Get Soundtoys Tremolator HERE
Use: Classic guitar tremolo shapes are modeled to recreate those sounds. Also functions like a programmable rhythmic auto-gater. So much more than meets the eye.
Tremolator has a split personality. On one side it lives up to its name and is a great classic tremolo, recreating the tremolo sounds of classic hardware and pushing it further by adding tempo sync, and dynamic control of depth and speed. On the other side, it’s a fully programmable rhythmic gate/stutter cut/pulsation device. Creating new rhythms out of any audio you pass through it. This dual personality allows Tremolator to cross into practically all music genres from country to dubstep, despite what it’s name might imply.
For guitarists, jump into the presets. There are several built on classic models and variations with host tempo sync in most cases. Listen first, then pop open the Tweak menu and see the wave shape. It’s really kind of interesting to see the subtle or not so subtle variances in what happens to classic waveshapes in these old hardware units. Combine these tremolo classics with EchoBoy or Little PLate (or both) for some fantastic guitar sweetening.
The secret to the classic tremolo models built into Tremolator goes far beyond just emulation. Soundtoys in almost all of their modulation based plug-ins have a really cool feature you may not know about or may not realize is so flexible. The LFO waveshapes can be drawn in and manipulated with a cool set of shape controls, allowing you to create practically any waveform you can imagine. This is, of course, how they modeled the classic waveshapes from old amps, pedals and even electric pianos, but with practically no limit on what you can create, there’s so much more to this than the simple concept of an “LFO”.
Programmable auto-gating rhythms? Why, yes! Tremolator excels at creating new rhythms with the built in Rhythm Mode. The rhythm editor in the tweak menu is your friend. From simple things like adding accents to a pulsing sine wave to full on stutter cuts programmed to the beat, you can create, save and share rhythm patterns across Tremolator, FIlterFreak, and PhaseMistress. It’s really cool. Check out the Auto-Gating Tutorial for all the details and to get you in deep really fast.
So much more to Tremolator as well. Dig into the tweak menu for dynamic controls for speed and depth, width control for stereo offset tremolo/panning, the stunning rhythm editor, analog mode controls and LFO shape editor. Soundtoys let’s you dig in deep and get super nerdy and for the most part, you don’t even realize you’re doing something very complex, because it’s also fun.
The Tweak Menu. Lots of cool bits in there but you may want to hit the manual for full details. Here’s a couple ideas.
Dynamics - Since the whole idea is for the input signal to control the effect, the real key is balancing the Threshold and Depth to the signal. Soundtoys makes threshold pretty freaky easy with the meter for input reading directly on the knob. They were one of the first companies to do this and it’s full on brilliant. Depth is a little trickier when you’re talking about an envelope follower being triggered. BUT when you find the sweet spot for your particular track, it truly is magical. It adds a controllable emotion to a track as it’s responding to the signal. Use your ears, play around and get the feel or dig into the manual for the specs.
Analog Mode - Soundtoys created Analog Mode to impart an analog quality to both the input and output of the plug-ins to give the full experience of being able to drive into or out of, or both, on a piece of hardware. Tremolator is kind of unique with this feature as you can turn the depth off and just use the Analog Mode for some extra vibe. Try it. Turn depth off and select your flavor from the list (Fat, Squash, Dirst, Shred, Pump, etc) and turn up the input. You can turn down the output, or turn it up too. It’ll get loud, but you can turn down your fader to compensate if you like the sound (or use it in Effect Rack and turn down it’s output). And since Tremolator takes very little CPU cycles, you can get the analog mode mojo without a lot of sacrifice to your mix power.
Width - Width offsets the two channels creating essentially panning, but just a little can be a nice widener, and a lot can get the old Rhodes style tremolo/pan thing. Also, try really wide and fast rates for an interesting pseudo stereo effect.
Rigmod - Yeah, super fast rates can get you ring mod. The way to get those is to set your note value to like 64th notes and then turn off MIDI sync and crank up the tempo. Lots of fun to be had with Ringmod and dynamic control for grunge/lo-fi effects. There are several presets for RingMod too in the factory set.
Locking in a groove - The Feel knob with rush and drag, can help you tighten up a groove, or shift a pulsing sine wave into the right spot. Super useful. Really wish this feature was on more than just Tremolator and EchoBoy. Hopefully Soundtoys will get around to adding it to all the rhythmic plug-ins someday.
Guitar Effects with Tremolator
Tremolator on Electric Piano
Rhythmic Auto-Gating with Tremolator