True Bypass Tremolo Pedal?

Don P.

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,499
I go back and forth between the Sugar Baby and the Valcoder, I like both of them very much as one can do the things that the other on cannot. Right now I have the SB on my board.

I had the Semaphore for about two days before I sent it back because it added something that I didn't like to the sound. I like just plain old volume swells, but with the Semaphore there was some springgy type sound going on. Or Vox like sounding trem, I can't explain it exactly, but I knew from the moment I turned it on that it wasn't for me.

Surprised no one has mentioned the Catalinbread Valcoder:

 

polishcomedy

Member
Messages
260
For the guys with the GGG, how does it sound? I wasn't too impressed with the couple of clips I heard on youtube. Also, does anyone have the Bluebird? They say because of their unique circuitry the sound doesn't cut off and on in any setting. I would like the option for it to do that so I can get that "how soon is now" by the smiths or "money" by pink floyd type tone in addition to a more traditional rockabilly/country thing. I've read a lot of bad things about the Voodoo Labs, so that one's out. The dano has no volume control, so that's out. I think I'm looking between the tremalicious and the GGG...
 

catalinbread

Member
Messages
2,467
Just curious... When you use a tube amp at a reasonable level how can you hear the difference between a sinewave or a triangle wave modulating amplitude? What is the benchmark for the so called "sinewave" tremolo sound? Fender amp?

PS I appreciate all the Semaphore love. I am really proud of how the remodel turned out. I knew I was taking a big risk changing one of our leading products... But nowadays I am happy about it because I am even more confident it is the best out there.
 

sstweed

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,088
Just curious... When you use a tube amp at a reasonable level how can you hear the difference between a sinewave or a triangle wave modulating amplitude? What is the benchmark for the so called "sinewave" tremolo sound? Fender amp?

PS I appreciate all the Semaphore love. I am really proud of how the remodel turned out. I knew I was taking a big risk changing one of our leading products... But nowadays I am happy about it because I am even more confident it is the best out there.
First let me say I love the Semaphore. I have the latest version I think, and job well done! I really am happy with it.

As for sine vs triangle, I'll be the first to admit there are times when I can't hear the difference, or not enough difference to worry about. I am generally not a nit-picker. But under many conditions, I do hear a difference somehow. I am not convinced that the difference is in the waveform however. Opto vs non-opto, assymetrical vs symmetrical, etc, could be any number of things.

But the biggest difference I commonly hear is that in an opto style triangle trem it frequently sounds like a mix of a trem signal and a non-tremed signal. I know it isn't, but for the life of me that is how it sounds. Certain, especially lower frequencies, can sound totally unaffected by the oscillating volume. The trem sounds like it is layed on top of the guitar signal. Again, I know it isn't. Sine waves type circuits nearly always sound like someone rolling a volume pedal up and down. All frequencies seem equally attenuated. Never sounds like a mix. I am talking about audio perception here, not electrical reality.

But if I close my eyes and listen for that "mix" illusion, I can guess correctly more often than not as to whether I am hearing a sine or a triangle (or opto vs non-opto, or whatever the culprit). Can I be tricked? Regularly. There are many settings where I can closely match the two types, and I wouldn't be able to tell them apart, especially in a loud band mix. But they do have a different texture much of the time. I have had both on the board at one time and I definately hear it even when set to similar speeds and depths (doubt anyone in the audience hears it though). Of course, some of it can be attributed to different assymetry settings, etc.

The Semaphore is the only trem on my board right now, and it handles everything I want it to do MORE than well enough. So any difference I hear, perceived or real, isn't enough to make me add another sine trem, or pay a zillion bucks for one that does both. But in a studio situation, there might be times when I would reach for one over the other, assuming that the situation accentuated any audible differences.

Hopefully I haven't embarrassed myself but this is how I hear it. YMMV, or IMBN (I might be nuts!).
 

