Price paid: £ 40
Sound — 7
I use this with a Laney VC-15. My effects chain is guitar->EHX Double Muff->BYOC Octave Fuzz->EHX Nano Small Stone->Marshall VT-1->Digitech Digidelay->amp. I use a cheap strat copy and a Fender MIJ Jaguar with Seymour Duncan pickups (JB Jr and Hot For Jag). When the pedal is on but you aren't playing, a quiet but audible oscillating hiss can sometimes be heard through the amp. This is more prominent at higher volume or with more distortion. It doesn't really bother me, because I never leave the pedal on when I'm not playing. When I put the pedal through the effects loop of the amp, there is a very noticeable volume drop when the pedal is engaged. I really like the tremolo, it adds a noticeable warmth to the sound, and on triangle wave setting it emulates a Vintage tube amp tremolo reasonably well. If you set the depth high, and the wave to square, it sounds cool for the 'helicopter' sound, but personally I think the triangle wave is much more useable and musical. On high rates it starts to sound less clear, and it seems to add a bit of an undertone to the notes you play, which I don't like, but some people might. I don't use the Vibrato very much, and I find it much harder to get a nice sound with it. The vibrato with a square wave sound sounds very robot-like; there's a strange metallic sound, a bit like a flanger. On more triangle wave settings, you can get a nice subtle vibrato which can make clean chords shimmer nicely, but I find that if you turn the depth up it doesn't sound very nice. I always use this on full triangle wave, with a medium rate and low-ish depth, to get that Elvis Costello sound, which is what I bought it for. Doing that sounds great; I find the pedal is much more geared towards that Vintage tone than more modern stacatto effects.
Overall Impression — 7
I mainly play old country/rock n' roll like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Rolling Stones, and Indie rock like Pixies, Juliana Hatfield. I also play a lot of blues, blues rock stuff, like Neil Young, and lots of other styles, ranging from pop to hard rock like Deep Purple. This pedal is great for those styles, as it does a good Vintage tremolo sound at an affordable price. I'm not sure if it would work well for heavier music, but I doubt it would. I've played for 6/7 years, and also own a Fender Jazz Bass, the stuff I mentioned earlier, and a few old practice amps. If it were lost or stolen, I might look into a more expensive tremolo like the Red Witch Pentavocal Tremolo, or just wait until I could afford an amp with a good tremolo channel. I love the low-depth, soft wave tremolo settings on the pedal, but I don't really like the Vibrato or any other tremolo sounds. I chose this over the EHX Stereo Pulsar because this was cheaper, but I've never tried the Pulsar. This pedal has all the features I would want in a tremolo.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I've gigged with this with no backup a few times, and never had a problem. Everything on it is sturdy, and the casing is very solid. I think it's better made than Boss pedals, which everybody raves about for their durability. The jacks seem well mounted, which is often a problem with cheaper pedals.
Ease of Use — 8
This pedal is very easy to use: a switch between the two modes, vibrato and tremolo, and rate, depth, and wave shape controls. Rate controls the rate of oscillation of either effect, depth controls the intensity of the effect (on tremolo, the higher the depth the more obvious the drop in volume, and on vibrato, the higher the depth the further away from the note the vibrato sound gets), and wave-shape goes from triangle shape (gradual change in volume/pitch) to square (sharp change in volume/pitch). The manual is good, it explains everything about the pedal, which isn't much.