When Visual Sound’s Bob Weil introduced the Jekyll & Hyde pedal in 1997, he billed it as “the original dual guitar effect pedal.” Visual Sound has rebranded itself as Truetone, and one of its initial offerings is the V3 version of this flagship product, which has been redesigned from the ground up by Weil and RG Keen. As stated by the company, the distortion channel (a.k.a “Hyde”) delivers the same great distortion tone that the former Hyde was always known for, but with two major upgrades: a Bass knob that interacts with Treble so you can shape your tone precisely, and a Voice switch that allows you to choose between classic open distortion or a more saturated tone. The overdrive channel (a.k.a. “Jekyll”) has been changed completely to make it even more compatible with Hyde. Other upgrades include a “Forever” footswitch rated for ten million cycles (!) that works in conjunction with relays featuring gold-plated contacts. The unit comes with a lifetime warranty that even extends to second or third owners.
As with other V3 pedals, each channel can be set internally to true or buffered bypass—the latter uses Truetone’s Pure Tone circuit and is useful if the V3 is driving into other pedals. A pair of inputs and outputs allows separate on/off control of each side by a loop device or a MIDI switcher. This also permits pushing the Hi-Gain side with the Drive side or vice versa.
The Jekyll & Hyde’s Drive channel is a bit more assertive than your typical Screamer-style pedal, and, along with Bass, Tone, and Volume controls, a Clean Mix knob allowed me to blend in some un-effected signal to enhance clarity, or use Drive as a clean boost—either before or after the gain channel. The Hi-Gain side sits firmly in the distortion camp and offers Bass, Treble, and Mid knobs, along with a 2-position Bright switch that, in the “A” setting gives a brighter and less compressed response. Additional sound sculpting is afforded by a Voice switch that selects mid boost or cut voicings for the Hi-Gain side, with the former position providing more of the original J&H sound and the latter being louder and more open sounding.
Using the Drive and Hi-Gain channels separately and together, I was able to dial in a massive range of dynamic rock tones—from light grit that responded well to picking attack and my guitar’s volume control, to full on metal madness. I could conjure classic sounds from AC/DC to the Foo Fighters, as well as some rock-oriented blues tones, and whether I had it set to be Jekyll mild or Hyde monstrous, the results from this versatile pedal were always musical.
Kudos Vast array of distortion tones courtesy of independent Drive and Hi-Gain channels that can be configured to run in tandem.