Jet Age Eric

Member
Messages
7,672
It's like porn: I know it when I hear it. :huh I never use the trem on tube amps (volume cut); having it on the Empress was a nice bonus in addition to the tap. I certainly didn't let the Semaphore go because I couldn't replicate a sine wave; I just needed the tap, sadly, and couldn't justify having two trems around. -E

Just curious... When you use a tube amp at a reasonable level how can you hear the difference between a sinewave or a triangle wave modulating amplitude? What is the benchmark for the so called "sinewave" tremolo sound? Fender amp?

PS I appreciate all the Semaphore love. I am really proud of how the remodel turned out. I knew I was taking a big risk changing one of our leading products... But nowadays I am happy about it because I am even more confident it is the best out there.
 

Iversen

Member
Messages
420
Rule of thumb: The more words people use to pimp whatever effect, the more money you'll have to spend to get it.

Get the Danelectro Cool Cat Tremolo.
 

mkg

Member
Messages
1,795
For the guys with the GGG, how does it sound? I wasn't too impressed with the couple of clips I heard on youtube. Also, does anyone have the Bluebird? They say because of their unique circuitry the sound doesn't cut off and on in any setting. I would like the option for it to do that so I can get that "how soon is now" by the smiths or "money" by pink floyd type tone in addition to a more traditional rockabilly/country thing. I've read a lot of bad things about the Voodoo Labs, so that one's out. The dano has no volume control, so that's out. I think I'm looking between the tremalicious and the GGG...
I have the Blue Bird. As far as I can tell it doesn't cut completely on and off, it's more like bias-vary trem.
I think it's the same circuit as the ggg (EA), only with the mod of having the trem/boost toggle.
 

catalinbread

Member
Messages
2,467
From my perspective albeit a limited view... It seems most folks confuse Fender style bias trem as "sinewave". Of course that sound is interesting to listen to because it is changing more than amplitude against the LFO. Maybe a bit of phase certainly a perceived tonal shift against the amplitude. Your mind has something other than volume going up and down to triangulate to thus it's interesting. From my understanding Fender's LFO isn't really very close to a sinewaveshape anyway... So if thats the benchmark, I think a lot of variables are being mixed up and a bit too much focus is given on the specific LFO waveshape.

There is a part on Wendy Carlos's Secrets of Synthesis (if my memory serves me) that illustrates in terms of amplitude modulation one would be hard pressed to hear a difference between triangle and sinewave LFO waveshapes. I posted clips of this phenomena using a software synth a number of years ago. You can hear a harder turn at the peak of a triangle if you listen very closely. But when you plug into a guitar tube amp the differences become less apparent as the amp compresses at the peak amplitude...

My point? I think beyond the waveshape triangle vs sine LFO, the circuit that is ACTUALLY being modulated is deserving of more focus. If it is a sterile laboratory clean amplitude without other characteristics (a touch of phase, maybe clipping, tonal shift). It are these characteristics that gives your mind something to get lost in; that sounds more interesting than say riding a mixer's fader up and down.

:bong
 

sstweed

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,088
From my perspective albeit a limited view... It seems most folks confuse Fender style bias trem as "sinewave". Of course that sound is interesting to listen to because it is changing more than amplitude against the LFO. Maybe a bit of phase certainly a perceived tonal shift against the amplitude. Your mind has something other than volume going up and down to triangulate to thus it's interesting. From my understanding Fender's LFO isn't really very close to a sinewaveshape anyway... So if thats the benchmark, I think a lot of variables are being mixed up and a bit too much focus is given on the specific LFO waveshape.

There is a part on Wendy Carlos's Secrets of Synthesis (if my memory serves me) that illustrates in terms of amplitude modulation one would be hard pressed to hear a difference between triangle and sinewave LFO waveshapes. I posted clips of this phenomena using a software synth a number of years ago. You can hear a harder turn at the peak of a triangle if you listen very closely. But when you plug into a guitar tube amp the differences become less apparent as the amp compresses at the peak amplitude...

