***This is not a sponsored post. All ideas expressed are those of the author.

The Problem

As you might guess, I love the classical guitar. In fact, I’ve dedicated most of my life to this instrument. However, the guitar does have its downsides, perhaps the primary one being how quiet it is.

The most common volume issue comes when playing with other instruments, especially piano. You also encounter the problem playing outdoor venues — such as a garden or a square — where it is impossible to hear the guitar unless we play everything “forte” and therefore lose dynamics…

This makes us lose a lot of opportunities and potential gigs (aka income).

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In many venues, their solution is to just put a microphone in front of the player. However, this requires a lot of logistics and if somehow you move during the performance (which most of us do), the guitar will change volume. Personally, I feel very constrained in my performance when playing with a microphone in front of me — I’m afraid of moving and expressing myself!

The other solution is to install pickups in the classical guitar, near the bridge. This requires a bit of time and skill, and the sound result is not the best.

The Solution

Here enters iRig’s “Acoustic Stage — by far the best solution I have encountered for this problem.

The sound quality is AMAZING. I have a very weak portable amplifier with a bad sound, made for electric guitar, and when I first tried it, my guitar sounded “decent” there. Then, I later tried the iRig with a much better, professional amp and the sound was PERFECT. It literally sounded with the same sound quality as the guitar, but louder.

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Of course, the amp you have makes a big difference in the sound, but as I found out, even if your amplifier isn’t the best, it is still a worthy investment. Plus, if the venue has a good sound system, your guitar will sound amazing, guaranteed!

The iRig Acoustic stage is a tiny microphone that is placed inside your guitar. This microphone connects to a portable device, powered by batteries, that processes the signal.

In this device you can toggle between two main settings: Nylon or Steel String Guitar. It also allows three more options: “Natural,” “Warm,” or “Bright” sound. I have been using it in the “Warm — Nylon” setting but depends which amp and kind of guitar you have.

Then, this signal is transmitted to the amp by using a normal ¼ inch Cable. This device allows you also as an option to combine this natural microphone sound with the “pick up” sound (if you have one) and also to connect it directly to your computer, making it easier to make recordings!

It is now selling for approximately $80. In terms of price, I think it is a worthy investment if you are a professional musician and you do a lot of concerts.

Final Thoughts

After playing several concerts with this piece of equipment, I only have 2 critiques:

  1. The wire connecting the microphone is very, very, very thin. It feels super fragile. I am always afraid I am going to break it. I am always super careful and if you get this product I recommend you do the same.
  2. There is no visual display of “battery life” in the audio interface. If the battery is low, the device will display an LED light. But how “low” is that “low battery”? Will it last the rest of the performance? They claim in the manual that the batteries last an average of 18 hours and recommend changing the batteries every 2–3 gigs. I find this a bit overkill, but still, I would love to get a better sense of the battery life at all times just to be a bit more relaxed.

Despite these criticisms, it is the best way I found to amplify my classical guitar. It is small, portable, sounds amazing and allows me the freedom to move around freely without compromising sound quality. I rate it 5/5.

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Dave McLellan

Concert & Chamber Guitarist

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