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28 of the Best Compact Tremolo Pedals - 2020 Ultimate Selection

AnasoundsBossChase Bliss AudioCoda EffectsCopilot FXDr ScientistEarthQuaker DevicesFlower PedalsHamstead SoundworksJHS PedalsKorora AudioMagnetic EffectsMalekko Heavy IndustryMatthews EffectsModulationNative AudioSentimental Bob ElectronicsSource AudioStone Deaf EffectsSubdecay EffectsSuhrSuproSwindler EffectsTC ElectronicTremoloVFE PedalsWalrus Audio+-
2020GPX28BestCompactTremolos700.jpg

There have been a number of new Tremolo pedals fairly recently released, and in fact I was tempted to acquire another in a roundabout fashion. The catalyst was actually the new Rock Fabrik Effects Kuek Touch Sensitive Dynamic Tremolo - yet that comes in a medium vertical BB enclosure and I only have space for a compact. So luckily Anasounds entered the scene with their own version new Ages Harmonic Tremolo which did much the same thing as the Kuek - but in my preferred size / form factor!

 

Everyone knows by now that I have an overwhelming preference for the standard ’B’ type compact enclosure format and in fact the vast majority of tremolos come in this format - there’s over 50 covered in this article alone (near 60 really). In fact near enough every type and style of tremolo is covered in this overview and I’ve included single character legends above to indicate key categories :

  • H = Harmonic Tremolo Type
  • O = Optical Tremolo Type
  • T = Tap-Tempo
  • S = Stereo

I could possibly have added in a couple more for Pattern Trem and Touch-Sensitive, but felt that the above 4 was about right. I already own most types, albeit I don’t currently have an analog stereo tremolo or pattern trem for that matter. My own choice 5 are the aforementioned Anasounds Ages, Alchemy Audio-modded Boss TR-2, Chase Bliss Audio Gravitas, Stone Deaf FX Tremotron Dual Tremolo, and Mini Mooer Optical Trelicopter. For Minis I actually also recommend the rather unusual Xvive Undulator Stereo Tremolo - surely the smallest of its type.

 

In any case I still very much love my power-duo of Gravitas and Tremotron, but fancied a change - and the Ages seemed like the best-fit candidate for those touch-sensitive behaviours I was triggered by courtesy of the larger Rock Fabrik Kuek. Most of the 28 Tremolos featured here are extended functionality types - I’m not really a fan of the very basic 2-knob just Rate and Depth ones - I like to be able to adjust wave-shape and other parameters, and tap-tempo is pretty much a must for me!

 

There are essentially two types of tap-tempo - firstly utilising a second footswitch, which 13 of the listed do; and secondarily to be able to multi-press just the single footswitch for tap-tempo - which is what the Subdecay TremCoder, Suhr Jack Rabbit and TC Electronic Pipeline enable. Any further future acquisition for me would almost certainly come out of this group. I’m somewhat partial to Harmonic tremolo - with now two of those in the collection, while overall here there are 10 such in the selection, and a further 6 in my previous article specifically on Harmonic Tremolo. So a lot more Harmonic Tremolo than many may be aware of.

 

Uniquely the Flower Pedal Dandelion Tremolo is the only one to combine Harmonic, Optical and Tap-Tempo features in the same unit. I’ve probably got enough for now, while I am still tempted by the relatively low cost Sentimental Bob Tacana, Subdecay TremCoder and Swindler Effects Red Mountain Stereo Tremolo - the last mentioned which would be my first foray into that category type while I have a number of digital stereo tremolos courtesy of my Boss MD-500, GFI System Synesthesia and Strymon Mobius.

 

I believe I’ve included all the usually suspects here and the some. There’s also a couple of discontinued models in here - the Matthews Effects Conductor V2 and VFE Old School Tremolo - while I think the Conductor is likely to be revived at some stage in the near future.

 

One of the interesting observations from this selection is how there really is no specific genre aesthetic pattern for tremolo - in terms of unifying colour or design features - pretty much all here look fairly distinct - one wonders why no common colourway evolved for tremolo - unlike say Chorus (Sky Blue), Flanger (Grape), and Phaser (Orange). Pretty much every pedal brand makes one or two version - but they’re all quite non-uniform and different to each other - even within brand ranges.

 

For a while the Tremolo was my favourite modulation flavour, while of late I’ve been getting more into chorus, flanger and phaser - although I’ve always had those in my chain - I’m just using them more nowadays.

I sincerely feel that there is a 99% chance that your next tremolo would likely be one from this selection - with the Chase Bliss Gravitas, Stone Deaf Tremotron and Walrus Audio Monument V2 possibly the leading contenders. A lot of players really like the Supro Harmonic Tremolo - while I can’t abide the fact that it has no tap-tempo!

 

Here follows a little more on each - pedals pictured and listed in alphabetical order :


Anasounds Ages Touch-Sensitive Harmonic Tremolo - €249

So this is the latest addition to my Tremolo selection - Anasounds' take on the Analog Harmonic Tremolo - with smart digital controls - which also enable touch-sensitivity interaction for Rate and Depth variations. Meaning that you can increase/decrease Rate and Depth depending on how you attack your strings. Controls look relatively simple with just 4 knobs - Out, Depth, Tone and Tap-Divisions - with the touch-sensitivity set by the toggle-switch - middle-position is off, up is Rate and down is Depth. The left hand footswitch is your tap-tempo, while the right bypass footswitch - if held down, activates a number of secondary functions - Depth becomes Trigger Threshold, Tone becomes Envelope Sensitivity/Direction while Tap-Divisions and toggle-switch allow you to access the 7 different LFO modes / wave-shapes. You get a cool colour changing LED in the centre of the pedal too - and some further internal trim-pots. This is obviously somewhat simpler to use than my current favourite Chase Bliss Gravitas - which I do still rotate on occasion with the others I have in this genre. The recent Rock Fabrik Kuek kind of woke me up to the possibilities of touch-sensitivity more recently - while Anasounds delivered the right solution in the right form-factor! I've had this on pre-order since just after NAMM - should be with me week after next in theory!


Anasounds FX Teacher Sliver Optical Tremolo - €149

As part of Anasounds' FX Teacher sub-range you can either DIY this yourself from a kit for circa €108 - or pay another €40 for a ready-made one - surely depends on how you like to spend your time, and how much you value your time! This is a cool optical tremolo - with several similarities to the pricier Ages Harmonic Tremolo - albeit not that exact flavour. I mean rather the digital controls with secondary functions. The topology is very similar - Out, Rate, Depth, Tap-Divisions - so Rate control instead of the Ages' Tone control - and wave-forms via central toggle-switch - from a choice of 6. Some of the programming is still being finessed for the Sliver - so there will be further details at the point of launch - which is supposedly the 18th of March now. This is a really great fantastically versatile Tap-Tremolo - just lacking the chewy Harmonic flavour and touch-sensitivity that make its sibling - the Ages so appealing for me.


Boss TR-2 Tremolo (Alchemy Audio Modded) - £77 (c£125 for Alchemy version)

This is a really great sounding simple tremolo with just one notable flaw - the drop in signal strength when engaged. All tremolos really need to come with a level / boost control as even if unity is maintained - the oscillating nature of the signal output makes it sound diminished anyway. So you will see numerous mods available for the TR-2 by Alchemy, JHS and others which at the very least add a volume control, but often add further flexibility for the Rate control too. In my version (pictured) Depth gets a dual-concentric control which covers Depth and Volume, while a secondary footswitch acts as a x2 Rate Doubler - so you get some footswitchable variation in modulation speed! I highly recommend this variety in modified format - the mystery is really why Boss themselves haven't updated this pedal. Funnily it's a big seller for them and I have seen numerous unadulterated versions on pedal-boards - possibly augmented by further external boost or similar. The proper solution is to add in a volume control - which many have now! Note that video is of JHS Two Speed Mod - which is another cool mod version to go for.


Chase Bliss Audio Gravitas Analog Tremolo - £299

This has been my long-standing favourite tremolo - just ahead of the Stone Deaf Tremotron - it's been on its slot pretty solidly right from the start - this was my first proper Tremolo, as well as first Chase Bliss Audio pedal. It has 6 knobs - Drive (Ramp), Volume, Tone, Rate, Depth, and Sway; along with 4 toggle switches controlling tap division and mode, first-half wave shape, second-half wave shape and dual Presets. Then you also have the 16 dip-switches and dual footswitches, including tap tempo. You can set to Harmonic or Standard Mode, or combination of both - which is typically where I have it set. The dip-switches allow you to bounce/sweep various of the parameters to give access to all kinds of weird and wonderful patterns and tonalities. This is the very archetype of a Chase Bliss pedal - and it's also for whatever reason £50/$50 less expensive than all the others in the range! Some players might be overawed by all the choice presented - but you really only need to use what you wish - and can steer entirely clear of the dip-switches if so desired. This is an incredible sounding and performing tremolo - and pretty much does everything you might want it to apart from the touch sensitive thing of my forthcoming Anasounds Ages.


Coda Effects Montagne Optical Tap-Tempo Tremolo - €197

Coda Effects is one Benoit Meijer, and I know no one who is as generous in their pedal building - offering full schematics and instructions for building his pedals - alongside some of the parts even. He has offered 3 fully-made pedals to date - the Black Hole Model T Distortion, Dolmen Green Russian style Muff Fuzz and the Montagne Optical Tap-Tempo Tremolo - in fact the tremolo is the only of his pedals I don't have! The 6 knobs are Depth, Rate, Symmetry, Waveform, Volume, Ratio (Tap Divisions) - with 6 options on tap divisions. The Waveform selector also has 6 options, and the toggle-switch allows you to select between latching and momentary function on the main footswitch. This is a really well-featured optical tremolo, while I still have a couple of other slight preferences in that area.


Copilot FX Polypus Tap-Tempo Tremolo - $125

This is a pretty classic Tap-Tempo Tremolo with 6 different waveform options and fairly simple controls - Wave (Shape), Volume, Range (Depth), Rate - and of course tap-tempo footswitch. The upper toggle-switch selects between manual Rate and Tap-Tempo speed control - while most other pedals do this automatically when you deploy the tap-tempo footswitch. It's a cool relatively simple offering - and reasonably priced for what it delivers.


Dr Scientist Tremolessence Stereo Analog Tremolo - discontinued - $229/£229 when new

This is one of only 3 stereo pedals in this listing, one of only two actually with full in and out connections vs need for TRS Y-Splitter cable - so certainly relatively unique in that regard. It has 6 knobs - Level, Treble, Shape, Depth, Hold and Rate alongside 2 toggle-switches. The upper toggle switches between Triangle and Square Shape - allowing for separate control of each, while the lower toggle allows you to select between Hold - Momentary and Latching modes. The most unique thing here is for sure its full stereo input and output!


EarthQuaker Devices Hummingbird V3 Repeat Percussion Tremolo - £165

The Hummingbird is one of two EQD tremolos featured here and is the more simpler choppier version - based on the Valco / Vox Repeat Percussion tremolos. You have just 3 simple knobs here - Depth, Rate, and Level alongside 3-way Mode toggle-switch which varies the Rate range between Slow, Mid-Tempo and Fast. There's really not much to this one - no tap tempo for instance - but it has nevertheless found its way onto a number of pedalboards and is in quite widespread use. For those who like their tremolo a little more 'choppy'! Of course it has EQD's typical automatic latching/momentary footswitch - depending on how quickly you press / hold it.