My point? I think beyond the waveshape triangle vs sine LFO, the circuit that is ACTUALLY being modulated is deserving of more focus. If it is a sterile laboratory clean amplitude without other characteristics (a touch of phase, maybe clipping, tonal shift). It are these characteristics that gives your mind something to get lost in; that sounds more interesting than say riding a mixer's fader up and down.

:bong
I agree completely. I do NOT confuse tremodillo/kay/schaller/swamp thang circuits (and whom ever else has borrowed this circuit) with the old brown fender amp trems (any version). I am only comparing the effect, as I hear it, as it comes from the tremodillo/Swamp thang, and say your Semaphore. The difference is subtle, but I hear it. It makes me want to do different things with each pedal. And I remember your example post from several years ago! I tried and couldn't consistently tell a difference in that example. I don't claim to know what I am hearing. Just that I hear a difference, how ever hair splitting.

For the record, I really like both the tremodillo style (sine) and the opto style (triangle) trem circuits (and I LOVE every brown Fender trem I ever heard). On the other hand, I don't automatically like either triangle or sine, based solely on the output waveform. Some are just better than others. I have had examples of both that I didn't care for, for what ever reason. I am not a huge fan of the EA trems (sine) based on the ones I have heard. They are beautifully round by themselves, but the one I had in a BYOC pedal tended to get lost in the mix, no matter what I did with the depth control. That is just one example.

Don't know if I am adding anything to this conversation, just relaying my observations. Maybe someone else can make sense of them.
 

mkg

Member
Messages
1,795
Remember that there are two types of brown Fender trem: harmonic vibrato in the larger amps and bias-vary in the smaller ones.
The Blue Bird that I touted earlier, an EA type, is close to the bias-vary trem of the smaller brown Fender amps.
It has a level control that is very useful for sweetening up the sound and helping it remain prominent in the mix.
I once had a brown Super with harmonic vibrato, and while mesmerizing on its own, it was more likely to get lost in a mix than the bias-vary type.
 

Fifthstone

Member
Messages
2,983
+1 on the Voodoo Tremolo. I AB'd it against the tremolo in my Mojotone Vibro Champ and dialed it in exactly like the amp tremolo (which sounds very good btw). I'm not sure it's true bypass but notice no tone suck. And it's controls give it great flexibility. I've had no issues with the pots, switch or jacks.
 

Jet Age Eric

Member
Messages
7,672
a bit too much focus is given on the specific LFO waveshape.
I think waveshape has made up a very small part of this conversation. I think most people are focusing on the pedals they like (for whatever reason). As you noted, the Semaphore is faring very well in this thread, irrespective of what we're perceiving the waveform(s) to be. ;) -E
 
Messages
579
For the guys with the GGG, how does it sound?
...erm....good? ;)

Its basically the same circuit as the BYOC one, but with the volume pot mod added.

I use mine as a nice "vintage" style tremolo. The speed doesn't go quite as high as I've wanted it to on occasion but I think if I could be bothered opening it up again I could change the settings a bit.

There are probably better tremolos out there---but I don't think you'll find a better one that doesn't cost significantly more.
 

redpill

Member
Messages
1,230
There is a slight volume drop with the Cool Cat Trem, but my understanding is that that's kind of the nature of the Trem beast.

To the poster above: are you sure about the internal volume pot? I've opened my cool cat up looking for one, and I didn't see anything that looked adjustable.
Look in there again. I just verified with the Site That Shall Not Be Named that there is a trim pot in there. Also, one guy came up with a mod to make it external.
 

thevelourfog

Member
Messages
433
This is what I use and it's very flexible and sound great.
this ended my trem g.a.s.



I run it off the 18 volt jack of my dunlop DC brick and it sounds very deep, lush and hypnotic.
This is what I use and it's very flexible and sound great.
+1! most versatile trem ever. if you can't get 'traditional' trem sounds out of it, you're not spending enough time with it. ;)
 




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