Pigtronix has combined a vintage-sounding optical tremolo with some futuristic features in the Tremvelope, which is envelope modulated and allows the dynamics of your instrument to alter the rate and depth of the tremolo effect. Not only does the effect vary with the intensity of your playing, it also sports a number of extra features (stereo outputs, expression pedal inputs, and envelope control settings) that allow you complete control over the resulting sound.
Your basic tremolo controls are all present on the unit, including Speed, Depth, and Waveform, and the latter is switchable from sine wave to sawtooth. A stereo output is available, so you can send to two amps for wide rotary effects. There is also connectivity for two expression pedals: one for controlling the rate of the LFO – overriding the pedal’s speed control, and one which controls volume in mono, or panning if two amps are connected to the Tremvelope’s outputs. The Engage foot switch bypasses the circuit, and the pedal runs on 18VDC, providing lots of headroom.
The really unique parts of this pedal come from its envelope control settings, which adjust the tremolo in various ways depending on the dynamics of what you’re playing. Three-way Depth and Speed switches allow you to independently select how each variable is altered by your instrument. For example, setting the Speed to the + position will increase the rate of the tremolo when you play harder, on the – setting it will decrease the rate the harder you play. Switch it to the off position and the speed will not be affected at all by your dynamics. You can control how much your guitar levels need to increase to cause a change in the tremolo using the Sensitivity knob.
An Acceleration switch provides additional control: on the slow setting, the tremolo will take a little longer to react to changes in your playing, much like the mechanical lag of a Leslie rotating speaker. Set the Acceleration to fast, and modulation will happen in sync with your dynamics. In case you wanted an input other than your guitar to affect the variation of the tremolo settings, Pigtronix also added a Trigger input, which functions as a side-chain into the envelope control circuit. Finally, the Engage foot switch engages/disengages the entire envelope control section of the pedal.
The way the tremolo settings react and vary in response to your playing make it easy to achieve some pleasing, unique sounds with this pedal, and it has a remarkable amount of functionality. It’s almost as if Pigtronix had a brainstorming session for what they wanted in a tremolo pedal, and then they simply kept every idea and stuffed them all into the Tremvelope. If you’re looking for a basic rate-depth-waveform tremolo, this one may be a little steep at $249. However, if you are looking for a souped-up pedal with features you didn’t even know existed, from a company known for great build quality and tone…then you’ll probably find the price tag easily justified. Check out the Pigtronix website for more information and a number of audio clips, or this video demo which shows off some of the key features of the Tremvelope. –Mike Bauer