Denmark regularly tops the list of Happiest Places on Earth. Obviously that’s due to their unusually high number of effects manufacturers per capita. TC Electronic, Emma, Reuss, and T-Rex are a few of the builders that call the nation their home. They have a reputation for building high-quality, no-nonsense effects, and the same is true of Grenå’s East Sound Research, AKA Carl Martin. (The Purple Moon, however, is part of Carl Martin’s Chinese-made Vintage series.)
Nailing the Vibe
Carl Martin’s latest offering is a psychedelic toolkit that combines classic Uni-Vibe tones with blistering silicon fuzz in one bombproof housing. The controls are intuitive and well organized: On the vibe side are knobs for speed 1 and speed 2, with a footswitch to toggle between them and flashing LEDs to indicate their rates. Depth and level controls let you dial in the desired amount of swirl.
As if wired to do so, I grabbed my Strat to test drive the Purple Moon, but then decided to avoid the obvious. With 1960 Les Paul Reissue and Jazzmaster in hand, I plugged into my favorite new amp, a Dusky D20, and did everything in my power not to play “Breathe” first.
Carl Martin has absolutely nailed the Uni-vibe sound, delivering all the blubbery goodness you’d expect. Remember, Uni-Vibes were developed as “portable Leslies,” so it’s great to be able to approximate the big cabinet’s two speeds, alternating between slow, swirly phasiness and full-on, rotating chop. Since there’s no expression pedal input, it might have been nice to include a ramp-speed control, since that “taxi to takeoff” effect is one of the best things about vibe effects of this type. Not providing it here seems like an oversight.
The fuzz is fantastic. It’s crispy, with the correct quantity of sizzle—which is to say, ungodly amounts. It’s important to note, though, that while the vibe can be used without fuzz, the inverse is not true—there’s no fuzz-only option. It’s a shame, because I love this fuzz! But while I can’t help feeling that Carl Martin has limited the pedal’s usefulness by not providing true two-in-one switching, perhaps it’s best to think of the Purple Moon as a Uni-Vibe pedal that tosses in a bonus fuzz, especially since you get both effects for about the same price as many vibe-only pedals.
At any rate, you can’t argue with the tones. There is a lot of vibe control here, and when the fuzz is engaged the paint-peeling lysergia rating on this thing is a solid 10. (Full disclosure: upon conclusion of this review I totally grabbed my Strat and played “Us and Them.”)
Watch the Review Demo: