I’m not sure how many of you have experimented with stereo guitar rigs, but once I added a second amplifier to my main setup I couldn’t go back. Having always enjoyed the sweeping channel aspects to some of Page’s solo’s with Led Zeppelin, I always wanted to incorporate that into a live recording over relying on mixing. This of course requires having the right assortment of pedals. Enter the stereo tremolo…
There are a number of stereo tremolo’s available on the market now, but I happened to come across this unit on a used pedal forum and decided to grab it. The upside/downside to this decision is the second version of the pedal had both stereo in’s and out’s while the initial version only had a mono in and stereo out.
The Dunlop Tremolo is a fantastic pedal and I haven’t been able to find a suitable replacement to date for the quality of the panning features. I have a Line6 M5 which has taken it’s place in the rotation for panning but still doesn’t quite get the same quality of effect. Outside of the panning the tremolo is also a fantastic tremolo, easily replacing my BOSS TR-2 (a staple for vintage trem). Let’s transition into the setup of the pedal.
Featuring three control knobs and two switches, the Tremolo is very simple and versatile. The first control knob allows the user to contort the intensity or depth of the tremolo in the signal. For most this will be set to maximum. The second knob control the shape shifting from sign waves, to square waves, and lastly triangle waves. When using this as a panning pedal I found the triangle or square to give the greatest depth illusion to the shifting of amps. Lastly you have the speed control, pretty straight forward but also extremely delicate. Dunlop clearly wanted this pedal to have some extreme control abilities which really can allow for fine tuning.
Once you get past the shaping of the trem or pan, you can select (if you have a stereo out) between a mono setting and a stereo setting. I found this a tad bit of an oversight on the part of Dunlop. I can see why you would have the mono/stereo switch but once you dial in one version of the trem or pan they rarely translate back and forth with the same contour you’d want. In essence you’ll use this pedal for one feature or the other, not both in a live setup.
Since I grabbed this pedal to be a panning effect, I had one major issue to overcome. I have two mono in/stereo out effects and both are equally important to have within the rig. My choice wound up resting on which pedal would be used more in a multitude of songs or situations, and that’s where the panning got left out. The competitor for the signal split was a DigiTech Chorus Factory, and I couldn’t let that pedal go back to mono, it just wasn’t fair to it. Also, as I said earlier I also added a M5 which is stereo/stereo and it has a panning feature, though it isn’t as strong as the Dunlop.
For the recording process it was fairly easy to swap this with the chorus for the moments I wanted to record true stereo sweeps. When you take a listen to “Come On Baby” (here) the build towards the solo with the panning phaser, then the appearance of the panning Whammy solo were all done with the Tremolo and not with the post-production process. I truly believe the quality is superior and more natural to the process of hearing where and how this should fit into a mix. Also as result of allowing the pedal to do the work you’ll catch on the Whammy portion sections where the panning is central until the upwards sweep of the pitch effect articulates the spinning effect. Pretty cool!
Again I wish I was able to find one of these in the second version, but I can’t really complain. This is a fantastic pedal in either pan or trem mode. If you’re able to grab one of these I would suggest it, you won’t be disappointed with what you hear.