pedals, which is predominantly in live settings, like Alex Lifeson did. Unfortunately, there are few, if any, acoustic simulators that sound exactly like a well-built acoustic guitar. For this reason, acoustic simulator pedals are used on stage more often than the studio.

The pedals on this list are not acoustic work stations. These are simulators, specifically designed to alter an electric guitar to resemble the sound of an acoustic when you’re playing on stage. There are options here that are small and cheap for the one-off song in your set. There are also multi-effects pedals that use the newest tech to emulate an acoustic, as well as pair it with other effects.

The best acoustic simulator pedal is the Hotone Omni AC as it works across multiple instruments, is user friendly and has fifteen different presets to choose from. While the Hotone Omni AC only has two controls, these dials allow you to tune in your volume and switch between presets.

However the Hotone Omni may not suit everybody so we showcase six options so whatever your budget or need for an acoustic simulator pedal may be, there is a pedal on this list that will do the job for you. Here are our top picks.

The Best Acoustic Simulator Pedals in 2021

1. Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator Pedal

BOSS AC-3 Acoustic Simulator Pedal for Electric Guitars Bundle with Blucoil Slim 9V Power Supply AC...
30 Reviews
BOSS AC-3 Acoustic Simulator Pedal for Electric Guitars Bundle with Blucoil Slim 9V Power Supply AC...
  • REPRODUCES AUTHENTIC ACOUSTIC GUITAR SOUNDS - The BOSS AC-3 pedal utilizes advanced Composite Object Sound Modeling (COSM) technology, which analyzes the original sound's electrical and physical...

This updated version of the popular AC-2 from Boss not only gives your four different acoustic guitar voicings, but it also includes a built in reverb. This is sure to be an instant classic that you can’t go wrong with for any electro-acoustic needs.

Build

The AC-3 is housed in the standard, rugged, built-for-life enclosure that every boss pedal comes in, but it houses multiple effects. It has four different acoustic voices (called modes on this pedal) including Standard, Jumbo, Enhanced, and Piezo. I’ll describe more on how these modes sound shortly.

It also has a decent sounding, digital plate reverb to add some dimension to your acoustic sound. All of this is achieved through Boss’ COSM technology. The pedal also has a Line Out so that you can rout for DI sounds in conjunction with your electric rig. Like all Boss pedals, the AC3 comes with Buffered bypass.

Controls

YouTube video

Even though the AC3 has both Reverb and acoustic simulations going on under the same hood, the controls are easy to use and understand. The first set of controls is a bi-layer of Level and Reverb, which control the mix of the Reverb sound as well as the Master volume of the effect. The Body knob controls the low end response and the resonance that would come from the body of an acoustic guitar.

The Top knob controls the attack and resonance that would come from the top wood of acoustic guitars, and as a result controls the high end frequencies. The Mode dial lets you choose between the different acoustic voices: Standard, Jumbo, Enhanced, and Piezo.

Sounds

The AC3 sounds about as convincing as one could hope for out of an acoustic simulator pedal. To my ears, it sounds as if an acoustic guitar had a Fishman pickup or some other high quality pickup attached to it. It runs well in front of a PA or an electric guitar amplifier. The ability to shape the low and high end frequencies makes it useful for a wide array of stages.

The four different voices also give you the ability to shape the tone further, with the Standard sounding the most traditional, like a Grand Auditorium. The Jumbo adds some extra low end to the Standard sound, while the Piezo imitates the famous pickup and adds some compression. Finally, the enhanced setting adds some extra gain and midrange to help you stand out in a mix.

Spec Summary

  • Effect Type: Acoustic Simulator
  • Signal: Digital
  • Power Requirements: 9V DC
  • Dimensions: 2.87 x 5”
  • Features: Reverb, 4 Modes, Line Out

An updated classic acoustic simulator pedal

Final Thoughts on the Boss AC-3

The Boss AC-3 goes the extra mile that its predecessor needed by adding reverb. This makes the pedal not only better for use on smaller, already cramped pedal boards, but also more desirable in imitating great acoustic sounds. This should be the first acoustic simulator pedal that you look at.

2. Mooer Acoustikar Acoustic Simulator Pedal

MOOER Acoustic Guitar Effect Pedal, 2.25 x 4.25 x 1.75 (Acoustikar)
174 Reviews

Now that you are familiar with the Boss AC-3, you will start to see its influence over other acoustic simulator pedals on the market today. The Acoustikar from Mooer has most of the same features/controls as the AC-3, but houses it in an unbeatably small enclosure.

