A wildly varied modulation machine delivers familiar to far-out tone colors at a rock-bottom price.
Recorded using a Gibson SG, Fender Stratocaster and Orange TH-30. Miked with a Shure SM-57 and Apogee Duet into Logic.
Clip 1: Gibson SG with Auto Wah, Ring Mod, and Octave effects
Clip 2: Stratocaster with Flange and Chorus
Very inexpensive unit with a huge selection of effects. Tap tempo for both channels.
Dialing in some tones on the fly can be complex. Some discernable digital artifacts.
Joyo Vision Dual-Modulation
Ease of Use:
Joyo Audio are known for their inexpensive effects, and their product catalog is overflowing with affordable alternatives to classic and newfangled stompboxes. Impressively, many of these offerings are fairly comprehensive multi-effects. The new Vision is one of them, and it’s a treasure trove of tremolo, chorus, flange, and phase, and more radical modulation machines.
The Vision’s most prominent feature is a dual-footswitch design that enables parallel or in-series use of any two effects. But the meat of the matter is the 18 effects themselves, which can be used in isolation or in tandem. Many of these are variations on a theme: There are standard chorus, tri chorus, and “small” choruses, for instance, as well as multiple phasers and flangers. But there are also ring modulators, vibrato, and a few tremoloes in the mix. The effects are divided into two groups called “Mode A” and “Mode B.” Each effect group has a 9-point rotary switch, dedicated depth/mix knobs, as well as separate speed/rate and control parameters. Each effect also has a “control” knob that changes function depending on the effect. The center-mounted toggle enables you to switch between series or parallel output, allowing you to cascade Mode A into Mode B, or hear the two modes combined at the output. And as you might have imagined by now, there’s a lot of ways to modify the basic tones from any one of Vision’s effects.
Both footswitches can function as a tap tempo switch for their respective modes, which you activate by holding down the switch and then tapping the desired tempo. On the crown, there are stereo inputs and outputs. Cool blue ambient lighting can be turned on, off, or set to synch with the modulations with a switch located on the backplate. The unit can only be powered with a 9V barrel adaptor, and there is no battery option.
Blurring the Lines
Most of the standard effects housed in the Vision do a great job covering the basics. A quick run through the chorus settings, for instance, made it easy to find a very good approximation of the opening/verse warble in Nirvana’s “Come As You Are.” In this setting, the control knob adjusted the top-end flutter and shimmer in the chorus. And, in fact, the control function works in similar fashion for many of the effects—adding presence and resonance to modulations to highlight them in a mix. Intensity can vary, however. On the auto wah, for example, adjustments to the control knob determine whether you get more of an “ooh” or “ahh” effect. On the low-bit effect, control seemed to alter the output very little.
Less orthodox effects like the low-bit setting produce synthetic delights that sound a bit like a harpsichord patch on an old Casio synth and can be mangled into 8-bit Nintendo glitchiness with alterations to rate and depth and guitar tone. Route the low-bit effect into the ring modulator and you get eerie, low-fi, and paranoid textures fit for a Twilight Zone score. You can dial in these compound effects settings to a point where guitar tone is all but indiscernible—especially with the depth/mix controls maxed out. Even at these settings, though, there’s still room to dial in more clarity or chaos with the series/parallel option.
The Vision delivers an impressive range of modulation tools and voices ranging from familiar to far-out. The many tone tailoring options and tap tempo options make the unit even more impressive for the price, which, arguably, would be a deal with half of these features. Some players will probably long for the ability to create presets, given how many possible textures are on tap. But, at $90, it’s hard to imagine a way to get more modulation for the buck.