Visual Sound – 30 Pedals in 30 Days 2012

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Something New: The Tone King checks out Visual Sound’s Dual Tap Delay for 30 Pedals in 30 Days

MJ for TheToneKing.com

When someone has to bust their ass to build something that they care deeply about, it always comes through the final product. The story behind Visual Sound is that kind of story. Starting off in a small two-bedroom apartment with two toddlers running under foot and growing into one of the biggest boutique brand pedal manufacturers with over one hundred international artists on their roster, Visual Sound may have started out small, but now they’ve grown to be one of the big boys on the block.

Bob Weil – Founder, Inventor, and President of Visual Sound

For 30 Pedals in 30 Days, TheToneKing.com had a chance to check out Visual Sound’s Dual Tap Delay, and talk with Bob Weil about what it takes to build a successful pedal company from the ground up.

“In a nutshell, I started Visual Sound because I needed a volume pedal with a zero to ten reference and nobody made one,” Bob reveals as the impetus behind creating pedals. He gradually experimented and learned about engineering before he officially launched Visual Sound in 1995. Originally building his pedals in a two-bedroom apartment with his wife and two kids, Bob Weil found that starting his own pedal company wasn’t going to be easy. “It was a very rocky first few years in business, to say the least, but by the grace of God, we made it through.” Even enlisting his wife to help build the first 100 Jekyll & Hyde pedals, Visual Sound got over their tough beginnings by the fifth year. And from there? “We haven’t looked back.”

Evident by their artist roster, Visual Sound has done well for itself. With bands like Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Flyleaf, and Paramore, flocking to their pedals, they must be doing something right. “We actually work hard at supporting artists.  Anyone who’s touring around, playing hundreds of shows a year, deserves our attention and we’re happy to support them if we can.”

Their artist roster also speaks to the broad range of their pedals. On one end of the sonic spectrum you have the brutal metal grindings of bands like Red, HELLYEAH, and Mudvayne, and on the other end you have Aerosmith, Robben Ford, and OK GO. “That’s something we’re fairly proud of.  The whole reason I created the Jekyll & Hyde pedal back in the 90’s was to make a dirt box that was more versatile than any other.  All of our pedals are musical at pretty much any setting.  With that being the case, it doesn’t surprise me to see musicians from every genre using Visual Sound.”

While he’s proud of his featured artists, Bob Weil makes the point that his pedals are for players in all stages of the game. “We’re honored to have our gear on stages around the world, but it’s also very gratifying to hear from guys who found the tone they always dreamed of, just playing at home.  Visual Sound’s motto is “Real Tone for Real People”, which simply means that we try to create products that are world-class in quality, but at a reasonable price.  Recently, we started providing a Lifetime Warranty on all V2 and V3 Series pedals, to show that we’re really serious about our quality and customer service.  I think we’re the only pedal company that does that, and we’ve been around long enough for it to be meaningful.

Let’s check out the Dual Tap Delay!

The Dual Tap Delay continues Visual Sound’s tradition of giving players pedals that offer a wide range of possibilities. Two individually operated channels can be used in tandem or independently to create a variety of different delay combinations. Both channels offer identical options except that the second channel also includes a modulation feature to add a Chorus effect to the repeats. They can both be used in Manual or Tap modes and can get up to one second of max delay time. Not to mention both have their own controls for Manual Delay Time, Repeats, Effect Level, Tone, and Time Divisions for Tap mode. If that’s not enough for you, you can pop open the hood and find two internal switches. One switch controls if Output 2 is effected or dry and the other sets the repeats to be either trailing or non-trailing for Channel 2 after the effect is turned off.

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“It’s really two delay pedals in one box.  You can use either channel by itself or combine them.  No other delay pedal has anything like that.”  

According to VisualSound.net (http://visualsound.net), to create a “hybrid analog/digital” delay, Visual sound used “custom programmed digital IC’s to produce functional delays with time divisions, but all the controls and related tone-shaping circuitry is analog.”

Sometimes pedals with this many options can feel a bit overwhelming. But the Dual Tap Delay is user friendly; players will be able to get a myriad of sounds just by plugging and playing. “It’s also completely easy to use. You really can sit down with it and get great sounds right away.”

When I asked Bob Weil what inspired the creation of the Dual Tap Delay, he let me know that it’s the same thing that inspires all of his creations; the players.

“We had wanted to make a tap tempo delay for years and had been doing R&D on one for a long time.  The overall design changed a lot over the four-year development period.  We really wanted our delay to be different than the many other ones out there.  We also wanted it to be really easy to use.  To come up with a feature set, we asked every musician we could find what they were looking for in a delay.  I even walked the lunch lines backstage at the Warped Tour (which we sponsor) and handed out questionnaires to all the guitar players.  We really wanted to get this right.  Since we pretty much originated the dual effect with Jekyll & Hyde years ago, we asked people if they would like a dual delay.  A lot of guitarists use two delays, so having two of them in one box with a single tap tempo switch was a really desirable feature.”

We here at TheToneKing.com, we’re impressed with the option of having two independent channels that can be manipulated separately. This seems to give players so many options to create their own unique sounds. I decided to ask Bob about his favorite setting. “My favorite is to set channel 1 on a quarter note delay and channel 2 on dotted 8th, keeping repeats and effect level knobs equal on both channels.  It’s a very U2 kind of sound if you play it that way, but you can also get some really ambient sounds with that by turning repeats up and maybe using a volume pedal for swells.”

TheToneKing.com has talked to more than a few manufacturers in its day. But, the best stories always come down to one person who one day becomes inspired to build something new and didn’t stop until he or she did. The story behind Visual Sound is that type of story. From his beginnings in his apartment over seventeen years ago, Bob Weil built his company from the ground up with innovative pedals. And, with the advent of the Dual Tap Delay, he has again managed to show us something new.

Check It Out!!!

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About the Author: Marc published his first novel Becoming in 2010. It’s a kick-ass book with monsters and dreams and stuff, and you should buy it. Since then, he’s written thousands of articles for TheToneKing.com, many of which have been picked up for circulation by manufacturers and other news outlets. His next book, Drugs and Pancakes, should be available early 2014 if his alcoholic editor can find time to work on it in-between destroying his liver and screaming about punctuation. He graduated from Roosevelt University with honors, which means that he’s not as dumb as he looks. He’s been playing guitar for over 25 years, which is almost twice as long as most of his students have been alive.

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