Build

If small is what you need, then the Acoustikar might be the pedal for you. The pedal is made of metal and measures in at 1.75 x 4.25 x 2.25”, making it perfect for tiny travel pedal boards. It features three different acoustic guitar modes including Standard, Jumbo, and Piezo (sound familiar?) and has true bypass. This makes for a great option if you already have a buffer pedal on your board.

Controls

YouTube video

The largest control on the Acoustikar controls your Top end response and adds more attack to your tone. There are two smaller controls, one for Body and one for Volume, which control the low end response and the overall output respectively.

In the top corner of the pedal is a little switch that allows you to choose the voice or type of acoustic guitar that you want the pedal to emulate, including Standard, Jumbo, and Piezo. The pedal has a single input and output, as well as a switch for true bypass when you turn the pedal off.

Sounds

Of all the pedals on this list, the size and price of this pedal reflects the most in its sound. It’s definitely the thinnest and least realistic replication of an acoustic guitar sound and wouldn’t hold up in a studio setting unless you’re going for a small sound stylistically. That being said, it works well enough to function in a live rig with some diligent EQ-ing.

The pedal makes you sounds like an electric that has been set with an EQ pedal to sound like an acoustic. Not the best, but not the worst sounding pedal around. You get what you pay for in the world of acoustic simulator pedals.

Spec Summary

  • Effect Type: Acoustic Simulator
  • Signal: Digital
  • Power Requirements: 9V
  • Dimensions: 1.75 x 4.25 x 2.25”
  • Features: True Bypass

Small, familiar, and affordable acoustic simulator pedal.

Final Thoughts on the Mooer Acoustikar

I have to admit that I am a little disappointed in the sound quality of this pedal, considering that Mooer makes a lot of great miniature pedals. The size and convenience factor, along with the price, are what landed it on this list. If you need a passable acoustic sound for just a few songs in your set, and you’re looking to pull this stunt off on a budget, then the Acoustikar will get the job done for you.

3. JOYO Wooden Sound – Best Mini and Best Budget Acoustic Simulator Pedal

Whereas the Mooer tried to replicate a classic pedal in a small enclosure, the JOYO Wooden Sound does one sound, and it does it the best it can in a small pedal format. Don’t want to lose your favorite setting? The pedal has a cover for your controls, too!

Build

The Wooden sound is made as part of JOYO’s Iron Man series of pedals, which are well built, miniature, and affordable effects units. While most acoustic simulator pedals offer at least a couple of acoustic voicings, the Wooden Sound does the “wooden sound”, and that’s it. It features true bypass switching and comes with a hatch that protects both your settings and the pedal itself, making it a great option to take on the road.

Controls

At first glance of the Wooden Sound’s controls, you might think it to be a parametric EQ or an Overdrive, but the three band EQ settings are quite useful when dialing in a good acoustic tone. There are controls for Bass, Middle, and Treble so that you can make the acoustic tone work no matter what guitar or amplifier you are working with.

Finally, the Volume control effects the overall output from the pedal. Beyond the single True Bypass switch and the individual input/output, there isn’t much more to this pedal. It is simple and effective.

Sounds

Does this pedal live up to its name? I’m happy to report that it does! I’m not surprised that JOYO was able to pull off such a simple and effective pedal at its price point. The compression in the pedal is lifelike, but usable for even some heavy strumming.

It works great no matter what kind of pickup you through in front of it, and while it definitely sounds better in front of a PA or FRFR speaker, it will work well in front of a clean electric guitar amplifier.

Spec Summary

  • Effect Type: Acoustic Simulator
  • Signal: Digital
  • Power Requirements: DC 9V
  • Dimensions:2.87 x 1.69 x 1.97”
  • Features: True Bypass, Control Cover

The best, small and budget friendly acoustic simulator.

Final Thoughts on the JOYO Wooden Sound

JOYO has done it again. If you need an affordable, small, or easy to use acoustic simulator pedal, you can’t go wrong with the Wooden Sound. It’s built like a tank and it sounds convincing enough to work in live gigs no matter what kind of guitar or amplifier you’re using. This is a great sounding little pedal for the money.

4. Line 6 HX Effects: Acoustic Simulator Model – Best High End

Line 6 HX Effects Multi Pedal Black
56 Reviews
Line 6 HX Effects Multi Pedal Black
  • 100+ HX effects for your pedalboard—run up to 9 simultaneously

Individual pedals aren’t the only place that you will find great acoustic simulator pedals. In this review I’ll be looking at the Acoustic Simulator model in the HX Effects unit and how Line 6 has pushed the classic Boss AC2 effect forward.

