Catalinbread Semaphore Tremolo


  • Rate
  • Shape
  • Fast/Slow (toggle)
  • Waveform (toggle)
  • Depth
  • Volume


Catalinbread (2007)

We are pleased with the final result of the Semaphore. It has been a long time coming but at Catalinbread we believe that a worldclass company can afford to take their time to deliver a worldclass product that isn't chaulked full of gristle. Thus we're certain that the Semaphore will excede the expectations and demands of all players from plug 'n play vintage geeks to knob-twiddling nerds. Features+Benefits=Semaphore.

Features WITHOUT Benefits = IRRELEVANCE! Look around and all you will see in the tremolo world are a bunch of devices that are physically too BIG which sport features that ultimately do very little for musicians. Thus the question arrises what makes for a great tremolo effect pedal? Well, we've been taking notes for literally years and threw them into the foot-long equation and the Semaphore was the result. Slight buttery smooth warble to full toggleswitched chopping! Yeah, yeah, yeah a tremolo is supposed to do those things who cares?

Ah well yeah, we threw in a few extra features on the Semaphore that actually do something useful for players. Firstly, we decided to brag about the fact that you don't have to settle for "apparent volume drop" when engaged. Which leads to the next benefit functions as a volume boost WITH or WITHOUT volume fluctuation, YES unmodulated volume boost by turning down the "Depth" knob. Thus if you're reckless like me you can turn the volume up TOO much and you'll be surprised at the tonal/character variations on tap. Tonal variations ranging from clean boosting to mild drive to dirty! Third, we knew we wanted a device to control our beloved Teaser Stallion.

While designing the Semaphore we knew we could only settle for those features if we could also fit it all into our standard 4.3" x 2.3" enclosures, with the jacks all on one side. Current consumption and noise are huge factors with LFO circuits in tiny packages. Our early experiments with LFO opamp type resulted in dropping a volt from a battery and dying. This is where we MUST give credit to Brian Marshall of Subdecay for his recommendation of an opamp that does the job, now the battery can be sucked down to nothing and the Semaphore will happily run.


The Semaphore Tremolo Delivers classic tremolo sounds from the smooth and buttery coaxing of vintage "harmonic vibrato" to more modern aggressive hard chop "repeat percussion". There are of course plenty of nontraditional trem-based sounds too - pulses, swells, blips, & surf amplitude modulation can all be found inside. It wouldn't be a Catalinbread pedal if it didn't do some weird stuff too, right?

The Semaphore doesn't color your tone, what you put in is what comes out - and since it is analog there is none of the sterile, fake digital clang you get from the "competition". Useful, intuitive features with clear benefits - that is what this pedal is all about. We kept it simple and easy to use with a minimum of tweaking required to find what you're looking for.

Volume governs the output - you can dial it in for a volume boost to stand out in the mix or cut it for more subtle passages.

Rate determines the speed - from narcoleptically slow to Ring Mod fast. The Slow/Fast switch works with the Rate knob to fine tune and extend the overall range.

Depth mixes the tremolo effect with the uneffected sound - light and shimmery to deep and cavernous.

The Shape knob in conjunction with the Triangle/Square switch adjusts the wave shape from swell, to triangle, to surf in Triangle mode and from pulse, to square, to blip and any duty cycle in between in Square mode.

The Semaphore runs off a 9v battery or any good quality 9v/200mA/center-negative tip power supply. It can also be run at 18 volts for increased headroom if desired.

The crew of Catalinbread is confident that the Semaphore will find a place in your creative palette of sounds. The Semaphore is everything you need and nothing you don't from a tremolo, and we hope it inspires you to do what you do best - make our music!


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