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The Trimode is like having two Tonebone Classic tube distortion pedals in one – only better. It is equipped with a toggle footswitch than enables you to effortlessly switch between rhythm and lead channels with a single foot stomp. And using the Trimode is both easy and intuitive. The following short form user page explains some of the basic functionality that is built into the Trimode. For complete details, feel free to download the full manual by clicking on the icon at left.


Following the block diagram from left to right, the Trimode is designed to provide the serious tone devotee true bypass performance whereby when the Trimode is disengaged, the guitar signal will pass directly to the amp, even when the Trimode's power supply is disconnected.

There are two gain stages in the Trimode. The first is a combination solid state - tube drive that lets you adjust the overall distortion range using a 3-position selector switch. At the low setting, the Trimode will give you the effect of a small guitar amp driven hard while the high setting will produce more of a Mesa-Boogie style sustain with tons of even harmonics. Most players begin by setting the Drive Gain to the MED (center) position and then adjust the drive and level controls for the two channels to suit.

You will note that the channel selector switch is situated between the Drive Gain Switch and the individual channel drives. This design enables the distortion on each channel to be adjusted independently. The Rhythm channel is augmented with a unique Interstage™ gain control that lets you to fine-tune the signal from the first gain stage before it reaches the second gain stage. This control is recessed to prevent accidental adjustment and is accessed through a small hole on the right-hand side using a screwdriver.

Because some players will use the Trimode for two different solo settings, both the rhythm and lead channels are equipped with a 3- position mid-range boost switch. These let you add mild or intense mid-boost to your signal for added definition and sustain. For equalization, the Trimode is equipped with three rotary potentiometers. The HIGH and LOW controls employ Radial's unique 'passive-interactive' circuit design that combines musicality with extreme range to let you dial in a wide array of tones. A high-frequency roll-off FILTER works like an 'anti-presence' and is used to offset overly bright amplifiers that can sound 'shrill' when driven at high levels. Finally, there is a 3-position top-end switch that lets you select between dark, normal and bright to shift the overall character of the Trimode to suit your setup and playing style. When combined, these features give you the control you need to toggle between classic 60's overdriven amps to today's ultra-thick saturated tones.

Using the Trimode

As with any pedal, make sure your amp is turned off or levels turned down before making connections. This helps eliminate turn-on and connection transients that can harm more sensitive components. There is no power switch on the Trimode. As soon as you connect the 15VDC supply, it will turn on. It takes about 15 seconds to power up the tube.

Begin by setting the knobs and switches as shown in the set-up diagram. Note that the tone controls and filter are set to 12 o'clock in what is commonly known as 'flat'. Set the gain range to the middle position and set the channel-1 input drive to 9 o'clock and the channel-2 drive to 3 o'clock. With this setting, the rhythm and solo channels will sound quite different. Turn on your amp. It is always best to test the audio at a low volume level before playing loud. Now increase the output level on each channel to a comfortable level as you toggle between them. You are now ready to start experimenting with the dials and functions.

Note the controls on the Trimode are very sensitive and they all interact. This means that when you add bass or treble, the perceived loudness will be different. You will find that small adjustments can lead to very different results. So take your time, adjust and listen. You will be amazed at the tonal range that is now at your fingertips!

Adjusting the drive

There are several controls that affect the distortion on the Trimode. This includes the drive range, Interstage drive control, individual channel drives and the output level controls. Although this may at first seem complex, it is in fact very easy and intuitive.

The drive range is set using the LOW, MED and HIGH drive gain switch. This control works in conjunction with each channel's drive gain. If for instance you want to have the rhythm channel set with just a little bit of grind, then you would set this to LOW drive gain and then set the rhythm channel's output level to compensate. When switching to lead, you will still have plenty of drive available in the second gain stage to create saturation. If more distortion is needed, simply switch first gain stage to the MED or HIGH settings. Once you are familiar with the settings, you can go one step further and fine tune the distortion ratio between the rhythm and lead channels by adjusting the Interstage control.

Adjusting the tone

There are several controls used to set the tone and balance between the two channels. This includes the Top End that sets the overall character, a powerful 2-band EQ, a subtle Filter to roll off excessive highs and individual Mid Boost controls for each channel.

Start by setting the Top-End to flat and then experiment using the Low and High EQ controls. This will give you a more accurate picture of how the EQ works. Then try changing the Trimode's character by switching the Top End control between Dark, Flat and Bright. Go back to the EQ and experiment some more. Once you have found the general tone you are looking for, try rolling off some of the highs using the Filter control. The Filter can help by smoothing out the top end that can often become brittle when playing at high levels.

Both channels are equipped with individual Mid Boost switches. The 3-position switches enable you to customize each channel so that – for instance - when switched, the lead channel will have more sustain and will cut through the noise on stage with greater ease. Keep in mind that the guitar is a mid range instrument. If you want to be heard... add mids!

Adding Effects

One of the really cool features on the Trimode is the insert jack. This lets you insert effects into the solo channel so that when you go from a rhythm sound to a lead, you can have an effect such as a delay turn on automatically as part of the solo tone. Best of all, when you are not in solo mode, you can turn effects on or off to prepare your solo tone for a certain passage and with a single foot stomp, kick in the distortion with effects without having to tap dance. This is way cool and of course delivers a much more professional performance.

Power Options

The Trimode comes with a 15VDC 400 milliamp power supply. This provides significantly more power than a common 9V Boss style power adaptor. The extra power and current is needed to drive the tube. You can use a 16V or 18V supply as found on some of the pedalboard power bricks without harming the Trimode so long as you ensure the polarity is correct and there is sufficient current to match the Tonebone specification.

Note that when you increase the voltage going to the Trimode, the internal power regulator will have to work harder to compensate. This will cause it to heat up and may shorten the lifespan by a minute amount.