Two For the Road: Double Your fun with These Killer Two-In-One Pedals

Stacking drive pedals is a tried-and-true tone technique for many players looking to add versatility to their set-ups.  But having two similar pedals on the same pedalboard can have downsides.  Having an extra drive pedal might mean going without another effect you need, due to restricted pedalboard real estate, and it adds an extra patch cable to the mix, introducing one more potential point of failure if that cable happens to go bad.  So, for those readers looking to tap into the stacked overdrive magic while saving space on their boards, here are some killer pedals to get you started.

wampler-dual-fusion-630-80 Wampler Dual Fusion

Designed for British fusion guitarist Tom Quayle, the Dual Fusion offers two overdrive/distortions inspired by two of Wampler’s most renowned dirt boxes, the Paisley Drive (the “Vintage” channel) and the Euphoria (the “Modern” channel).

Both channels deliver the quality tones we’ve come to associate with Wampler.  The Vintage side is bright, crunchy and dynamic, while the Modern side delivers a darker, more aggressive drive perfect for lead and rhythm alike.  Both channels are remarkable amp-like in tone and feel and can be dialed in for a wide range of sounds.  The ingenious switching system of the Dual Fusion lets players decide the order of the channels and even makes it possible for guitarists using switching systems like, say, a Voodoo Lab Pedal Swticher to assign each side to a different toggle switch.

ZVEX Double Rockzvex-double-rock

Zachary Vex doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to well-designed pedals that deliver unique features, and the Double Rock is no exception.  Originally designed for Dinosaur Jr. guitarist J. Mascis, the Double Rock is pretty much what it sounds like: two Box of Rock pedals in one compact pedal.

But the Double Rock has a sneaky twist that really ups the versatility of this pedal.  Either channel can be configured to operate as a Box of Rock or the famous Super Hard-On preamp pedal.  With just the flick of a switch, you can set the Double Rock up to run as a Box of Rock cascading into another Box of Rock, a Super Hard-On running into a Box of Rock, a Box of Rock running into a Super Hard-On or two Super Hard-Ons cascading into each other, like the ZVEX Super Duper 2-in-1.  Of course, you can also run each channel separately.  The Double Rock also takes a cue from the Distortron pedal by offering a “Subs” switch to sculpt the lower frequencies.  So even if you only used one side of the pedal, you still have an amazing array of ways to configure it.  And it all lives in a case the size of a typical ZVEX/MXR pedal!

TS808DX-512x450Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808DX

Introduced just this year is the Ibanez TS808DX Tube Screamer, which pairs a classic Tube Screamer circuit with an independent Boost section capable of pushing out up to 20db of power.  Each side can be used independently and the Boost can be placed before or after the TS channel with a simple flick of the switch.  Players can also run the TS808DX at 9 or 18 volts, for more headroom.  And just like the original TS808s of yesteryear, the TS808DX’s overdrive channel gets its mojo from the JRC4558D op-amp chip.

Clocking in at four knobs and one mini-toggle switch, the TS808DX is the most unadorned pedal in our list.  That’s OK, though; the classic Tube Screamer doesn’t need a whole lot of help to work it’s magic.

Visual Sound VS-XO Experimental OverdriveVS-XO-SIDEVIEW-WHITEBG1

All you regular readers in the Northern Hemisphere know that Fall marks the start of cooler weather, long-sleeve shirts and The Tone King’s 30 Pedals in 30 Days extravaganza.  So as we gear up for 3P3D 2014, let’s take a look back at one of the most interesting pedals to come out of 3P3D 2013: the Visual Sound VS-XO Experimental Overdrive.

The VS-XO also offers a nice, clean control layout, but puts an immense amount of tweaking power at the player’s fingertips.  Offering a Clean Mix control, multiple clipping circuits and bass shaping options, the VS-XO is pure sophistication for overdrive fans.  Notably, the VS-XO solves one of the major problems often encountered with overdrive pedals: a lack of good, musical low end.  The VS-XO will not leave you wanting in this area.

RGOD_AngleRandall RGOD

High-gain hooligans: we haven’t forgotten about you.  Sure, you appreciate overdrive in the right context, but your musical souls yearn for wall-shaking, ear-shattering grind.  So, let’s go back once again to 3P3D 2013 and behold the Randall RGOD

The RGOD offers a different approach to two-in-one pedal design.  With so much gain on tap, there’s not a need to combine both channels to get some extra punch, so Randall set the RGOD up with two channels, each offering a different amount of gain.  Both channels share extensive EQ controls, including a Presence control, Mid Boost, Bass Boost, and a Tone Stack shift that adjusts the response of the midrange frequencies.

Additionally, the RGOD can be used as a traditional pedal or a two channel preamp, when plugged into an amp’s power amp input or effects loop return, making it a great secret weapon for gigging guitarists who might have to use a rented back line or shared amplifiers when playing live.

Your humble author lately has been experimenting two-in-one pedals and stacked drive set-ups, and I’m here to tell you that if you haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out on some real fun.  The versatility and expression of two drives into a great amp is really something to behold.  Are you currently using a two-in-one or stacked drive arrangement in your rig?  And if not, which of the above pedals sound the tastiest to you and why?  Tell us below!

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