fulltone supa trem review

First thing’s first – in this FullTone Supa-Trem review, let’s really talk about tremolo, not vibrato.

The difference is this: tremolo is the vibration of volume, while vibrato is the vibration of pitch – simple as that.

FullTone Supa-Trem ST-1 Review – Table of Contents

FullTone Supa-Trem ST-1 – What is It?

Supa-Trem ST-1 is a tremolo pedal that gives off that natural, classic, vintage amp tremolo sound.

If you look at the Supa-Trem as-is, it appears a fairly dull pedal considering it only has knobs for volume and rate. It has a footswitch for half/full speed and hard/soft sound.

In this FullTone Supa-Trem review, we’ll go through everything this tremolo pedal does and whether or not you should buy it.

FullTone Supa-Trem ST-1 Review: VIDEO DEMO

 

Who Uses The Supa-Trem ST-1?

Some notable people are:

  • Joe Bonamassa
  • Warren Haynes
  • John Mayer
  • Peter Frampton
  • John Fogerty
  • Sean Costello

Supa-Trem ST-1 Features

  • Footswitch for half or full speed. This is a unique feature – it instantly cuts the speed of the tremolo in half or doubles it while keeping the set rate.
  • Footswitch waveform selector for hard or soft mode to change the attack of the trem. The Soft mode gives a gentle sine wave while the Hard mode produces a square wave “machine gun” stutter, like a helicopter sound.
  • Two separate large knobs for Rate and Mix controls with a red L.E.D. to see the speed while playing. The red L.E.D. works even when the pedal is bypassed. This is another convenient feature that I appreciate because it allows you to adjust the trem to the correct tempo even before you use it into the song. Imagine how easier this makes to be in sync with the rest of the band.
  • True bypass with a blue on/off L.E.D.
  • New volume knob that’s useful for using the pedal as a clean boost. It can also be used as a 143 dB boost.

Supa-Trem ST-1 Physical Specs:

  • Weight: 1.65 lbs or 0.75 kg
  • Dimensions (width x height x depth): 6 x 2.5 x 3.25 in
  • Powered by one 9V battery or 9V DC power supply

Okay so now that we have the features and specs out of the way, let’s talk about the real deal.

Sound and Performance

Supa-Trem ST-1 gives a very warm, smooth, thick and “creamy” tone.

FullTone credits this incredible sound to the pedal using Analog Devices JFET AD711JN in its circuit.

It sounds so lush, sweet and rich – a very musical pedal. It enhances my current tone, contrary to the other pedals who actually do the opposite.

It sounds like my Fender Trem but this ST-1 is more versatile.

Soft/Hard Sound

The Soft/Hard mode is a great feature that adds more room for creativity and so far it’s a lot of fun to play with.

fulltone supa trem review right side

My experience with the Soft mode is a mellow and subtle trem that’s great for some soul kind of tone.

The Hard mode gives me the steep, square machine gun chops, and not the horrible kind. So I’m quite pleased with this Soft/Hard feature.

Rate and Mix

And then here comes the two big knobs for the Rate and Mix controls. I’ve had a lot of fun with these as well and I’m happy to report that it offers so much versatility.

Dial this pedal in your own personal sweet spots by using different combinations of its controls, and the sky’s the limit.

Half/Full Speed

The Half/Full speed footswitch adds to this versatility. It’s like having several pedals that’s morphed into one enclosure. Not to mention being able to quickly switch waveforms with a footswitch is awesome.

Speaking of versatility, you can also use this pedal as a tone buffer in your chain.

Clean Boost

Last but definitely not the least, the Supa-Trem also acts as a nice clean boost.

Not so long ago, guitarists have figured that the older Supa-Trem actually makes a great clean boost. They were able to achieve this by turning the MIX knob down while turning the internal volume up.

FullTone answered to this by putting the Volume knob on the pedal for our convenience, while increasing the gain to 15dB. This gives the second version of the Supa-Trem ST-1 the ability to be a wonderful clean boost.

When you get your own ST-1, you can achieve this clean boost by using the Soft mode with the volume all the way up and the Mix all the way down. This allows access to the added 15dB of clean gain.

So make sure you get the current ST-1 version with the volume knob.

Then make some magic by switching to the Hard mode to get that sweet sine wave trem with the boost.

Classic Tube Amp Tremolo Sound

I’m quite impressed by the authentic amp tremolo sound. Supa-Trem ST-1 managed to faithfully mimic the 1960’s American tube amps.

