My first encounter with the tremolo guitar effect was on the breathtaking sixties rock anthem I Had Too Much To Dream by the Electric Prunes. Most people will be familiar with the effect from Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones, or Green Day's Boulevard of Broken Dreams for the more youthful among us. This rapid wobble to the groove has now been given a futuristic update with the release of the Tremvelope from Pigtronix. The new effects unit mixes up classic tremolo effects with envelope sensing to produce rotary effects that evolve and change based on what's being played.
In addition to the broad range of tremolo volume fluctuation sounds available (from asymmetrical vintage tube to pulsating DUB step wobbles), the Tremvelope is said to be capable of independently increasing or decreasing the speed and depth in response to the dynamics of the music being performed. Pigtronix says that it's the analog optical circuit design that allows the unit's envelope mode to respond organically to the signal from an instrument, with users being able to adjust the direction of the stereo output so that the speed and depth simultaneously change in opposite directions, producing a uniquely hypnotic effect.
The company says that the rotating effect is reminiscent of the sound from a Leslie cabinet – as used to great effect by Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Tweaking the acceleration and sensitivity knobs adjusts how fast the unit responds to changes in playing, and by how much. Users can plug in an expression pedal for added control, and the Tremvelope also sports advanced features such as sawtooth modulation, multiple expression pedal options, a sidechain trigger input and stereo-panning outputs.
Like all Pigtronix effects units, the controls on the 5.7 x 4.7 x 1.5-inch (144 x 119 x 38- mm) Tremvelope have been tuned to provide a nice fat tone. The unit benefits from both mono and stereo outputs, comes shipped with a Pigtronix 18V DC power supply, and is available now at a cost of US$299.
The product page on the Pigtronix website features a number of audio samples to let you hear exactly what the unit is capable of in the right hands, and a video of Living Colour's Vernon Reid taking the Tremvelope for a spin at the Winter NAMM recently.