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Hotone Audio OMNI AC (Acoustic Sim)
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Hotone Audio OMNI AC (Acoustic Sim)
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MGR/Brian Johnston MGR/Brian Johnston

« Mimic the sounds of a Jumbo, Grand Auditorium, Steel String, Nylon String and others »

Published on 07/10/19 at 08:29
Value For Money : Correct
Audience: Anyone
SOUND:
Your acoustic guitar will sound like an acoustic when combined with the OMNI AC (it does not sound artificial) You are taking your raw acoustic tone and customizing it so that it sounds more like a different type of acoustic.



For example, you could have a nylon string and have it sound like a steel string, or a dreadnaught, a Gibson Hummingbird, or a grand auditorium acoustic. Likewise, your steel string mid-sized body could sound more like a jumbo or a nylon/classical string guitar. In essence, you are taking the tonal characteristics of a different acoustic and applying it to your acoustic. The options in the OMNI AC certainly are varied, with the second ‘grand auditorium model’ being my favorite (while playing my Ibanez Euphoria guitar… each guitar will have different outcomes). In the demo I use the Ibanez through an Orange Acoustic Pre, which produces a particular flavor or tone. Certainly I can customize that tone via the EQ of the Orange Acoustic Pre, but the ‘flavors’ offered via the OMNI AC certainly sound convincing, unique and affords you a host of other instrument choices without having to buy more acoustic guitars. I also found many of the models added ‘life’ to my tone – a bold, crisp attack that made the notes stand out even more. Now, while using an electric guitar the OMNI AC did not make the electric sound 100% like an acoustic. However, certain models (the Gibson Hummingbird matched with my Eastwood-Backlund 200 electric with middle pickup selection) did a pretty convincing job of producing a more lush and ‘acoustic-like’ ambience – it sounded as though there was more ‘air’ in the notes.

OVERALL:
Why buy several acoustic guitars when you can play the one you like and still have it sound like other acoustics? This is the objective of the OMNI AC as it simulates the tonal characteristics of various steel strings, dreadnaughts, jumbos, grand auditoriums and nylons. There’s even a preset for mandolin and two types of acoustic bass (fretless and double). The sounds are very convincing when working with an acoustic guitar (you’re simply altering the characteristics of what you’re playing, and although an electric guitar may not sound exactly like an acoustic, selecting your pickups properly and fiddling with the pedal’s EQ certainly give a very close representation. Relatively easy to use, you have access to all parameter changes via the knobs (while viewing the OLED), or via the free downloadable computer software (IOS and Windows), either of which allows you to select various parameters – the acoustic guitar type, the adjustment of volume, and EQ and Gain associated with each EQ parameter (bass, mid and treble). At $199 USD the price is reasonable relative to the quality of sounds produced and particularly if you still don’t have the acoustic sound you need or if you want to spice up the sound you do like.

GENERAL USE:
You can access all controls and functions via the OMNI AC’s knobs and switches, but also through the free computer software. The software certainly makes it easier to navigate, providing a larger and clearer representation of the controls that necessitate hooking up to your computer via an 8-inch USB cable, but the onboard controls are easy enough to use (visible via the OLED screen). The pedal has a master volume control and a Function knob. When you turn the Function knob left or right you select a preset. When you press down on the Function knob you enter the menu system, whereby you can make a number of changes (again, this can be done via the computer software). There are 15 presets or options, e.g., steel string, jumbo, dreadnaught, etc. You could have all 15 presets the same guitar with different EQ and Gain settings or each one can be a different guitar/acoustic instrument (and any combination between). Via onboard or through the software you can set the overall preset volume, whether playing an electric or acoustic, and the EQ setting associated with low, mid, high and presence. With each EQ setting you can set the Gain, thereby reducing the bass, upping the midrange, etc. The Footswitch is assignable so that it can bypass, mute, change modes (whether using an electric or acoustic guitar) or scroll up or down the presets. What’s cool about this pedal is that it has a Thru so that you can blend your original acoustic or electric guitar tone with one from the OMNI AC. There’s also a balanced XLR out (to a mixing board, for example) with a ground lift option, a headphones jack and an Aux In (to connect an MP3 player or other device).

OTHER DETAILS:
Slightly smaller than a standard pedal, the OMNI AC measures 101 mm (D) x 58 mm (W) x 47mm (H) or (3.97 x 2.28 x 1.85 inches). The metal chassis (feels aluminum, although there is good weight to the pedal at 224g) has a gold finish, which does not appear to be painted, but rather the color of the metal. The input impedance is 1MΩ (mono) and its output 100Ω (mono). The two knobs are made of aluminum and will withstand normal use and abuse. The footswitch produces a solid click without any popping or significant signal noise when switching. All inputs (cable inputs/outputs, USB, power input, etc.) are located in the back and along the sides of the pedal; some modest care is required to prevent damage to any input/output when stomping. The OLED screen is sandwiched between the knobs and footswitch and is safe from regular and normal use. The OMNI AC requires a 9VDC power supply while consuming less than 200mA of power – as a bonus this pedal also comes with its own power supply.

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