I also looked at the Zoom 504-II. That unit was pretty flimsy in construction compared to the AG Stomp (but a lot less expensive too). While I found the sounds I could get through that box at times interesting, I couldn't obtain a sound I would use regularly. It seemed more like a novelty box.
I also looked various DI-preamps and the like. But none of those could improve the sound from a piezo pickup like the AG Stomp.
The effects block could be improved by allowing the user to select Chorus and Delay simulataneously. Currently, you can have one or the other or neither. Never both.
My favorite feature on the AG Stomp is the mic simulations.
Yes, I would replace it if lost or stolen.
Model Year: 2002
Price: $349.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Sam Ash Music
*Eight microphone simulations, with ability to blend as much or as little simulated mic sound into the signal as desired.
*Four-band EQ with adjustable ranges for each
*Digital Reverb (Hall, Room, and Plate)
*Outputs include stereo unbalanced, balanced, and coaxial digital.
*Optional expression pedal
*MIDI in and out for driving program changes and acting on program changes from other devices. Also allows storing and retrieving patches.
*Five automatic feedback notches.
Into this box I plug a Yamaha APX4A thinbody acoustic-electric with a piezo in the saddle. From there the AG Stomp goes to either the house PA (when I'm playing in church) or a Fender Acoustasonic Jr. (when I'm gigging). I play about 65% fingerstyle and 35% strumming.
The most dramatic effect on this box is the mic simulations. There are four mic types: condenser, dynamic, tube, and mic "type" suited for nylon-string guitars. With each mic type you can choose to simulate a mic that's either a few inches from the guitar or a couple of feet from the guitar.
Because my guitar is a thin-body, I don't encounter feedback very often. But I've forced it to feedback a few times during rehearsal just to check out the automatic feedback notches. Pretty cool. I cranked up the level on my guitar's preamp all the way and cranked up the output on the AG Stomp all the way. As I heard a hint of howling, a tapped footswitch No. 4 and, voila, the feedback stopped in less than a second. The unit lets you set up to five of these with the option of storing a different set of feedback notches with eacth patch.
There are 30 preset patches plus room for 30 user-defined patches. It's taken me several late nights playing with it to come up with about six patches that I use regularly for different playing styles and different venue styles. And I'm sure I'll continue tweaking. I find the close-condensor mic set blended in about 60% is what I use the most. I have several patches that start with this and work in varying levels of chorus or delay, limiting and reverb.
The AG Stomp is not particularly suited out-of-the-box to allow for adjustment of effects parameters when you're playing live. The footswitch arrangement (there are four of them) are designed to let you switch patches pretty easily as well as kick in the automatic feedback notches with just a tap of your foot.
But if, for example, you're in the middle of a fingerpicking riff and decide you want to pull back a bit on the level of the chorus effect, you're out of luck unless you get the optional expression pedal, which can be configured to change the settings on various effects.
The unit also gives you the option of changing the footswitch arrangement so that one switch turns Chorus/Delay on and off, one footswitch turns the limiter on and off, and one footswitch turns the reverb on and off. But in doing this you sacrifice the ability to change patches with your feet. You would either have to bend over and push some buttons or drive patch changes from an external MIDI controller.
I found dumping patches from the AG Stomp my PC (handy in case the unit gets reset, resulting in loss of you patch data) was straightforward once I picked up the appropriate MIDI cables and acquired some basic MIDI software.
This thing is very heavy, very solid. This is not a toy. I've already dropped it a couple of times without a hitch.