Thoughts on the Catalinbread Formula No. 55?

edwardz

Member
Messages
361
This one has been out for a while now. I'm looking for a versatile tweed-flavored pedal to run through my Vintage Sound blackface-style amps for some raunchy guitar and harmonica tones. I sold a Wampler Tweed '57 and need to replace it soon. Liked it for harp with a Shure Green Bullet mic but didn't dig it as much with guitar. Any input on this would be greatly appreciated. I'd like to buy something soon.
 

Dr. Tinnitus

Member
Messages
2,924
I can't speak directly to the No.55, but I've used a No.5 for quite awhile. I love the No.5 , and haven't bought a No.55 because of it. I think it would be safe to say that the No.55 is a step forward in versatility and better low gain application.

Anyway, if you are looking for versatility and tweed-flavored, I bet this is your best bet.
 

edwardz

Member
Messages
361
Had the No. 5 a couple years ago. The 55 seems much more versatile. Hoping to pull the trigger on one by next week but would like more input.
 

JK1965

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,211
I've been wondering about this one myself. There was a ton of hype when it came out then it seemed to vanish overnight.

Would love to hear more feedback from actual owners.
 

Flotsam

Member
Messages
185
I have one on my board.
Currently have it running at 18V. It seems a bit more open sounding and clearer to my ears.

I also have a Rockett Blue Note on my board, which I still think I prefer for low gain.
 

Classic09

Member
Messages
2,463
Tweed pedals don't seem to garner the same level of forum noise as Marshall pedals. I have the LovePedal Les Lois which is immense and does what want it to. The F55 has a master volume where as the Lovepedal doesn't, but that's not a limitation though.
 

Flatscan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,008
There are loads of great tweed pedals and lots of fans (like me!) on TGP.

My sense is the 55 was not perceived to be a big improvement over the classic pedal. Some of the reviews seemed to prefer the old pedal (though they said it politely and quietly).

Practically, my sense is players picked up on this and the pedal didn't get the buzz that a Catalinbread pedal does usually.

Appreciating all of the above, I could *easily* believe it's a great pedal. Catalinbread makes great stuff.

If you like the Wampler (and I do as well), it is always good to stay with gear that works for you. Otherwise there is a huge list of great Tweed pedals to check out.

I'm intrigued by the demos for the Super Tweedy Drive.

Personal favorites:

Bearfoot's Honey Bee, Model G
Mad Professor Sweet Honey
JHS Superbolt
Wampler
Catalinbread 5F6
Les Lius
 

1973Marshall

Member
Messages
6,779
There are loads of great tweed pedals and lots of fans (like me!) on TGP.

My sense is the 55 was not perceived to be a big improvement over the classic pedal. Some of the reviews seemed to prefer the old pedal (though they said it politely and quietly).

Practically, my sense is players picked up on this and the pedal didn't get the buzz that a Catalinbread pedal does usually.

Appreciating all of the above, I could *easily* believe it's a great pedal. Catalinbread makes great stuff.

If you like the Wampler (and I do as well), it is always good to stay with gear that works for you. Otherwise there is a huge list of great Tweed pedals to check out.

I'm intrigued by the demos for the Super Tweedy Drive.

Personal favorites:

Bearfoot's Honey Bee, Model G
Mad Professor Sweet Honey
JHS Superbolt
Wampler
Catalinbread 5F6
Les Lius
Tweed pedals don't seem to garner the same level of forum noise as Marshall pedals. I have the LovePedal Les Lois which is immense and does what want it to. The F55 has a master volume where as the Lovepedal doesn't, but that's not a limitation though.
Formula 5 owner here. Most people don't know much about Tweed tone. They know they like some famous tweed recordings, but unlike a Marshall which are universal, many players have never played a tweed. I have very limited experience myself.

I think the 55 is supposed to be a much more versatile tweed sound and most people who buy a tweed pedal are looking for a super authentic tweed recreation, which in and of itself means one or 2 knobs and mayyyybe a tone (which won't do a ton) just like a real small tweed.

