If you interact with musicians a lot, the most common conversation you might come across is about the appraisal or critique of boutique pedals. Many consider them overpriced and overhyped, while others absolutely adore their functionalities and are willing to spend every coin to get their hands on them. In today’s mass-produced world, it is surprising to see the brands coming back to the old ways and designing pedals with their own hands. Though nobody can say that this particular approach makes drastic difference, it does still improve the overall performance that you can get out of the stompbox. The competition that exists nowadays forces every brand out there to work harder, think outside the box and create something that stands out from the crowd. And boutique manufacturers are no exception. Diamond is one of those companies that put together better products with each attempt. They learn from past experiences, consider all the feedback and incorporate improvement in every pedal. I wish I were exaggerating (then I would not be so eager to spend so much money on their units), but I am not. Today I am going to dedicate this article to the review of their Tremolo (model TRM1). If you want to treat yourself to something pricey, but extremely powerful, then you have to stay with me. Let’s begin!
Diamond decided to go back in time, ignore modern tendencies of digitizing every freaking thing and explore more vintage ways of creating tremolo. With their Tremolo pedal, they combined old approaches with contemporary needs and ended up with a spectacular device. This bad boy features vactrol opto-isolator variable resistance path, which, in simpler words, means that it utilizes all-analog signal path that does not get transformed into digital at any stage. It is composed of top-notch audio components, including polypropylene capacitors and metal film resistors. This guarantees a clean passage for the signal and makes sure your sound is pure no matter what. Tremolo is true bypass so that your tone does not get sucked and ruined when it bypasses this pedal. This fella employs bi-color LEDs that show you which speed and waveform is selected. While we are on the subject, it can create four different shapes of the waves: Sharkfin, Sine, Square and ‘Chop’. Each of them is different in its essence and creates distinctive results. I cannot help but mention the design of this one. It is shelled in a green chassis that shines through any chain. It stands out quite a bit and soothes your eyes and soul as you look at it. The size of this baby is not too small, but if you consider the control you get, you will realize that you do not have any reason to complain. Though I have not mentioned its build quality, you can stay assured that it will last you through a couple of lifetimes. Let’s not forget that Tremolo can be powered either with a single 9V battery or an adapter. This gives you even more flexibility and just forces you to drag this pedal everywhere. The feature set displays vividly how versatile and multi-functional this stompbox is.
When you look at the control section for the first time, you might get the impression that you only have rudimentary controls. But as you take a closer look, you will notice that you are in full charge of your tone. And when we are talking about the effects such as tremolo, you do need all the control you can get. We have four knobs, one toggle and two footswitches in total.
First on the panel is Speed, which alters the rate of the effect. Though the concept behind it is quite simple, it can make drastic changes to your sound. It allows you to achieve subtle waves of tremolo or create extreme swirling effect. Next we have Depth that adjusts the intensity of changes in the volume and fluctuates subtly or harshly depending on the settings. Volume is a typical level control that keeps your sounds heard at all times. The fourth encoder here is the Mode selector, which allows you to choose between Quarter Note (Mode 1), Eighth Note (Mode 2), Triplet (Mode 3), Rhythmic (Mode 4), Chaotic (Mode 5) and Manual (Mode 6). The sixth mode changes the functionalities of the footswitches and allows you to tap in the waveform. Finally, we have a toggle that enables you to select the desired waveform (complementary colors will flesh using the LED).
The sound of Diamond Tremolo is out of this world. This pedal allows you to dial in any sound your heart desires. Since we have quite a lot to discuss, I will get straight to the point. The first five modes alter the speed of the tremolo and set the ratio to which it operates. You can explore typical eighths and triplets, but if you are adventurous, you can enter the Rhythmic mode that combines different patterns or explore Chaotic where various speeds occur without any particular order. Manual mode turns you into a real boss and subordinates everything to your desires. But the real potential of the pedal is unveiled once you mess around with the waveform toggle. Sharkfin produces vintage tube tremolo, Sine modulates the amplitude smoothly and symmetrically, Square creates harsh edges that cause on/off effect, while Chop is the main tool if you want that staccato pulses. On the whole, Diamond Tremolo does not have any disadvantages to complain about. Its sonic palette is extremely ‘vintagy’ yet modern. You can hear its analog character with each note and, thus, feel how your whole being gets enveloped in the tremolo haze.
To conclude everything said above, I will just note that Diamond Tremolo is definitely one of the best tremolo pedals out there. It is true that it is a bit pricey, but it is worth every penny. Each tweak is so prominent that you cannot help but explore everything it hides beneath the surface. I guess you will have to spend years to unleash its truest soul but once you do, you will be the king of tremolo. Good luck!
Click here to view more from 10 Best Tremolo Pedals.