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Moog’s $179 MF Trem is a gorgeous little analog tremolo with cool features you may not have encountered in a trem. But once you try them, you may get hooked.
The pedal’s shape control fades between three trem types: smooth rise and fall, sharp rise/smooth fall, and smooth rise/sharp fall. Variations include everything from corpulent, optical-sounding trem to slappy/choppy flickering à la Vox Repeat Percussion. It’s an easy, intuitive way to access a lot of trem colors.
The rate control has a generous range: At maximum, you get a throaty purr bordering on ring modulation. The depth control works as expected, though it interacts with the tone controls in not-so-expected ways.
Yes, the MF Trem has a tone control, a simple low-pass filter that effects only the wet signal. But since the depth control is really just a wet/dry blend, the tone control’s effect varies with the depth amount. At low tone/high depth settings, you encounter cool and subtle phasing effects. The pedal never sounds quite like a Uni-Vibe, Leslie cab, or brownface Fender vibrato circuit—there’s no actual pitch modulation here. But the MF Trem captures some of the rich, phasy goodness of those devices. And of course, the effect changes dramatically once you alter the shape setting.
Such interactivity may sound daunting, yet it’s easy to dial in tones. One good method is to set the rate and depth like you normally would, then just jiggle the shape and tone knobs till the tone feels right in context. Sounds stupid, but it works.
There’s no tap-tempo function, however. Nor is there a level control. (Trem effects sometimes benefit from a modest level boost, depending on the musical context.) But here, brighter tone settings accomplish the task.
Attaching an expression pedal (not included) lets you pilot the trem speed by foot. Ever tried this? If not, you’re missing out! It’s a lovely expressive effect, especially when you alter the rate in the pauses between musical phrases. It’s like a less gooey take on the rotating Leslie sound, and a grossly underexploited effect.
The MF Trem offers a fine palette of lush, tactile tremolo tones. It strikes an appealing balance between basic two-knob trem circuits and the mad scientist boxes that let you tweak every parameter. There are many fine tones here, and it’s easy to dial them in.