Tonal Bliss has a New Name: Visual Sound is Now Truetone

ModKitsDIY

“I can’t tell you how many times I would introduce myself to someone as the owner of Visual Sound, and they would say, ‘Visual Sound…what do you guys make?'”

That’s Bob Weil, esteemed owner of Truetone, the company which many people may or, as it turns out, may not have known by the original name of Visual Sound. Inspired by the company’s clever Visual Volume pedal, which used a LED scale to give players an immediate visual status of their volume level, Weil in recent years had become frustrated that the name wasn’t connecting to his much-loved products like the Jekyll & Hyde and Route 66 pedals or the 1 Spot power supply.

Bob_Truetone_Lounge_LR

Bob Weil with in the lounge with the first 3 Truetone branded products; V3 Jekyll & Hyde, 1 SPOT Pro CS7 and CS12, along with a 1946 Truetone radio and tubes from that era.

“Once I told them we made the 1 SPOT or Jekyll & Hyde or another pedal, they would often say that they owned those already, but didn’t realize that we made it. So I had done a great job naming our products, but a terrible job naming the company. The other guys in the office heard that all the time, too,” Weil said to the TheToneKing.com via email. “We already had the trademark for Truetone, which is a great name that better describes who we are. It was time to make the change. Honestly, I wish we had done it years ago!”

But Weil’s timing isn’t all that bad. Weil’s company is ringing in its 20th year of bringing smartly engineered pedals to the guitar-playing universe, and commemorating it with a fresh name is a great way of introducing some of the cool new tweaks Weil has made to his venerable product line.

“[We’ve added] True Bypass switching, but done our way, not just using those noisy, unreliable switches that most other pedal builders use. With ours, you get the Forever Footswitch rated at 10 million hits, relays with gold-plated contacts, and a silencing circuit designed by our chief engineer, RG Keen. You also get our Pure Tone buffer circuit that you can switch on or off for each channel.

“The V3 Series pedals are completely 2-in-1, with separate inputs and outputs for each of the two channels. So, you can plug in the normal way, going into the right channel input and out the left channel output, running the channels in series. Or, you can change the order of effects by plugging into the left channel first, then running a patch cable to the right channel and going out from there. You can even put other effects in between the two channels. It’s exactly like having two pedals, but in one compact housing.”

Truetone has also answered the call from those of who just…want…that…one…extra…oooh, I think it’ll fit if I just turn it this way….pedal on our boards.

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Truetone’s artist showroom/lounge in their office building

“V3 housings are all compact rectangles. The old home-plate shape is gone! With everyone cramming as many pedals as possible onto their pedalboards these days, we needed to make that change. In fact, if you took four of those mini-pedals that lots of people use, and cabled them up the usual way, they take up more space on a pedalboard than two of our V3 pedals, which are really four pedals in two housings,” Weil said.

And last but certainly not least, Truetone is carrying on Visual Sound’s Lifetime Warranty policy.

“We’ve put so much time, effort and money into building extreme reliability (as well as great tone, of course), and the Lifetime Warranty proves that we’ll stand behind it,” Weil said. “[A pedal] can’t just sound great and have a cool name and graphics, it has to be reliable, and that takes a lot of design work and money. In some cases, I’ve had to design my own components, like the Forever Footswitch, from scratch. As to why I put so much effort into reliability, well, have you ever had a piece of gear stop working in the middle of a gig? That’s the worst! Cold sweat, mad scramble to troubleshoot, ‘Crap! I’ll just plug straight into the amp and make the best of it.’ I don’t want Truetone products to let people down like that.”

But the V3 upgrade isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal. Each pedal received special tweaks tailored to their personalities. We’ll start with the latest one for 2015, the two channel Jekyll & Hyde distortion and overdrive pedal.

Line 6

“The Hyde channel is the same great distortion that Hyde was always known for, but with two major upgrades. It now includes a Bass knob which is great for dialing in the low end. There’s also a new Voice switch which allows you to choose between a classic open-sounding distortion or a more 80’s saturated tone Hyde was always known for. The open voice was actually a mod that Toby Mac’s guitarist, Tim Rosenau, told us about a few years ago. He had experimented with his J&H and found that if he cut out one of the diodes on the Hyde channel, he liked it better. We tried it here and we all liked it too! But it’s so much different than the original tone that we put it on a switch, so you can choose whichever fits the occasion,” Weil said.

“The Jekyll channel has changed completely. We made it even more compatible with Hyde when you combine them. Jekyll is now based on our old Open Road pedal, but with added Bass and Clean Mix knobs. As you may have noticed, we’ve started using Clean Mix a lot with the new V3 Series, and we’re all digging it here at Truetone. Having that option just lets you dial in your tone so much better.”

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Truetone’s chief engineer, RG Keen, and Bob Weil at the Dallas Guitar Show, 2015.

Truetone also re-examined the much-beloved Route 66 and, if it’s possible, upped its likability even more with some smart modifications.

“We really changed that pedal a lot, too,” Weil said.   “The Compressor circuit was re-designed to make it quieter and [we added] a Clean Mix knob, which is such a great addition, especially for bass players. We also brought the noise gate switch to the top of the pedal, instead of inside the pedal as it was on the V2 edition.

“The overdrive channel was changed completely. While it used to be our Route 808 pedal, now it’s based on the old Reverend Drivetrain pedal that Joe Bonamossa used to play through all the time. I actually designed that pedal for Reverend back in 2000 and we even did the manufacturing for them as well. Later, we re-introduced it under our own GarageTone brand name. It’s such a great overdrive that we decided to use it again with the new Route 66, but with two additions: a Clean Mix, of course, and a Voice switch to choose the original tone or a louder, brighter, slightly more open tone.

Truetone will also build on the legacy of everyone’s favorite compact power supply, the 1 Spot. As we’ve all come to realize, power supplies are much more than something that simply plugs into a wall and keeps a player from having to worry about battery drain during a set. Additionally, today’s pedals aren’t so simple when it comes to power requirements, with pedals requiring more than the typical 9 volts or specific current output (represented as mA, or milliamps). A properly powered pedal board can also have tremendous effects on rig noise and performance.

“We have two new 1 SPOT Pro power supplies coming out right on the heels of the Jekyll & Hyde. These are ‘brick-style’ power supplies that are the first to use 1 SPOT technology, which means that we’re using our own switching power supply technology, invented from scratch, instead of the usual heavy transformers that other companies use,” Weil said.

“The cool thing about that is we get to put a huge amount of power handling into these things, with multiple voltages available as well. The 1 SPOT Pro CS7 has seven outputs with three available voltages, and can handle twice the amount of power as the most common power brick. I’m not naming names, but you know which pedal power supply I’m talking about.

“The CS12 has 12 outputs with five available voltages and can handle three times the amount of power as that other pedal power supply. We’ve tested them a lot and they work brilliantly. [They’re] totally quiet, reliable, and you can bring them anywhere in the world. They come with a good array of cables too,” Weil said.

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One of the first Visual Volume pedals and one of the first Jekyll & Hyde pedals.

Weil noted that pre-orders for both of these killer new power supplies are exploding, so, dear TheToneKing.com community, you are well-advised to get cranking and get your orders in.

Undertaking a name change can be a real challenge for any company in any industry. But we here at TheToneKing.com can’t think of a more apt name for a company that has been providing players with true tonal bliss for the past twenty years, so we’re definitely digging it. And if, for some unfathomable reason, you still can’t remember the name, you’ll never forget the tones that Truetone’s iconic designs will bring to your rig.

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