Catalinbread Valcoder Tremolo
What inspired the Catalinbread Valcoder?
The Valco company of Chicago made amplifiers under their own name. They also were building amps for other companies such as Supro®, National, and Gretsch, to name a few.
These are great-sounding old amps with natural tube breakup and a unique sounding tube tremolo.
It had a hypnotic throb and was also capable of hard, choppy tremolo.
Combined with the breakup overdriven characteristics of the amplifier, it created an inspiring percussive, rhythmic pulse.
Catalinbread Valcoder Design
The Catalinbread Valcoder is designed to recreate this tube tremolo as well as the vintage amplifier breakup.
Separate input and output controls allow you to get anything from a clean tremolo sound all the way up to a gritty tube-like breakup driving the tremolo circuit.
The Valcoder features an all-discrete analog LFO circuit inspired by 60’s Valco tube tremolo.
With the depth and rate knobs set lower, the result is a smooth, bubbling modulation. This is especially seductive when playing complex chords in the neck position.
Crank the DEPTH and RATE knobs for haunting pulses to hard rhythmic chops. These add tension and attitude, particularly to distorted passages.
The Valcoder has a dynamic and responsive audio path (JFET based) that adds a bit of vintage tube amp style grit and slight compression to your sound.
Increasing the INPUT knob pushes the front side of the circuit harder. This adds grit and a bit of compression. You can set the OUTPUT knob to adjust for unity or boosted signal.
The Valcoder can also function as a great edge-of-breakup booster.
With the DEPTH knob all the way down, and the INPUT & OUTPUT knobs turned all the way up, you will get a warm, gritty 10dB boost.
This can be used as an always-on element to fill out your sound or can be used when you need it to help leads punch through the mix.
The Valcoder runs on 9 -18 volts DC. 9 volts will allow for more compression and grit with a softer pick attack.
18 volts will increase the output level and will be slightly cleaner and less compressed with a more immediate pick attack.
The tremolo effect will be stronger and choppier at 18 volts.