There also those of us who sort of use tweed pedals to get into faux fuzz territory. A few people have mentioned this in other threads and I tend to agree.

Then again, it's an availability issue. I bought the Formula 5 after trying one in a shop. I have yet to see a 55. Plugging it in is the best way to get excited.
 

erksin

Member
Messages
23,132
I think the other thing is that it was announced right when the Belle Epoch Deluxe was, which has gotten a ton of attention, so the 55 just got overshadowed.
Pretty much this.

The 55 is more open sounding, more dynamic and less compressed when you lay back on your attack. It still compresses and gets creamy when you dig in, but the overall feel is much bigger than the old circuit.

The 55 is a part for part recreation of a tweed Deluxe's preamp section. Way more accurate in its rendering than the Fn5 was.

If you want to do some reading, here's the manual:

http://catalinbread.com/FN55UserGuide.pdf
 
Messages
3,341
There are loads of great tweed pedals and lots of fans (like me!) on TGP.

My sense is the 55 was not perceived to be a big improvement over the classic pedal. Some of the reviews seemed to prefer the old pedal (though they said it politely and quietly).

Practically, my sense is players picked up on this and the pedal didn't get the buzz that a Catalinbread pedal does usually.

Appreciating all of the above, I could *easily* believe it's a great pedal. Catalinbread makes great stuff.

If you like the Wampler (and I do as well), it is always good to stay with gear that works for you. Otherwise there is a huge list of great Tweed pedals to check out.

I'm intrigued by the demos for the Super Tweedy Drive.

Personal favorites:

Bearfoot's Honey Bee, Model G
Mad Professor Sweet Honey
JHS Superbolt
Wampler
Catalinbread 5F6
Les Lius
Curious to hear if you've tried the Big Tweedy as well
 

PatrickE_FenderADV

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,302
I bought one for my VVRI, played it for a day and dumped it. It sounded good, but not as good as a transparent OD going into my Bassman LTD.
 

Crimson Queen

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,001
The 55 is more open sounding, more dynamic and less compressed when you lay back on your attack. It still compresses and gets creamy when you dig in, but the overall feel is much bigger than the old circuit.
This is the thing. It reminds me of when I played in a band with a cranked deluxe reverb. It really cleans up with a light attack and gets squishy (compressed and fuzz like) with a harder attack. Most pedals are either always compressed or not at all. Also, unlike TS style circuits, there is no overwhelming clean sound with furry distortion on the side. This in one unified sound/feel that responds to the playing. It's both clear and creamy, depending on the playing style. For me, it has some qualities I would associate with a D***ble, even though it was not designed to emulate one.

The only downside to the F55 (and the DLS MKIII) is that it does not interact correctly with an Octavia circuit. My older C-Bread pedals do (SFT, DLS MKII). The Octafuzz has been a big component of my sound for a long time. I now have to choose between my favorite dirt pedal ever or the Octafuzz. The Octapussy works a little better (I have one). I tried a Tentacle for a while, that worked the best, but it does not sound quite like an Octavia. For the record, I keep the gain knob at zero on my Octafuzz.
 
Messages
3,341
The Formula 55 really is a versatile unit. Mine arrived yesterday and I am really impressed.

The red channel will pretty much give you a very close representation of Neil Young tones unless you try hard to dial it out by turning the tone and / or presence CCW past noon. With the tone and presence tuned in the vicinity of noon to 3, volume from 11 to dimed you are getting a large range of Neil's classic tweed tones. With the volume turned low (8-9) you get a cranked Stones kinda tone. I could barely find a setting I didnt love in the red mode.

I found the green mode a bit picky with their controls but it does a great edge of break up (volume 10-11) and then from noon onwards a really nice crunchy tone. I found I needed to tweak the presence and tone a bit more on the green mode so i still have some playing around to do with that.

I've tried a few tweed style pedals and the F55 is a clear winner for me so far, which I didnt think I would ever say after owning the Les Lius and Deluxe.

Catalinbread are killing it at the moment for me. Just need the Belle Epoch Deluxe to pair with the F55 and I am set!
 




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