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A modern take on a classic tremolo that offers cleaner, fuller tone, increased headroom and additional control without sacrificing the vintage vibe

 

By Chris Loeffler             

 

In the pantheon of tremolo effects, one of the most unique circuits is the Vox Repeat Percussion, who’s hypnotic, lopsided throb separates it from the herd of more standard, symmetrical tremolos of yesterday and today. Of course, as with many vintage effects, the limitations and relative newness of effects design at the time means the original units offer much less control (just an on/off switch and rate!), added noise, and an inconvenient design that requires guitar players to plug the effect directly into their guitar jack.

The Mangetic Effects Electrochop Tremolo takes the classic, asymmetrical throb of the original Vox Repeat Percussion and surrounds it with a silent, high headroom analog signal path while adding control over the volume and depth of the effect and increasing the speed range dramatically. The control setup includes Volume, Depth, Speed, and a Rate switch to dramatically adjust the range of the Speed knob. True-bypass switching garauntees the original tone is unaffected when the pedal isn’t engaged, and it runs on 9V DC (via battery or adaptor).

Electrochop 2

 

What You Need to Know 

  • With both single coil and humbucking pickups unity gain lies between 10 o’clock and 11 o’clock on the Volume knob. No signal passed through when the knob is completely counter-clockwise, by noon there is a healthy volume boost (a desirable feature as amplitude modulation is often perceived as creating a volume drop), and fully clockwise the Volume control yields as much output as most dedicated booster pedals.
  • The pedal is transparent and sonically invisible when it is engaged at unity volume and the Depth knob is turned all the way down. Up until about 10 o’clock the Depth control yields almost no perceivable amplitude modulation, and it is more felt than heard. From there until about 2 o’clock the LFO modulation gradually increases and the loping stutter becomes more pronounced and less rounded. The final third of the sweep of the knob brings the LFO to a synth-like square wave as the volume rhythmically steps up and down.
  • At the lowest setting on the Speed control, the LFO takes almost four seconds to run a single cycle. Turned to the highest settings, the LFO cycles so quickly the modulation isn’t audible and the signal takes on a bit-crushed or ring modulated tone, providing many possibilities for lo-fi or unorthodox tones. The sweep of the Speed knob is dictated by the rate switch which, depending whether it is up or down, increases or decreases the speed by a factor of about four.                                                                                              

 

Limitations

  • The LFO waveform, the very reason for the unique sound and feel of the Magnetic Effects Electrochop Tremolo, doesn’t allow for traditional symmetrical pulses most pedal and amp tremolo effects provide, making this a great option for people looking for a unique sound but limiting to those looking for the generic tremolo effect.
  • Unlike many modern tremolos released in the last few years, the Electrochop doesn’t have its LED indicator light synched to blink with the LFO, it is simply a standard on-off indicator.

 

Conclusions

Magnetic Effects’ Electrochop Tremolo perfectly achieves the goal of modernizing and in every improving upon the Vox Repeat Percussion classic tremolo effect without sacrificing any of the tone or quirks that make the effect so sought after. The pedal is silent and every control allows extreme settings that ensure a player will never need more or less range than is available. The galloping wave of the volume rising and falling is truly mesmerizing and begs to be heard in modern recordings.

 

Resources

Magnetic Effects Electrochop Tremolo Product Page (£89.00 + Shipping)

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