If you want to find the best Uni-Vibe pedal, it is a good idea to listen to people who use them, and how they use them. One of the most notable of course is a certain Mr. Hendrix. But take a listen to ‘Bridge of Sighs’ by Robin Trower, who uses it expertly.
It was designed by a Japanese audio engineer in the 1960s. He wanted to make an attempt to put that wonderful swirling Leslie sound into a pedal. It didn’t really work, but it did have a sound of its own that was unique. Put a guitar through his pedal, and you had something very special indeed.
After Univox took the marketing rights in 1968, it became popular amongst the growing number of ‘psychedelic bands’ of the time; Pink Floyd was one. The Uni-Vibe is often mistaken for a chorus or a phaser. This is because they are all effects that modulate the signal in a similar way. The difference is that the Uni-Vibe can produce more extreme sounds, especially when it is cranked up.
But you had to be careful not to go too far and lose the essence of the feel of the sound. Over to you, Jimi and Robin. It isn’t the most common of pedals on the boards of guitar players. Nevertheless, it is a very effective sound.
So, let’s take a look at the Best Uni-Vibe Pedals currently available and find the perfect one for you…
Top 8 Best Uni-Vibe Pedal For Your Budget 2021 Reviews
1 TC Electronic Viscous Vibe Pedal
TC Electronic is a Danish company established in the mid-70s. They specialize in making legendary rack and effects pedals and are widely known and respected. This is a compact pedal at 5 inches by 3 by 3.31 inches and so fits comfortably on your pedalboard. With it, they have tried to recreate the original analog Japanese Uni-vibe pedal.
It has a metal casing with a large off/on button and simple to operate controls. Three knobs for intensity, volume, and speed of effect dominate the top panel. There is also a toggle switch to interchange between chorus, vibrato, and Toneprint. The latter is a TC Electronic specialty.
The box is complete by the stereo in and out jack sockets. The somewhat over-sized speed control knob is interesting. The original UNi-Vibe came with an expression pedal. There is no pedal with this effect. But the size of the knob allows you to use a certain amount of control with your foot. It might not be ideal, but it does give you an element of control.
We mentioned earlier TC Electric’s specialty, Toneprint. This is one of the big benefits of this pedal and what makes it a possible contender for Best Uni-Vibe Pedal. Using the app, you can exercise complete control over the sound. You simply dial in the settings you want and then save them to the pedal.
There are very few pedals on the market that offer you that level of control. Inside Toneprint is a level of control that could never be assigned to a pedal of this size. Toneprint allows extra control of feedback, the mix, attack, boost, and drive as well as hi-cut frequency control.
If you are a player who likes to have total control over their sound, then this pedal could be for you. It is set at an affordable price point and is exceptional value for money.
- A sold build with easy to use pedal controls and effects.
- The use of Toneprint for fine-tuning the sound.
- Off/on button can be a little vulnerable.
2 Dunlop M68 Uni-Vibe Chorus/Vibrato
The Dunlop MXR M68 is one of the most popular Uni-vibe pedals. It is a compact pedal and measures just 5.5 inches by 2.5 by 4.5 inches. The all-metal construction makes it a tough little unit. MXR pedals by Jim Dunlop are popular because they are built well and deliver a good sound. This Uni-vibe pedal is no exception.
It has a simple set of three controls, Level, Speed, and Depth. There are mono input and output sockets and a ‘Vibe; button. It is true bypass. The speed and depth controls are self-explanatory, but the Level is purely output volume. By setting it a lower position, it will give you those ‘Floyd-type’ swirling effects. Crank it up, and Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock ’69 appears.
You can alternate between chorus and vibrato settings. Unfortunately, you cannot use both at the same time, it’s one or the other. When it is in the off mode, you just get chorus. When you hit the button, it goes into ‘Vibe’ mode, which gives you a full wet signal.
Having such a solid build and a simple operation, it is ideal for stage work and will deliver that typical Uni-Vibe sound. If we are to find any fault, it is with the way the LEDs are designed. There is a red LED light that stays on all the time. This gives the impression you are in Vibe mode when you aren’t. The white LED is also on all the time, which can also be off-putting.
It is not a cheap pedal, so maybe those issues are not so good, but you can’t argue with the sound.
- Delivers a very good sound and has easy controls.
- Solid, compact build.
- The LED lights can be a bit confusing.
3 JHS Unicorn V2 Analog Univibe
JHS Pedals are a fairly new member of the ‘guitar effects manufacturers club. Formed in 2007, they have quickly built a reputation for good quality effects pedals. The Unicorn V2 is their Uni-Vibe offering.
It is a well-built pedal with solid metal casing and some road-ready push buttons. The controls are clearly labeled and easy to use to create some delicious sounds. Four dials handle the sound with Volume, Speed, ratio, and depth. There is also a toggle switch for moving between wet and dry sounds.
