Yuki Hayashi continues on his merry way by offering us the Chorus Tri-Avatar on the occasion of the Winter NAMM Show 2016. You think you know everything about choruses, you think you've heard everything? Well, think again! The Tri-Avatar pushes the limits of musicality a little further and manages to surprise us! Externally the pedal adopts the same type of casing as the rest of the range, anodized, light, with a bluish dress of any beauuuteeeyyeu. It is also manufactured, exceptionally, in the north of Japan and not in Yokohama, in order to support the local economy which suffered greatly following the events of 2011. We will appreciate the gesture!
On the front, there are screens that may seem "busy", but which in fact turn out to be of formidable ergonomics and simplicity :) Finally, let's remember, it's a Free The Tone, which means a completely original circuit developed from A to Z by the brand. It's not a Tri-Chorus, it's not a TCF or a CE-2, it's the Tri-Avatar and believe us, it's going to beat more than one of our "good old " references.
Let's take a quick tour of the owner. 2 footswitches; one to activate the effect, the other to switch between MIDI presets. You can therefore store up to 4 presets within the Tri-Avatar. This will satisfy 99.99% of guitarists!. The pedal is therefore controllable with an external MIDI controller. There is a Level to adjust the overall output level of the pedal, a MIX button that allows you to adjust the amount of effect relative to the dry signal (which remains 100% analog). This MIX button will be very useful when the pedal is used in a parallel loop. 3 Depth buttons (left, center, right) allow you to adjust the depth of the effect and have separate control over the 3 phases. There is of course a Speed control to adjust the speed of the effect. And finally, a Hi-Cut button which will more or less soften the top of the spectrum which will be ideal for going from a round and warm chorus to a much more 80's / bright effect. The Tri-Avatar can be used in Manual or Preset mode. In preset mode, you can modify the parameters of an already saved preset. In Manual mode, you can create a preset from A to Z and choose the destination location.
On the rear panel, the usual stereo In and Out, an input for an expression pedal that will control the Rate and Hi-Cut functions on the fly and finally, a MIDI In.
As for the sound, let me tell you right away, the Free The Tone Tri-Avatar is already impressive in Mono, but it's nothing compared to Stereo use thanks to which it reveals all its qualities and, above all , the interest of having the 3 depth settings. Indeed, the Left leaves on the left output, the second phase (central) sends on left and right and the Right leaves on the right output. We therefore obtain a chorus with a depth and spatialization totally out of the ordinary. The Tri-Avatar TA-2H is ultra rich, precise, never messy in the low end, it retains all the attack and dynamics without tunneling or crushing your original sound. It's "lush", extremely dense and detailed. Having a Mix knob and a Hi-Cut allows you to really sculpt your sound down to the smallest detail and obtain a wide range of nuances. Whether you are looking for a subtle, very light and discreet Chorus, or a big, slamming and deep 80's Chorus, the Tri-Avatar can do it without any problem. During our tests, we compared it to references of its kind (BOSS CE-1 and CE-2, Jacques, Arion, etc.), none could stand the comparison as the Tri-Avatar crushes them in terms of diffusion, dynamics and above all, silence of use. Indeed, the Tri-Avatar is absolutely "dead silent" and absolutely transparent compared to other models. We can therefore note the care given to the power supply stage. As always with Free The Tone, the devil is in the details and these make the difference.
We also spent a lot of time testing the pedal on big lead sounds. It stacks perfectly, bringing just enough pitch to reproduce the best lead sounds like Landau, Lukather, Tim Pierce and others. This is once again where we see the difference with the competition, the Tri-Avatar maintaining an unparalleled attack and dynamics, and a ridiculously low noise level.
In summary, the Free The Tone Tri-Avatar benefits from a HUGE spatialization and a truly impressive 3D rendering as shown in our video below. It's one of the richest choruses on the market (racks and pedals included) and we were truly amazed by its extreme musicality. As always with Free The Tone, the settings are ultra efficient, musical and well thought out. If we add to that the HTS system and the MIDI presets that you can save, we get an impressive Chorus that will make everyone agree. Don't miss our "stereo jack" video below to judge the pedal before you spend your pennies! You won't be disappointed for sure! :)