Soundtoys Tremolator


Analog guitar tremolo effects and beyond with beat-synced rhythmic chopping – Mac/PC VST, AU, AAX

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Tremolo. We’ve all used it, and we all love it. It’s essentially an effect where volume is increased and decreased automatically with an oscillator. Since it was introduced as an electronic effect in the mid-20th century it’s been applied on a great number of recordings in multiple contexts. It’s often used as a built-in component on guitar amplifiers and Wurlitzer electric pianos, and as a standalone effect pedal, it’s been used on countless instruments. Considering this history and the apparent simplicity of the effect, there’d be no reason to think that there could be any way to take this into new territory, but luckily for us, Soundtoys have stepped up and offered the Tremolator. This takes the basic tremolo effect and expands upon its capabilities significantly, all while providing great tonal enhancement.


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In Depth

First, the basics controls of the effect are at the top of the menu. The two controls that you’d find on an amplifier or other simple tremolo effect are rate (the speed at which the oscillator controls volume) and depth (how much of the signal is processed). These controls would be enough for you to go on if you wanted it to work just like it does on an old Fender amp or Wurlitzer. With that in mind, the wave shape menu lets you take the oscillation waveform patterns from different pieces of vintage gear, all of which had their own signature shaping patterns. So if you really wanted to make it sound like the “vibrato” from a Fender Amp, or the tremolo of a Wurlitzer electric piano, you can choose those waveforms specifically, among others. Since these are all painstakingly modeled after the original components, they are remarkable in their accuracy. Considering the multitude of wave shapes (of which there are several, including more traditional ones like sine, triangle, and saw), you have a lot of options here. The input and output gain controls just add some extra overdrive and saturation to the effect. Much like the original effect itself, it sounds good on a number of sources. And it’s also really cool when added to an aux bus or send and blended in with a dry signal, as this can add clarity while still giving you the option of cranking the effect.

The rate controls can be synced to MIDI or tapped to get the tempo. You could also set it manually with the knob. These controls are augmented by some pretty cool extra features, specifically the groove, feel, and accent controls. These allow for some refinement of the effect and can help lock in a cool rhythmic pattern by placing the tremolo ahead of or behind the beat, or by accenting the volume peaks of the effect. This is a degree of control that quite frankly wouldn’t be possible with hardware tremolo effects.  This is taken a step further with the Rhythm Shape Editor. This allows you to create customized waveforms that control the tremolo pattern. You can set up some complex patterns that can add a lot to your tracks’ rhythms. It can even be used on certain rhythmic instruments to create rhythms in and of itself!

On top of all that, the Tweak menu offers another cool feature: the ability to have your tracks’ dynamics affect the plug-in’s main parameters. You could set your main parameters normally, but have your rate and depth change depending on the dynamics of a track. This is a cool way to build momentum or to otherwise get less predictable rhythmic patterns. There’s also a stereo width option, which will pan the signals left and right when fully engaged, and there’s 8 saturation modes to add some analog warmth to your signal. Overall, Tremolator takes a classic effect and reinvents it in some really interesting ways, making it a useful tool in your arsenal.

Main Features/Controls:

  • Tremolo effect plug-in that emulates waveforms from classic hardware, amplifiers and instruments
  • 18 wave shapes available to control the envelope pattern of tremolo effect, including the waveform patterns from Fender and Silvertone amps as well as Wurlitzer electric pianos.
  • Control rate (speed) of tremolo with standalone knob, MIDI Sync, or tap tempo controls
  • Depth controls intensity of effect and acts as a dry/wet mix knob
  • Groove, Feel, and Accent controls place your tremolo’s rhythmic patterns into shuffle or swing patters, ahead of or behind the beat, or emphasize certain beats over others
  • Input and Output gain controls allow for some extra gain or overdrive
  • Shape Editor allows for customized wave shapes, with extra smoothing controls and 5 smoothing mode options
  • Rhythm Editor allows for customized rhythmic tremolo patterns, controlled by Shape Editor and stretched over a number of beats or bars.
  • 35 Rhythm Shape presets, plus the ability to create new ones
  • Additional modulator controls include threshold, attack, release, Rate and Depth modulations, plus modulation modes (envelope or gate). These allow for your tracks’ dynamics to adjust the plug-in parameters as they go, allowing for variations in speed and intensity
  • Stereo width knob makes the tremolo effect pan back-and-forth across the stereo field (mono/stereo and stereo modes only)
  • 8 modes of analog saturation available

Current Version: 5.2.0
Plug-in Formats (both 32 and 64-bit):
• AAX Native, AAX AudioSuite, VST, and Audio Units (AU)
Supported Sample Rates:
• Minimum: 44.1 kHz, Maximum: 192 kHz

System Requirements:
• Operating systems: Mac OS X 10.8 or later; Windows 7 or later
• An internet connection is required at the time of activation.
Supported Hosts:
• Pro Tools (10.3.5 or later), Live, Cubase, Nuendo, Sonar, Logic, Digital Performer
• Click here to view our full list of compatible host applications.
Other Requirements:
• Free account.