When I search for effects pedals, I usually narrow down my choices with couple of brands that I know I can trust. I sort them according to their price range and then explore them more to make the final decision. If I am being honest, that list is typically comprised of the same manufacturers over and over again no matter how hard I try to abstain from well-known companies. Somehow they always manage to create the products that I cannot keep myself away from. I guess that is the curse that all the musicians have to deal with. My huge pile of pedals will probably continue growing since I do not forbear purchasing newer models. When talking about the stompboxes that are reliable and affordable, we cannot avoid talking about Boss. Their name has always been associated with quality units that do their job and perform in the majority of scenarios. Due to such character, they are hard to resist. Today we will talk about their tremolo unit, namely TR2. This baby has been in a famous rig or two, which does make it even more intriguing. But since we cannot trust fame blindly, let’s discuss the features and capabilities of this pedal and find out together, what it can do. Let’s get started!
Sometimes brands choose to take it easy, go with the flow and follow the beaten paths that are known to work. They create products with typical features in order to ensure usability. Boss did the same thing when they were putting together their TR2. This baby does not have anything extraordinary, but everything it offers is practical for any taste. Similar to its siblings, it has rugged enclosure that is extremely durable. It will withstand any abuse: anything from heavy stomping to a drop or two. This way you can act freely around this one and not even worry about a thing. TR2 comes in a dark green chassis with three knobs mounted above the gigantic footswitch. Unlike typical ‘in line’ order for the encoders, Boss has chosen a triangle layout that seems to make more sense. More importantly, it offers two different shapes of tremolo waveforms and, thus, opens up countless doors for you to enter. This way you get enough range to create various shades and tastes of this effect and diversify your performance with intriguing touches. To make things even better, TR2 is extremely easy to work with. Its convenience makes it an irresistible tool, while affordability forces you to justify your purchase and incorporate it in your rig. This baby can be supplied with a single battery that can be substituted very easily – you just press it down and loosen the thumbscrew. If you are too lazy to deal with it, you can always employ an adaptor and a power supply. I am telling you, this fella is the definition of simplicity. Huge thumbs up to that! Boss once again has created something that does not have any bells and whistles, yet you cannot help trying it out and then using it till the end of times.
It would be against the rules if such a simple pedal had confusing controls. As I have said above, Boss decided to be obedient and act by the book. The result is a layout that has only three knobs to work with. Each of them has duties to fulfill and the range to cover. Luckily, they are smooth and expansive, giving you more than enough options. I do not think we asked for anything more than that. Just in case you have not played with tremolo effect before, I will tell you what is what.
The bundle of encoders starts with Rate. This one modifies the speed of the effect and gives you the possibility to fiddle around with the rhythm. Though this control is simple, it can impact your overall results quite a bit. Next we have Depth which changes the intensity of tremolo. If you turn it counter clockwise, you will not hear any effect. Last knob we have here is Wave that adjusts the shape of the waveforms. It ranges from triangle to square and, thus, shifts between smooth and harsher tremolos. Finally, there is a footswitch that is so big, even aliens would see it from another universe. It activates the pedal and triggers the bypass mode once you do not want to use it anymore.
Okay, there is one thing: Boss TR2 made it to the pedalboard of Tom Morello for a reason. It promises to create vintage tremolo, which is a bit surprising to hear at this price point. But somehow the brand managed to capture the character perfectly. This baby has warmth and natural character, and more than enough depth to work with. Its sound retains the definition even at the craziest settings and does not overpower your sound even a bit. The ability to change the waveform means that you can easily go from mainstream tremolo to psychiatric madness with just a twist. TR2 does not color your tone even a bit. This way the qualities of your original signal will not be killed. With that being said, this pedal is definitely a one trick pony. Though it is not the most multi-faceted device out there, it is capable of creating astonishing tremolo and that is enough. For the price, we should be grateful that we have so much warmth and texture. Thank you, Boss, for this one!
To wrap it up, Boss TR2 is definitely a winner in the affordable price range. Though some might think that it is overpriced just a tiny bit, they have to keep in mind that you are paying for the whole package here. If simple and powerful tremolo is what you are looking for, then you should definitely look into this one. Good luck on your journey and let those volume fluctuations be a beacon of light in the darkness of this world!
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