Voodoo Labs is one of those brands that often dwell into boutique segment of the market. This is reflected in a variety of their products, including the tremolo pedal we are looking at today. What sets it apart the most is the flavor it brings to the table. This is partially the reason why a number of artists, such as Jack White, like to use it instead of other, more clinical tremolos out there. However, that is only a small part of what this whole experience is all about. We will get there, but first let’s check out the features and design of this incredible pedal.
The first thing you notice about Voodoo Labs Tremolo is its robust chassis. They probably could have packed everything into a much smaller package, but when you are building an effect pedal such as this one, you can give yourself some leeway. And they sure did. Voodoo Labs Tremolo features a double wide body made of die cast metal, which is finished in a custom graphic. Just by looking at it you can determine that it is the type of pedal that can take whatever abuse you are capable of dishing out. It might look like a studio queen, but it is definitely not.
Top panel reveals a very intuitive and simple control cluster that consists of four large knobs. Voodoo Labs has used pretty robust components, as they generally do, so this comes as no surprise. Inputs and outputs are found at the back of the chassis, which makes it slightly harder to put it into a daisy chain format. Far from impossible, though. Going from left to right, you have the intensity knob, a slope knob, speed and finally volume. Underneath those, Voodoo Labs has included a very durable foot switch. It is undoubtedly one of the most solid components on the entire pedal, as you would expect it to be. Controls feel great during hands on use, offering linear feedback. Lastly, the pedal can either use battery power, or run off a DC adapter. We would just like to add that running a decent aftermarket power supply really benefits the overall experience.
When it comes to performance, Voodoo Labs Tremolo brings a decent amount of concrete performance, but also some nuances you don’t often see nor hear these days. Remember how we said that Voodoo Labs is flirting with boutique classification from time to time? Well, their tremolo is probably as deep into this category of effects pedals as it gets. The core of its performance revolves around delivering that vintage tube style tremolo. The same kind you could find in a an old valve amplifier from back in the day.
The result is a very organic trem effect that is just teeming with raw energy. Many will describe its sound as buttery smooth, and they would be correct. Voodoo Labs’ secret lies within using the very same lamp and photocell circuitry that you would find in a truly vintage amplifier. Best of all, that refined and unique performance is easily controlled with the knobs available. Each one, including volume and speed, have plenty of range that is often lacking in other tremolos of this kind. Dialing in a good tone might take some time, but it is well worth the effort. When it comes to making quick adjustments on stage, it is fairly easy. Although controls could be labeled as sensitive, it takes very little getting used to for anyone to know exactly when to make adjustments and in which amount. The only real downside is the fact that Voodoo Labs Tremolo isn’t easy to operate in low light conditions. On a dark stage, you might find yourself chasing ghosts in the dark. That, however is not something we can really count as a fault since lighting conditions change and many other brands feature the same policy when it comes to finishes.
Lastly, when you are done using Voodoo Labs Tremolo and you hit that foot switch, something truly awesome happens. The signal becomes completely devoid of Tremolo’s presence. That is right, Voodoo Labs packs these with a proper true bypass switch, ensuring that there is absolutely no signal coloration when the pedal is not in use. As basic as it may sound, many brads advertise the use of true bypass switches, but the number of those who actually do include this feature is rather small.
At the end of the day, Voodoo Labs Tremolo doesn’t only bring another iteration of what is essentially one of the more basic effects. Instead, it is a true little time machine that will take you back to the days when everything was analog and had some character. To have the opportunity to experience that type of sound at this low of a price, it’s something every guitar player should seriously consider. Jack White has more or less sealed the reputation of Voodoo Labs Tremolo. Not only did he use it, but he pushed it near the limits of its capabilities. In a way, he has explored the range of Voodoo Labs’ ingenuity so we don’t have to. This way, you can just listen to some of his music and get a pretty good taste of what this pedal has to offer.