NAMM 2023: Catalinbread writes a “love letter to the flanger” with STS-88 Flanger/Reverb pedal

Catalinbread STS-88
(Image credit: Catalinbread)

NAMM 2023: Catalinbread has gotten in on the NAMM festivities by dropping the STS-88 Flanger/Reverb – a new unit that doubles as a “love letter to the flanger”.

As we imagine is the case in all pedal builder workshops, the Catalinbread research and development department is said to be loaded with a handful of reference pedals, including the likes of the Boss HF-2, EHX Electric Mistress, Effectron ADM256 and MXR Flanger/Doubler.

With radical experimentation comes triumphant discovery, and that’s supposedly what happened in the lead up to the STS-88’s inception: a “late night frenzy of pedal swapping” saw the Catalinbread team envelope a flanger in a “cavernous reverb” , which in turn lead to some intriguing sonic results.

That sound has been bottled in the brand's newest stompbox, whose immensely streamlined control set belies the impressively musical tones it is capable of.

The trial-and-error wasn’t without some hurdles, though, with the specific concoction of flanger and reverb leading to some additional unwanted noise. In an attempt to deter such unwanted side effects from the “pristine” flanger, Catalinbread has loaded the STS-88 with a subtle noise gate to cancel out hiss and LFO clock noise.

In operation, Depth, Rate, Mix and Reverb knobs do all the heavy lifting. While Depth controls the amplitude of the LFO – from “intense flange” to more subtle effects – Rate dictates the rate of the LFO for faster or slower pulses.

Catalinbread STS-88

(Image credit: Catalinbread)

Mix, naturally, adjusts the wet/dry blend, and Reverb is in charge of dialing in the length of the reverb trails. Some internal controls are included, too, such as a buffer switch that flicks between true or buffered bypass and an adjustable gain trimmer.

According to its creator, the STS-88 is an “extremely musical flanger that sounds like an extension of your own instrument” that can “take off” if a little bit of dirt is added into the signal chain before the flanger/reverb unit.

The STS-88 is available now for $210.

Visit Catalinbread to find out more.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.