Formula 55 users?

Discussion in 'Pedal Pushers Forum' started by oneforsorrow, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. oneforsorrow

    oneforsorrow Gretschie

    May 15, 2020
    Anyone have any time on the Catalinbread Formula 55? I'm thinking it's the next stop for me. Really like what I'm hearing on the demo's I've watched. Of course, always wonder how it'll translate to a SS amp. I've got their Belle Epoch and I LOVE it.
    GlenP likes this.
  2. michelb

    michelb Gretschie

    Mar 27, 2020
    Don't have any experience with the formula 55 but it's on my list as well.

    Can't go wrong with a tweed drive amp in a box if you're into Blues/Country/Rockabilly and these have a high gain knob, so my guess is they can drive harder then my Mad Professor BTD.
    I'm using a SS amp which I set up clean and have my tweed pedal right at the end of the chain in front of the amp. This way you use it as a proper amp in a box sim.

    oneforsorrow and GlenP like this.
  3. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    I once owned the old 5f6. The first series, I bought it for a really good price and I had to let it go when a guy made me a even better offer.
    To be honest, nothing to die for. I don’t want to say it sounded weak, but fer sure it was a bit ‘dull’. Darker than I expected, dirtier than I expected. Very difficult to set up clean, even with zero gain... you’d need a high amount of volume in the amp to make it sound right. The tone knob wasn’t as effective as in other Catalinbread pedals I’ve had (the CB30, the WIIO and the SFT). If you ask me, I’ll put it on the bottom of the list.
    There’s something to say about Catalinbread pedals though... I think is an old news, but they work a lot better when the amp you played them is ‘related’ to the amp they suppose to emulate. For that reason, maybe the F55 played on a Fender would sound a lot better than in my boutique Italian amp where I played it (that had a very unique sound), as well as my WIIO (my best Catalinbread pedal) sounds amazing on real Hiwatt, and better on plexi-sounding amps instead of those with Fenderish sound.
    My 2 eurocents. :)
  4. sgarnett

    sgarnett Gretschie

    Apr 14, 2020
    I only have the Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret MkIII. I’m using it in “Super Bass” (JTM45) mode. I believe the JTM45 was basically copied from the 59 Bassman, which the Catalinbread Formula 5F6 is based on, so I’m not sure how/if Super Bass mode differs from the Formula 5F6. Super Bass mode sounds great though. I have it set so I can back off the volume a bit to clean it up. I’m running Mystery Brain preamp -> Fluid Drive in the loop -> Mystery Brain echo (set more like reverb, and with modulation on but subtle) -> DLS SB mode (always on) -> Kat 50 “Acoustic” (JC Clean) channel. Between the master volume of the 6120 and various combinations of the Abby switch on the MB, and the Fluid Drive switch, I can get quite a range of tones, including tweedish.

    Soooo, neither of those are the 5E3 circuit of the Formula 55. I’m a little confused by that one. As I understand it, there’s an arguable “flaw” in the 5E3 that makes the two channels interactive, so the volume of one affects the distortion of the other. It’s been a very long time since I looked at the schematic though. In music, and especially with electric guitars, the magic is often in the flaws.

    I’m not sure how the knob setup of the Formula 55 is supposed to correspond to the interactive volume and tone controls (and their impact on distortion and tone) of the 5E3. In the other Catalinbread Foundation pedals, the controls seem to replicate the controls of the amp much more closely. I haven’t tried it (or a real 5E3), but this one kinda confuses me.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
  5. sgarnett

    sgarnett Gretschie

    Apr 14, 2020
    I’ve seen some of the Foundation pedals demoed as Foundation->Belle->Talisman.

    I briefly tried the DLS in the MB loop, so it was driving the echo section (kind of like the demos). I wasn’t crazy about that, but I also had some other pedals in the loop I have since removed, so I need to try that again now that I have the Fluid Drive. In liu of the Talisman, I have just a subtle bit of reverb dialed in on the Kat (plate mode I think, but not positive).
  6. oneforsorrow

    oneforsorrow Gretschie

    May 15, 2020
    I've played around with where I place the Belle Epoch and currently it resides 3rd in line - ARC Effects Klone (clean boost only) - Garagetone Drivetrain (light gain) - Belle Epoch - OCD (HP with min gain) - Volume - Dweller - Flint - Strobostomp HD - Quilter. I had the BE hitting more dirt but found it too much of a sonic imprint for most of my needs. It's a cool effect to have it getting all hard driven for some things but find I get more use out of it when it's only hitting a light bit of dirt from the OCD. I've also pulled half the chain into the FX loop at times when I was using some dirt from the amp but I kept the BE in front then too. Again, it could get a little unruly for most of my needs but it's a cool sound when wanted. Sounds like I'm using the OCD in a similar way to your use of the DLS. Guessing the F55 would likely fall into the same spot for me as the OCD.
  7. Byron

    Byron Synchromatic

    Sep 4, 2009
    I generally find tweed amp sim pedals are a puzzle. I have a Wampler Tweed 57 and a tech 21 Bonde..... both of them provide SO much variation of tone and gain, I get in a spin. Apart from the magic of blindly twiddling knobs until I like it, who knows? Plus there's the added equation of the amp and its settings that sits at the end of the chain. So like a lot of pedals, they gather dust
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