Does the Catalinbread Formula 5 really sound like a real amp?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by EagleDo, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. EagleDo

    EagleDo Member

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    I’ve been listening to 5e3 clips... and its similar, but the pedal is much meaner. Is there really a fender amp with that tone and grit? Or is the Formula 5 just what Catalinbread wishes a fender sounds like?


    Is there a fender amp somebody can buy that will get you the Formula 5 tone, with no pedals?
     
  2. guitarman3001

    guitarman3001 Member

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    good question. I have an F5 and at first I wasn't too crazy about it. This isn't the answer to your question but I found that whether the F5 sounds good or not depends a lot on the amp it's played through. It didn't sound all that great through my DSL40C but through my Mesa ROV25 it sounds pretty much exactly like I had hoped it would based on the youtube vids I saw.

    I'd be curious to know what amp Catalinbread used when they were developing the pedal. That might help when trying to figure out what kind of amp it will sound best through.
     
  3. ChipOnly

    ChipOnly Member

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    I just sold my v1 Formula 5 to a friend - I might not have sold it to a stranger, nice to know where it is! I really liked it but it had been on a shelf, while my HBOD gets me fairly similar loose, cranked combo tones. Ran it through a DRRI or a tech21 blonde most of the time, btw.

    The #5 was amp-like in the way we describe pedals to be here, sure, "like" being the keyword. I thought it sounded great, cleaned up well enough with volume knob or pick attack, and had a useful tone control, and it's true that it took other pedals well. I would have traded some of the higher gain range of that pot for some lower gain at the other end, that's my main critique. Great dirtbox IMO - how much it sounds like a 5E3 or something is a matter of opinion, I suppose, but it was close enough for me. Feel, though, I couldn't say. Overall, real nice pedal IMO.
     
  4. EagleDo

    EagleDo Member

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    The gain everyone complains about is what I like. I haven’t heard a fender that can do that kind of distortion.
     
  5. FenderBigot

    FenderBigot Supporting Member

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    Short answer... Yes.

    (Disclaimer... With the right version, the right amp, guitar and power source)
     
  6. mdrake34

    mdrake34 Member

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    I've never played a real fender tweed deluxe, but I love my FN5.
     
  7. lareplus

    lareplus Member

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    I wanted to like the FN5 but I just couldn't. It didn't do what I hoped it would do for my sound.
     
  8. guitarman3001

    guitarman3001 Member

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    When I got mine that's how I felt at first. But after playing with it for a while and trying a different amp I was able to find the sound I had wanted based on the demos I saw of it. It's one of those pedals that seems to be very dependent on the amp it's played through.
     
  9. EagleDo

    EagleDo Member

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    Hey could that answer be longer?
     
  10. ekkybedmond

    ekkybedmond Member

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    Hi

    it sounds like a Fender

    in a neutral(ish) amo, NOT through another amp
     
  11. john beddoe

    john beddoe Member

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    i haven't heard the formula 5 but i can say the wampler black 65 is fantastic for a fender flavour!
     
  12. Occam

    Occam Member

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    I have a vintage '57 Harvard...not a deluxe but its cousin and I have a Formula 5. The pedal is much meaner but with a Variac it sounds pretty close. The F. 5 into the Harvard sounds amazing with the volume high and the gain low.
     
  13. catalinbread

    catalinbread Member

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    One of these Harvards came up recently at one of our Portland shops. I didn't have time to play through it... We already have a GA30 and 5E3 in the Catalinbread arsenal... Must resist...
     
  14. MilwMark

    MilwMark Member

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    I have a GA-30 (they are special) and a Lancer (which is basically a 5d3 I think). The Fn5's gain comes on a little quicker. But it sounds very convincingly like those amps when I dime stuff - which is how everyone plays them anyway. Dime it (or close) and run everything from guitar). Same principal with the Fn5.
     
  15. ummohyeah

    ummohyeah Member

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    Here's a clip of the Formula 5 being used live through a Fender amp with a Tele Plus. Jason of Dead Meadow is also using a Belle Epoch here. I think his overdrive, notably in this song, just soars.



    The part I am referencing is at 14:45.
     
  16. guitarman3001

    guitarman3001 Member

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    What amp did you guys use to play the Fn5 through when you were developing it?

    And did you compare that setup to an actual 5e3?
     
  17. mdrake34

    mdrake34 Member

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    The FN5 likes to have the volume knob cranked to get the best tones from it. With the gain all the way down and the volume cranked, it still produces a saturated tone. Trying to run the volume below 12:00 and cranking the gain doesn't produce as pleasing of results as turning up the volume and lowering the gain, but unlike a TS or SD1, you don't get a clean boost that way.

    It's such a fantastic pedal. I tried it at 18v and it was a little too clean for me. It has a TON of volume on tap at 9v. My DLS mk.iii didn't have as much volume on tap, so I run it at 18v.
     
  18. EagleDo

    EagleDo Member

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    I’d like to add that the Formula 5 is my favourite pedal of all time. I went through about 5-6 overdrives a year until I settled on this one. I have no desire to get less gain from it, in fact I sometimes run another overdrive into it. I had tried the Wampler Tweed 57 but it doesn’t get mean. I understand that the Fender market is mostly blues guys and stuff but some of us want to sound more like Neil Young distortion.


    Does Fender make new amps that can make close to this sound, or am I stuck with vintage or pedals?
     
  19. stratology

    stratology Member

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    Had one, didn't like it. I used it with a '57RI Fender Tweed Twin (and other amps), after some tweaking I found one setting that was kind of ok, but not nearly as good as my Barber and Kingsley pedals.
     
  20. Flatscan

    Flatscan Supporting Member

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    Turn the gain up and run it at 12V or 18V.

    Turn the bass to 3 on your DRRI and it's great.
     

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