Nashville guitarist Eddie Heinzelman and the custom shop at Robert Keeley Electronics worked together to create a pair of boutique pedals: the VoT Verb o Trem and the VoT Reverb and Tremolo Workstation.
The smaller Verb o Trem is a Reverb Tremolo combo pedal featuring Spring and Plate reverb, as well as three kinds of Tremolos. The two different spring sounds and their decay can be dialed in with the Reverb knob, then you’ve got Rate and Depth for the speed and modulations, and a Level knob. The switch in the middle lets you go between R+T (Reverb and Tremolo), MACK (Pitch Vibrato and Reverb) and HAR, which is the harmonic mode (Harmonic Tremolo into a Plate Reverb). But the flexibility of the pedal lets you just turn the Reverb knob down if you don’t want to hear it, or turn down the Rate and Depth if you don’t want to hear that. Or you can mix and match your desired settings.
The VoT Workstation kicks up the flexibility with eight reverb and eight modulation types. There are independent foot-switchable sections and Select knobs for the Reverb and Mod, as well as a Tap switch for tapping out your tempo. This is great for quickly turning each section on or off with a simple press of the foot, or changing tempos to get the pedal in sync with your song. For additional controls on top, there is Level for each, then Rate, Decay, Morph, Reverb Morph, Mod Morph and Effect Blend. As you might imagine, there’s a huge number of sounds to be had from these controls.
I like that it’s a stereo output pedal, and the rear of the pedal features IN/EXP/TAP/STEREO/MONO 1/4-inch jacks, as well as the 9V AC plug.
There’s a useful list printed on the front of the pedal, with Reverb Modes and Modulation Modes 1-8 and their associated settings. I found myself often turning to this—for example, if I wanted a Slapback Harmonic Tremolo, I set the Reverb Mode knob on 8 (Slapback) and Modulation Mode knob on 3 (Harmonic Trem).
Both of the pedals deliver on several fronts. They offer up great-sounding reverb, tremolo and vibrato, with tone and playability. I’ve found that many Tremolo/Vibrato pedals and reverbs can get lost in your sound and become useless, and I’m picky about that because I own and play a ’66 Magnatone M10 with real vibrato and some old ’60s Gibson amps with great verb/trem.
You can hear audio examples of me variously playing with the VoT Reverb only, Workstation Plate reverb only, and Workstation Spring reverb and Pitch Vibrato at www.soundcloud.com/prosoundnews.
There is a warmth and depth to these pedals that makes them sound like actual analog tubes—a quality I assume is due to the care taken in the design and engineering stages. I found that these are quite flexible as well; they can be used as creative sound design tools or in a more classic, pure approach. The Verb o Trem is, of course, the simpler of the two; the Workstation brings more flexibility for those who need it. Each is a worthy pedal with a rich sonic vibe that’s equally at home in the studio or on the stage.
Keeley | www.robertkeeley.com