EarthQuaker Devices V2 Night Wire Harmonic Tremolo - £194

EQD's second tremolo variety is its slightly more sophisticated Night Wire Harmonic Tremolo which has quite a few tricks up its sleeve. You get 4 knobs - Depth, Rate, Level and Frequency along with smart Rate toggle-switch which allows you to set between dynamic Attack and Manual knob setting. The second Frequency toggle is a 3-way switch which allows you to select between LFO, Manual and Attack - so this tremolo does have its own degree of touch sensitivity which is really cool. For me though this would have been a lot more useful with a second tap-tempo footswitch - and the Anasounds Ages takes this concept a few steps forward. Still, another popular EQD tremolo which has a widespread loyal following.


Flower Pedals Dandelion V2 Harmonic Tremolo - $249

This tremolo has been on my radar for a while - since it was a kickstarter project actually. At one time or another it has been pretty high on my wishlist as a possible further tremolo acquisition and it still kind of sits on my 'nice to have' list, while there are other tremolos I probably want more nowadays. This is still a fantastic proposition - the only one in this listing which combines Harmonic, Optical and Tap-Tempo - proper H.O.T! It's 4 knobs kind of bely its sophistication as it has a number of secondary functions activated by the On/Hold footswitch, while the Tap-Tempo footswitch also does Ramping on hold. You have 4 main knobs - Boost (Level), Wave Shape, Depth and Speed. The 3 toggle switches are Mode - Standard/Harmonic, Voice - Treble/Balanced/Bass, and Dual On/Off. Things get interesting with the Dual function where you can run a secondary tremolo in parallel using the secondary functions on each knob to tweak its settings - vaguely similar in scope to the Stone Deaf Tremotron dual tremolo function. This is definitely one of the most feature-rich here, and appears on a smattering of pro boards - for a long while this was my leading contender for additional tremolo, but it's not quite at the peak of that list currently.


Hamstead Soundworks Signature Tremolo V2 - £219

Some of you will no doubt remember the previous medium-enclosure version of this as also featured on That Pedal Show. This is a gorgeous sounding vintage amp style tremolo with 3 modes - Classic/Sinewave/Triangle. You have 4 simple controls - Depth, Speed, Gain and Shape. The last mention shift/tilts the apex of the waveform forwards or back - depending on how you wish to accentuate your attack - so think of it as a fine-tune for the Waveform selector. You also have an expression / control jack for connecting to external expression pedal for controlling the rate - so no tap-tempo here. This is about as simple as tremolos come - but it does everything it needs to and sounds glorious if you're after those vintage amp Trem tones. I of course would prefer to see a couple of other functions here - and of course tap-tempo! Dan Steinhard still loves it though!


JHS Kodiak Tap-Tempo Tremolo - £195

This sort of replaced the previous JHS Honeycomb Deluxe Dual Speed Tremolo - with more refined controls and tap-tempo. The 5 knobs are Volume, Speed, Ratio (Tap-Divisions), Mix and Wave Shape. The Wave Shape has an interesting assortment of Sinewave, Rhythmic, Square and Ramping - expertly figuratively illustrated! This tremolo does everything you need, but lacks some of the more dynamic features of what I consider to be the leading contenders - still a very decent tap-tempo tremolo which has found its home on a number of boards - I just have a few other preferences is all.


Korora Audio Merlo Harmonic Tremolo - $249

It seems very much that '249' is the media price for Harmonic tremolo - and this is another great recent example of that type - launched around last year's Summer NAMM. It features 4 control knobs - Rate, Coloraturas, Shape and Depth alongside 2 further wave-shaping toggles. The upper toggle switches between - flat, transparent response, a mid peak, or a warm high-end rolloff. While the lower toggle sets Wave-Type - Sinewave/Triangle/Square. Korora always goes about things slightly differently, but always sounds pretty stellar for it. This is one of the leading Harmonic Tremolo contenders, while there are others more fully-featured here. The control-topology though is really straight forward and elegant - and of course you have tap-tempo.


