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Fully programmable, puts your 3 favorite tones right at your feet.
The Tech 21 SansAmp Tri-A.C. Distortion Pedal features Tech 21's highly acclaimed proprietary analog circuitry to capture the rich natural harmonics and sweet overdrive characteristics inherent in tube amps. 3 memory locations can each be altered and saved. Built-in speaker emulation encompasses all aspects of multi-miked tube amp rigs. The SansAmp Tri A.C. lets you choose Tweed (Fender-style), British (Marshall-style), or Calif (Mesa/Boogie-style). Each amp type has its own tonality and its own input sensitivity. Each interacts differently to the dynamics of your playing style. Other controls include 3-band active EQ, Drive, and Level.
Reviewed by 25 customers
I own a Roland Rhodes MK-80 Digital 88 note weighted keyboard. Whilst Harold Rhodes described it with no great compliment, I decided the only thing really missing was the "crack" of the notes when you really came down hard. This keyboard is built very strong and can poke fun at anyone with a heavy hand, which gives it the perfect defense from damage. What gives it that crack is the SansAmp TRI AC box with the long range drive control designed for high output instruments. Just give it about 10 percent drive and a bit of level on any of the three tones offered (CALIF (Mesa) BRIT (Marshall) or TWEED (Fender) and Bob's your uncle, you've got the real Fender Rhodes or Wurlitzer sound on the button. Love love love it! Cheers to Steve Schwartz in NYNY for sneaking me one behind the back of our ruthless monopolistic importers who think they have the exclusive rights to certain brands.
I've never given anything a 5 in all categories. This is not a distortion pedal by any means. It is the best amp modeler I've ever used. I've tried nearly everything digital. If you have to play direct this is the way to go. I plug my pedalboard into this and have an awesome amp simulation. It responds to pedals like an amp should. I use the Fender one channel setup kinda clean, another Fender on the second setup with a little more gain, and then the Mesa/Cali sound on the third. I mainly get my dirt from my pedals.
Very clever design for playinng direct. I use it at our church. You get 3 channels voiced, eq'd, with gain and volume each available with a dedicated footswitch. I also find it takes and OD pedal in front of it well. I disagree with comment below about the construction quality. It is a very sturdy design, cast aluminum. Not as tasty as a true tube amp, but I tested many modelers and what-not's and this stood out best.
I bought this pedal because I was playing through the system and it was recommended by a friend who had owned it before. I used this pedal more than my ds-1 now. It gets great tone wether you are using a light distortion or a hard crunch. You can blow your PA so be careful of your volume when you plug it in.
I use this into the effects loop return of my Mesa Boogie Mark III, INSTEAD of using the pre-amp of the Boogie. Nuff said.Makes my LP sound like and LP, and my Tele sound like a Tele. 4 stars on quality because the box is constructed of flimsy sheet metal. Had they put this into a real enclosure it would have been perfect!
As an amp modeler this pedal is worth the money. Doesn't take much to change the sound either. Slight adjustments on any of the 5 knobs (drive, bass, mid, treble and level) can alter tone significantly.I don't use it as a distortion pedal. Better dirt pedals out there. I use my own and keep the Tri AC drive in low just enough to kick in the amp tones. Really nice. Now I'm interested in Sansamp's new character series pedals cause I think these guys nailed analog amp modeling.
This is as good as I expected, but not as good as I hoped. There is no substitute for a good tube amp cranked up, but where in the world do you get to play that, if you are like me, you play small clubs, pubs and coffee shops. This pedal comes close to getting you those thick tube amp break ups that you are looking for, and can be exacted a very low volume.. which is a plus in the working class small venue world. I also enjoy the fact that I can program 3 distinct sounds for the show, clean to dirty, in one pedal. Also kudos for options. This pedal has a crazy amounts of options. I have only used it for a couple of hours the day I bought it, and I couldn't believe the variations in tone that were available. One further note, if you play it direct through a PA, the options are different then if you use it through an Amp. The amp will give you a lot of it's own color, but this isn't a bad thing. It isn't as good as an overdriven amp, but it is close to exacting that for low volume situations.
I've been playing for 35 years. The bands I play in have relatively low volume levels that keep me from getting killer sound from my amps ( I generally play through a fender 2-12 60 W blues deville or marshall Avt 150 (if it's in a small place). I've tried a myriad of pedals, processors and the like over the years and while most have provided an initial adrenal surge, their low quality sound soon began to wear on the ears. This processor is absolutely great as far as tone is concerned and the three programmable pre-sets are perfect for me. Setting one - Clean, perfect for rythmn sections like "sultans of swing" or "Middle of the Road", Setting two - Marshall - Set for "rock n roll" by zepplin or "hard to handle", setting three - Mesa - "brand new Cadillac", Skynard etc. Absolutely great, I do like a little reverb added by the amp.
Sometimes I use this for recording, and it is great for emulating the sound of a mic'd amp without all the volume. This is an analog box, at least the tone sections are. It actually sounds good, and very much unlike the digital modeling boxes. The TRI-A.C. does produce some great usable tones, and you can put pedals in front of it and it still sounds pretty much like a micd amp. I find the Brit (marshall) setting particularly satisfying with a good OD pedal in front of it. The tweed also nails that early Fender rectifier sag really well. That all said - it still is not the real deal, but its way closer than any of that Line 6 or Vox modeling stuff. The digital modeling units have their place with patch flexibility and all of their echos and stuff, but I have yet to find one that sounds as much like a good amp as this Tech 21 box. For echo, reverb etc, I sometimes use a good digital box after this - so I'm not biased against those boxes - they just don't sound as good as this.
There are two main things to realize about this box.Number one: it is NOT a "distortion box", in the way a tubescreamer is. This is an amp modeler, and is meant to be run direct to whatever you're playing through (ie. a PA, power amp, mixer). It is NOT meant to be played through a regular amp, which will add it's own distortion and coloration. If you have an effects-loop, you can insert it there for no coloration, and if you LIKE the sound it makes through an amp, well that's just art.number two: This is NOT a nu-metal distortion devil. As much as I'd like to make it really scream sometimes, the tri-ac is meant for light, crunchy, bluesy or classic rock style distortion. You can move on towards EVH, G'n'R, or other moderate sounds, especially with a good distortion or overdrive pedal. Just don't expect this baby to sound like a diesel or double recto. (Apparently the sansamp GT2 is good for that style anyways!)Once you've wrapped your head around who this is meant for, and what it's supposed to do, it really does shine. Any 60's to 80's amp sound can be decently recreated, and most of them are just plain amazing when cranked up (through an appropriate clean amp).I've concentrated on the aspects of the higher gain for a big chunk of this review, but the clean sounds deserve mention too. The "fender" and "mesa" settings clean up nicely at lower gain, and the fender really sparkles with the treble up and a little gain (maybe 10 oclock). The "marshall" setting sounds thin at low gain (just like an older REAL marshall) but can be useful with combinations of effects.Overall, a really great amp replacement for anyone who likes to practice or gig without breaking his back or bank!