Volume pedals might not be considered as important pieces of kit, but they are by some guitarists. The Jim Dunlop Volume X Mini Pedal DVP4 would fall into that category.
Are they really an “effect”?
Some might argue not. If you call a volume pedal an effect, then you can say the volume control on the guitar is as well. But then there is an argument to say it is. Does it have an “effect” on the guitar’s sound? Yes, it does. It not only raises the volume, but it also affects the sound.
Regardless of the definition, a volume pedal can become an essential part of the signal chain of a musician. And we’re going to let you know all about one very good example in our in-depth Jim Dunlop Volume X Mini Pedal DVP4 Review.
Sometimes they are just ignored…
Not being a particularly glamorous addition, they are often ignored. They are understated and sometimes discounted for other pedals that have a more dramatic effect on what is happening.
That said, having one of the best volume pedals on your pedalboard can make a big difference to the rest of your effects. It can certainly help you to operate them to their maximum. Control over dynamics is important. A volume pedal can help you achieve that.
The Jim Dunlop Volume X Mini Pedal DVP4 is one such pedal. But before we look at it, who is Jim Dunlop?
Jim Dunlop Manufacturing
Founded in 1965, Jim Dunlop is an American manufacturer of a wide variety of guitar and music-related products. They cover a wide spectrum in terms of their product range. This not only includes guitar effects pedals but just about everything. Even guitar picks. You might call them a one-stop company for all your basic guitar extras.
They own the rights to MXR, another manufacture of guitar effects pedals, and also produce their own. The Volume X Mini Pedal DVP4 is just one.
So, let’s take a look and see if this is one of the best guitar effects pedals or not?
Jim Dunlop Volume X Mini Pedal DVP4 – Overview
The concept of this pedal is not a new Dunlop creation. It is actually a scaled-down version of its big brother, the DVP3. Although it might be smaller and more compact than the DVP3, it still carries all its functions. Just half the size. No bad thing for an already cramped pedalboard.
It gives you total control over the output of your effects and your instrument. Furthermore, it is well-built and sturdy. And the rocking mechanism is excellent, making it very reliable. It can be used as an expression pedal or with a tuner. And if using it as an expression pedal, you can adjust the minimum control values using a built-in pot.
Let’s take a closer look and find out what one of the best mini pedals is all about…
We have mentioned its compact size, but exactly how big is it? It measures just 6 by 3.5 by 3.5 inches and only weighs 1.3 pounds. Apart from its small size, another reason it is so light is its chassis. This is made from lightweight aluminum.
It is given a black casing and has a non-slip tread, also in black. Being that the pedal, and therefore the rocking action is restricted, care needs to be taken when placing your foot. Furthermore, the build quality of chassis and tread is durable and very reliable, and ready to go on the road.
The rocking action…
As with the DVP3, the rocking mechanism has a smooth and consistent motion. It uses a low-friction band drive, which is a Dunlop patent. You can also adjust the tension of the rocking action. This allows you to set it up for your own comfort and for how you actually use it.
As we said earlier, you can also hook up an expression pedal or a tuner. That is achieved using the built-in Aux output, which is in the center of one of three ¼ in jack sockets on the chassis.
Who is this best suited for?
It will operate with guitar and keyboards or even bass guitar. But the real asset is its size. This little guy is best suited for someone whose pedalboard is looking a little overcrowded. You might need a volume pedal but couldn’t fit the full-size options. This compact pedal gives you more space options.
As you might expect from a pedal that doesn’t rely on the use of tones, the controls are very basic. It is a mono pedal with the three jack sockets we mentioned. There is a single input and a single output. Plus, the aux output for a tuner or it can be connected to another pedal and used as an expression pedal. The settings for the aux control are via a switch inside the pedal.
One extra control facility you have is to reverse the direction of the pedal action. If you want to reverse the toe-down or heel-down action, so it operates the other way round, you can. That is achieved via another internal switch. A useful addition for some people.
We have to say that it performs quite well. The rocking mechanism is smooth and very consistent, and because it is adjustable, that adds to the ease of how the pedal plays. But ultimately, its principal purpose is the control of effects parameters and the overall volume levels. In that capacity, it performs very well.
As an expression pedal…
You can identify the lower level of the parameter that may be controlled with the pedal. That is achieved with an internal pot. However, we ought to add there is no bypass facility with this pedal.
For what some might see as a luxury, it is not a cheap option. It is a well-made pedal but quite expensive. For a pedal that might not be used that much, some might go for a cheaper alternative.
Like we said, these pedals aren’t usually cheap, the good ones anyway. You will need to consider how often you will use it. It could be an expensive addition to your board if it is hardly going to be used.
There is also the element of learning how to use it. There is a subtlety to the rocking motion that must be acquired to make it sound right. It isn’t just a case of pushing your foot back and forth.
Is There More?
Well, yes, actually, there is. What about those swells? Both chords and individual notes. Used in the right way, you get a violin effect, or ‘violining’ as we used to call it. The ability to manipulate swell makes this one of the best expression pedals on the market.
Need to alter the dynamics of your sound?
Then a food pedal is the best way. You don’t even have to interrupt anything. Just a slight increase or decrease. Once you are used to it, much easier to control volume levels on your guitar with your foot rather than with your hand, especially when you are playing.
The introduction of subtle increases can also be a great advantage, especially if the mood of the song needs it. But, with the DVP4, you will have to get used to the smaller size. Planting your foot to operate it might take some getting used to. Especially if you don’t want to stomp other effects pedals into life or have big feet!
Jim Dunlop Volume X Mini Pedal DVP4 Review – Pros and Cons
- Strong but lightweight aluminum chassis.
- Compact size saving space on your pedalboard.
- Non-slip tread.
- A smooth and consistent rocking action.
- Connections for an expression pedal or tuner.
- An adjustable pedal tension.
- Adjustment to reverse the heel and toe action.
- No true bypass.
- Quite expensive.
Looking for Something Else?
The world of effects pedals is quite expansive. There are pedals for every effect and sound. So, check out our in-depth Dunlop EP103 Echoplex Delay Review, our MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay Pedal Review, our Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork Review, and our MXR M234 Analog Chorus Pedal Review for more great pedals you can buy in 2021.
You may also want to look at our reviews of the Best Digital Delay Pedals, the Best EQ Pedals, the Best Phaser Pedals, the Best Tremolo Pedals, the Best Boost Pedal, and the Best Transparent Overdrive Pedals currently on the market.
Jim Dunlop Volume X Mini Pedal DVP4 Review – Final Thoughts
So ask yourself the question, “What would you use it for?” As a volume pedal, of course, or maybe to control the parameter of another pedal with an expression pedal input. And as we have said, hands-free control over your dynamics anywhere in your signal chain. Is it an essential guitar pedal? That is debatable. Does it benefit players with lengthy effects chains? Absolutely.
We think it is a good pedal that is road ready and performs well. We are just concerned that the price might be a little high for some people.
Until next, may your music always make you smile.