Magnetic Audio Electrochop V2 Optical Tremolo - £125

This is another Vox Repeat Percussion derivative - like the EQD Hummingbird above. Very recently revised and relaunched by Magnetic Audio with some additional control features and wave-shapes. You get 5 knobs here - Volume, Multiply, Speed, Wave-Shape and Depth. The white button allows you to select 5 alternative wave-shapes on the dial for a total of 10 overall. As with a number of pedals in this listing I feel that this could have done with onboard tap-tempo versus just a control jack for remote connection with external tap-tempo switch. This is really rather elegant control and gives you a lot more than some of these more straightforward examples, but it could still do with a few more updates to meet my own preferences.


Malekko Goatkeeper 2-Stage Sequential / Polyrhythmic Tremolo - $225

I featured this in a fairly recent head-to-head with another Pattern Tremolo - the Subdecay TremCoder - those are both quite different pedals in many ways really despite some similarities in scope, and both feature a plethora of different modes. With the Goatkeeper - the W1 and W2 dials feature 20 different waveforms - divided into 10 + 10 and by categories of Sequential, Random and Simultaneous across Composite, Single or Modulation formats - both additive and subtractive. The two numbered dials are the Multipliers for each wave-form section - W1 & W2, while W1 also has a R(Random) option. You then have shared Rate and Depth controls which apply over both W1 and W2 banks. You really need to read the manual on this one to understand how to make the most of this - but you can generally think of it as a clever way to combine dual tremolo waveforms in both series and parallel. Definitely produces some truly unique sounds, and of course for my liking would have benefitted from some sort of onboard tap-tempo versus juts the external Tap jack. Still a hugely impressive device in the typical Malekko more experimental fashion. In my overview of the Goatkeeper and TremCoder I really liked both, but overall preferred the TremCoder for its slightly more intuitive and easier control and onboard tap-tempo.


Matthews Effects The Conductor V2 Optical Tremolo - discontinued - $199 when new

This elegant Tap-Tempo Optical Tremolo has been discontinued for a while now - it was not part of last year's Matthews Effects Revamp and Re-launch - but it may very well appear again at some stage in the future with some significant revisions. In its latest format before discontinuation The Conductor featured 6 knobs - Ramp Time, Waveform, Depth, Rate, Multiplier and Gain. The Waveform and Multiplier dials each offered 6 different modes, to be deployed alongside the second tap-tempo footswitch. This was a pretty solid performer in its day, but quite a lot has happened in the interim - and Rick Matthews would likely need to add some bells and whistles to make it fully competitive with the current best of what's on offer. Worth a gamble though if you come across one on Reverb.com at a good price.


Native Audio Rising Sun Optical Tap-Tempo Tremolo - $229

Formerly known as the Red House Electronics Heat Wave - now wholly re-branded and re-badged as the Native Audio Rising Sun - this is another very decent Optical Tap-Tempo Tremolo. The controls are as before, 5 knobs - Volume, Tone, Depth, Rate (+Wave Shape & Ramp Time), Tap Divisions (+Slow/Fast) with obvious secondary functions on the last two mentioned. You also have a 2-way toggle switch to alternate between Tap and Ramp mode for the Control footswitch - while the On footswitch can be operated in both latching and momentary (Hold) modes. When this one's predecessor entered the market, there weren't many tap-tempo tremolos around at the compact enclosure size - while that's obviously changed a lot of late. I had considered the predecessor up against the Flower Pedals Dandelion Harmonic Tremolo - but that is quite a significantly more feature-rich pedal overall. Note that initial colourway was yellow, but seems to have changed to orange more recently.


Sentimental Bob Electronics Tacana Tap Tremolo - c£96 via Reverb.com

I've seen this on a fair few boards actually, but keep forgetting to reference it, as it has hitherto somehow slipped my mind. But this is actually a really impressive tap-tempo variety with no less than 16 Waveform types onboard accessed via 2 banks - with the Standard/Alternative toggle-switch at the top of the pedal. Besides the second tap-tempo fooswitch it has 6 knobs - Volume, Depth, Speed, Waveform, Shape and Tap Divide. If you're looking for a straigh-up tap-tempo tremolo this is about as good as it gets, and for a very reasonable price point - ships from Ukraine.


