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Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by AXEnGEAR4J, Apr 3, 2018.
Not really relevant to the OP
Have one on order thanks to your video link.
Nothing to do with price. The Shin-Ei Univibe wasn't digital, for starters. Not trying to start an argument. The OP asked about true Univibe Clones.
That's how I interpreted the OP...asking about a true 1:1 clone. If that's the case, I think the Unique Vibe is probably the only one out there. Everything else is modified to some degree.
As I understand it there are basically 4 approaches to reproducing the Univibe sound:
1. Fully digital: how successful it is will depend on the software engineer's ears. There are a lot of these, and they can sound really good. I'd expect, though, that at the edges of performance-say pushed hard with a fuzz, the compromises necessary for a digital pedal might start to show thru.
2. A phaser with a vibe like LFO-this is what I believe Toneczar uses, to create a great sounding vibe/phaser combo. Again, at the edges of performance it's not going to reproduce the exact function of a vibe.
3. Optical vibe with modern circuit-this is what Dave at Foxrox is doing, for example: using modern components and good engineering to reproduce the function of the Univibe without slavishly copying form factor and compromises of the original design. I haven't AB'd an original vs the Aquavibe, so I can't speak to whether he got it perfect. I'm pretty sure the well regarded "Vibe Baby" and the Fulltone's stuff, as well as the coming Shiftee will all fall in this camp. I don't see a compromise in tone, even at the extremes of function, using this approach, and it's why I own an Aquavibe and an old school Deja Vibe.
4. Slavish copy of the original: basically the Unique Vibe and the Vibe Bro. Pricey, due to hard to source parts and custom enclosures etc. To me, this goes a step beyond what's necessary, but YMMV.
Nicely put. Would love to give the Aquavibe a spin at some point. The right 2 stage phaser can serve a similar function with a different flavor and can be almost just as fun as a good vibe.
PS. Shiftee has been out for a little over a year now.
Have you played a Shiftee? Does anyone know if it IS optical? And how does it compare with some of the other small box vibes?
Yea man I've had one since January. It's the real deal. Before I received it, I asked Jim how it compares in construction to the full size Unique Vibe. Here is his response:
Important thing on the SHIFTEE is that I keep the same size light box, use the same bulb and the same photocells as the big vibes . . . all spaced exactly the same. That’s really the heart of the beast. After that, all I did was to take the original Uni-Vibe circuit board layout and started moving components closer together and adjusting positions to save room. If you look at an original Uni-Vibe circuit board, the components are fairly well spread out . . . that board was developed in the mid-1960’s and the size is typical of that era.
I also went from the 1/2-watt resistors in the big vibes to 1/4-watt resistors (smaller). I revamped the power filtering a bit since the DC wall transformers are already providing decently clean DC power to the board, too. In addition to that, I’ve added one extra trim pot inside (that the end user really shouldn’t have to touch) – it’s simply to allow me a bit more tuning capability on these and saves me having to swap resistors as I test these. I’ve pulled resistors from vintage vibes and measured them – some varied by more than 25% from the supposed value. Probably part of the reason why some old vibes sounded good . . . and some were great.
That’s really about it – honestly, the spacing and configuration of this circuit don’t really affect anything – it’s getting ample voltage to the bulb combined with using a well-matched photocell & bulb combination. I use a 24VDC power source with a regulator on the circuit board to give 20VDC to the bulb . . . that’s a common value I read on the old Uni-Vibes. Most aftermarket clones put less power to the bulb . . . the sound good but I always seem to like the sound best when I would apply a bit more voltage to the bulb and LFO.
Let me know what you think once you’ve had a chance to play the vibe for a bit. Shipped out today so you should see it later this week.
Edit: Hopefully Jim doesn't mind me sharing this
My view is simple, I don't care if its analog or digital, I base my view simply on what it sounds like, surely at the end of the day that's all that matters? If you put two boxes behind curtain and one sounded better than the other would you then reject it if you then discovered it was digital? Strymon would be out of business a lot faster if we did that!
The OP wasn't asking about favorite univibes though. All good man.
FWIW . . . you can no longer make an exact copy of the original Uni-Vibe because the CdS photocells found in the originals can no longer be reproduced. They contain cadmium sulfide which is highly toxic and not RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) compliant. So 10 or 15 years ago, pedal makers had to use "inferior" off-the-shelf cells or find materials to develop their own photocells that sounded as close as possible to the CdS cells.
Shin-Ei Vibe Bro 100%. The most liquid and vintage sounding and feeling vibe I've ever owned. It's expensive, big (although nowhere near as big as an original) but totally worth it.
Does anyone have contact information for Jim Klacik for the Unique-Vibe?
I'm looking for a good univibe clone in a rackmount format. I saw a rack version on Jim's Facebook page.....but I don't have Facebook, so I cannot reach out to him.
I just pm’d you.
I haven't tried them side-by-side (unsurprisingly...!) but this one is said to be a very accurate clone of it: