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9 of the Best Medium Enclosure Uni-Vibe Style Pedals

Black Cat PedalsDLS EffectsElectro-HarmonixFoxrox ElectronicsFulltone EffectsJAM PedalsModulationRetroman EffectsSweet SoundUni-Vibe and VibeVoodoo Lab+-
20209BestMediumUniVibes700.jpg

This is my third and final Medium Enclosure overview for this year - following on from Flangers and Rotary Pedals. I surmised that for most modulation type pedals most of the action and preferred candidates as such can be found well within the Compact Enclosure Format - while for the 3 effects categories I’ve featured separately - there is a need to consider a slightly larger form factor as that’s where the main concentration of exemplary contenders lies. That’s not to say there aren’t decent examples in compact enclosures - obviously including the ones I featured in the recent 12 Degrees of Transmogrification - it’s just that there are more of the best examples in the larger format group.

 

Obviously I already have the ThorpyFX Camoflange Flanger and Eventide H9 for Rotary duties - while I’ve yet to hit the trigger on a medium-size Uni-Vibe - where all my listed examples are great and have been considered by me on multiple occasions. I’ve come closest to snapping up the Fulltone Mini Dejá Vibe - and in many ways, and as I’ve indicated on several previous posts - that is probably the handiest format here. While I also have the Foxrox AquaVibe, JAM Pedals RetroVibe, and Retroman UberVibe in the frame too.

 

These are truly all fantastic candidates from the 2-knob Micro Vibe - up to the 11-controls UberVibe. I do though feel that the main competition for my own investment is that middle row - probably with a slightly lean towards the AquaVibe and Dejá Vibe. Interestingly also is that Uni-Vibe’s tend to be somewhat simpler from a parameters perspective than Flangers and Rotary Speakers in particular.

 

As far as I’m aware these 9 are all proper photocell Uni-Vibe types and any one of these will do the job admirably. It really depends on what takes your fancy here and why. I already have the Fulltone Wahfull - which is near enough the same form-factor as the Dejá Vibe - which I guess has to be my frontrunner therefore. I’m very happy of course with my compact JHS Unicorn - but for whatever reason feel compelled to add N+1 more from this selection!

 

Note also that two of these have stereo output - namely the Black Cat Vibe, and Retroman UberVibe.

 

Pedals are listed alphabetically as usual :


Black Cat Stereo Vibe Uni-Vibe Pedal [photocell] - $325

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A rather elegant Uni-Vibe - with relatively minimal controls and the rather unusual stereo output capability. This has 4 simple and straightforward controls - that topology is quite typical really for the majority of Uni-Vibe style pedals :

  • Volume
  • Intensity
  • Speed
  • Chorus / Vibrato Mode Switch

This particular variety is somewhat off the radar - but is endorsed by Mike Perera of Analog.Man, so we know it's decent!


DLS Effects Versa Vibe Univibe [optical] - $229

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I've featured this variety once or twice before. DLS Effects is another maker which is somewhat under-represented, but makes excellent pedals. This is a particularly fully-featured variety of Uni-Vibe - with a couple of unusual controls not typically found on these sorts of pedals - and which help enhance and bring out the Uni-Vibe warble further.

 

The 8 controls are :

  • Depth
  • Rate
  • Dry/Wet Mix
  • Volume
  • Waveform Smooth/Throbbing
  • Bass Throb
  • Modern/Vintage Mode Switch - Modern Bright or Vintage 60's
  • Vibrato/Chorus Mode Switch

I always consider this one with the Retroman UberVibe for some reason - which kind of wins in that head-to-head for me - by virtue in part for its large side-mounted Speed scroll wheel.

 

The Versa Vibe is nonetheless another great sounding and fairly unique functional take on the format.


Electro-Harmonix Good Vibes Modulator [photocell] - £128

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EHX always tend to reserve the bells and whistles for their larger format pedals - meaning that as you move down the form-factor within its range you get significantly less and less controls. This variety though is pretty fair at a median level and with its 5 controls :

  • Volume
  • Intensity
  • Speed
  • Chorus/Vibrato Mode Switch
  • Speed/Intensity Expression Switch

This is for sure a robust and reliable example of the genre - while I somehow feel that some of these others have a little more about them in how they function, and just how richly detailed and nuanced they sound. This is by a long way though the best-cost option as far as that goes, and should satisfy most.


Foxrox AquaVibe Uni-Vibe Pedal [photocell] - $299

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I've been rather recently switches onto the charms of Foxrox - before Josh Scott's overview - and rather stemming from my work on Joe's Pedals. For a while I found the enclosure styling somewhat odd and clunky - can't explain it really - but it didn't overly appeal initially, while I've come around to mostly appreciating this form factor now. Foxrox are typically beautifully engineered and highly nuanced sounding effects - and I will for sure add some to the collection. And this is certainly one of the frontrunners for landing first - as it's near enough level-pegging with the Fulltone Mini Dejá Vibe for my next Uni-Vibe acquisition.

