Many so-called dual pedals are really just compromised combinations of full-featured pedals.
The Visual Sound V3 Series H2O Liquid Chorus & Echo is different. It provides the full functionality of two separate pedals in a single box, and it is one of the few dual pedals that delivers more than the sum of its parts.
The H2O has entirely independent hybrid analog/digital echo and analog chorus circuits, each of which sounds fantastic on its own. But the pedal’s true magic is how it organically blends both effects in a way that two separate stomp boxes rarely replicate.
FEATURES The V3 Series H2O pedal is approximately the same size as two small MXR Bud Box–style pedals placed side by side, but it takes up less space on a pedal board thanks to front-mounted input, output and power jacks. The echo section has controls for delay, repeats and level, and there’s a short/long switch that lets you choose between two delay-time ranges: 10 to 225 milliseconds or 225 to 450 milliseconds. The chorus section has full-size control knobs for speed, width and depth, smaller knobs for tone and chorus/vibrato, a three-position intensity switch and a detune on/off switch.
Unlike most other dual pedals, the V3 Series H2O can actually function as two separate pedals, thanks to independent input and output jacks for each effect. The echo section has its own mono input and output jacks, while the chorus section has a mono input and two outputs for mono or stereo signals. For simplicity, you can plug into the echo input and run a cable from the chorus output; the echo and chorus signals are combined internally, with the echo first in order. If you prefer to place the chorus before the echo, plug into the chorus input, place an additional cable between the chorus mono output and the echo input, and run a cable from the echo output.
A pair of custom-designed clickless Forever Footswitches are provided to switch the chorus and echo effects on and off separately, and a bright blue LED illuminates when the effect is engaged. Internal switches allow users to engage a buffer or true-bypass operation for each footswitch individually. The pedal operates with a nine-volt battery or an optional center-negative adapter.
PERFORMANCE It’s obvious that no compromises were made when it comes to sound quality and versatility. The H2O’s chorus and echo effects are more versatile than many competing standalone chorus and hybrid delay pedals that sell for about the same street price. The Liquid Chorus section is especially impressive, providing a wide variety of lush chorus and vibrato effects that include classic analog and flanger-like chorus, Uni-Vibe-style chorus and vibrato, Leslie-esque rotating speaker simulations and seasick pitch-bending vibrato wobble. The intensity switch and chorus/vibrato blend control make it easy to dial in almost any conceivable flavor of chorus, vibe and vibrato. With the thick, rich texture that only analog chorus can provide, the H2O’s chorus section is sure to please the most discriminating chorus connoisseur.
The echo section provides a good selection of basic, essential controls. Because the circuit is hybrid analog/digital, the echo repeats have exceptional clarity, and noise is non-existent, providing performance similar to a digital delay while retaining fat, rich analog tone. I preferred the chorus-before-echo signal path, especially when I used chorus output two with a separate amp to create huge, vast textures with excellent individual note clarity. With a compressor in front of the pedal, I was able to dial in classic Andy Summers effects that took me back to 1979.
STREET PRICE $179
MANUFACTURER Visual Sound, visualsound.net
The hybrid echo section provides delay times from 10 to 450 milliseconds and controls for delay time, repeat and level.
The analog chorus section’s various controls can dial in a wide range of effects, including classic chorus, vibrato and rotating speaker.
THE BOTTOM LINE More than the sum of its parts, the Visual Sound V3 Series H2O provides impressive analog chorus and hybrid delay effects that sound great separately and together.