Trace Elliot Transit-A pre-amp and effects pedal

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Trace Elliot has bundled together a comprehensive acoustic pre-amp with a handful of acoustic-friendly effects. Is it a better buy than a collection of individual pedals? Ben Morgan-Brown finds out.

Trace Elliot Transit-A pre-amp and effects

Trace Elliot has a long and honourable history with acoustic guitar, for all it is probably best known for its pioneering bass amps. In fact the company can probably claim to have made the first dedicated acoustic guitar amplifier way back, so our hopes were high that its Transit-A pre-amp and effects units would distil all that experience into one very convenient package.

The Transit-A-is an immediately impressive piece of equipment, sturdily built and while pretty comprehensive in terms of what it offers, is well laid out. Even the most dedicated technophobe won’t have too much to worry about here. Everything is sensibly marked and the lights help rather than hinder (not always the case with electronic gear!) illuminating to show what is working and when in a way that will make users feel firmly much in control, especially on darkened stages.

You get quite a lot to play with with the Transit-A. It functions as a DI box, so you can send a pre-EQ feed to a remote mixer if the venue you are playing in has a PA system. It offers input levels plus a handy piezo boost switch to increase your level if your feed delivers a fairly weak signal as some do, and has all the features you could reasonably expect a concise unit like this to offer. Having said that, perhaps ‘concise’ isn’t quite the right word as the Transit-A is actually quite large – not something you’d want to try to squeeze into a small gig bag, for example.

The tuner works well and makes use of all the unit’s LEDs, which Ben found very useful, and the EQ section has a range of well chosen frequencies, assisted by a pre-shape (handy if you have two instruments to switch between) and some nice additions like a boost switch (great for soloing), plus  a notch filter that would be handy for quickly killing feedback. The EQ facilities are comprehensive and quite easy to use.

So far so good, but Ben was slightly less impressed with the effects on offer. As he says, Ben is pretty much an acoustic purist and so not a great user of effects but even so, he found some of the Transit-A’s effects went rather too quickly from subtle to overkill and the chorus (not his favourite affect in any case) wasn’t really to his taste. As always, watch the video to see what you think! Effects are always a matter of individual taste.

As an alternative to buying a separate good pre-amp and several effects units, the Transit-A is certainly a reasonable proposition. It keeps things neat and simple with a lot less to go wrong, but if you spent your money on separate boxes you would get to choose the individual effects and probably get a more comprehensive range of EQ facilities (for example parametric EQ). Then again, at its street price, the Trace Elliot possibly gives you more for your spend. In the end, Ben felt, it probably depends on how much use you make of effects and whether you like these particular interpretations of them. If you like them then the Transit-A is probably pretty good value for money and would represent a good buy but this is a busy market sector so there are a lot of ways to achieve the same result, so some comparative shopping might be a good idea.

Reviews are recorded in a top quality studio with the finest equipment. To get the best from our reviews and really hear the instruments perform make sure you listen on good quality speakers or headphones!

Trace Elliot Transit-A pre-amp and effects unit £435

  • Colour coordinated backlit controls
  • Built-in chromatic tuner
  • Piezo button increases input impedance
  • User definable boost switch
  • Chorus with simple one knob operation
  • Delay with Level, Feedback and Tap-Tempo
  • Pre-shape switch for classic Trace Acoustic EQ curve
  • Reverb with simple one knob operation
  • Phase reverse switch
  • 3 band active EQ
  • Notch filter
  • Input Gain and Output Level controls
  • Stereo outputs and Dry output
  • Pre and Post balanced XLR outputs with Ground Lift
  • Aux input
  • Phones output
  • Dimensions (pedal only): 312mm W x 114mm D x 58.4mm H (12.3” W x 4.5” D x 2.3” H)
  • Weight: 1.18 kg/2.6 lbs