Boss has officially released its new AC-22LX acoustic guitar amplifier – a new unit that it promises offers “a full immersion playing experience” thanks to its ability to create mic-like sounds from your acoustic pickup.
The headline feature of the compact 10-watt stereo amp is the firm’s Air Feel technology, which emulates some of the classic mic placements used in acoustic guitar recordings.
Players are therefore able to switch between five options – including Dry, AB, XY, ORTF and mid-side. You might be familiar with some of the setups already, but if not, Boss’ demo gives a handy breakdown of the tonal characteristics and playing/mix applications of each setting.
For instance, ORTF combines elements of the XY and spaced-pair mic’ing techniques, creating “a focused tone with increased depth and body resonance”, while mid-side is better for ensembles or pairing with a vocalist – where you might need to a little more distance from the centre of the mix.
We’ve only got Boss’ own demo to go on so far, but the sounds are admittedly impressive and provide a noticeably warmer, more rounded tone, in contrast to the dry signals.
Many of us have had bad experiences with plugged-in acoustic tone, but this seems very far removed from the ‘tin can with screws’ sounds acoustic electric players once had to endure.
Elsewhere, there’s a three-band EQ, onboard chorus and reverb for the guitar side and you can also input a vocal mic, using the XLR in (which has phantom power and a dedicated two-band EQ). Then there’s a built-in looper (operated using an optional footswitch).
You also have the option to jam along to the built-in drum machine – though here, in acoustic parlance, it is dubbed a Rhythm Box. We’re not enthusiastic about this terminology as it calls to mind a cajon – and no-one needs that, frankly. However, it does offer five instrument types, 15 patterns and a ton of customization options, all delivered in the velvety ambience of Boss’ Spatial Technology.
There are 15 user slots to save your preferred settings for quick recall and, if you plug in Boss’ optional Bluetooth adapter, there’s an accompanying iOS app that will allow you to tweak settings remotely and stream music from your phone or tablet.
As is the norm in 2023, the amp also offers USB connectivity, enabling you to record using the Air Feel tones, either via the USB or the mono/stereo line-out.
All of that is housed in a box that measures approximately 12” wide and eight inches deep and it can even run on batteries (though there’s no included rechargeable battery).
After a period in which some players questioned its ability to compete with the guitar industry’s tech titans, Boss seems to be on something of a roll with its modeling capabilities.
For instance, the latest edition of its perennial ME series, the ME-90 multi effects pedal, recently grabbed guitarist’s attention by bringing its flagship AIRD models to a much more affordable unit.
You can expect to pay around $399 for the AC-22LX. For more information, head to Boss.