Walrus Audio Monument Harmonic Tap Tremolo

  • By David A. Evans @tonereport
  • July 12, 2017

Walrus Audio has set itself a lofty goal: to reproduce, in pedal form, the sublimity of Monument Valley, located along the border of Utah and Arizona. This high-desert landscape seems to call for a powerful reverb or delay effect to reproduce echoes which would bounce off the stony walls of the valley’s sandstone buttes. However, Walrus opted to capture a different aspect of the Valley with a tremolo pedal. The rise and fall of signal amplitude is meant to reproduce the rise and fall of the valley’s walls.

Although the Monument acts as standard tremolo pedal, but it also features a special “harmonic” mode for additional tonal possibilities. In the standard mode, selectable via a small toggle switch, the Monument delivers five waveforms, ranging from sine, square, triangle, “lump” (which resembles the upper half of a sine wave), and randomized square wave setting that Walrus has cheekily called “monument mode.”

The standard tremolo mode provided anything from a smooth sine wave to a fun, keyboard-like triangle wave, to randomized step-like waves. I particularly liked the tone of the triangle wave setting at a high depth and moderate rate. The tone reminded me of an electric keyboard’s roundness of tone. The curious “lump” mode produced what sounded like a more restrained version of the sine wave tremolo. The lump mode didn’t drop the signal level as drastically as did the sine setting. Even after adjusting the depth and shape knobs to compare the lump and sine modes, the latter tended to produce a more noticeable and dramatic swelling of the signal level.

The Monument’s Harmonic tremolo mode offers up something a little different, but familiar to the tremolo connoisseur. Walrus modeled the harmonic circuit after the one found in Fender’s iconic “Brownface” amplifiers. The circuit design differences between the two modes elude this reporter, but he can report that he liked what he heard. Walrus says that the Harmonic mode splits the signal into two channels, one for a hi-pass filter and the other for a low-pass filter. Then, a low frequency oscillator modulates each of these signals. However, the LFO modulates the signals so that they are 180 degrees out of phase. All of this technical talk might bore the general reader, but the results will not. The Monument’s Harmonic tremolo is akin to this reporter’s beloved Uni-Vibe, provided that the latter is not in full-on psychedelic mode.

The Harmonic mode provides a rich, throbbing sort of vibrato that is never harsh, even in the sharper square and Monument/randomized square wave settings. Constant swelling, undulation which pleases the Vibe lover, will emerge from the unit. In sine wave, in particular, the high depth and moderate rate settings could easily double or fill in as a vibe effect should the need for such a thing arise. However, the “sharper” modes offered similarly ear-pleasing and curiously distinct tweaks to the classic vibe sound.

The Monument offers built-in Tap Tempo control, but—somewhat strangely, I might add—the pedal also features a quarter-inch jack input for an external tap tempo switch. Perhaps, depending on pedal placement, this alternative tap tempo would come in handy. The Monument also features an input jack for a standard expression pedal. The pedal can be used to adjust the rate of the effect only, it seems. Perhaps in future iterations, the Monument will allow for depth control via the expression pedal.

Also, the pedal features four beat division options: quarter note, triplet, eighth note, and sixteenth note. I have to admit that I found adjustments to the division knob to be tricky. It seemed I had to occasionally adjust the rate knob to reset the div control or to get it to actually produce the beat division that the knob indicated.

Whether readers are fond of the outdoors or in search of the sublime—albeit, in the form of a pedal—they ought to consider Walrus’s Monument. Now, I wonder what would happen if someone set up an amplifier in Monument Valley and played through the Monument pedal.

What We Like: Tremolo whose undulations mimic the rise and fall of the sublime Monument Valley; luscious harmonic tremolo which is reminiscent of a Uni-Vibe.

Concerns: I felt that precise adjustments to the Division knobs were tricky.