It is an analog pedal with a photocell-based Vibe with tap tempo. It also has the facility for an external tap tempo through an expression pedal. This is not supplied. The tap tempo and the built-in 4-speed ratios allow you to dial in the exact sound you want.
The speed control supplies ¼ and ⅛ note. Also triplets and a dotted ⅛ note. It is indented to let you dial in the exact speed. Up to 9dB of boost can be added using the Volume control. The rate of the effect is controlled with the speed control. You can, therefore, build a slow swirl or a faster shimmering sound with more attack.
This pedal will give you those vintage analog sounds that cannot be produced by standard digital pedals. The sound is thick and can swirl around and then be adjusted to exactly what you want.
It is not what you might call a cheap pedal, but it does produce a very authentic sound. Possibly not exactly what Hendrix and Trower used but pretty close if it is set up properly.
- Well built with easy to use controls.
- Good analog sounds and tone options.
- The price might put some people off.
4 JAM Pedals RetroVibe Univibe v2
Sometimes just one word will do, and this is one of those occasions. Wow! Maybe the designer had a little bit too much of ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’. Something must have stirred the late 60s in them. There are three staggering things about this pedal.
We don’t need to say anymore, just get out the bell-bottoms and flowered shirt. Second the performance, the sound of the pedal, but more on this later. Third the price. Take a seat before you look. If Jam wanted to get your attention in any of those three ways, they have done that. But let’s go back to the important part…
They have made every effort to stick as close to the original specifications as possible. The result is a pedal with a very vintage sound, which is going to appeal to those that appreciate it. It is not going to appeal to everyone, of course. But for those that do, this might be the Best Uni-Vibe Pedal they could buy.
The use of original transistors and resistors has helped deliver the sound, but they have gone a stage further. The intensity of the pedal has been boosted by the inclusion of an internal trimmer. This allows further manipulation if the sound whilst maintaining its authentic roots. The result is a sweeping, whooshing sound that is reminiscent of the period it represents.
The controls are easy to use. Just Depth and Speed and a toggle switch to take you between chorus and vibrato. There is a built-in input to attach an expression pedal for even more control and sound options
It is more expensive than most but delivers that little bit extra.
- Well made, a tough unit.
- Vintage sounds with extra features.
- The price point will scare some away.
5 Voodoo Lab Micro Vibe Guitar Effect Pedal
Voodoo Labs is an American effects pedal manufacturer established in 1986. They don’t have the largest range of products, but what they do produce is well-made and popular.
The Micro Vibe is their recreation of the Uni-Vibe. They have tried to stay as close to the original design and thus producing an authentic sound. It has a sturdy die-cast aluminum box with a robust foot pedal. It is a little larger than some pedals at 7 inches by 6 by 3 inches, so it will need some space on your pedalboard.
It’s a pure analog pedal that incorporates the same design of oscillator, photocells, and incandescent lamps as the originals. It also has, of course, a few modern components. It has true bypass and operates from a 9v battery.
Whilst it may not be thought of as the Best Uni-Vibe Pedal on the market, it does produce a rich, warm swirl that is reminiscent of that Hendrix, Trower, Gilmour sound. It is easy to control with dial controls for speed and intensity and its footswitch. There are input and output jack sockets.
The sound is good, but if there is one issue – it does increase the tone of the bottom end a little. Price point place it slightly more expensive than some.
- Good build quality.
- Delivers warm, rich sounds, and easy to control.
- Larger in size than most.
6 Fulltone Custom Shop MDV3 Mini DejaVibe 3 Vibe/Chorus Pedal
Pedalboards seem to get fuller by the day with the endless effects pedals available. Unfortunately, this one is not going to help the situation. At 10.8 inches by 5.5 by 3.4 inches, it certainly takes up some space. That is a similar size to a wah pedal.
It has a metal casing finished in blue with a heel to toe pedal. The pedal has a non-slip rubber covering. It acts as an off/on facility. It looks like it might also act as a volume control, but this is not the case. The pedal will just the level of modulation. One the side of the unit are volume and intensity controls with a toggle switch for choosing between chorus and vibrato. There is a further toggle for a vintage or modern sound.
There are input and output jack sockets, one on each side. It comes with an 18v power supply, and there is no option for battery power.
This is an expensive pedal, and though it does produce a decent sound, you get the feeling it is poorly made. Unfortunately, to go with that, it has an even worse design. The location of the switch with the foot pedal makes it all but unusable. The positioning of the jack sockets leaves a bit to be desired as well. The output jack is so close to the volume control it makes a right-angled jack unusable.
We would have to say it will not win any prizes for design or build quality and is far too expensive for what it is.
- The sounds it produces are quite nice.
- Rather large and clumsy and very expensive.
- Feels like a lower quality build, and the design could be better.