Source Audio Vertigo Tremolo - £130

A very reasonably priced Harmonic Tremolo albeit delivered via Source Audio's typical digital means - with further fine-tuning courtesy of its Neuro App. It nevertheless has 3 pretty great modes directly on -tap - a Normal Optical Trem style mode, Harmonic, and then Vintage Amp Bias Tremolo. You get 4 knobs - Depth, Speed, Shape and Level - while as per my usual niggle this could do with a second tap-tremolo footswitch versus the remote jack option. There's all kinds of things you can do in the Near App - so you have access to a myriad of different settings to shape your tremolo - while this is very much a digital effect, and thus may not entirely qualify as proper Harmonic Tremolo for some players. There's plenty of options out there though, this would be a lot more compelling with onboard tap-tempo in my opinion.


Stone Deaf FX Tremotron Dual Analog Tremolo - £183

I acquired this and the Chase Bliss Audio Gravitas at pretty much the same time, and while often my two equal favourite Tremolos - the Gravitas has been the one that has held onto the slot for the longest time, while this still gets a regular rotation. There's lots to love about this - the actual design and format of the pedal - including the use of all those LEDs. Furthermore it footswitchable onboard presets which is incredible rare for this form factor. The real magic though is the dual-functioning Depth, Rate and Shape controls which allow you to run two tremolos simultaneously. With 9 Wave-Shapes x 2 there is so much that can be done with this pedal, and all controls are properly intuitive and easy to use I am almost prompted to switch this in on the chain again, but probably won't as the Anasounds Ages is really imminent - a fantastic backup / alternative to have though and very unique at this form factor. I had hoped Stone Deaf FX would reformat some of their other offerings in a similar format, but to-date the only two devices in this form factor are the Tremotron and Syncopy Analog Modulated Delay.


Subdecay TremCoder Stereo Sequencer Pattern Tremolo - £189

This was the pedal that won my head-to-head versus the Malekko Goatkeeper - largely on the basis of superior usability. There are only 3 knobs here which between them control 9 LFO Shapes and 22 Preset Sequences - and only just one variable really - Depth. You have stereo capability via TRS Y-Splitter cable, and importantly tap-tempo via the single footswitch - where more than two presses immediately triggers that function - don't know why more makers don't make use of this. In terms of total ability - there are 9 separate LFO Shapes plus 2 banks of 11 Pattern Sequences. The Malekko Goatkeeper possibly has more variable to it, and can do a few more quirky things - but the combination of ease of usabilility and functions makes the TremCoder the preferred choice for me - and puts it on my wishlist.


Subdecay Vagabond Bias & Harmonic Tremolo - £159

One of the simpler Harmonic Tremolos on offer here could probably do with some of those neat updates from its TremCoder sibling - tap-tempo? In any case you have 4 knobs here - Speed, Intensity, Envelope Drift and Volume, with a 2-way toggle-switch for Harmonic or Bias mode. I still see a smattering of this around, but there are plenty of more recent feature-rich alternatives which I would take in preference.


Suhr Jack Rabbit V2 Analog Tremolo - £179

A superficially simple looking Tremolo with some hidden depths. You have 4 knobs - Rate, Level, Waveform and Depth, along with a 3-way Tap-Division toggle-switch. The Tap Divisions mean that there is tap-tempo onboard - in fact you get two different versions - hold down the footswitch for 2 seconds and you either tap or strum the tempo by hitting three of each. This is quite an elegant tremolo - often overlooked, as there are more capable and versatile alternatives around - non-existent currently in UK distribution as far as I can see - still worthwhile if you can get it at a decent price.


Supro Harmonic Tremolo - £229

A very simple yet well-loved Harmonic Tremolo, in fact the benchmark for many players in terms of tonal output. You get just 3 knobs - Depth, Gain and Speed, with a toggle-switch for Amplitude/Bias or Harmonic Mode - could not be simpler. There is no tap-tempo onboard, but there is an expression pedal jack, for connecting to external rate control. I can appreciate how good this sounds, but I don't like the lack of onboard tap-tempo, divisions and shape - in my opinion there are better choices out there for harmonic tremolo - but many would disagree with me!


