Quick Hit: Trace Elliot Transit-A

Robust EQ makes this portable preamp and effects solution an acoustic gigging ally.

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

Tones:

Ease of Use:

Build/Design:

Value:

It’s not difficult to replace the wiring in your pickups, but it takes some finesse. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. After numerous requests, this month we’ll have a closer look at changing wires on a single-coil pickup. As our guinea pig for this, I chose a standard Stratocaster single-coil, but it’s basically the same on all single-coil pickups and easy to transfer. It’s not complicated but it is a delicate task to not destroy your pickup during this process, and there are some things you should keep in mind.

Read More Show less

The emotional wallop of the acoustic guitar sometimes flies under the radar. Even if you mostly play electric, here are some things to consider about unplugging.

I have a love-hate relationship with acoustic guitars. My infatuation with the 6-string really blasted off with the Ventures. That’s the sound I wanted, and the way to get it was powered by electricity. Before I’d even held a guitar, I knew I wanted a Mosrite, which I was sure was made of fiberglass like the surfboards the Beach Boys, Surfaris, and the Challengers rode in their off time. Bristling with space-age switchgear and chrome-plated hardware, those solidbody hotrod guitars were the fighter jets of my musical dreams. I didn’t even know what those old-timey round-hole guitars were called. As the singing cowboys Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey strummed off into the sunset, the pace of technology pushed the look and sound of the electric guitar (and bass) into the limelight and into my heart. Imagine my disappointment when I had to begin my guitar tutelage on a rented Gibson “student” acoustic. At least it sort of looked like the ones the Beatles occasionally played. Even so, I couldn’t wait to trade it in.

Read More Show less

Need an affordable distortion pedal? Look no further.

We live in the golden age of boutique pedals that are loaded with advanced features—many of which were nearly unthinkable a decade or so ago. But there’s something that will always be valuable about a rock-solid dirt box that won’t break your wallet. Here’s a collection of old classics and newly designed stomps that cost less than an average concert ticket.

Read More Show less
x