Area 51 Tremolo

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Steve Dallas, Aug 15, 2005.


  1. Steve Dallas

    Steve Dallas Supporting Member

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    When I come across a great product, I like to share...

    I just installed an Area 51 Tremolo unit in an amp I built for a customer. It is a self-contained bias wiggler tethered to the amp by an umbilical. It comes with excellent installation instructions and was a breeze to include in this gentleman's simplified AC-15 type circuit.

    The upshot is this is one of the best trem effects I have ever heard. My 2 favorites are the Marshall 18 Watt and Black Face Princeton. This circuit is equally as good. I highly recommend this unit to anyone who might be in the market for an add-on tremolo effect.
     
  2. gururyan

    gururyan Member

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    I have looked at getting one a number of times. Do you still have the amp in your possession?...could you make clips?
     
  3. gururyan

    gururyan Member

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    [​IMG]

    Still very interested in this tremolo, have been for a long time. Anybody have clips or any more info? Did you install it yourself? Did you pay a tech to do it? How much? How's it sound?
     
  4. davidkiddmusic

    davidkiddmusic Member

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    Whoa... that thing at least looks killer. Im interested. Where are they available for purchase? Is it supposed to be kind of like a Blackface Fender style trem or what?
     
  5. Steve Dallas

    Steve Dallas Supporting Member

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    I installed it myself (I build amps). It was a breeze to do and any competent tech should be able to handle it.

    This is a bias wiggler type circuit similar to Vox, Matchless, and some tweed and bf Fender circuits.

    It really is a very nice product.
     
  6. gururyan

    gururyan Member

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    :eek: :eek: :eek:

    That's what I've been looking for!!!

    :eek: :eek: :eek:
     
  7. AshlandBump

    AshlandBump Member

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    I have to admit that I'm a little confused by this description. To me, a Vox "Vibrato" is a very different effect than a BF Fender Trem. Anyone else have experience with this tremolo?
     
  8. woude

    woude Member

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    I've played it several times. My friend built it into his ceriatone 1974x clone. It didn't take him much time to do so, but he built the clone to, so he had some experience.

    It goes really really slow, really really fast, and from nothing to extremely deep. It does the helicopter thing, haha. It's the most versatile trem I've ever played, and the footswitch with the speed switch makes it even more versatile. It's hard to compare sound quality with others, because the amp itself plays a big role in the final sound. I have an amp that has a bias trem too (koch classictone) and altough it's not as versatile I find that it sounds a lot sweeter, more triangle shaped compared to the area51 which sounds more square waved. They both have their advantages (If only I could have both) but if I had to choose I like mine just a bit better. The koch trem is more ambient, the area51 is more choppy. This can maybe change according to which amp it's built into, I've only played the ceriatone. I've tried other tremolo's in other amps; fender vibro-king (strange ticking, sounds more like the koch) Vox ac30tb (far less versatile but other than that more or less the same) and some reissue fenders (didn't like them at the time, but it's a long time ago)

    It's a nice product, very solid enclosure. I wonder how the area51 amps are. The area51 wah is my most favorite effect at the moment. And Dan at Area51 is a nice guy to deal with!

    Other questions? ;)
     
  9. AshlandBump

    AshlandBump Member

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    Thanks for the insight, and since you asked . . .

    Is there a change in volume when the tremolo is engaged?

    Change in gain/overdrive with the tremolo?

    How does it "ramp up" compared to amp-based tremolo? Seems like effect pedal tremolos have a problem where you hit the bottom of a swell when you turn it on, so your attack is off. Make sense?

    Anyone else with experience with this tremolo?
     
  10. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

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  11. woude

    woude Member

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    Is there a change in volume when the tremolo is engaged?
    >>No.

    Change in gain/overdrive with the tremolo?
    >>No. The only thing is that the signal starts to sound strange at very high trem speeds, as if the amp can't keep up. Hard to explain. I kinda liked it... *frrrrrrrprrrrrrrrrrprrrrrrrrrprrrrr*

    How does it "ramp up" compared to amp-based tremolo? Seems like effect pedal tremolos have a problem where you hit the bottom of a swell when you turn it on, so your attack is off. Make sense?
    >>I have found this 'hitting the bottom' to be the case in a lot of amp tremolos, not so much pedal tremolos, but I have to say I didn't try too many pedal tremolos. The fact that an amp trem is 'inside' the amp can give the impression as if the tremolo is working against you. My koch tremolo has that sometimes, esp. on lower volume playing. The area51 tremolo is more square waved, choppy and maybe because of that, never feels like you hit the bottom of the swell. It's more sound - no sound - sound instead of a ramping up and down. Do I make sense? ;-) It's just what I noticed, maybe other people mmv.
     
