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June 2017 Giveaway

Zoom A3 Acoustic Guitar Preamp and Effects Processor Reviews

4.0 stars based on 33 customer reviews
Questions about the Zoom A3 Acoustic Guitar Preamp and Effects Processor?

Questions about the Zoom A3 Acoustic Guitar Preamp and Effects Processor?

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  • James Bonnett
    from April 22, 2017

    Boost button popped off after a few years

    I liked the sounds but principally used it as a pre amp for my banjo & used the boost button for leads.
    Recently this button popped off like a cork. Disappointed...

  • Jeff
    from Rochester, MN April 11, 2017Music Background:
    Solo Acoustic Artist

    Best Choice I ever made.

    After receiving the Zoom A3 I was able to simply plug and play with my Ovation and the modeling was simply amazing. It brought out sounds that only were achieved with very high end vintage acoustics. The effects are great and really took my solo gigs to a whole new level. If you haven't had the chance to play through one of these you are really missing out. Get one and I am very sure you won't be disappointed.

  • Customer
    from December 23, 2016

    Great preamp

    Love this preamp. It's perdect for my application - small acoustic group. Allows me to control my sound instead of leaving it to the board. I do wish I could chain at least one more effect.

  • Artie Langston
    from Jefferson City, MO November 21, 2016Music Background:
    Full time professional musician, private teacher, and college music professor for nearly 50 years.

    Really versitile!

    I originally purchased and reviewed this to use with my NS Design NXT electric upright bass, and was really pleased with the upright bass modeling. Since then, I've found I can also use it for live work with the DPA d:vote 4099B - bass mic, which it also provides phantom power for, and at the same time run the Realist bass transducer pickup. No need for a mixer, as there are separate levels for each. It's limited in that there are no separate EQs, but somehow it all sounds incredible great. Plus effects!

  • Brett Gordon
    from Nashua, NH October 26, 2016Music Background:
    Guitar, bagpipes, mandolin, ukelele, harmonica, piano, drums...

    Best gear I ever purchased for my acoustic guitars!

    I spent a lot of time researching which manufacturer to buy an acoustic preamp from and I finally went with the Zoom A3, and am I ever glad I did. The quality is excellent and the features are incredible. There are a lot of controls but if you read the well-written guide when setting it up, you will very quickly learn how easy it is to navigate through all the options and maximize the power and the flexibility of this great preamp made for any of your acoustic guitars.

    I plugged in my Taylor 214 CE, and using the body-type selector knob, I set it to "Single Cutaway" as the manual suggests. Then all you need to do is use the three control knobs beneath the display to select from 19 available effects pedals - each with lots of settings to help zero in on the sound you're after - and then select the body style guitar from a menu of 16 guitars (like Taylor, Martin, Gibson, Ovation, Guild and Yamaha) - each with a body shape (jumbo, concert, dreadnought, parlor, resonator, nylon string, 12-string...) and you're on your way to hours and hours of fun, imagination and creativity. I was really blown away by how good the samples of these great guitars are. It's so good, that I would use this preamp before seriously plunking down 3 or 4 G's on one of the guitars this preamp emulates so well.

    The A3 comes with it's own power cord, an easy-to understand manual, and a quick start guide. The A3 itself is rock solid, easy to navigate through the menus and options,

  • G J
    from Ohio April 24, 2016

    Great Sound, Effects, and Value.

    If you value clarity and fidelity above all in your signal chain as I do, you should be pleased with this preamp. It specs out well and sounds very, very good. Add in the flexibility of a capable 3-band analog EQ, two channel input gain blending, dry-wet blending, stereo and master volume, and you have all you need for a great audio section. It's not a Grace Design Felix (wizardry), but I run this preamp through high end studio monitors that are brutally honest and feel that the price is worth the top half of this box alone. It's that good. A good PA will do likewise. I also run it through the FX return on a Marshall combo to bypass it's preamp and use this instead.

    The big knob on top is basically "set and forget". They are EQ pre-sets meant to embellish or "fill in" the body style tone that your pickups may be missing. Or, you can just put it on silent and go with what your pickups are offering.

