One possible solution to the age-old problem of getting a decent amplified acoustic tone comes in the form of the BBE Acoustimax pedal ($329 retail/$200 street). This rugged, smart-looking pedal is built like an absolute tank, with solid, smooth knobs, and tight switches that inspire confidence. It has very logical controls on its front: a straightforward 3-band EQ with semi-parametric mids, a feedback-killing notch filter that works great, input and output gain controls, and the two controls for the Sonic Maximizer. The Acoustimax’s back panel has a ground lift, a mic-level XLR D.I. out, phase switch (for pin polarity on the XLR—not to be confused with a phase switch on a guitar or acoustic amp), a –12dB pad switch, a pre/post switch to determine whether the main output volume affects the XLR out, a line out, a tuner out (with a mute footswitch), and a TRS effects loop. Wow! That’s a lot of stuff for a box that measures 8.5" x 5.5" x 2.6".