Perhaps it’s a vestigial longing to jump boxcars, but acoustic players like to travel light. That desire, however, can be at odds with the realities of live acoustic sound. At just over a foot long and about 2 1/2 pounds, Trace Elliot’s Transit-A preamp won’t encumber rambling pickers. But by combining a preamp and effects, it eliminates the need for a lot of additional outboard gear.

The heart of Transit-A is a quiet preamp and an effective EQ that can tame unruly PA systems but adds a discernable sweetening effect at the right EQ settings. Midrange and high-frequency EQ knobs are genuinely useful and have wide, effective ranges for isolating very specific frequencies. In fact, most problems that would require the boost, phase, pre-shape EQ, or piezo impedance functions were solved with careful EQ tweaks.

The built-in effects, a bonus on a preamp at this price, are well suited to acoustics. The delay is relatively thin, but tucks nicely behind the dry signal—even at higher mix levels. The reverb and chorus betray digitalness at all but the lowest levels, but in their respective sweet spots they enliven the output of the Transit-A, adding up to a very pleasing sonic sum.

Test Gear: Martin 00-15 with L.R. Baggs Element, Mackie PA, Radial JDI direct box.

Ratings

Pros:
Useful, robust, and rangeful EQ works seamlessly with preamp. Easy to use layout.

Cons:
Effects betray digitalness at all but lowest levels.

Street:
$299

Trace Elliot Transit-A
traceelliot.com

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