What I am about to say might be a well-known story to some, but I do not think that revisiting it will hurt anybody. Many tendencies are born due to fortuitous events, and many misconceptions arise because of the reckless mistakes. Tremolo and Vibrato have been utilized interchangeable for years now, when in reality they are two different effects. Vibrato relies on pitch alterations in order to create rhythmic sounds, while tremolo uses volume fluctuations as its core and emits pulsating notes. The blame for this mistake falls on the shoulders of Fender, since they propagated their Stratocaster as tremolo, when in reality, it was a vibrato by all standards. Knowing the difference between the two is important to understand better what you are looking for in your sound. This way you will not have any false illusions or expectations and you will face the reality with ease. Today we will forget about vibrato and focus on level-shifting tremolo. I am going to discuss Fulltone Supa-Trem ST-1 – one of the most prominent models out there. It has a few features to brag about and the sounds that will make any other stompbox jealous. If you want to find out more about this pedal, then keep on reading as I give you all the necessary information!
Supa-Trem ST-1 is an updated version of its predecessor. The brand reconsidered certain features and decided to improve existing package. That is how Fulltone ended up with this one and we are so glad that it did! This baby is featured in a wide enclosure, which will occupy a real estate on your pedalboard. I cannot exactly say that such size (6 (W) x 2.5 (H) x 3.25 (D) in) is justifiable, so I guess we have to get used to it. The chassis is black with white writings and labels, which make the whole design rather minimalistic. More importantly, Supa-Trem ST-1 is based on JFET amp at the core of the circuit, making sure that this baby has the character of tube tremolo. It features true bypass switching that is tough enough to last you through vigorous utilization. It is topped with blue/red LEDs that make this pedal visible even on dark stages. Plus, red LED flashes according to the tap tempo and enables you to visually discern the speed of your effect. Additionally, Supa-Trem ST-1 can be employed as a clean boost with 15dB range. This way you can assign different applications to this stompbox and get the maximum use out of it. You do also have the option to choose between Hard (square) and Soft (sine) modes with a footswitch and achieve distinctive results with each touch. You can go from full to half speed in seconds, which is an amazing addition for all the gigging musicians. This lightweight beast can be powered either with a single 9V battery or an adapter. As you can see, Fulltone Supa-Trem ST-1 is extremely convenient to use, since it displays flexibility in every movement. Once you plug it in, you will have a hard time parting with it (and I do not see any reason why you would make such a decision).
When it comes to the controls of Fulltone Supa-Trem ST-1, everything we have here is truly user-friendly. You will probably need to scan through the available options and you will be ready to start exploring. The labels accurately indicate on the functionality of each encoder, which means you can forget about the manual and get to playing right away. But before you make the final decision, let me draw you a picture of what awaits you once you buy the pedal.
The panel is comprised of the combination of knobs and footswitches. Yes, you heard me – instead of having too many encoders, Fulltone decided to go with footswitches and make parameters accessible on the fly. Volume knob alters the level of the effect and makes up for any loss in volume that might occur, Rate sets the speed of tremolo, while Mix intensifies the effect as you turn it clockwise. Moving on to the footswitches, we have a Bypass that turns the device on or off, Speed that bisects or doubles the rate of your current playing, and Hard/Soft that allows you to choose between sine or square waveforms. As you can see, Fulltone thought about the practicality of their pedal and incorporated the controls that would make sense in live scenarios.
The most striking promise that Fulltone makes is that Supa-Trem ST-1 can replicate the sonic flavor of vintage tube tremolo. And that my friend is not a mere promise. This bad boy utilizes custom-designed Opto-1 photocell that retains the character of those amplifiers without the tickling noise present in their circuitries. It delivers the distinctive, defined and beautiful sounding tremolos that can engulf you in the volume fluctuations from outer space. The effect is rich and full-bodied and pretty diverse too. The available waveforms are a far cry from each other, meaning that the end results will never be similar. The ability to use half or double speed is also amazing, as it enables you to make sudden changes and explore the realm of unexpected rhythms. Supa-Trem ST-1 sounds wonderful as a clean boost as well. It strengthens your signal transparently and does not impact your tone in a weird manner. This bad boy is organic and natural, and offers enough options to satisfy even the most adventurous player. The main thing is that the sonic quality is ethereal here and nothing can beat that. That’s it.
The final verdict for Supa-Trem ST-1 from Fulltone is that this thing works wonders no matter how you set it. Though it does not have a tap tempo, the flashing LED is a close substitution. Added volume knob makes a huge difference and, thus, makes it possible to boost your sound to your liking. I don’t even know if such a simple pedal can get any better. Its practicality is hard to compete with and the bar it sets will be quite hard to satisfy. Good luck!
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