Tone Report Weekly Issue 80 - Page 18

VIBUTRON When viewed in the present day, Frantone’s Vibutron still stands head and shoulders above most other analog tremolos. Many manufacturers these days stick with one LFO wave shape; I can’t speculate as to why, but most signs point to “it’s hard.” Whatever the reason, most manufacturers offer sine wave tremolo, which is billed as “amp-like” and others offer square-wave tremolos and bill them as “choppy” or “percussive.” This is all well and good, as all lovers of tremolo can attest to, but Frantone asked “why not both” over a decade ago, and the Vibutron was born. Featuring not one, not two, but three waveforms (sine, square and triangle), the Vibutron packs a lot of features into one box. “Amp-like” is a term that gets thrown around all too often, and the Vibutron is at the top of the pile. Sight unseen, I challenge you to tell the difference between the Vibutron and any amplifier’s built-in sine or triangle tremolo. One of the most exciting things about the Vibutron isn’t what you see, it’s what you don’t see—the internals of the unit feature many rarely-seen parts, including a couple you likely won’t see in any other stompbox. It’s a real testament to the level of engineering present in the pedal, and just how far someone is willing to go in order to deliver the best analog trem on the market. BASSWEET Recognizing a lack of bass-centric dirt boxes, Frantone released the Bassweet (related to The Sweet, more on that later), to much acclaim. Years later, finding one is quite a difficult affair. One can only theorize as to why, but my guess revolves around the idea that the Bassweet produces an unholy amount of low end that is sure to satisfy all four-stringers. The Bassweet is a take on Frantone’s lauded The Sweet fuzz, and keeps the tone of the original without sacrificing a drip of low end. The heart of the Bassweet is a germanium clipping section with a retooled diode arrangement. When 18 TONE TALK // Welcome Back, Frantone: Her Top 5