Review: Visual Sound VS-XO Premium Dual Overdrive Pedal

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all overdrive pedal. Having said that, the Visual Sound VS-XO Premium Dual Overdrive probably comes closer to that than any other overdrive pedal previously made.

Part of its appeal is its two-in-one design that consists of two individual overdrive circuits that players can use separately or together.

But it goes even further still by offering players the ability to tweak overdrive tones in much greater detail than is possible with the average stomp box.

Features: The VS-XO has two different overdrive circuits, each with its own sets of controls. Overdrive 1 is on the right and has controls for drive, tone, volume and clean mix, plus three-position clipping and bass switches. Overdrive 2 also has drive, tone and volume controls, along with a rotary bass control. Each section is voiced differently: the right section has an EQ curve with boosted midrange, while the left section has a flat midrange EQ.

In addition to having its own on/off footswitch, each section has its own set of inputs and outputs, which allows you to use and externally engage each section separately or change the order of each section in your signal chain. Players who prefer a simple setup can plug into the outermost input and output jack, in which case Overdrive 1 is placed in front of Overdrive 2 and both signals are mixed internally.

Performance: Whether you prefer clean boost, subtle crunch, amp-like grind or fat, compressed distortion, the VS-XO delivers them all and any other shade of overdrive or distortion in between.

The Overdrive 1 section is more versatile, and it’s the best place to dial in your ideal overall tone. Should you want more distortion or bigger bass, you can either opt for Overdrive 2 or blend it with Overdrive 1. Thanks to its low-noise circuit, the VS-XO sounds clear and detailed no matter how extreme the settings.

Street Price: $179
Manufacturer: Visual Sound,

The Bottom Line:

The Visual Sound VS-XO is likely the only overdrive pedal most players will ever need, combining the performance of two individual overdrive pedals and providing incredibly versatile tone-shaping capabilities.

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Chris Gill, Video by Paul Riario

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.