An all-in-one acoustic guitar pedal
If you have seen me perform either on the streets or in a bar, you may have noticed that I never perform without this special something. Yes my guitar is one of them; the other thing I never go without is my trusty Roland AD-10 Acoustic Multieffects pedal. It includes compression, delay, reverb, chorus, equaliser, feedback suppression, volume boost and a tuner that help me play at my best. Here are some of my feelings on the pedal unit.
The AD-10 comes with a 3-band equaliser complete with a low frequency cutoff that you can manually adjust, a mid frequency knob that you can specify to handle low-mid or high-mid frequencies, a treble knob, a kind of mid-high, air giving knob they call “presence”, and a level knob to control your overall equaliser volume. In my opinion, this is one of the most useful features there is for acoustic guitarists of any play style. With the mid-frequency shifting, I can effectively control where my percussion snare hits will pop out of properly without affecting the string volume too much.
Another life saving feature is the compression effect: you should always perform live with some sort of compression to balance out your strumming sounds, and with percussive fingerstyle guitar this is even more true to balance out the irregularities in volume with string and top playing. There are 2 types of compression, soft and hard, along with a knob that controls the level of compression you get. Sure, it may not be studio compression, but for what you’ll need on the road, it’s got you well covered.
The AD-10 also has a colour effect which they call acoustic resonance. This simulates body resonance and enhances your guitar’s natural resonance sound to be heard better over whichever pickup system you have installed on your guitar. There are natural, warm and bright settings, meant to represent what type of wood tones you might expect to find in different guitars. No more wondering if you should have gotten a mahogany body if yours is a spruce; give them both a try on your stage!
It also comes with a multi-track looping feature; something that I rarely use in performance due to my tendency of doing "manual looping" with my hands. But if you are a loop guitarist, you could certainly layer dense, complex sounds that stack with the other effects in this preamp.
There is a feature called anti-feedback reduction, it is a feedback suppressor effect of sorts, allowing you to eliminate hum by first detecting the hum’s frequency and then bringing that frequency down on your signal. However in practice I still find myself battling feedback despite having this on while playing outdoors. I believe that though this does work at lower levels of feedback, it certainly is no silver bullet for the dreaded hum that we face on stage.
Another issue I have with this is the ability to additionally change knob levels by pressing either an up or down button. Although this may help with fine tuning levels, I don’t have any issues with controlling single percentage point changes with the knobs. It also can create confusion if a sound engineer were to look at the knobs, only to realise to his dismay that the actual levels were way off because they had been adjusted with the buttons instead of the knobs.
If you are looking for a portable, battery-powered, high quality pedal for live acoustic performances then this is the thing for you. Provided that you are able to live with the hefty cost of the unit! It does not come cheap, but is well worth what you’ll pay for because even if you purchase separate units that do the job, they’ll likely end up costing you much more anyway. I highly recommend this as your go-to pedal for acoustic gigs.