Swindler Effects Red Mountain Stereo Harmonic Tremolo - $250

One of only 3 Stereo Tremolos in this listing and my favourite of that category. Besides the full stereo input / output the Red Mountain has 5 knobs - Speed, Depth, Level, Division and Waveform, and a 3-way Phase toggle-switch in the middle. With the switch to the left you get a ping-pong effect, in the middle it's just standard tremolo, while to the right engages Harmonic mode. Of course you have onboard tap-tempo via separate footswitch, and Ramp and Stutter modes which utilise the footswitches slightly differently. This combination of features has long had this particular tremolo near the top of my wishlist. Alongside the Flower Pedals Dandelion, those pedals likely win the overall functionality categories head-to-head with 3 apiece! In fact the only thing the Red Mountain really doesn't cover is the dynamic touch-sensitivity functionality of just a couple of these others - highly recommended though!


TC Electronic Pipeline Tap Tremolo - £79

Classic TC Electronic TonePrint functionality - albeit only one flavour of that available on board alongside Vintage Sinewave and Choppier Square Wave Waforms. Control is via 4 knobs - Speed, Depth, Volume and Tap-Divisions - with the latter having a Custom option which you can set via TonePrint. This is one of 3 single footswitch tremolos in this listing which utilise smart tap-tempo on just the single switch - all do it fairly similarly - including the Subdecay and Suhr. I personally feel that every tremolo should have at least this version of tap-tempo if not a second footswitch - which is my preference. For this pedal you can pretty much set any Wafeform pattern that you can conceive via TCE's TonePrint Studio App - so I query the logic in only having one of those selectable on the pedal at any one time. I would remodel this pedal with a fifth dial instead of the toggle-switch giving access to several TonePrints! Fair price though!


VFE Old School Tremolo

Readers of this blog will know that I'm a huge fan of the 6-controls approach of VFE's Peter Rutter - with 7 of his in the collection and at least a couple more earmarked for acquisition. This is kind of an outlier for acquisition as it has no onboard tap-tempo, while it does have that cool Touch Sensitivity, as well as a rare Starve control to engage more grit and choppiness in to the signal. You have 3 classic standard size controls - Speed, Depth and Level. The 3-way toggle switch selects between the Touch Sensitivity modes - Depth to the left, Speed to the right, and Off in the middle. The two remaining mini controls govern Sensitivity of envelope follower for Touch Sensitive modes / playing attack, and Starve - which is the Grit/Texture control for more 'Choppiness'. So a pretty cool variety if you can get one - not dissimilar to the EQD Night Wire - although that is of course Harmonic too - while this is purely standard Bias / Amplitude style as far as I understand.


Walrus Audio Monument V2 Harmonic Tremolo - £179

For many this is The perfect tremolo - an incredible miniaturisation job by Walrus Audio in shrinking down their former BB-size Monument to compact format - with all features and functionalities fully intact. You get 5 familiar knobs - Volume, Division, Rate, Shape and Depth, alongside toggle-switch for Harmonic/Standard modes - and of course the obligatory tap-tempo footswitch. For the price, size and form factor I totally get the appeal of this one, albeit for me it would appear only 6th or 7th at most on my list of most desirable tremolos - as we will discover in Final Thoughts below!


Honorable Mentions

28 is not near enough sufficient to cover the broader category of compact format tremolos - so I've made a slightly more extensive list of near misses and notable that have crossed my path at one stage or another. As I've said previously, I typically have a preference for more feature-rich yet singular examples of this genre - which is what punctuate the top 28 listing.

 

Here follows a list of a further 31 that came to mind - some overlapping into multi-fx territory - including Reverb, Vibrato, Distortion and Rotary effect even in combinations! Hopefully there should be something here for everyone!

