Tone Report Weekly 196 - Page 54

GEAR SPOTLIGHT OUTLAW EFFECTS ROCKER BOX REVIEW BY ERIC TISCHLER STREET PRICE $49.00 The Outlaw Rocker Box Tremolo lives up to the builder’s name: it’s an outlier, in the sense that it forgoes the bells and whistles du jour to provide simple—but, importantly, euphonic—tremolo effects for those who want this tool in their arsenal but don’t want to devote a lot of resources (read: money, real estate, and brain power) to it. The Rocker Box is easy to use, but the nomenclature is a little confusing: it’s an optical tremolo with a “bias” control. For those who aren’t familiar with the different implementations 54 GEAR SPOTLIGHT // of tremolo, I say “confusing” because there are a few ways of creating a tremolo effect—one is optical, which uses a light-controlled resistor, the other is via tube amp bias. The latter, of course, is what you typically find on an old tube amp: a low-frequency oscillator (LFO) waveform affects the bias of the power tubes, resulting in a change in volume that we hear as tremolo. The mellow nature of this implementation is appealing, but it can feel loose in a way that doesn’t always work. Optical tremolo, like an optical compressor, is Outlaw Effects Rocker Box based around a photocell. The LFO controls the intensity of a light bulb, varying the resistance in the photocell and resulting in . . . fluctuations in volume. In general, this flavor of tremolo has a tighter, more consistent feel, and provides the pulse that’s more typical of the modern usage of tremolo. So, two different types of tremolo in one box? Not exactly. The Rocker Box is an optical tremolo, and it provides the very consistent response you’d expect. However, the “Bias” knob adjusts