Undersea Tone Emissions
The Vibe Machine V2 from Croatian tone chemist Drybell takes all the fat and chewy holographic undulations from the past, trims out the chaff and propels our vintage vibe fantasies into the future. The beauty of this design is that one can plug in and play, or deep dive into the Marianas Trench-sized depths of custom wobble design. This is achieved with six external trimpots, two front facing dials and a pair of tiny toggles. The left toggle is the classic vibe setting choice of Chorus and Vibrato, while the right toggle switches from Classic, Bright and Custom settings—these basically alter the impedance to suit different guitars and signal paths. There is also an expression input for use with either a treadle or the optional F-1L footswitch. These open up to the pedal’s interactive capabilities and turn the Vibe Machine V2 into an interactive, organic masterclass in tonal luminescence. Let’s make like a lantern fish and light the way to the past, present and future of this classic effect.
Ramping up and Vibing Out
Like most of my favorite vintage effects, a good vibe pedal can be played almost as if it is its own instrument. Even without the external trimpots and expression capabilities, the Vibe Machine churns and burns like waves of lava, lapping at the edges the signal source. While there are many fantastic digital vibe emulators in this modern age, there is a physical satisfaction in analog photocell manipulation that is seldom rivalled. With factory trimpot settings, in the Chorus mode, the two face dials present a plethora of pulsating plumage. The DryBell doesn’t flub out like many boutique analog Vibe pedals and with the switchable custom input controls, one can integrate this little MXR-sized beasty into any guitar-pedal-amp scenario. In the past, it took a real commitment to an organic-sounding vibe tone to warrant the size and temperamental nature of a Uni-Vibe-style pedal, but now in the age of digitally-controlled analog hybrids those issues are finally put to bed.
What We Like
The Drybell Vibe Machine can be as simple or as fine-tuneable as one desires. This wouldn’t mean a thing if it didn’t sound amazing, which it does. I feel that we are in the Autumn years of analog and though us guitar players still wallow in the colorful leaves of yesteryear gear, the times they are a-changing and soon will be crunching under our feet. I predict that vibe pedals like the Drybell V2 will represent the end of an era and the pinnacle of vintage-modern pedal tech. I love the size, simplicity, complexity and extra tweakable parameters available. The external control is mind-expanding and supremely interactive. The option to go authentic with even static sound coloration adds authenticity, while the adjustable gain and impedance options add chameleon like adaptability that no other analog vibe can offer. In short, this pedal offers both polymorphic functionality and immediate simplicity simultaneously. For vibe fans, this is an essential piece. The keychain and trimmer tool are nice extras as well.
It is hard to nail down any faults in this design. I suppose if I had to nit-pick I would suggest some sort of stereo functionality to get the Doppler dimensions going on, but to be honest this is one of those pedals that sounds deep and immersive—even in mono. I would also prefer a larger pedal over side trimmers as I like a quartet of knobs when the circuit can go deeper, but that is just my own preference.