You may not know the name Valco, but you most assuredly know the names National, Supro, Airline and Oahu. These tube amps of the past sounded great and were all built by the Valco company of Chicago, Illinois. And they and contained the same tremolo circuit, now colloquially known as the Valco tremolo.

Leave it to Catalinbread, local masters of amp-in-a-box circuits, to extract the mojo from these old amplifiers and distill it into a stompbox of unimaginable quality.

The newly-designed Valcoder is more than just one sound; it’s the very essence of a Valco-built amp: There’s a chimey, gritty preamp section, and of course, that magnificent tremolo. The Valcoder does both equally well. There’s an Input knob, which can be used to juice the onboard JFET preamp for the sound of an ultra-clean amp on the verge of creamy saturated overdrive—perfect.

The tremolo circuit is 100 percent discreet and transistorized—it has everything you need and nothing you don’t. The Depth control ranges from full-on vintage bubbly amp tremolo to a hard square chop. What’s more, rolling the Depth control all the way back brings out only the preamp element, which turns the Valcoder into a delectable clean boost/preamp. More headroom is achieved by running the Valcoder at a higher voltage; it accepts up to 18 volts and anything above nine. Catalinbread Valcoder Tremolo features: JFET preamp reacts like a real amp Discreet tremolo circuit for crisp, toneful operation Handmade in Portland, OR True bypass 9–18v operation

Price: CHF 199.00

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