  12. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    Could you run through the install process quickly?

    thanks,

    jb
     
  13. davidp158

    davidp158 Member

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    I am also interested in this product. How hard would it be to install into a Dr. Z MAZ Jr.? I can do clean soldering, but can't read a schematic.

    Not sure if this has been answered or not, but when changing speeds, does the speed change abruptly or gradually. I have a tube powered trem/rev unit built by Robert Stamps, and the coolest thing about it is changing speeds. At the end of a song, I sometimes use a fast trem on the last chord, hit the speed button and it slows down like a Leslie. Fantastic effect.

    I'd also like to hear some sound clips. I understand that it will sound different depending on the amp its used with, but for the cost and install hassle, I'd like to hear it before buying it.

    BTW, that Area 51 footswitch looks just like a standard 2-button footswitch. I've purchase one for a Huges Kettner amp for $20. Area51 charges $50, which seems steep. I think they should include the footswitch, or at least offer it for less, as they probably get it for $10.

    http://area51tubeaudiodesigns.com/M...Product_Code=bmt60deluxe&Category_Code=cat001

    Dave
     
  14. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

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    I've always really liked this trem design.

    However, I don't think I could justify putting it in my Carmen Ghia since I have the stereo Guyatone FLIP VT-X vintage tremolo pedal with a 12AX7 and one of my amps drives a Leslie 120 cabinet...

    In a parallel universe I would have saved up for one of these trems... Or maybe in the future if I get some really nice old-style combo that would enjoy tremolo....
     
  15. DocRock

    DocRock Supporting Member

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    I haven't heard the tremolo, but I'll bump this thread just because I have one of Dan's A-M-A-Z-I-N-G wah pedals, so I can only imagine all of his products being of comparable quality. I know this is a bit OT, but if the Area 51 wah is any indication of what kind of quality to expect, I'd say whatever he's making is probably great. The wah pedal is the best one I've ever heard, BY A MILE...and I've had a lot of the popular wahs out there.
     
  16. davidp158

    davidp158 Member

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    Thanks for the replies, guys. I'm a bit of a tremolo junkie, so I think the idea of this product is kind of cool. It just seems that anyone offering audio products should have some sound clips on their web site. MP3 files aren't the last word, but it helps a bit.

    Has anyone heard the funky looking Area51 Model 2 amp? I love the wacky retro-radio design. It looks too cool to not sound great, but I'm curious.

    cheers,
    Dave
     
  17. Tinman

    Tinman Member

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    I would certainly like to hear from some more folks who own or have tried this thing.
     
  18. JimmyR

    JimmyR Member

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    I've installed the Area 51 trem into a couple of my own built amps - a hi-po Twin clone and a Bassman. Installation is very easy as long as you know at least a little about tube amps.

    It really is very good - absolutely kills BF roach trem. It reminds me of the trem in my home-brew "Marshall' 18Watter which is pretty much my benchmark trem. Because it works by varying your amps bias it doesn't affect tone at all. It has an advantage over pedals here because your guitar tone has to pass through a pedal and be re-amplified and that will affect tone every time.

    It doesn't do that awful compressy thing that cheaper pedals do. I liked it so much that I altered the trem in my SRRI to mimic it! It's very similar to the trem in a 61G6 Vibroverb. Oh - and you can make your own footswitch from a guitar cable, a switch and a metal box easily enough. I made one for my Twin using a tweed covered lead to match the amp's covering.

    HTH!
     
  19. davidp158

    davidp158 Member

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    What would a reasonable installation charge be for this tremolo into a Dr. Z MAZ Jr? The unit itself is kind of expensive, and adding installation cost on top of it may prevent me from doing this. The $50 charge for the 2 button footswitch doesn't help either.

    dp
     
  20. pappafox

    pappafox Member

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    I had one installed into a 1987x (upside down, over the pre tubes). Sounds great. I like it with a lot of gain and a wah pedal. Spooky!

    Jimbo
     

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