Catalinbread Zero Point Tape Flanger
The Catalinbread Zero Point Tape Flanger harks back to authentic studio flanging the way it was originally done.
This is the next best thing to having two tape machines and a thumb
The origins of flanging
It’s uncertain what exactly the origin of flanging was.
It could have been the result of trying to push the boundaries of multitrack recording. However, it was probably due to running a couple of tape machines in parallel but not quite in sync.
Maybe a guy messing around in the studio brushed up against a take-up reel flange accidentally?
Maybe that guy was Les Paul, maybe it was John Lennon and George Martin?
It is unclear.
But, what is clear is that the mechanical studio method of achieving the effect became, within a decade, commonplace enough for companies to simulate the effect electronically.
The electronic approaches were pretty cool and groundbreaking, but by the 80s became tired and worn out.
Catalinbread flanger design
At Catalinbread we attribute this to the fact that these units controlled the flange effect using an LFO. This went up and down at a predictable rate taking the life and freshness out of the effect.
When we decided to design a flanger, we knew we would approach it the way they originally did it.
The Zero Point Flanger is the most direct analogy to studio tape flanging that anybody has come up with.
It is a REAL-TIME effect, not a typical modulation effect.
That is to say, unlike all other pedal flangers, there is no LFO that presents a predictable up and down swooshing sound, the trite flanger effect that died in the 80s.
Thus there is no need for extraneous knobs or switches.
It is a straight-forward pedal that has only one powerful control that behaves like pressing and holding your thumb on a tape flange.
When the Zero Point is engaged two delay lines are turned on. These are subtly modulating against each other, simulating the comb filtering effect akin to the playback of two tape machines.
Pressing and holding the “Flange Push-Button” causes one of the delay lines to slowly shift time toward the other delay line. This happens up to the point that your signal begins to cancel out, THE ZERO POINT!
Release the Flange Push-Button and the delay line begins to automatically fall again.
The result is the whispy subtractive ‘thru-zero’ sound that creates a sense of space and mystery.
An effect that up until now we’ve only heard on records. It behaves just like manually advancing the take-up reel and pressing your thumb on the supply reel to slow the program down.
The Zero Point Flanger automatically powers up in the inverted phase mode, resulting in a more dramatic subtractive flange effect.
If you press and hold the Flange Push-Button while powering up the Zero Point you enter the positive phase mode which because it sums the two delay lines, never cancels out.
This mode is a bit less dramatic than the subtractive mode but still a very tape-like analogy.
There are merits to both modes, ultimately it is best left up to personal preference.
- Authentic studio through-zero flanging
- No LFO
- Abbey Road vibe
- Built in USA”