    The effects processing is also very, very good. Also specs out well. Quality converters as far as I can tell. The screen, the three knobs below it, and the small EFFECT BUTTON ALONG WITH the middle foot switch all work together to select, drive and store all effects. You must learn how these five switches and knobs work in conjunction with each other. It's not hard, but will require some time and patience. Much easier than our smartphones and well worth it. The instruction manual lacks clarity, but as others have stated there are some good u tube videos to help. The 3-band anti-feedback control is (thankfully) aggressive, but can be dialed back to fit your situation.

    The first of three effects "pedals" shown on the screen that you can run simultaneously is ALWAYS a top or "soundboard" of a specific guitar model. Subtle but clear changes with each choice. Cannot be by-passed...my only gripe. Luckily there are some 25 to choose from, they sound very good and are fun to play. The second and third "pedals" shown on the screen are open to any effect you like, and you can tweak each to your needs. Many choices, or you can by-pass (thru) one or both. Then you can save the whole lot as a "patch" into any one of twenty memory slots to recall anytime by scrolling through. Pretty cool and works well.

    There is nothing else on the market today that provides everything this does. And it's well built. As acoustic players we really only need a couple effects at a time. A little compression, some reverb or delay and we're good to go. You can always add another pedal if you need to run three effects at a time.

    I like this box. It might be right for you. And, as always, Thanks to Anthony Longano and Sweetwater for their uncompromising service. signal curious; fishman rare earth blend mic/mag combo pickups through neutrik/magomi 2524 cabling

  • Michael Vargas
    from Philadelphia, PA April 23, 2016

    A3 great pedal

    I perform with an acoustic guitar, and I was using the Zoom a2 which I liked very much. When I heard of the a3 model I figured I would upgrade, so I did.
    This pedal as compared to the old is a lot better. I found it really easy to use .The a3 really adds a new dimension of of sound to the sound of your acoustic guitar.
    This pedal is very versatile, I used on my dreadnought l, parlor, and mini jumbo guitars, and was able to get great sound out of each.

  • Buzzard
    from Salt Lake City March 2, 2016

    Amazing at twice the price

    I’ve spent hours and hours playing with the Zoom A3 on my Martin CEO-7 with a DiMarzio Black Angel. I went at it with an open mind and here’s the configuration I’ve settled on:

    Pickup type

    Body Type
    Single Cutaway

    Model Type

    Freq1=250Hz (20Hz - 20kHz)
    Q1=2 (0.5,1,2,3,8,16)
    Gain1=-12 (-12 - 12)
    Freq2=1.2KHz (20Hz - 20kHz)
    Q2=0.5 (0.5,1,2,3,8,16)
    Gain2=-12 (-12 - 12)
    Level=100 (0 - 150)

    Decay=3 (1 - 30)
    Tone=0 (0 - 10)
    Mix=12 (0 - 100)
    PreD=14 (1 - 100)
    Level=100 (0 - 150)
    Tail=OFF (ON/OFF)

    System EQ is flat

  • Customer
    from February 23, 2016

    It does it all!

    The Zoom A3 does any type of effect you could want with an acoustic guitar. As others have stated it takes a little while to get your mind wrapped around to be able to use it to its full potential.the manual is comprehensive and there is quite a bit of videos across the internet about it. Theres not a whole lot in the acoustic effects world but this little thing works like a charm.if you want great sounding effects , go ahead and get one..
    You wont be disappointed. And of course make sure you get it from Sweetwater!

  • Customer
    from Pennsylvania November 24, 2015Music Background:
    singer/songwriter and part-time musician

    Acoustic Jammin'

    It has a great sounding EQ system and many options to consider. The only drawback I see is the instructions. They could be a little more clear on some points. Once you figure them out it is easy to use.

  • Lynn P
    from Las Vegas November 21, 2015


    So much it one package....woke up my guitar....A little complicated but play with it and it no time you'll have it made. Would buy again and again and again

  • Ric
    from Ohio November 21, 2015

    Must Have for Acoustic Players

    An amazing preamp that does take a while to learn. However if your committed to understanding all of the functions you will be extreamly pleased with your tones. I have played this with a Fender Telecaster and out of a Marshall acoustic amp with amazing realism. If your on the fence about purchasing an acoustic preamp & this pedal is on your list, think no more - PURCHASE!

