ThorpyFX ER-2 Uni-Vibe review – the new standard for modern Uni-Vibe pedals?

Over five decades since Jimi Hendrix famously used one at Woodstock, ThorpyFX creates its dream Uni-Vibe

ThorpyFX ER-2 Uni-Vibe
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Guitar World Verdict

ThorpyFX has cracked it with this reimagining of a classic for modern pedalboards. The ER-2 delivers a fine range of Uni-Vibe sounds and beyond, all wrapped up in a package that offers real practicality.

Pros

  • +

    Authentic Uni-Vibe sound with thoughtfully added variations.

  • +

    Build quality.

  • +

    Compact size.

  • +

    Ease of use.

  • +

    Vib/Cho footswitch.

Cons

  • -

    No expression pedal input to recreate the actions of an original Uni-Vibe’s foot treadle.

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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.

ThorpyFX ER-2 Uni-Vibe

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

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.

ThorpyFX ER-2 Uni-Vibe

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

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.

Specs

  • 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

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Trevor Curwen

Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.