MusicNomad MN300 Humitar Review: Acoustic Guitar Humidifier
There was a time when I didn't think much of humidifiers, unfortunately, I had to learn about their importance, the hard way.
Without warning, the bindings on one of my acoustic guitars have started to dislodge from the body. At first I thought it was just a minor cosmetic issue, but when I took it to my luthier friend, I was reprimanded for neglecting to care for the guitar's humidity. He told me that the bindings were the least of my worries, his primary concern was the top support bracings, which had dried up and were about to give out. Thankfully, he was still able to save the guitar, but I did have to pay more than the usual maintenance and setup cost.
Since then, I've been using soundhole mounted humidifiers, and among them, the MusicNomad MN300 is my favorite, with its simple design and leak free operation.
Humitar MN300 Packaging.
The sponge is what's really doing all the work, it absorbs excess moisture and releases moisture as needed to keep humidity range within acceptable levels. When I initially got the MN300, the sponge was rock solid, it took a while for it to get fully soaked with water. After waiting for around 10 minutes, I went ahead and massaged the remaining hard spots to make it easier for water to penetrate. Soon the sponge became fully soaked, absorbing a lot of the water that I dipped it into, much more than the other sponge based humidifiers that I used before. This ability to hold more water allows it to work consistently longer, reducing the need for water refills.
Another feature that I like about the "Humid-i-Bar" sponge is its leak proof design. Even when fully soaked, water doesn't leak, only a few drops of surface water drips back down to the bowl. This makes me confident that the sponge really is safe enough for guitar use. I followed the instructions to the tee, soaking it in distilled water and doing a gentle shake and squeeze to let excess water fall off.
No leak Humid-i-Bar sponge
The case is as straightforward as it gets, with an easy to open top cap. Once the sponge is soaked, squeezed and ready, I just slide it inside the Humitar case. The sponge is inserted vertically, with the curved side going in first, and the straight side up top. The case is very intuitive, so there's very little room for error. It even has basic instructions written on the underside of the top cap, so you get reminded of how to use and maintain the humidifier when you open the top cap. It also feels very solid, no need to worry about it getting accidentally opened, or damaged or cracked. The case is made of plastic, it has small holes on each side where moisture can travel to and from the sponge.
The Music Nomad MN300 is designed specifically for soundhole mounting. As such, it is thin enough to slip in-between strings, and thick enough to be held up by string tension. The top also has flaps that allow the unit to rest on the strings. Being soundhole mounted allows it to more efficiently maintain the humidity of acoustic guitars, and this is exactly what I use it for. Note that it does apply a bit of stress on the strings, bending it sideways out of their regular position. But in my experience, it's not bad enough to cause any substantial problems.
Since the sponge doesn't leak, you can actually place Humitar inside the guitar case, just make sure that it is placed where it won't accidentally scratch or damage the guitar. You can place it in the space below the headstock, or inside internal pockets - as long as the case is stationary. MusicNomad offers an in-case humidifier that can be securely attached to the inside of guitar cases, the MN303. It works much in the same way, the main difference being it has a mounting holster with adhesive.
I never really had any problem with the efficiency of sponge humidifiers, even the old ones that I previously used work fine. What makes the MN300 better though is that it can work consistently for longer because of its ability to take in more water. And more importantly, I don't have to worry about it dripping on my guitar, which really was a big bother to me with other sponge humidifiers that I've tried.
The top cap has instructions on how to check the sponge
Easy maintenance is another big reason why I give the Humitar my thumbs up. All I have to do is open the top cap, and press on the sponge to feel if it's soft or hard. If it's soft, it still is working fine, if is getting harder, then I can quickly pull out the sponge and soak it in distilled water. Also refilling the sponge with water is much quicker than when it was initially dry. Maintenance is easy and fool proof.
Aside from regular water refilling, I regularly check the condition of the sponge. Letting it dry out is a big no no, this lessens its efficacy and shortens its lifespan. Not to mention, a dried out humidifier also means humidity imbalance that could damage your guitar. And since it is easy to pull out fro the case, I can quickly check for discoloration that could be symptoms of problems like mold, dirt and debris. The sponge's light color makes it easier to see problem spots. Speaking of dirt, I make it a point to wash my hands and use clean bowls when handling the sponge.
The package comes with the Humitar Case and the Humid-i-Bar sponge. The sponge is wrapped in plastic, to protect it from contaminants. Both of them come are packed in a cardboard box that has images and instructions for use. The packaging is average, but I never had any issues.
MusicNomad is a company that specializes in cleaning and care products for musical instruments. In addition to humidifiers, they also offer string changing tools, guitar surface care, guitar setup tools and more. As a testament to their high quality standards, a long list of manufacturers use their products in their factories, including Larrivée, Cordoba, Keisel, The Loar, D'Angelico and more.
All in all, I'm very pleased with the MN300, highly recommended for guitarists who want an efficient and easy to use humidifier.
- Applies minor stress on the strings
- Can't be secured inside the case
- Anti-drip sponge
- More water absorption
- Easy access top cover
- Intuitive and easy to maintain
- Weight: 2.9 oz
- Suspension: Held By Strings
- Longevity: Medium
Here's a short video I made showing you the steps to set it up for the first time.