Obviously the Supa-Trem is based on an amplifier tremolo. What makes it so great is it managed to eliminate the clicking sounds that usually come with tremolo circuits and pedals.

Supa-Trem actually uses a custom designed fast recovery FullTone Opto-1 internal photocell for this, and viola – no annoying tickling sounds.

Volume Drop

Sometimes when using tremolo pedals, the tone is softened that the volume seems to decrease.

You don’t have to worry about that with the Supa-Trem ST-1, especially since there’s already a volume knob with the ST-1.

True Bypass

In my experience, the True bypass really maintains signal purity when in use.

Sound and Performance Summary

Overall, the Supa-Trem ST-1 gives a classic trem tone without any signal and tone degradation.

Plus it’s very versatile – I can dial it in to achieve any sound I’m looking for.

fulltone supa trem review

I personally put it at the end of my signal chain – I suggest you do this too and so does the user manual. This way, when you don’t need tremolo you could just turn the Mix knob all the way down and it adds a warm, very smooth tone to the overall sound.

Usability

Supa-Trem is very easy to control. It’s impossible to go wrong with this pedal because it’s so easy to dial in. It’s also easy to adjust with just your feet.

The Supa-Trem ST-1 is a simple, solid design.

Build

The knobs for the Rate and Mix controls are bigger than usual knobs, thus making dialing easier. I love this part about the ST-1 – these big knobs are so convenient because they allow adjustments on-the-fly.

The knobs are actually big enough to allow dialing with your feet. You can just imagine how convenient that is while playing – no bending 🙂

Then there’s the half/full speed footswitch. This allows for quick adjustments to the speed.

fulltone supa trem review front view

In terms of durability, Supa-Trem is like a tank. I praise this handmade American piece of gear, I really do.

There are also two trim pots mounted to the interior PCB board. It’s a proprietary “through-PCB” method (contrary to using the pot terminals). This method reduces pot-related failures.

The first pot adjusts the overall output while the second pot adjusts the hardness of the waves’ rise and fall.

Another good thing that comes out of this is you no longer have to use jumper wires. The result is a pure tone. I’d take that.

The only thing I want to change is the size of the pedal. I wish it was smaller – that would have made it even easier to manage while playing. Other than that, the build is superb.

So overall, FullTone Supa-Trem ST-1 is a well-built, conveniently designed tremolo pedal.

PROS:

  • Authentic classic amp-style tremolo sound
  • Very rich, creamy, warm tone
  • No hissing or clicking sounds that you get with the other pedals
  • Very versatile
  • Very nice and clean boost
  • Straightforward, easy to use
  • Easy to control on-the-fly
  • Built like a tank

CONS:

  • No controls for depth
  • No tap tempo
  • Bigger size than other tremolo pedals

Supa-Trem ST-1 Tremolo Pedal vs. A Few Others (A Mini Shoot Out)

Boss TR2 vs. Supa-Trem ST-1

My first ever tremolo pedal was the Boss TR2. It’s a great affordable tremolo but it’s also a bit noisy and muffled, not to mention the huge drop in volume when it’s used. There are mods to fix the Boss TR2 volume drop.

As for the noise, there’s none heard from the Supa-Trem. It’s how Supa-Trem sets itself apart from the rest – there are no tickling sounds at all.

Boss TR-2

The huge difference is in the thick organic sound of the Supa Trem compared to the thin sound of the Boss TR2.

But what makes the Supa-Trem stay on my pedalboard and the Boss TR2 as only my backup trem is this: the Supa-Trem is transparent, it does not cover the signature sounds of any guitar you use it with. The Boss TR2 makes every guitar sound the same when plugged in, to the point that the distinct tonal features of the different guitars and amps sound the same.

Although I’ve heard about the TR2 Analogman Mod does not have this transparency problem, I haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t comment on that. If you’ve tried this mod then you’re free to comment below and share your experience with it, as I’m sure the other readers will benefit.

What Boss TR2 has that Supa-Trem does not is the small, compact size.

Fulltone Supa-Trem vs. Demeter Tremulator

Demeter Tremulator

I love the nice choppy sound of the Demeter Tremulator. I hate how it ruins the guitar tone. I ended up returning my Demeter Tremulator immediately. Again, the Supa Trem sounds more organic while the Demeter sounds more digital – nothing new here.

