The Uni-Vibe is arguably the most iconic modulation pedal of all. Its sound is still much sought after by players, long after its 1960s debut and subsequent discontinuation, leading to many pedal manufacturers creating their own take on the design. The latest is ThorpyFX, who tells us that its aim with the new ER-2 has been to create its dream Uni-Vibe.
Following the same solid and compact form factor of previous Thorpy pedals, the ER-2 has an easy to operate four-knob user interface. Besides the standard bypass footswitch, there’s added flexibility via a second (Vib/Cho) that changes between Uni-Vibe Chorus and Vibrato (wet signal only) modes.
A Volume knob sets the output level, running from zero with unity gain close to midday on the dial, so there’s ample available to give a useful boost, rather than merely setting a level that stops the sound disappearing.
Kicked in, the overall sound actually gets a useful enhancement with a sweet top-end that offers plenty of clarity to aid note articulation. While Intensity and Speed knobs are as you’d expect, Thorpy adds a twist with an Offset knob for further tweaking.
The key to true Uni-Vibe sound is the use of optical circuitry (the original utilised four light-dependent resistors reacting to a lightbulb’s changes in brightness) and Thorpy’s adjunct to that methodology adjusts how the internal lamp ramps up, basically controlling the transitions between the light and dark phases.
Somewhat like the sort of waveform adjustment you might find on a tremolo pedal, and interactive with the Intensity knob, it affects the symmetry of the sound, going from a really rounded pulse at minimum to more of a lopsided chop, allowing for loads of subtle variations on that phasey swirl, pulse and throb that the Uni-Vibe is famous for.
That familiar sound is all here in spades with both Chorus and Vibrato modes sounding very musical right across the wide speed range. While the effects really lend themselves to clean sounds, the pedal also works brilliantly in the classic rock context it may be best known for – taking a fuzz pedal in front really well and sounding great into a drive pedal or driven amp.
- PRICE: $379 / £299
- ORIGIN: UK
- TYPE: Uni-Vibe pedal
- FEATURES: True bypass
- CONTROLS: Intensity, Speed, Offset, Volume, Vib/Cho footswitch, Bypass footswitch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
- POWER: 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 150 mA
- DIMENSIONS: 108 (w) x 128 (d) x 55mm (h)
- CONTACT: ThorpyFX