  • Alexander Pedals Equilibrium DLX Harmonic Tremolo
  • Anarchy Audio Flutterby Tremolo
  • Black Cat Mini Trem
  • Boss PN-2 Tremolo/Pan
  • Carl Martin Surf Trem V3 Tremolo
  • Catalinbread Pareidolia Harmonic Mesmerizer Tremolo
  • Catalinbread Semaphore Tremolo
  • Catalinbread Valcoder Tremolo
  • CKK Frogman Vintage Optical Tremolo
  • Coldcraft Harmonic Tremolo
  • Cusack Music Tremolo Amplitude Modulation Emulator
  • Dazatronyx Optical Tremolo
  • FTelettronica Satellite Tremolo
  • Greenhouse Effects Drifter Analog Tremolo
  • Hardwire TR-7 Stereo Tremolo / Rotary
  • Jam Pedals Chill Analog Sine-Wave Tremolo
  • Jānis.lv Custom "Tre Tre" Analog Tremolo
  • Jānis.lv Effect Pedals Tremulus Lune
  • J Rockett Mr. Moto Tremolo Reverb
  • Keeley Dynatrem Dynamic Tremolo
  • Keeley Verb o Trem Reverb + Tremolo
  • Lovepedal Blue Wave Tremolo
  • Mad Professor Mellow Yellow Tremolo
  • Mattoverse Electronics TremStortion
  • Mojo Hand FX RVT
  • Mr Black Deluxe Plus Tremolo Reverb
  • SolidGoldFX Stutter Lite MKII Tremolo
  • Surfy Industries SurfyTrem Vintage Harmonic Style Tremolo
  • Tsakalis Audioworks Tremmatic Yellow Tremolo
  • Vahlbruch OptoTrem Analog Optical Tremolo
  • Wampler Latitude Standard Tremolo

Note that I left out Trem-Fuzzes as I will likely be doing a separate article on them in the not too distant future!


Final Thoughts

I often get asked for my own personal favourites - which usually is the ones I have, but often too some that I'm looking to acquire.

 

My personal top 10 would consist of (alphabetical) :

  • Anasounds Ages Harmonic Tremolo
  • Chase Bliss Audio Gravitas Analog Tremolo
  • Flower Pedals Dandelion Harmonic Tremolo
  • Malekko Goatkeeper 2-Stage Sequential / Polyrhythmic Tremolo
  • Sentimental Bob Electronics Tacana Tap Tremolo
  • Stone Deaf FX Tremotron Dual Analog Tremolo
  • Subdecay TremCoder Stereo (Output) Pattern Tremolo
  • Swindler Effects Red Mountain Stereo Harmonic Tremolo
  • VFE Old School Touch Sensitive Tremolo
  • Walrus Audio Monument Harmonic Tremolo

Note - Even though I really like my Boss TR-2, I cannot wholly recommend it, as I believe it slightly flawed in it default stock version - you would have to buy a modded variety. Boss should really look to update this soon with an additional volume/level dial and onboard tap-tempo in a similar vein to the TremCoder, Jack Rabbit and Pipeline.

 

I believe my overall selection of 28 and the above top 10 really cover all bases. I'm not sure which I'm likely to acquire next - probably between the TremCoder and Red Mountain, while if I come across the Old School in the right livery and at the right price I may very well be tempted. As I've said before - everything really depends on price and availability to a large degree.

 

I would like to acquire a pattern tremolo and stereo version at some stage - so the TremCoder and Red Mountain are both more than likely - although I'm not in any hurry as I still have a great selection already, and will be looking to dedicate some significant time to the Anasounds Ages when it arrives - to ensure I get the best out of that. Actually let's not forget Sentimental Bob Electronics' Tacana - whose price makes it very tempting indeed!

 

Which are your own personal preferences here and why - do you feel I have overlooked anything significant? And do you agree with my top category listings? I'm certainly satisfied that this is the best roundup of this nature to date!

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