FullTone Supa-Trem vs. Voodoo Lab 4-Knob Tremolo

The Voodoo Labs Tremolo hit the sweet spot in the features-to-price ratio. It has four knobs for the intensity, slope, speed, and volume controls. This allows a more precise dialing that you can tweak to your personal needs.

Voodoo Labs Tremolo

The Supa-Trem doesn’t have a slope adjustment, and the closest thing to an intensity adjustment is the Wet/Dry mix knob.

The Supa-Trem sounds more warm and adds more depth to the mix. By a slight margin, the Supa-Trem won over the Voodoo Lab tremolo in terms of sound.

FullTone Supa-Trem vs. Strymon Flint

strymon flint

Both sound great. Supa-Trem lacks the reverb, spring, and tap that the Strymon Flint has. Flint is more versatile. I just prefer the FullTone because it sounds way more organic than the Flint, and the overall tremolo sound is superior over the Flint.

FullTone Supa-Trem vs. Diamond Tremolo

Diamond Tremolo has a full set of features. Diamond does it all, and I mean all. If you’re looking for more waveform options, get yourself a Diamond. Supa-Trem may be a very versatile tremolo pedal, but Diamond takes the number one spot in terms of versatility.

In terms of sound, Diamond has that digital sound while Supa-Trem sounds organic. I love both of these tremolo pedals no more than the other.

diamond tremolo

I personally keep my Supa-Trem on my main pedalboard because of the two big knobs that allow for on-the-fly dialing, and the red L.E.D. that shows the speed rate, and the footswitch that allows you to double or cut the speed in half. These Supa-Trem features make it easier to adjust on stage.

So all in all, Supa-Trem is more gig-friendly but Diamond is more versatile. And both the Supa-Trem and Diamond offer their own amazing, unique sound. You can’t go wrong with both of these.

Supa-Trem ST-1 vs ST-2

Okay so this is the most interesting. I own the Supa-Trem ST-1 and recently I tested out the ST-2 in hopes of buying it too.

Supa-Trem ST-2 uses two identical but separate circuits in stereo.

The ST-2 comes with a tap tempo. It also added a third waveform which is the warble. The most impressive feature of the ST-2 is the unique phase correction knob making it a great auto panner.

supa trem st 2

In terms of sound, the ST-2 has a sweeter, juicier sound that’s hard to find in other pedals. Just like the ST-1, it’s the closest thing you’ll get to the tube amp tremolo.

When placed last in your chain, the ST-2 acts as a nice driver and buffer.

If you run a stereo rig then you’ll love the ST-2. How it performs in stereo is amazing. But if you run a mono rig then the ST-2 features won’t be as useful enough for you to upgrade to the ST-2.

What happened is I ended up not buying the ST-2 because the drastic jump in price vs. the ST-1 is too much for me. I’m still loving my ST-1 because the ST-2 no longer has the half/full and hard/soft footswitch. Bleh.

In my opinion, Supa-Trem ST-1 is the pedal to go for, unless you run stereo, then get the ST-2.

FullTone Supa-Trem ST-1 Price

At the time of writing this review, the Supa-Trem ST-1 costs 159.20 in USD.

It’s a little pricey, but thankfully it’s very well worth it. In my opinion it’s a pedal that will serve you for a lifetime.

This pedal is the perfect example of you get what you pay for. You can click here to check the current price on Amazon.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a tremolo, you need to have this pedal. I never said this about anything I reviewed so far no matter how excellent they are. It’s because regarding the past reviewed gears, it still depends on the features you’re looking for in that category.

The tremolo pedal category is different because the Supa-Trem ST-1 exists. It’s an absolute must-have, I swear to god. I personally always leave it on whenever I play.

For the sake of tone, stop reading reviews, stop watching demo videos, and get yourself one of these.

It’s the trem pedal that has served me for years and for many more years to come. Out of the four tremolo pedals I currently own, my Supa-Trem ST-1 is the one that never leaves the pedalboard even though it only has two available waveforms – it’s still very versatile.

FullTone successfully set aside the fancy yet unneeded nonsense and built one of the best tremolos in the market. It’s the best tube amp-style tremolo out there.

In terms of size, the Supa-Trem ST-1 sucks because it takes so much space on the pedalboard.

In terms of sound, it’s second to none. It’s the best organic-sounding tremolo in the market. I’m more than happy to spare more pedalboard room for this.

It’s all about the tone and the Supa-Trem is the best trem at that.

Check Price on Amazon

 


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