Little review of the Catalinbread Formula 55

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by PelhamSG, Sep 5, 2018.

  1. PelhamSG

    PelhamSG Tele-Meister

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    Good afternoon everyone,

    Its been about a week or two since I got the Catalinbread Formula 55 pedal, so I figure I could write a few words on it. It is a Fender Tweed styled OD pedal. Its not completely taking over the amps character, think of it as adding a tweed flavor to your sound. It really does nail the sound and characteristics of a Fender Tweed amp. I believe they based the pedal on a Tweed Deluxe.

    On the green channel you get that chime that fender is known for. Roll up the volume and it gets FAT, but the higher notes still retain their clarity. Just strum harder and it breaks up. Play softer and it sounds almost clean. I really don't use the red channel that much, but its fun to play around with. its just a higher gain channel.

    Build quality is great, feels solid. It is advertised as "hand built" and I can definitely tell. Inside you'll find the initials of one of the employees (not sure if its a quality check off or who assembled it).

    Overall, its a great pedal! Gives that classic tweed tone, and excellent quality. It was $239 through Sweetwater. Also worth mentioning that Catalinbread makes more of these "flavored" OD pedals. They have a Marshall one, a Jimmy Page style, I believe a Hiwatt styled OD and lots more like that. Im eyeballing their Echorec delay pedal. Based on the Binson Echorec from the 60s.


    This was just a quick review, if you have questions or something I didn't go over, please feel free to ask.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. K1121

    K1121 TDPRI Member

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    Well-written review! I've always wondered how one of these would sound run into a distinctively non-Fender amp. I use a Marshall DSL and could use some Fender crunch .
     
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  3. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Congrats. I have the CB 5F6 and the FN5. Apparently, the 55 combines the two. I love both of mine, but there seems to be a gap between the two. Do you sense a gap between the green and the red? Meaning, can you go to high gain on one and continue on with low gain on the other seamlessly?
     
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  4. PelhamSG

    PelhamSG Tele-Meister

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    Thanks! Thats an interesting idea, if you get it let me know how it behaves with the Marshall. I have a Blackstar hT Club 40 MkII, very versatile, but I would say it leans towards the Marshall side of the spectrum. But the pedal really does give it that fender flavor.

    Im really thinking about getting Catalinbread's Marshall foundation OD pedal (Dirty Little Secret). Would be cool to have both options, plus I think a Marshall style OD will really make a Marshall sounding amp shine.
     
  5. PelhamSG

    PelhamSG Tele-Meister

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    Hey, if I'm understanding you correctly (if im not, please clarify), yes the switch from green to red is pretty fluid. Like I can have the volume at 10 on the green channel, then switch to red and turn the volume to 1-2 and it'll be as if the green was just turned up a bit. The red channel gets beefy really quickly though. The green channel gets pretty beefy in the low end at around 6-7
     
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  6. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Yum. When I go from the highest gain on the 5F6 to the lowest gain on the FN5, there is a significant jump, so the 55 does seem to smooth that transition. I love my 5F6 sooo much, I'm hesitant to even try the 55, but that gap is in my head, so maybe someday. Thanks.
     
  7. adjason

    adjason Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I've been looking at these too-I've got the lovepedal tweed twin so it might be redundant. I find the lovepedal has to be loud to sound good-is the same true for the 55? thanks
     
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  8. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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  9. PelhamSG

    PelhamSG Tele-Meister

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    In that case, yes it is very fluid. Green channel with volume on 9-10 is almost the same as the red on maybe 2-3. It gets hairy fast haha. But you can clean up the red channel, so maybe there is a little gap, but still it is very fluid between the channels.
     
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  10. PelhamSG

    PelhamSG Tele-Meister

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    Nah the 55 is great at low volumes. I only play at bedroom levels.
     
  11. PelhamSG

    PelhamSG Tele-Meister

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  12. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don’t know, never trie d it.

    I like the 55 a lot, but I often find it’s too compressed. Using it with a trem pedal, for example, is odd. I don’t have. a tweed deluxe to compare it to, so it might be it’s just emulating what the amp does, although to me it feel like the compression comes on too strong at lower gain levels. I generally am aiming for a relatively low gain cleanish sound. It seems to mute the dynamics a little too much
     
  13. Zeonoid

    Zeonoid Tele-Holic

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    Oh man i bought all my pedals for 239$ and shure there is a tweed flavor somewhere there. Its around 20 pieces now.
     
  14. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    What's different about them as compared to the Tech21 Character series?
     
  15. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    Does Tech 21 make a specifically "tweed" character pedal?

    I have a california blond, and I can get kind of tweedish with it. but the 55 is much closer to the sound I was looking for right away. it has a much more pronounced midrange, and the controls interact in a way that's more like the original amp it emulates.

    Note: Leo fender was always trying to scoop out the midrange. If you compare a tweed deluxe to a blackface deluxe you can see that among many other things the tone stack is very different, and the deluxe is always scooped in the mids
     
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  16. PelhamSG

    PelhamSG Tele-Meister

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    UPDATE. In a surprising turn of events, I returned the Catalinbread. NOT because its a bad pedal, just decided the tone wasn't my thing. Still a great pedal, and I mean everything I said. Now im going for a "transparent" OD style pedal. Just ordered the Paramount pedal by Emerson Custom Guitars. Will make a review post when I get it
     
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