The Visual Sound Son of Hyde is an excellent choice for anyone wanting the beloved "Hyde" distortion sound with the increased versatility and decreased footprint of a dedicated pedal.
It's hard to believe that Visual Sound, one of the top effects pedal producers and makers of such classic pedals as the Jekyll & Hyde and Route 66, almost went out of business not once but a couple of times. Bob Weil, Visual Sound founder, would be the first to tell you that he's made his share of mistakes, but being the shrewd business man he is, he's learned from them. Now, Visual Sound has a lean and clearly defined product line, include the still relatively new V2 series of pedals, including the V2 Son of Hyde distortion pedal.
As you can likely deduce from the name, the Son of Hyde takes its name and sound from the dirtier side of the beloved Jekyll and Hyde pedal. The Son of Hyde, like the original Hyde, has a "British" voicing to it, sort of a "Marshall in a Box" sound. It sports controls for Drive, Treble, Mid, and Volume, as well as a Bright switch.
If you've never seen a Visual Sound V2 pedal, they're an odd mix, design-wise. The colors are pretty bright, even a little cartoonish, but the build quality is in Mack Truck Territory. The Son of Hyde is no exception, and it includes Visual Sound's proprietary switching system that is probably the best switch I've ever encountered in an effects pedal regarding its usage and feel.
I tested the Son of Hyde through a new Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, which has a very "pedal-friendly" sound. Although it's touted (rightly so) as a high-gain pedal, at lower settings the Son of Hyde got some great blues and classic rock tones. Player dynamics are translated very well, and I was able to get good clean tones by backing off my guitar's volume knob. Cranking the gain is sort of like traveling through time. You can get 80's classic metal up through 90's Rectifier tones, although it's not a pedal that will satisfy fans of über-gain. Still, it's an incredibly versatile distortion pedal. Also impressive for "real-world" use is the pedal's built-in noise suppression. Though it doesn't sound like a real exciting feature, trust me. If you play live with a high gain pedal, you'll appreciate the built-in noise gate. It's effective and completely silences the pedal when you're not playing.
Visual Sound makes pedals for players, not Internet discussion board trolls. The Son of Hyde is at once affordable, versatile, and rugged, all without taking up valuable pedalboard space. It's an excellent choice for anyone wanting the beloved "Hyde" distortion sound with the increased versatility and decreased footprint of a dedicated pedal.