The (tremolo) sounds from the Quaverato is enormous and can
be extremely varied, as demonstrated in the YouTube video below:
Thereâ€™s so much you can do with the
Quaverato. First, you can decide if you
want to have the signal phased in or out; phased in will give you a traditional
tremolo effect, whereas a phased out signal off-sets the high and low
frequencies to produce more of a warbling effect. You can decide how much harmonic mix you
want, whether itâ€™s all low-end, all high-end, a perfect blend or any variation
between. This one makes a lot of
difference as the sound can become very three-dimensional depending on knob
positioning. The shape of the wave can
make a difference as well, and there are five of them: Sine, Saw Tooth, Ramp,
Triangle and Square. The Sine and Square
produce very obvious results, whereas the Triangle is an example of a more
subtle tremolo even when turned up high (great for adding a dimension to your
lead playing without being too ostentatious).
In that regard, I found that placing the Depth quarter-way gives a very
subtle result that can be heard, but is not overbearing, whereas anything
around 12-noon or greater is very obvious.
Even then, when turned up full, you still hear the original signal very
plainly (itâ€™s not 100% wet). And thereâ€™s
still more â€“ you can adjust the rate to have long waves or a fast stabbing
pulseâ€¦ or bypass that altogether with the Tap Tempo feature. And then you can adjust the ratio of tremolo-to-dry
signal anywhere from 1:2 to 4:1. As
well, the main stomp switch can act as an on-off (bypass) or a momentary switch,
so that you can add some tremolo when you wish.
If that wasnâ€™t enough, there are dip switches under the chassis that
allow you to further customize the high and low frequencies for some incredible
custom programming, and the Quaverato includes open source software for any
â€˜hackersâ€™ who want to customize their tone even further. All in all, there are so many possible
combinations that the video could only touch upon some of them and while
playing guitar; you can imagine how useful the Quaverato can be with bass and
keyboards as well.
Design Labsâ€™ Quaverato Harmonic Tremolo is slightly larger than average
(although not as large as I expected for housing so many knobs/pots and
features), measuring in at 4 x 5 inches (10 x 13 cm). It has a sturdy 18 gauge galvanized steel
chassis with a polycarbonate label to handle plenty of wear and tear. It is digitally controlled with an all analog
signal path for clear and great sound production. It operates on a standard 9V power supply
while requiring only 60mA to keep her running.
All cable inserts are located the back, including the power supply,
which helps to save on pedal board space while keeping any cables away from
stomping feet. The two foot switches are
spaced wide enough that there shouldnâ€™t be issues of making contact with both
simultaneously. The foot switches are
far enough removed from the more delicate toggle switches (for Phase and Mode),
whereas they are somewhat close to the knobs.
However, the knobs are heavy plastic and will withstand some abuse. The knobs (pots) also are of very good quality
and are smooth when turned.
With up to 15dB of headroom, this is the first
pedal brought to you by Zeppelin Design Labs (they have other great gear worth
checking out, including low wattage amps) â€“ and they went all out in creating
what must be the ultimate tremolo pedal, or very close if not. The possible tremolo combinations are huge,
to say the least, as youâ€™re able to adjust wave shape, how the rate interacts
with the multiplier, the spacing of the LFO waves, the harmonic mix and so much
more. If the Quaverato was not so much
fun to use it could be intimidating.
Perhaps itâ€™s too much for someone wanting to play some basic Surf music,
but for those wanting to experience an array of pulsating wonders you would be
hard pressed to find a better tremolo.
The Quaverato has reached the upper level of
tremolo technology for several reasons, besides all the features and the
ability to customize wave frequencies via the dip switches, is that it combines
three different types of tremolo. First,
there is the Bias Tremolo, created by modulating the bias voltage (e.g., a smooth
sine wave oscillation). Second is the
Optical Tremolo, produced by using an optocoupler to modulate the signal in a
preamp circuit, which creates a pulsating or throbbing sound that is somewhat
lopsided. And then thereâ€™s the Harmonic
Tremolo, whereby the signal passes through a crossover circuit that splits the
low and high frequencies and plays them back out of phase from one another. The Quaverato produces all three types of
tremolo to give you just about any option you can think of, and more. The price is only $189 USD, which is quite
remarkable considering all you get (and if you have the courage to build it
yourself, then itâ€™s only $89 USD!).
There is so much offered through the Quaverato as it stands that
you would be experimenting for days and not experience all the pedalâ€™s
resources. I wonâ€™t even broach the
subject of customizing the harmonic frequencies by adjusting the dip switches
under the hood! The Quaverato is somewhat intimidating, but
you need to break down some of the essentials of your tremolo sound. For example, determine what Wave Shape you
want, since the nature of a Sine wave is very different from a Ramp or a
Square. Once you get a shape you like,
then you can determine how quickly you want it to pulse by way of the Rate knob
(or tap in a tempo). In the meantime,
keep the Spacing knob and Harmonic Mix at 12-noon. Next, the Multiplier affects the repeats of
the tremolo, so that you can cut back on the repeats with a 1:2 ratio (in favor
of the dry signal) or a simple 1:1 ratio for a straight forward tremolo. Beyond that you can increase the repeats of
the tremolo feedback from 1.5:1 to 4:1.
Once the above is determined, you may favor a Phase In sound
(traditional tremolo) or a Phase Out sound (more of a warbling effect). And then you further customize the quality of
the tremolo with Spacing and Harmonic Mix.
Spacing creates an â€˜offsetâ€™ of (viz., warps) the LFO wave shape, but
will produce different results with different waves and whether youâ€™re phased
in or out. You literally can hear
changes in â€˜spaceâ€™ between the higher and lower frequencies or more lingering
with certain frequencies, all of which really adds to the character of the tone
(although itâ€™s more obvious with ambient clean signals than those
distorted). The Harmonic Mix gives you
that final punch in overall quality, as you can adjust how much or little of
the high and low frequencies you want to hear in the tremolo, which varies
quite significantly. To explain, when
mixing in a lot of lows or highs the tremolo effect sounds (and is) more subtle
and one-dimensional, even with a lot of depth or signal mix. However, the result really pops (in different
ways) as you adjust mixing between high and low frequencies. This may seem over-the-top for some guitar
players, but when youâ€™re trying to cut through the mix the Harmonic Mix feature
becomes an obvious benefit and tool.
I also like to give kudos to Zeppelin Design
Labs for producing a great user manualâ€¦ one of the most complete Iâ€™ve read,
outlining all the features with description on each aspect, as well as the
science and historical background on types of tremolo, etc. Very well put together and thought out if you
care to view it: https://www.zeppelindesignlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/docs/QUAVERATO-OWNERS-MANUAL.pdf
Johnston is a guitar gear enthusiast who likes to develop reviews and demo
videos on stuff he likes. His YouTube
channel is CoolGuitarGear.