  • R Bryant
    from Colorado October 20, 2015Music Background:
    Blues, rock, country

    Not Quite up to hype

    I bought the Zoom A3 mostly based on the advertised guitar modeling feature. The preamp works well, the effects are OK, if overdone. The feedback feature works quite well. But most of the reviews talk about the A3 modeling famous guitars, and if you are thinking of purchasing it for that purpose I would suggest you look elsewhere. 12-String-nope. Resonator-nope. After purchasing, I found some reviews that referred to the A3 as more of an enhancer, meaning if you already have a 12-string, it will enhance the sound and give it more of a Guild 12 string vibe. Sweetwater should have made that clear in their description. As for the effects, you can only use 2 per patch since one slot is always taken up by the guitar model. Overall, I am not impressed. My advice, don't bother.

  • Gram Benike
    from Phoenix AZ September 11, 2015Music Background:
    All types - musical background from life itself.

    Zoom A3 Acoustic Guitar Processor

    I found the A3 an excellent tool to use for enhancing the sound of my acoustic without going over the top. Everybody has their own preferences, styles, etc., but if used tastefully can really enhance your playing. Great effects include reverbs, delays, reverse delay, chorus, ... add some sparkle to your playing. Easy to use, compact and sturdy, a great product from Zoom and the price is right. A great add on for acoustic players !

  • Rick
    from August 11, 2015Music Background:
    Professional musician

    Zoom A3

    Versatile device with many options and a solid build. Effects are very controllable and you can get pretty much any sound you wish. The only down side is device is a little complicated and control features aren't easy to adjust in a live setting. If everything is set up in the program mode, you are good to go.

  • Customer
    from March 25, 2015

    Zoom A3

    I made this purchase at the last minute before our first acoustic / electric gig needing a preamp / effects processor for my Guild acoustic.
    The interface was easy to learn and the tone was great through the house sound system.
    I highly recommend the Zoom A3.

  • Jay
    from Philadelphia, PA September 29, 2014Music Background:
    Christian Musician, member of "Descendants Of Noah"

    Zoom A3. , A Great all songs pedal

    Built with great quality. Solid.
    Really gives me many effect options allowing you to Get the right sound fir each song. Compact and easy to bring to gigs.

  • Wayne
    from Near Atlanta, GA July 7, 2014Music Background:
    Semi-Professional Guitarist, Live Sound Engineer

    Zoom A3

    I haven't used it enough for a thorough review, but my initial impressions are that this is a very good unit. My driving reason for purchasing the A3 was to provide some help with acoustic guitar feedback as I like my monitor quite loud. The anti-feedback works very well, but you do have to have the feedback occurring to find the offending frequency. I don't believe there is much one can do about that. So I'll say this feature is excellent.

    The effects are quite good, which is not a surprise as this is a Zoom unit. Zoom has manufactured good effects for many years. So far I'm only using a chorus and a reverb on two different patches as I don't feel an acoustic guitar needs much more, but it is there if you want it.

    The only negative I have is that the guitar body models have so little affect on the tone and resonance, that I do not see much value in even having that capability. Maybe in a studio setting, going straight into a board, there might be more noticeable differences in the sounds. Interestingly enough, the instructions suggest that you match the body style to your guitar. In this setup, I am playing a Taylor 314CE so I have that selected. Honestly, I truly do not hear any measurable difference in the body styles. Maybe, that's just me.

    Overall, I DO recommend this pedal for the anti-feedback and high quality Zoom effects. Great value.

  • Peter Fields
    from Washington, DC June 16, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    A3 is the perfect solution

    I am using the A3 with 3 different nylon string guitars - two with pick-up systems and one with a Bartlett mic. It allows me to perfectly match each instrument to different amps and PA's and find the perfect tone for each performance situation.

  • Mark Horton
    from Hillsville, VA May 10, 2014

    Does everything it claims!

