Visual Sound Route 66 V3 American Overdrive
Price: $179 (street)
Over the years, the Route 66 pedal by Visual Sound (Ed. Note: the company is undergoing a rebranding, changing its name to Truetone) has gained recognition as a competitively priced, great-sounding overdrive and compressor in one. When Visual Sound announced they had reworked the pedal’s circuitry, it seemed worth examining how they could improve on the pedal.
The 66’s Compressor section adds subtle character with a simple layout: compression, tone, volume. There’s also a Clean Mix knob that can dial the dry signal back into the compressed signal for huge, clean sustained notes while maintaining the attack of the unaffected sound. The section’s Tone on/off slider switch opens up even further options.
At highly compressed settings, it’s remarkable how quiet this circuit is. And with the added Gate switch, it’s all under full control, especially useful in noisy live situations. This compressor is excellent for a slight boost, tightening up your sound, or handling heavy parallel compression. We dare say that the features and quality of this compressor – silent on/off switches, more switching options, and more compact – are worth the price alone.
But that doesn’t mean this pedal’s overdrive section is to be overlooked.
The American Overdrive circuit developed by Bob Weil and Joe Naylor, is now offered with some great improvements and upgrades. The Drive knob works seamlessly without coloring the EQ or increasing the volume drastically. When played harder, this overdrive growls back; dialed all the way up, there is still no harshness, even when approaching distortion territory. It responds in every way that a high-end overdrive should, with the character of the amplifier intact.
Dialing some of the clean signal back with the Clean Mix knob makes for a pleasing dynamic, and the Treble knob never feels piercing or spiky, but rather musical and percussive. Added features include Clean Mix and Bass controls for endless sound-sculpting options.
In addition, a two-position A/B Voice switch allows for variation of the overdrive tone, A being brighter and open and B being more saturated and compressed (with slightly less volume in certain settings). Two internal switches give the option for true bypass.
It’s also worth noting that both sections have individual in and out jacks, making it possible to reverse the order with a patch cable or send the signal to switch loops or other devices.
The Route 66 V3 did a great job translating everything we threw at it through an array of amps. Words like “pure” and “transparent” come to mind, but the bottom line is the Route 66 V3 should be taken seriously by players and competition alike.
This article originally appeared in VG July 2015 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.