Testing gear

Is this pint-sized, painstaking Uni-Vibe clone the be all and end all for vintage modulation aficionados?


The guys at DryBell in Croatia are nothing if not hardcore—their sole product so far, the V-1 Vibe Machine chorus/vibrato, took four years to develop. Like the original Shin-ei/Univox Uni-Vibe, it features four photocells, though the enclosure is smaller. Painstaking research identified common traits of stellar Uni-Vibe specimens and led to a proprietary matching technology that measures about two dozen photocell parameters. And an exclusive cell-sourcing partnership ensures every V-1 meets exacting specs.

The meticulous standards pay off, big time. The V-1 doesn’t just serve up delightfully warm and swirly chorus and subtle-to-disorienting vibrato with the granular dimensionality vintage snobs crave, it comes incredibly close to matching the supernatural magic of an old organ’s mechanical vibrato sound. And talk about extras: An expression-pedal input enables real-time control of speed, internal jumpers let you engage a Leslie-style ramp-up/ramp-down function and/or an output buffer, a bright/original switch caters to old-school and modern tone tastes, and three trim pots let you tweak output volume and the range and symmetry of the effect’s swell. A true home run.

Test gear: Eastwood Sidejack DLX Baritone w/Manlius Goatmaster pickups, db Instrument Amp 4E expression pedal, various pedals, Jaguar HC50 and Goodsell Valpreaux 21 combos

Ratings

Pros:
Gorgeously authentic vintage Uni-Vibe tones. Simple yet ingeniously flexible control set.

Cons:
Ramping feature so cool you’ll wish for a treadle-equipped housing.

Street:
$295 direct

DryBell Vibe Machine
drybell.com

Tones:

Ease of Use:

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