The Soft Focus patch on the Yamaha FX500 was widely used in the ‘90s by early shoegaze bands, most notably Slowdive on Souvlaki. With its roots in that patch, the Catalinbread Soft Focus is intended to be an instant shoegaze button, while addressing the most glaring issues of the original unit: no mix control, a sub-par preamp, and a ghastly tone-sucking bypass signal. At its heart, the Soft Focus is a heavily modified plate reverb with adjustable time, which is subsequently split into three paths. One path contains a multi-voiced chorus modulator, another features a well-appointed octave-up mixed in with the reverb, and the third path leaves the reverb untouched. The Mod knob controls the rate of the chorus on path one, and the Symphony knob controls the level of the octave on path two. All controls are "coupled" to the tone of the reverb to give users an expansive playing field of sounds to discover and fine tune. Our Soft Focus is not an exact recreation but was exhaustively
compared with our own FX500; the difference is that a fairly generic fixed-time digital delay is present on the Soft Focus patch. We found that leaving this feature intact ate into the circuit’s memory just a little too much for such little payoff, so we leave that addition to you and your favorite delay.
SYMPH(SYMPHONY): This knob mixes in a slight octave effect on the wet reverb signal. While subtle, this shifts the mood and character quite a bit. This is also tied to some frequencies in the reverb for more harmonic content.
MIX: This a wet/dry blend. Turn all the up for 100% wet and all the way down for 100% dry.
MOD: This parameter controls the rate of the multi-voiced chorus and changes some of the frequencies in the reverb oscillation.
VERB: This controls the decay time for the reverb.
VOL: Adds a bit of gain to the dry signal pre effect; can be used when bypassed in buffer/trails mode as a clean boost.
* For full quintessential shoegaze sounds, max all the knobs and adjust the mix to taste. However, every knob is musically interactive with one another for a truly versatile palette usable in a wide variety of styles.