Read the full article
This article was originally published in issue #41
To read the article in its entirety, view the digital magazine
The essence of the Trio Band Creator concept is that it is claimed to listen to what you play then automatically creates bass and drum parts. If it works, that's pretty impressive! As if that wasn't enough, it also has a built in looper.
When you're first confronted with the Trio+ you find it's a fair sized unit that looks a little daunting with its variety of knobs, switches and LEDs. However, following the “quick start guide” it was actually pretty straightforward to get going. However, this is where the initial claims that you play something and the pedal will make a band part for it were slightly let down by the reality. The instructions actually say to play something “steady with no embellishments”, so bang went my idea of creating some Wayne Krantz style loops! Press the band button once and start playing then press it again at the end of the section you want to loop, the pedal will then create a drum and bass part to suit what you just played, you can then add looped guitar parts using the looper button. There are 12 different genres to choose from, Jazz through to Metal, and then 12 styles within each genre.
The first one I tried was a one chord Latin vamp, which I played it for two bars before starting the “band”. It picked up the harmony correctly but it never quite played back the rhythm I had intended or envisioned. This meant I had to change the style to get the kind of feel I was looking for. I also tried it on a three chord Pop strum - D, C and G. I have to say that I didn’t find the Pop setting particularly “Pop like” it seemed to range from Rock to Funk, it also didn’t quite get the harmony right playing something different to the G that I'd laid down. Looping over the top was fun and easy to do, however, you can also add up to five different parts to a song as well as change the tempo on the fly. The loop, bass and drum level are all changeable enabling you to set a perfect mix. You can also apply built-in effects to your guitar signal by enabling the Guitar FX button, or connect your favourite effects to the send and FX return jacks.
Playing around with it for a while reveals the Trio+ as a good fun bit of kit. It makes an ideal practice/writing tool, and if you are a solo performer I can see this would be of great use, once you got used to what each of the “Styles” sound like. We ran it through our in house PA system and the sound quality was very good, running these things through guitar amps never sounds as good, so you would need to consider your set-up.
Usefully, the Trio+ uses SD cards for storage of up to 12 songs plus loops and there is downloadable software on offer to help you manage these.
Overall, great though this pedal is, I think there is a little way to go yet in terms of making it flawless, recognising everything you play and how you want to play it, but it's clever technology that I have no doubt will only get better. And, for now, it is certainly an enjoyable and potentially very useful tool that takes the original Trio concept a fair bit further.