Vintage Vibe Ventures in Viberator Viscosity
While looking at the specs of this petite, yet feature-laden pedal, one wonders if it is even physically possible to cram all of these tweakable parameters into an MXR-sized enclosure. Well, the Croatian code crackers at Dawner Prince Effects have just unlocked the gates of stereo Uni-Vibe heaven using a clever combination of knobs, trimpots, switches and pure analog ingenuity.
Plugging straight in to the nine-volt powered pedal (which automatically converts the voltage to 15 volts for extra headroom), the first thing to notice is the pulsing yellow LED. This is the true bypass mode and engaging the effect changes the color to blue. This bi-color LED system shows the speed of the throb at all times, which is mighty useful. With all the knobs at noon and the switches set to Chorus and Vintage, we are in tripping out in Electric Ladyland and peaking with every sonic wave swell. This authentic tone transportation is due in no small part to the hand matched photo resistors that reside under the hood. These little internal mojo projectors cast all the light and shade subtleties of the legendary original Uni-Vibe. They can be coaxed into waterfalls of tremolescent propulsion at faster settings, or reigned in for a slow serpentine slither that can poison even the simplest lead line into hallucinogenic high beams of intoxicating sound.
Meet the New Boss of the Throb Mob
While the Viberator pays due tribute to the massive Don of the vibe units, it is armed with the necessary modern attribute arsenal to become the kingpin of compact vibes. The unique shape control can tailor the wave sweep from sinewave bobbing, to offset chopping tremolos and machine gun phaser blasts. Another super-cool feature is the switchable modern setting which engages a FET buffer for added sparkle and definition. This is particularly useful for players with darker humbuckers who want to cut through the undulations with more presence. The buffer also has a dedicated trimpot to fine-tune the frequencies even further. Last, but certainly not least, there are stereo outs for the ultimate in 3D modulation emersion. Missing nothing in this design, the Croatian creators have even included separate trimpots for each output volume to integrate into any live or recording situation.
It wouldn’t be a vibe pedal without an expression input and the connection between organic and mechanic operation is bridged completely with treadle speed operation. What’s more, is the under-the-hood switchable lazy setting, in which the oscillations lag and play catch-up to the heel and toe transitions. This is particularly fun in the vibrato mode for that pitch deviant, lagging lava lamp of Leslie sound.
What we like: Most Uni-Vibe purists have an incurable sickness for the thickness. They can be a right fickle lot and even the finest modern Uni-Vibe variant offerings get picked apart on forums like old meat in a vulture valley. This baffles me to no end, because I can’t imagine that many of us gear hounds have actually played through an original unit for comparison. In any case, this is hands-down the coolest sounding and most versatile vibe pedal I have ever encountered. The stereo mode is simply gorgeous.
Concerns: The only thing I would change about this incredible box is the recession of the trimpots. It would be cool to have mini knobs on the sides for fast finger adjustment of the output volumes and modern buffer brightness. This is just my preference and I understand the appeal of the set-it-and-forget-it approach.