    This pedal has it all. The D.I. Is top notch as are all of the effects. If you are looking for a one-stop solution for playing your acoustic live, this is it. Learning the layout and controls will take a little bit if study time but just relax and enjoy all this pedal has to offer. Works great with both steel and nylon string guitars.

  • Milkman
    from Knoxville, TN April 23, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Just what I needed

    I love this pedal. It makes my acoustic guitar sound amazing. I have never been able to get a good tone playing into an acoustic amp or a PA without using a board full of pedals. A good preamp is a big help but my tone was still lacking that true acoustic sound. This pedal solved all those problems. My only complaint is that you are only able to use 2 effects at a time. I like to use compression, eq, and reverb. With only 2 effects available at a time you can't use chorus or delay without giving up something. My solution was to place a compressor in front of the Zoom A3 and use the reverb in my amp or PA. Since the A3 is no bigger than most stomp pedals it's no big deal to add a few more pedals in the chain.

  • Customer
    from April 4, 2014

    Zoom A3

    I love the sound, But the tuner dose not work well, I dont know maybe something is wrong with mine.

  • D. McMeans
    from Huber Heights, OH USA March 12, 2014

    So far, so good

    Has nice combination of effects for an acoustic guitar. Seems to be built sturdy. The direct box feature is great, with no added noise.

  • James T. McGuiness
    from Virginia Beach October 16, 2013Music Background:
    Intermediate guitarist

    Confusing. Adds good sound but hard to tweak

    This unit is certainly capable and well built. But it is confusing and hard to use. The manual doesn't cover a lot and I was stuck again and again string to figure what does what. Turns out there are a lot of button combinations and numbers of times you have to press buttons to get into modes to make useful changes. That is more for an engineer than a musician who wants to just keep focused on the music. Obviously other people have found positives but to me it was not worth the money and too difficult to master.

  • Jim McGuiness
    from Virginia Beach September 30, 2013Music Background:
    Bass and Guitar player since 1977 at age 22.

    Misleading and difficult to tweak

    The A 3 is built solid enough but looking at it you'd think it easy to dial a model. I can't say it didn't add quality to the sound, but getting authentic models? No. I thought I would be able to get a 12 string sound pretty easily. Neither the dial at the top nor the model you choose with another button on the LCD delivers anything that sounds like a 12. And when you look into the manual, it turns out to be more arcane and hard to control than the electric guitar modellers I thought I was escaping. A3 has a ton of potential, finding how to get at it is a bear. Returned mine.

  • Bob Furia
    from OH USA July 23, 2013

    An "acoustic pedalboard" all in one place!

    Purchased this through Sweetwater after speaking with Scott Augustyniak who always does a great job providing excellent customer service. I'm using it in conjunction with a Roland acoustic amp because wanted it to be able to sample and set up a wider variety of chorus and reverb effects.
    All I can say is WOW! The guitar modeling options and pickup settings one is able to dial in with the A-3 take the amplified sound of all my acoustics to a whole 'nother level. The A-3 has a terrific range of effects and features that will please you whether you just want to scratch the surface or play with all the capabilities packed in this little box.
    As with a lot of modeling pedals, it's not a real intuitive box to operate at first - in the case of the A-3 it's simply because the user manual isn't well written. However, between the manual and after sitting down and "playing" with it for about an hour, you'll come to make sense of all the sequences. Turns out it's really quite simple to find and store the patches you'd like to keep for ready reference, as well as quickly dial in new sounds.

  • TJ
    from June 10, 2013

    Nice addition to an Acoustic Arsenal

    THe effects are extremely good and quiet as a church mouse. The Remodeling is subtle sometimes. However, I have been able to dial-in a patch that has made both my Acoustics/Electrics sound like their unplugged self, just louder when plugged in. Heck, Even have a patch for the NanoMag only on my Epiphone Les Paul Ultra III that makes an extremely believable plugged in or mic'ed Acoustic tone.

    As others have mention, the interface is NOT the most conducive for live use. You need to do some prep work (what is your set going to be, what will you want for that set, in what order.). The 2 actual fx limit can be annoting too. BUT, they will do firmware updates at some point. Really believe, they may change that in one.

