Don’t forget to check out the video at the bottom of the page.
Ever since the inception of TheToneKing.com, we’ve been keeping our ears on Visual Sound. The company that started in 1995 when Bob Weil couldn’t find a pedal that would do what he wanted it to do has really started to come into its own. Now, Visual Sound has unveiled the new VS-XO. And, this premium dual overdrive might be the biggest leap ahead that Visual Sound has taken so far. We couldn’t see ourselves doing 30 Pedals in 30 Days without Visual Sound. So, let’s check out the new ride.
We all have those tones that we love. For The Tone King, that tone was the Custom Audio Amp (CAA) OD100. When he first heard it, sounded big, fat, and full without being to edgy. The VS-XO was the first OD pedal that he plugged into that had that sound. Hearing the VS-XO brought him back to the day that he first played through the CAA OD100. Usually, when you start stacking gain circuits, it gets too edgy. The VS-XO got bigger, fatter, and round. Van Halen may have his “Brown Sound,” but the VS-XO has what TTK coins ‘The Round Sound’.
The guys at Visual Sound know how to make an overdrive pedal. Distortion pedals have that harsh clip that hits you like a ton of bricks. A good overdrive pedal should be biting, but should also have a smoother clip that keep your tone intact while adding just a bit of gnarl. Visual Sound’s VS-XO does exactly that.
For an overdrive to be good, there needs to be balance. Some pedals say that they’re overdrive, but when you get it home it just sounds like a distortion pedal. Not that there’s anything wrong with a distortion pedal. But if it says, “overdrive” on the chassis, it damn well better be an overdrive. Although, I’ve had conversations where some players aren’t quite sure what the difference is between an overdrive and a distortion pedal. And, those conversations usually end up with a few punches being thrown.
If you look at the waveform of what comes out of a distortion pedal, you’ll see the top of the wave plateaus before rolling down hill. The peak is basically flat. That’s where the clip happens, abrupt, jagged, and edgy. If you look at another waveform coming from an overdrive pedal, the top is rounded because the clip is much softer than the overdrive. That is what produces that Round Sound that we were telling you about.
In case you didn’t notice, the VS-XO is a double pedal. In every sense, the VS-XO is two pedals living under the same roof. And, like two pedals, they directly interact with each other. Engaging both switches doesn’t just simply stack gain stages, one feeds off of the other to give you a gigantic overdrive. You can choose which channel goes first in the circuit line. On the right, you can choose between three different clipping choices as well as three different bass configurations. The left side, has a bass knob that can be dialed in more acutely and flat mids. Both sides have independent Drive, Tone, and Volume knobs that provide endless combinations. To top it off, you can select between either buffered bypass or true-bypass. Don’t say that Visual Sound doesn’t give you options.
The VS-XO is one of the most versatile pedals that we’ve heard. Unlike many double pedals, the two sides of the VS-XO play just as well when they are both engaged as they do when they’re working independently. Country, Rock, Metal, and everything in-between, there’s really no limit to what this pedal can do.
The VS-XO is also versatile when it comes to your signal chain. Wherever you want to put it, or if you have a switching system that you want to use with it, the additional inputs and outputs have you covered.
We here at TheToneKing.com have been covering Visual Sound for a long time. With every pedal they come out with, they are always moving forward. With the VS-XO, Visual Sound might’ve found their signature piece, a sound that sets them apart from the rest.
For prices on the VS-XO or any Visual Sound gear, check out: Sweetwater.com
Official RD1C Give-Away Page: http://thetoneking.com/wp/gear-give-away/2013-2/randall-rd1c-give-away/
Randall Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/randallamplifiers
Product Page: http://visualsound.net/vs-xo/
Unboxing Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfQW7XAbxKw
Official Full-On Demo & Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZvNgQQtS30
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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.