Spotlight Producer – Soundtoys’ Tremolator brings classic guitar tremolo, beat-synced rhythm chopping, and analog tone to your tracks
Get Soundtoys Tremolator HERE
Usage: Classical guitar tremolo shapes are modeled to recreate these sounds. Also works as a programmable rhythmic auto-gater. So much more than it seems.
Tremolator has a split personality. On the one hand, it lives up to its name and is a great classic tremolo, recreating the tremolo sounds of classic material and pushing it further by adding tempo sync and dynamic control of depth and speed. On the other hand, it is a fully programmable gate / sutter cut / rhythmic pulse device. Create new rhythms from any audio you go through. This split personality allows Tremolator to fit into virtually any genre of music, from country to dubstep, despite what the name might imply.
For guitarists, jump into the presets. There are several built on classic patterns and variations with host tempo sync in most cases. Listen first, then open the Tweak menu and see the shape of the wave. It’s really interesting to see the subtle or not-so-subtle variations in what happens to classical waveforms in these old material units. Combine these tremolo classics with EchoBoy or Little PLAte (or both) for a fantastic guitar softening.
The secret to the classic tremolo models built into Tremolator goes far beyond simple emulation. Soundtoys in almost all of their modulation based plugins have a really cool feature that you might not know or realize is so flexible. LFO waveforms can be drawn and manipulated with a cool set of shape controls, allowing you to create virtually any waveform you can imagine. This is, of course, how they modeled classic waveforms from old amps, pedals, and even electric pianos, but with virtually no limit on what you can create, there is so much more to it than the simple concept of an “LFO”.
Programmable auto-gating rhythms? Why yes! Tremolator excels at creating new rhythms with the built-in Rhythm mode. The rhythm editor in the tweak menu is your friend. From simple things like adding accents to a pulsating sine wave to full beat programmed stuttering cuts, you can create, save, and share rhythm patterns on Tremolator, FIlterFreak, and PhaseMistress. It’s really cool. Check out the Auto-Gating tutorial for all the details and to get you in-depth very quickly.
So much more to Tremolator too. Dive into the settings menu for dynamic speed and depth controls, width control for stereo shifted tremolo / panning, mind-blowing rhythm editor, analog mode controls and LFO shape editor. Soundtoys lets you dig deep and get super nerdy and for the most part you don’t even realize you’re doing something super complex because it’s fun too.
The Tweak menu. There’s a lot of cool stuff in there, but you might want to check out the manual for more details. Here are some ideas.
Dynamic – Since the whole idea is that the input signal controls the effect, the real key is to balance the threshold and depth with the signal. Soundtoys makes thresholding fairly straightforward with the meter for input reading directly at the button. They were one of the first companies to do this and it’s great. The depth is a bit trickier when talking about a triggered envelope follower. BUT when you find the right place for your particular song, it really is magic. It adds a controllable emotion to a track when it responds to the signal. Use your ears, play and get the feel, or delve into the manual for specs.
Analog mode – Soundtoys created the analog mode to impart an analog quality to both the input and output of plug-ins to give the full experience of being able to enter or exit, or both, on a piece of material. Tremolator is quite unique with this feature as you can turn off the depth and just use the analog mode for extra ambience. Give it a try. Turn off the depth and select your flavor from the list (Fat, Squash, Dirst, Shred, Pump, etc.) and increase the entry. You can lower the output or increase it too. It will get loud, but you can lower your fader to compensate if you like the sound (or use it in Effect Rack and lower its output). And since Tremolator takes very few CPU cycles, you can get the mojo in analog mode without sacrificing your mixing power too much.
Width – The width compensates for the two channels essentially creating a pan, but just a little bit can be a good widening, and many can get the old Rhodes style tremolo / pan. Also, try very wide and fast rates for an interesting pseudo-stereo effect.
Rigmod – Yeah, super fast rates can get you a ringtone mod. The way to get them is to set your note value to a 64th note, then turn off MIDI sync and increase the tempo. Lots of fun to have with Ringmod and the dynamic control of grunge / lo-fi effects. There are also several presets for RingMod in the factory configuration.
Lock in a groove – Feel button with rush and drag, can help you tighten a groove or move a pulsating sine wave to the right place. Hyper useful. I would really like this feature to be on more than Tremolator and EchoBoy. Hopefully, one day Soundtoys will add it to all rhythm plugins.
Guitar Effects with Tremolator
Tremolator on electric piano
Rhythmic Auto-Gating with Tremolator