Geared for acoustic guitar players and singer/songwriters, the Zoom AC-3 is a DI which aims to recreate the natural sound of your guitar, restoring the tone that’s inevitably lost when using conventional acoustic pickups. The pedal features 16 Source presets, so whether your axe is a dreadnought or a parlor guitar, this device has the right sonic signature for you. Furthermore, you’ll find a Target knob housing 12 additional sonic signatures for additional tweaking. Say you were playing a Martin D-18 dreadnought guitar. With these two knobs, you could select “dreadnought” with the Source knob and “D-18” with the Target knob to hone in on your exact tone.
An onboard pickup selector switch lets you choose between magnetic and piezo, thereby tailoring the pedal’s mechanics for each type of system. A three-band equalizer helps you balance the tone of your instrument, while reverb, adjustable volume, anti-feedback control, a single-band compressor, and a built-in tuner are boons as well. In fact, you get two independent reverbs: One that can be dialed in at all times, and another within the effects section; so, if you’d like to apply a slap to your already-reverberated guitar sound, that is not only possible—it’s encouraged. The Zoom AC-3 also includes a boost switch to give you up to 9 dB of gain during lead breaks or solos. Moreover, whichever tone you choose, the high-quality, low-noise preamp will help you achieve a lush and resonant sound. The prominent volume knob controls both input gain and output level, eliminating the guesswork in matching sound levels.
A standard instrument input is provided for connecting to the pedal. For outputs, you’re given a choice: stereo 1/4" jacks (one of which functions as a headphone output), or two balanced XLR connections. This flexible setup facilitates routing to amplifiers, mixers, PAs, and audio interfaces. Moreover, a pre/post switch on the XLR section allows you to send straight, unprocessed signal to the house, if that’s your wish. Also, a USB port facilitates MIDI control, while allowing you to plug/record directly into computers. A Zoom FS01 footswitch, available separately, can be looped into the pedal to provide momentary control over effects parameters. You can power the Zoom AC-3 via the included power supply, with two AA batteries, or over USB.
Key Features at a Glance
- 16 source guitar-type/body presets for accurate tone re-creation
- 15 target guitar-type/body presets for tonal refinement
- 1 x 1/4” input
- 2 x XLR balanced DI outputs for connections to mixers, PAs, audio interfaces, and more
- 2 x 1/4” outputs for mono or stereo connection to guitar amps, headphones, and audio interfaces
- Low-noise preamp
- 9 effects with adjustable parameters
- Piezo/magnetic input pickup select
- Built-in compressor
- Easily-implemented 3-band equalizer
- Input and output gain/sensitivity adjustable via single volume knob (patent pending)
- Clipping indicator
- Anti-feedback control
- Boost switch for up to 9 dB of additional gain
- Built-in chromatic visual-LED tuner
- USB connection for firmware updates
- Three power options: 2 x AA batteries, the included Zoom AD-16 power adapter (9V DC in), or bus-power via micro-USB port