Catalinbread has unveiled the STS-88 Flanger/Reverb, a pedal borne out of an obsession with the flanger that draws inspiration from classic units to design a core effect, before it is given a unique spin by way of an expansive reverb.
The Portland, Oregon, guitar effects pedal specialist calls it “a love letter to the flanger” and describes the R&D process as a “one late night frenzy of pedal swapping”.
First they pooled together all their favourite units, from the ones we all know and love, such as the Boss HF-2 and Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress, to more obscure effects, vintage rack units such as the ‘70s classic MXR Flanger/Doubler and the DeltaLab Effectron ADM 256 from the ‘80s. Then it was a question of what to do with them.
Sometimes, you just have to experiment. Catalinbread arrived at its epiphany after plugging flanger into a reverb pedal. Not just any reverb, but a “cavernous” reverb that staked out new territory for the effect. And so it came to pass, the STS-88 would be a Flanger/Reverb.
Its design is quintessential Catalinbread, with a four-knob enclosure, some cool artwork too. The sounds the STS-88 is designed for can be musically unobtrusive and subtle or huge and ambient, but dialling them in looks a breeze. All of these controls are familiar to anyone who has used these kinds of effects before.
There is a Depth knob that controls the amplitude of the LFO. Turn it clockwise and the modulated swell of flanger will get deeper and, in certain contexts, more intense. The Rate knob, meanwhile, controls the speed of the LFO, with a range that extends from a super-slow 0.077Hz to a hectic 6Hz when maxed out.
The Mix knob controls the wet/dry mix, and the further you turn this dial the more you will hear effect. This is where you can deploy the STS-88 for subtle textures and ambience, or, at the other extreme, more psychedelic escapades.
Finally, the Reverb dial controls the length of the reverb tails, and how big you want it to be. Set this fully counterclockwise and the STS-88 behaves like a regular flanger pedal. Dime it and it is yet another pedal we can file under the category of ‘soundscape generator’.
Inside the unit there is an adjustable gain trimmer and a buffer switch that selects between true and buffered bypass. The STS-88 Flanger/Reverb can be run on 9 to 18V DC from a pedalboard power supply, and it draws a minimum of 100mA. It’s priced $172.74 / £199 and available now. See Catalinbread for more details.