Pedal Board 2.0
I rebuilt my most recent pedal board, ditching a collection of boutique effects and replacing them with Visual Sound pedals.
I used to cherish subtlety in pedals, but I've come to realize that an effect which can be heard clearly in a quiet room gets buried in crowd noise or the "roar floor" of the rest of an ensemble. That's not to say that the Visual Sound pedals can't be subtle, but it's not their forté.
One thing that's really nice about the Visual Sound pedals is that each one contains two related effects. I have three pedals (for a total of six individual effects) on a 19- by 8-inch board. Pedals are fastened to the board using nylong zip-ties; I don't like using velcro. The rear of the board is raised about an inch to give a better angle for stomping on the switches. The power is daisy-chained and supplied by a regulated wall-wart.
These pedals are buffered with a reasonably unintrusive buffer. I don't have to worry about cable length from the board to the amp, nor about the number of effects in the chain, like I do with my true-bypass pedals. Also, the switching of the Visual Sound pedals is quieter and more reliable than I've come to expect from my true-bypass pedals. Am I giving up some sound quality by using buffered pedals? Perhaps, but casual listening (i.e., playing rather than trying to detect a difference) tells me that the Visual Sound buffers are of sufficient quality to retain the character of my instrument.
The effects are, in order:
- a modern-sounding distortion which can cover the ground from hot-rodded Marshall to scooped metal
- a tubescreamer with an optional bass boost
- a compressor having a tone control and decent preservation of picking transients at reasonable compression settings
- another tubescreamer with optional bass boost
- a dual-range digital delay with filtering of the repeats
- a very flexible chorus
And what of my displaced boutique effects? They're in storage for the moment, waiting for me to decide whether this new lower-cost board is a keeper or a passing fancy...