Build

Any of the Line 6 HX units including the Helix, Helix LT, HX Stomp, and HX Edit will have this model, so you can check those out if you’re interested. However, I’m looking at the HX Effects specifically here because it is a great example of a multi-effects unit that just has effect models and as a result is slightly less expensive.

The HX Effects has over 100 effects models built in, of which you can use up to nine at once. This means that you can pair a number of other effects with the Acoustic Simulator model, such as reverb, compression, and EQ that many acoustic simulators try to include in their designs.

The HX Effects also has added effects loops so that you can patch in your favorite pedals, as well as MIDI controller capability. This can essentially be your whole pedal board and signal router for gigs.

Controls

YouTube video

The controls/scribble strips on the HX Effects are pretty extensive, so if you want to learn more about how it works, watch this video series. The controls for the Acoustic Simulator model itself are quite simple though. There are parameters for Mode, which include the same four modes found on the AC2 and AC3 – Standard, Jumbo, Enhanced, and Piezo.

There are also parameters for Body, Top, and Level like the original pedal. What is new is the addition of a Shimmer control, which adds motion/modulation to the upper harmonics to resemble string to string interaction on real acoustic guitars.

Sounds

The big question here is whether or not the AC2 model in the HX Effects sounds as good as the original. While I haven’t played the original, sound comparisons online show that they are extremely similar. I would have to give the edge to the HX Effects for including the shimmer effect, which really adds a much needed layer of depth to the sound.

The fact that this pedal also lets you combine other effects like Reverb, Modulation, and Delay, make it an extremely versatile effects unit.

Spec Summary

  • Effect Type: Multi-Effect
  • Signal: Digital
  • Power Requirements: 2 Amps, DC
  • Dimensions:7.9 x 10.8 x 3”
  • Features: 100+ Effects, Extensive Routing, Added Shimmer

Best Multi-Effects unit with Acoustic Simulator

Final Thoughts on the HX Effects

The sound of the Acoustic Simulator Model itself can be found in other pedals like the Boss AC2 and Boss AC3, so if you only need this specific effect, the HX Effects may be overkill, especially considering the premium price point. However, if you’re looking for an expansive effects unit that will let you cover the gauntlet of electric AND acoustic tones, the HX Effects and other Line 6 Helix products are sure to get you there.

5. Zoom MS-50G: Acoustic Simulator Model

Sale
Zoom MS-50G MultiStomp Guitar Effects Pedal, Single Stompbox Size, 100 Built-in effects, Tuner
260 Reviews
Zoom MS-50G MultiStomp Guitar Effects Pedal, Single Stompbox Size, 100 Built-in effects, Tuner
  • Easy-to-use interface includes LCD, footswitch, and analog-style cursor keys/parameter knobs

If the Line 6 HX Effects is too much in terms of price or effects, but you still want to have a pedal that lets you customize your acoustic simulator sound, then the Zoom MS-50G is worth considering. This smaller, affordable effects modeler has great effects as well as amp modeling.

Build

The Zoom MS-50G stands apart from other effects/amp modelers due to the fact that it is a single pedal design. This makes it super friendly for even the smallest pedal boards, or as a backup rig to throw into your gig bag. In addition to the acoustic simulator, the MS-50G has over 55 other effects models that you can combine with the acoustic tone to get lifelike and captivating sounds.

It has stereo out as well for some signal routing flexibility. All of this is navigated through the LCD screen, which seems a bit dated in its look, but it does help keep the cost down.

Controls

The pedal itself has a number of different controls that let you navigate through the modeler’s lists of effects and amp models through the LCD Screen. To learn more about how the pedal works, watch this video. The Acoustic Simulator model itself is very straight forward in the controls department. There are parameters for Top, Body, and Level. That’s it!

However, the MS-50G has so many other effects, such as EQ, Reverb, and Boosts that you can shape the sound of the acoustic simulator in a number of different ways.

Sounds

The tones that this pedal produce remind me of an acoustic guitar with an active pickup installed. It’s not the most lifelike, but it works well enough to get you through a few songs in your gig. What is more exciting is the fact that the pedal can be used to combine the acoustic simulator with a number of other effects that other single effect pedals simply can’t match up to.

The Top and Body controls are pretty expansive and are best set somewhere in the middle unless you have a really dynamic sounding guitar.

