Pedals

Spaceman Voyager I

  • By David A. Evans @tonereport
  • October 24, 2015
  • 0 Comments

Spaceman’s new Voyager I optical analog tremolo pedal is, like its namesake space probe, a work of love. The effect is spacious and amenable to a variety of sonic needs. It can go from crisp and clean to dirty thanks to its Level and Gain controls. It also responds to playing style: loud strumming or quiet plucking will intensify or lessen the effect’s frequency or strength. The craftsmanship shows, but it’s really the Voyager I’s sound that sets the pedal in its own galactic class.

The first thing that strikes the eye when Spaceman’s tremolo is hooked up—the beautiful jewel indicator light. But the indicator light is more than decorative; it also provides a sign for the tremolo’s frequency rate. The light pulses white when the pedal is switched off. When the pedal is switched on, the indicator emits a brilliant blue light while also pulsing white.

Probably the most interesting aspect of the Voyager I is its responsiveness to a musician’s dynamics—that is, how hard or soft the instrument is played. To achieve this effect, the folks at Spaceman cleverly included an adjustable filter (labeled “Envelope”) that sets a threshold for the input voltage. When the Envelope is turned down, even hard and loud playing won’t trigger any changes in the effect. When the filter is turned higher—up past noon—the effect becomes sensitive to small changes in dynamics and input voltage.

The Voyager I features a toggle switch for selecting one of two responsive modes: Frequency and Fade. As would be expected, the Frequency setting tells the effect to adjust its frequency (speed), while the Fade setting tells the effect to alter tremolo’s strength (depth). For example, in the Frequency setting, hitting a chord and letting it ring out will generate a fast, pulsing tremolo effect that slows to its nominal setting (selected by the Frequency knob) as the chord rings out and decays. Alternatively, in the Fade setting, a loud chord will begin with little to no tremolo, then gradually begin to warble as the signal fades. By simply turning down the Envelope knob to its lowest position, the user can “opt out” of the special effect in lieu of straightforward tremolo.

Spaceman included both a Level and a Gain control, so it’s possible to use the pedal to sculpt one’s tone in ways that most tremolo pedals simply cannot. The Voyager I will deliver crystal clear analog tremolo if that’s what’s needed, yet it can also dirty up the signal. What’s nice is that because it’s a Gain effect that dirties the signal, the user can roll off the instrument’s volume to clean things up. Then, when it’s time for the grit, one simply has to turn up the instrument volume. It’s unlikely Voyager I will replace your overdrive pedal, but it certainly can. The distorted signal tends more toward a mid-range, nasal sound, which is good for cutting through the mix.

In sum, the folks at Spaceman have made a pedal that could have been sent up on the actual Voyager probes as an example, to any other musical life in the universe, of just how good analog pedals can sound.

What We Like

Spacious, organic tremolo that’s capable of responding to changes in the player’s dynamics, built-in gain and level for sparkling clean to dirty output, and a handsome design (complete with a cool jewel indicator lamp).

Concerns

Honestly, none at all! This pedal is built to last.

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