Price paid: $ 90
Purchased from: Forums
Ease of Use: Visual Sound's V2 range of pedals have been out for a little while with new enhancements to existing pedals. They have also added a few new pedals to their impressive line allowing a guitarist to have every effect they would ever need supplied wholly from Visual Sound. Being reviewed today is the green meanie, aka the Double Trouble. This is one of the newer pedals that was released in their new V2 range or what can now be considered their main-stay range of pedals.
It is one of Visual Sound's dual pedals in that there are essentially two pedals in the one enclosure. It seems to share the one circuit after looking at a schematic but still functions as two separate pedals. The Double Trouble in particular sharing two Tube Screamer's, acting independently of each other which opens up a world of options for guitarists. The two Tube Screamer in this scenario being Visual Sound's Route 808. So for an example you could set one up for lead and one as rhythm and activate them at separate occasions or you could use one side as a boost for the other and vice versa. This is a lot different to other pedals that have tried something similar, as an example Home Brew Electronic's Power Screamer. The Power Screamer being essentially the one pedal but with an added boost switch where as the Double Trouble is literally two overdrives in one. // 10
Sound: Both channel's feature the JRC4558D op amp which is the famous op amp used in the original Ibanez TS808. The one that was so famously used by Stevie Ray Vaughan and many other talented guitarists. However after watching Bob Weil's (founder and current president of Visual Sound) little video on op amp differences, I doubt the op amp has too much significance in pedals anymore.
Having said all that the Double Trouble does the whole dual/stacked Tube Screamer's set up well, really well - in fact it is one of the finest sounding pedals I have had the pleasure of playing. I have played a lot of Tube Screamer variants since taking up guitar and this is easily one of the best. It is warm, smooth and just sheer fun to play. However as it is a Tube Screamer based Overdrive you will either love it or hate it as not everyone loves the Tube Screamer.
Both channels are fitted with a Drive, Tone and Volume dial. Both channels also have a Bass Boost switch to give the sound some more overall low end, after all this is probably the most complained about aspect of a Tube Screamer - that of not having enough bass to its output. If that wasn't enough to top it all off Visual Sound also included an internal noise gate that can be operated on either channel. Using the pedal was a simple noiseless affair with click-less switches that didn't pop in any way no matter how high the volume and gain were set.
The sounds are what you would expect from a typical Tube Screamer which is fairly versatile and great for blues, rock, a clean boost or boosting a high gain pedal or amp channel for tighter metal rhythm's. I did find the pedal a little on the dark side no matter how much I changed the Tone dial but this was relatively minor. I was easily able to dial in some classic Stevie Ray Vaughan tones with one channel being set as the rhythm and the other being set as a boost for the solo's. I was also able to boost the Overdrive channel on my amp to get a fairly solid rock rhythm crunch for music like AC/DC, it did the trick but it wasn't convincing as obviously AC/DC just doesn't sound right through a Stratocaster.
The Bass boost switch was extremely noticeable and unfortunately hard set so you cannot adjust the level of low end it adds to your overall tone. I personally felt that the pedal was sufficient in the lower end frequencies and left it off on most occasions. However it was very useful when setting one channel as a clean boost to a solo just to really fatten up the solo to a whole new level. The Double Trouble seemed to stack well with some of my other pedals but not all especially the Fulltone OCD and the Black Arts Toneworks Black Forest, but having two Tube Screamer overdrives in one pedal there isn't too much need to stack it with other pedals anyway. The pedal reacted well to my guitars' volume dial which also added another degree of versatility. // 9
Reliability & Durability: Visual Sound have really done an outstanding job on this pedal, I have really found it hard to fault. Some people may have hangups with the pedal being mass produced and not hand made in some mystical basement but don't let that dissuade you in choosing this pedal. Visual Sound are also always ready to answer your question or assist you if you ever have any issues with their products. When I bought the pedal I bought it used and unfortunately one of the channels was not working unless you kept the bass boost switch on. Unfortunately the seller wasn't too honest about everything being in perfect working order. I got in contact with Visual Sound and explained what was wrong and that as it was used it was probably not covered by warranty and what not. However Visual Sound get top marks as they let me send it back to them for repairs. And if that's not good enough they did it all for free! // 8
Overall Impression: Admittedly the overall aesthetic design feels gimmicky especially being called the Double Trouble after Stevie Ray Vaughan's band and keeping in mind that Stevie Ray Vaughan stacked two Tube Screamer's to get the tone for some of his songs. So if you are after something a little different from the standard Tube Screamer, something a little green and something definitely versatile then this is the pedal for you. // 9