Spec Summary

  • Effect Type: Amp Modeler/Multi-Effects
  • Signal: Digital
  • Power Requirements: DC 9V (500mA)
  • Dimensions: 3.07 x 3.77 x 6.29
  • Features: Acoustic Simulator, Reverbs, EQ, Compression, Direct recording

Fifty effects models in a single pedal design

Final Thoughts on the Zoom MS-50G: Acoustic Simulator Model

The model within this pedal is slightly limited compared to its competitors like the HX Effects, however the sound quality and ability to combine it with other effects models makes it a great unit. Especially considering that this is only 20% of the price of more advanced effects and amp modelers, I would at least recommend that gigging musicians consider this as a backup right, should their guitar pedalboard or amplifier go down.

6. Hotone: Omni AC – Best Overall Acoustic Simulator Pedal

Sale
Hotone Omni AC Simulation Guitar Bass Effects Pedal
26 Reviews
Hotone Omni AC Simulation Guitar Bass Effects Pedal
  • 15 High Quality Acoustic Simulations including Steel Strings, Nylon Strings, Acoustic Basses, Double Basses and more, 24-bit A/D/A Conversion

Thankfully, simple, single effects pedals, and extensive multi-effects pedals are not your only options for great acoustic simulator pedals. The Hotone Omni AC is a dedicated effects unit that works for guitar and bass players with multiple guitar voicings and a modern, but user friendly design at an appropriate price point.

Build

The Omni AC is a standard sized effects pedal that has fifteen different presets/guitar modes for you to choose from. It is a well-built, metal pedal with an OLED display screen that is satisfying to navigate through and easy to see on dark stages. It also has an XLR and Headphone jacks for plugging straight into a console or home practice respectively. It even has a USB connection for extensive editing at home with the free software.

Controls

YouTube video

The pedal itself only has two controls: one for Master Volume and one for Function. These two dials allow you to tune in your volume and switch between presets. The footswitch is assignable and can be used to control any parameter within the pedal, making it a great always-on effect if you’re using it for your entire set and you want to switch between presets. There is a Lift/Ground switch to help combat feedback as well.

Sounds

This is by far the most realistic and expansive acoustic simulator pedal available today. The sounds that come out of this pedal are about as realistic as you can hope for. There are presets for two OM style acoustics, two Nylon string guitars, Grand Auditorium, Hummingbird, Mandolin, two Dreadnoughts, a Jumbo, as well as Acoustic bass and Double Bass.

The Mandolin as one of my favorites, especially when you use a capo high up on the neck. While other acoustic simulators sound kind of fake, this pedal sounds like an acoustic guitar that has a microphone in front of it. The included EQ is also really helpful to helping you shape your tone, as well as the fact that it can boost or cut up to 12 db.

Spec Summary

  • Effect Type: Acoustic Simulator
  • Signal: Digital
  • Power Requirements: 9V DC
  • Dimensions: 4 x 2.5 x 2”
  • Features: Steel String, Nylon String, and Bass Modes. OLED Screen, EQ

Acoustic simulator for both bass and guitar.

Final Thoughts on the Hotone: Omni AC

Not only does the Hotone Omni AC model multiple different acoustic guitars well, it also works for mandolin and bass, making this pedal one that lives up to its Omni name. I was somewhat disappointed in the selection of acoustic simulators on the market in terms of sound quality and selection, but this pedal gives me hope for the technology. This could be a standalone unit or could be easily integrated onto a packed pedalboard and it comes in at an accessible price point. This is easily the best acoustic simulator pedal available in 2021.

Make Gigging Simpler With an Acoustic Simulator Pedal

Gigging musicians have a difficult job. Not only do they have to learn hefty amounts of material, but they often have to lug around a lot of gear.

Picking up the best acoustic simulator pedal that you can afford not only means that there is one less guitar you need to bring, but it also means fewer guitar changes and a streamlined workflow on stage. I’ve been using the acoustic simulation model in my Line 6 HX Stomp and it is truly a game changer. I now only ever take my Acoustic Electric Guitar out to dedicated acoustic gigs.

While the technology is not quite to the point of obsoleting acoustic guitars, I think that is a good thing. Acoustic guitars have their time and place, such as in the studio or when it’s the only guitar you need on stage.

However, when you are playing a diverse and demanding setlist, having a passable acoustic tone simulated in a pedal makes life as a musician much easier. The fact that this effect comes in every shape, size, and price imaginable, there is a great acoustic simulator pedal out there for every kind of player and every rig.

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