  • Kevin Watson
    from Alabama, Daphne June 2, 2013Music Background:
    23 yrs. playing Blues, Rock, Southern Rock and Composer...

    Zoom A3

    I bought the Zoom A3 to add some Tone to my Taylor T5.. I use a Pod Hd 400 into Deluxe Reverb and switch by ABY box to a Marshall As50R... all is linked into a Pa.. either by microphone or direct box..... The Zoom A3 works well with the Taylor and the surplus of effects are Great!!! Most of the music I do is live... and the anti-feedback works VERY WELL!!! and boost is just enough for solos.... I have not done any recording with the unit yet but the youtube videos tell it all... Remember the tone change is subtle with the acoustic parameters/guitars but adding Eq from the unit... the tone change is PHENOMENAL!!!!

    thanks Zoom and Sweetwater very much...

    Kevin "Matthew" Watson

  • JC Silverstrings
    from Bogart, GA June 2, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician/Recording Artist

    Zoom A3 Acoustic Guitar Preamp and Effects Processor

    I have been waiting for an acoustic effects processor, that really
    complements your acoustic sound. Wait no longer, this product
    is for all those who wish to get the very best from their instrument
    sound. I Highly recommend this product!

  • Pete
    from NY May 9, 2013Music Background:
    church worship leader, hobbyist

    Nice sound, cumbersome controls for live use

    I bought this as a replacement for the Zoom A2, which I had for a couple years and regularly used in our church worship team. So far I have found that the pedal does not color the sound or add noise to the PA system. I found a reverb setting that I like, and a chorus setting that I like. I experimented with the anti feedback button, and it does a nice job finding and killing those unwanted frequencies. I definitely like the boost feature for live performance. I am still getting used to the controls. I have not tried scrolling through presets yet for live use. For me it has more of a learning curve than the A2. Very rugged construction.

  • John R. Gardner
    from United States May 7, 2013Music Background:

    1 Body model, 2 effects.

    Not sure how much the Body Model which effect slot 1 must contain really affects the sound. However the other two effect slots have a wide variety of Effects that can yield some very pleasing combinations. I haven't gotten around to trying it with a mic as yet, but the ability to place the mic in the effects chain holds a lot of promise.

  • Badfinger Blues
    from Los Angeles April 30, 2013Music Background:
    Hard working Musician

    Good Box, but...

    ZOOM's A3 product promo is a bit misleading...I discovered (after purchase), that you are only allowed to have Bank 2 & 3 running EFX patches at the same time! BANK #1 can ONLY be used for the embedded Guitar Models. This is quite disappointing and most inconvenient, especially given the price point. Yes, admittedly the A3 does sound quite good, low noise floor and has several useful key features. But, with only 2 EFX banks, this unit gets down rated. The pre-programmed Guitar & Body modeling has limited value IMO. Also annoying...(a) the ultra smooth, no texture surface on the small rotary KNOBS are way too slick and makes it a hassle to dial in Bank settings, (b) the anti-feedback circuit can not be quickly nulled without 1st stomping thru 4 time consuming button pushes, (c) there is a setting for ni-mh aa batteries, so why not include a built-in recharger as well? OK, so I'm an early first gen user and ZOOM does include a USB Port for future (?) FIRMWARE updates....but my best guess is the current A3 architecture and chip sets will not allow additional EFX Banks...hope I'm wrong, could be a 5 STAR Box.

  • TJ Doerfel
    from Key West, FL March 20, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Really awesome and great price

    I'm mainly an acoustic player. I've used the fishman aura, lr baggs venue DI and para acoustic along with zooms older acoustic models like the a2. The A3 wins in my opinion by far. Having the option to blend a mic and pickup really make a huge difference and the boost switch is awesome and the tuner works great. I've actually been playing 5string banjo through this peddle and even without the mic the tone I can get out of it is really good. And then I added a clip on mic and wow. Sounds just like my banjo acoustically...through the PA! Wether your and acoustic guitar player or if your like me and play lots banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and I bet the stand up bass would sound good too, you gotta try it. It's just what I've been looking for for years, thank u zoom!

Questions about the Zoom A3 Acoustic Guitar Preamp and Effects Processor?

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