 

The AquaVibe has 3 fairly standard controls - and one rather unusual one in 'Center' :

  • Speed
  • Width
  • Center : Shift Center crossover point of back-and-forth sweep wobble waveform
  • Chorus/Vibrato Mode Switch

I really like this pedal - both in how it sounds and how it functions. It really is neck-and-neck with the Fulltone Mini Dejá Vibe - I might just have to have both! As always it price and availability tends to factor into things too - which means that this is somewhat the underdog in that respect!


Fulltone Mini Dejá Vibe CS-MDV MKII [photocell] - £219

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And so to the frontrunner here for me and the likeliest next acquisition. Mick Taylor of TPS fame obviously loves this version while he rather more favours the Harmonic Tremolo of late. I have and love Fulltone's Wahfull Fixed / Cocked Wah pedal which has a very similar form factor - with a large corner knob for foot manipulation - on this occasion the LFO Speed. This to me is the perfect marriage of form and function - and delivers the most variety from the least number of controls, or 5 in total :

  • Volume
  • Modern/Vintage Mode Switch
  • Vibrato/Chorus Mode Switch
  • Intensity
  • Speed

There's nothing unusual or complex here - everything works intuitively as you would expect and delivers a very satisfying and finely nuanced warbly throb! This will definitely end up in the collection ver soon.


JAM Pedals RetroVibe [photocell] - £229

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JAM Pedals are the masters of analog modulation too - delivering beautifully richly textured tones across a number of different disciplines - including their Waterfall Chorus and imminent Harmonious Monk Harmonic Tremolo. I have all their fuzz pedals to date and a number of others earmarked for imminent acquisition - including of course the new Harmonious Monk.

 

I have long considered the RetroVibe and do really like it, but for whatever reason I have a slightly higher preference for the Dejá Vibe and AquaVibe on this occasion.

 

The RetroVibe has 3 simple External controls :

  • Depth
  • Speed
  • Chorus/Vibrato Mode Switch
  • (and Internal Trimmer for Intensity)

There loads of players that really love this variety, as I do - I may well spring for one eventually, but for now I have other priorities and preferences!


Retroman UberVibe Stereo - Custom [photocell] - $285

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This is quite evidently the most fully featured variety here with no less than 11 surface controls - including that substantial and handy Speed wheel on the right-hand side of the pedal. Including the two on the rear panel, we have a total of 11 controls to finely shape the output of this Uni-Vibe device :

  • Accent Control : Choppy > Smooth
  • JFET Buffer Switch : Toggle Up to Engage
  • Volume 1 : Level for Output Jack 1
  • Volume 2 : Level for Output Jack 2
  • Vibe/Chorus Mode Switch
  • Depth
  • Speed : Large wheel on side
  • Filters x 4 : Different Frequency Band Filters for shaping the output / warble

This is one of the most full-featured Uni-Vibes you will find and really cleverly engineered in all areas. I've pictured the sparkly blue custom variety's as I'm not so keen on the standard flat magenta edition. These are just in very short supply, while actually rather reasonably priced - it's the lack of availability which makes it most unlikely I would ever land one - worth snagging though if you come across one on Reverb.com.


Sweet Sound Mojo Vibe [photocell] - $399

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The Mojo Vibe is another here which is highly respected - but relatively pricey too though and not as fully featured as many of these others - yet still demanding top pricing. It's horizontal orientation also makes it rather more difficult to accommodate - especially for my rig. So its shape and price in many ways rule it out for me - even though this is a very decent unit.

 

It has 4 simple surface controls :

  • Volume
  • Chorus/Vibrato Mode Switch
  • Intensity
  • Speed
  • (Internal Switchable FET Buffer / dip-switches)

I certainly think this is a great sounding device, but for the reasons I mention it's unlikely to ever feature in my rig. There's lots of players though that really revere these - so if money is no object, this one may well be worth the gamble for you. While I firmly believe there are equivalent or better varieties here for a lot less outlay.


Voodoo Lab Micro Vibe [photocell] - £155

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And so to the simplest in this selection - Voodoo Lab's celebrated 2-knob Micro Vibe - which really does get the most out of those 2 controls :

  • Intensity
  • Speed

But cannot compete with the other for versatility and variety. There are still lots of players who love its output and simplicity - and this may well be the perfect Uni-Vibe for your needs, being how recently priced it is - definitely a decent proposition.


Final Thoughts

I pretty much knew what my thinking was when I started this exercise and this has just confirmed what I already though I knew... In that the AquaVibe and Dejá Vibe are the two most suitable candidates for me.

 

The RetroVibe and UberVibe are still in the frame - but those would be rather more opportunistic acquisitions. Where my thinking is currently I will probably spring for the Dejá Vibe first and follow up with the AquaVibe some time later.

 

What I really want is a slightly more syrupy / warble JHS Unicorn with a few more controls - but with tam-tempo onboard etc. I find it strange that not one of these mid-size boxes as considered a second tap-tempo footswitch - that will surely materialise some day - probably long after I've acquire 2 or 3 of these!

 

Do you have any favourites here, or is it another variety I possibly overlooked?

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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