7 NUX Monterey Vibe Guitar Effects Pedal
There are times when your initial thoughts are proven to be wrong. Sometimes we look at the price of a product and make initial judgments that are not right at all. If you take effects pedals as an example. We might assume that because it is expensive, it must be good.
If it is cheap, it cannot be good. This pedal is a good example. It is set at what might be called a budget price, but its performance goes way higher than its price tag.
The Nux is a simply made unit with easy controls. Just speed, intensity, and volume, an LED that changes color with use and a footswitch are all you get. It’s all you need. It is a digital pedal, but it creates a great sound. It isn’t a mirror image of what arrived in the 60s, but it has chorus and vibrato. These are the two main sounds.
Using the chorus effect gives you a phaser-like sound that imitates a Leslie cabinet. By clicking the button again, you go to vibrato, where the pitch is constantly modulating. This is enough to allow you the freedom to recreate some of those sounds that have gone before, but digitally.
We have to say we were surprised. It is a basic pedal that gives you basic options for sound shaping. But these options are easy to use and produce a great sound. If you were looking purely for the Best Uni-Vibe Pedal allowing for the cost, it’s hard to beat. At just 2 inches by 3.7 by 2.08 inches, it is neat and compact and won’t take up too much room.
A great little pedal at a great price point.
- Easy to use and an excellent price point.
- Has some great sounds.
- At this price absolutely nothing.
8 Dunlop JD4S Rotovibe
Very much an ‘old-school’ looking pedal, the JD4S from Dunlop combines chorus and vibrato effects to give it that Uni-Vibe feel. It is another pedal where size is going to be a potential problem.
It looks quite well-built with an all-metal construction that is built to take some usage. The screws holding the pedal together though, are rather weak and prone to break.
This is an analog pedal, and there are no MIDI connections. Neither can it be connected to a computer. Controls are very basic indeed. Just one control that is unlabelled. It protrudes a long way out from the body of the pedal. As far as we can see, that puts it at some risk to damage.
The sounds are quite good, though not significantly better than pedals at a far lower price. The modulation on the chorus is quite weak, which is an important part of the Uni-Vibe sound. After choosing between chorus and vibrato, rocking the pedal back and forth will vary the intensity of the effect.
Looking at the price point and taking the basics into consideration, we are disappointed. Jim Dunlop produces better pedals than this one. It offers nothing that can be found in other pedals for much less cost. In fact, given its size and lack of controls, it is not going to be one of the best pedals.
- A decent sounding vibrato effect.
- Expensive and offers very little that cannot be found cheaper elsewhere.
Best Uni-Vibe Pedal Buyer’s Guide
Rebuilding The Bridge of Sighs
People talk about the Hendrix performance at Woodstock in ’69. And yes, it was a classic performance but remembered more for its rebellion than anything. It was Robin’s use of the Uni-Vibe on his album that was surely the sound that everyone is chasing.
Swirling and reaching out, almost crying at you, it created a new genre of pedal. When it was invented in Japan it was supposed to create that delicious rotation of sound. It didn’t quite work, but in some ways, we ended up with something better. Best to leave the Leslie cabinet for the Hammond organs, the Ultra-Vibe is just for the guitar.
What Is The Ultra-Vibe Sound?
It is not easy to give it an exact description. The original sound was supposed to be chorus and vibrato. But when used with a guitar, it became more chorus and phaser. That is the sound that manufacturers tried to create, and even emulate at the time. That is what they are trying to recreate today.
As usual, some go way too far with their add-ons, and it ceases to be what it is supposed to be. The sound is a heavy chorus and phase. Vibrato is an extra that will give you an alternative. If the chorus on the pedal is weak, then it will not create what you are looking for.
Controlling It Is Very Important
This sound can get out of control if it is not handled properly, which is another issue. If you go too far with it and apply too much modulation, it loses its feel. It is not an attack pedal, as some seem to think. It is almost gentle in the swathes it cuts with the guitar, You could call it ethereal. That is why Robin was such a master of its tone. He felt it.
You need good modulation, you need depth and intensity, but you must not overdo them. There are a few good examples out there of pedals that come close to creating it. Others have taken the basics and added some extras. It is for you to decide the sound you are looking for.
More Pedals For Your Board
Are you looking for some other great pedals to go with your shiny new uni-vibe? If so, check out reviews of the Best Analog Delay Pedals, the Best Phaser Pedals, the Best EQ Pedals, the Best Tremolo Pedals, and the Best Boost Pedal currently available.
So, What’s The Best Uni-Vibe Pedal?
We might surprise some people with our choice. Finding the Best Uni-Vibe Pedal is not about the manufacturer’s name or how much it costs. It is about sound. That sound.
Our choice finds it, and even though it is not an analog pedal, it gets close to what we want. And even better, it gets the sound at a fraction of the price of some options. Our choice is, therefore, the…
A super pedal that fits on the pedalboard and gets THAT sound.