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Young Pedals Looker Stereo Tremolo Pedal Review

Young Pedals Looker Stereo Tremolo Pedal Review

A stereo tremolo that can go from subtle to psychedelic

Download Example 1
Penetrating Clean Vibrato (Epiphone Sheraton)
Download Example 2
Pulsing Rock (Hamer Korina Special)
Download Example 3
Psychedelic Reverse Tremolo (Strat
All clips recorded with a Chandler LTD1 mic pre into an Apogee Symphony I/O to Pro Tools HD9.  SM57 off axis to Evil Robot. Slight addition of Lexicon room reverb in mix.
The Young Pedal Company, run out of Maryland by Marcus Young, is, in his own words, dedicated to building “the grooviest effects pedals for the working musician.” And in both appearance and function, they live up to their billing. Built by hand using high-quality parts, Young’s pedals include a germanium fuzz, an analog delay, and our review pedal, the Looker Optical Tremolo.

Look at This
Housed in a white powder-coated stomp box with blue accents The Looker is a study in economy of space. Two outputs and two inputs are found on the top back of the pedal as well as a 9vDC input for Boss PSA adapter. There are three knobs on top that control Time, Depth and Shape. One mini toggles enables you to double the rate of the tremolo signal and another serves as Pan/Sync switch that modifies the stereo operation of the effect. On the bottom left of the Looker is a Tap stomp with accompanying red LED that blinks in time with the tap rate and a (true) Bypass stomp switch with a green LED indicator. Inside the pedal you’ll find two trim pots to adjust the gain of each output for matched operation with two or one amps.

The Looker has a wide tremolo rate range from 50ms to 2000ms, which is controlled via the Time knob. The Shape control offers four types of waveforms; Square, Ramp, Inverse Ramp, and Sine modulations. The Depth control modifies the intensity of the effect. The Tap tempo is an effective way to sync with a band or song and with the 1x/2x mode engaged the sound can easily be doubled in time with music (2x) and returned to the original tap (1x). By running the effect into two amps you can achieve a really expansive sound where the effect dodges back and forth or takes on a more subtle wash.

Sounds Like A Looker
For the majority of my testing I used an Epiphone Sheraton through a Fretted Americana Evil Robot. And almost regardless of setting, the Looker is lush, deep, detailed and warm. Operation is virtually silent and signals don’t noticeably degrade in bypass or effected mode. The pedal can push the front end of the amp depending on how you set the trim pot inside the pedal too.

Eager to check out the Tap Tempo mode, I set up drum track through my rig and locked in with the groove. Setting the Depth just below noon and the Shape in the CCW position I got a nice, familiar square wave tremolo. Kicking up the Depth lends individual pulses strong definition and a cool and musical signal-cut effect. The fun really begins with the Shape knob, which I set up in the Inverse Ramp setting. It’s a truly psychedelic effect with an almost reverse-tape effect mixing with the tremolo that was super addictive and stretched my playing into pretty cosmic realms.

Even radical settings for the Depth and Shape settings sounded expressive, tuneful, and useful. I came to prefer a little less aggressive effect with the Sheraton and Evil Robot just because of the more aggressive basic tone of that rig. But subtler settings still had a pronounced shimmer and depth.

To check out the stereo operation I connected the two outputs into the dual inputs of my Axe-FX Ultra. And it’s here that the Looker really shows off its incredible range. At first I had two amp models panned hard left and right, which displayed an ultra-wide ping-pong effect. The Pan/Sync switch determines if the modulation between channels One and Two are in or out of phase, which can produce some equally radical effects or a pleasant warble when set up to be a little more tame.

The Verdict
There are so many combinations of sounds within that The Looker often feels like something beyond just a simple tremolo. The longer I experimented with it the more I found myself coming up with new grooves and rhythms that had a natural but perfectly synced swing to them. And these days, with everything being processed inside of computers, it was refreshing to feel a discernible organic cooperation between amps and the pulsing, modern/vintage goodness of the Looker.

While tremolo is not the type of effect you will use on every song there is enough range and subtlety to the Looker that you can easily have it running most of the time at subtler settings for added depth. It can take you to the stratosphere and back and wow and impress with its extremes or inspire new rhythmic ideas. Operation is simple yet intuitive and the Tap tempo was ultra smooth and transitioned nicely from tempo to tempo with just a few taps. And given the quality workmanship and a friendly price tag, The Looker is hard to beat if you’re looking for vintage tremolo sounds that can go way beyond.
Buy if...
you move from adventurous to subtle tremolo effects and have the means to explore stereo effects.
Skip if...
modulation isn’t your thing

Street $175 - Young Pedals -