The Vibe sound can be heard in so many classic rock sounds that is a effect well stablished in our mind.
Anyway, not easy to get a good Vibe pedal. Not easy to find a vintage-correct vibe pedal that can handle some of the impedance and buffering issues that happen when combining it with other moderner pedals.
And, definitivelly, not an easy effect. It can sound lush and awesome when played properly or totally weird.
Vibe is one of the signature sounds of Robin Trower and, you can hear it in several of his songs. Vibe was the ammo that used Hendrix in his "Machine Gun" song and, vibe is what you hear in "Us and Them" by Pink Floyd, just to mention a few examples.
This is not my first Vibe pedal. My first one was the Voodoo Lab Vibe. This was ok but lacked I-dunno-what.
My second one was Roger Mayer's Voodoo Vibe+. This has any possible control you can imagine so, it wasn't a plug and play type of pedal and, any accidental touch to one of the knobs would ruin the sound. Very studio-like sounding and big has a hell for a pedalboard but, a really nice one.
My third Vibe was Fulltone's MiniDeja Vibe 2. This one sounded really lush and very vintage-correct but, (as happens often with Fulltone pedals) had some impedance issues that made it very difficult to combine with other pedals and, the speed control cannot be fixed, since it's being controlled with the rocket pedal and, you need to push it up (oposite to a wah) to activate the effect, what means that you have to search for the wanted speed AFTER you switched on the pedal.
Any good phaser, at certain speed levels, can sound close to a vibe but, they will never sound exactly as a vibe. The vibe is some kind of mix between a phaser and a vibrato (and, sometimes, it has some kind of auto-wah sound) so, it's an effect on its own.
The Mad Professor Tiny Orange Phaser can go really close to a vibe (it's the phaser that I've found that can go closer to a vibe), in certain settings, by example but, the vibe has something else.
Well, I wasn't thinking on vibes anymore... until I saw some video around the Lovepedal Pickle Vibe and, liked a lot how it sounded. Easy pedal, straight forward, just a knob for speed, very small so, I thought "Why not?".
It cames in a brown carton box, with just an small sticker that says "Pickle Vibe". Inside, the pedal wrapped in some protective plastic and a single sheet with very few information.
The unit is very small. Is one of those pedalboard friendly formats and, so small that it cannot really hold a battery inside so, be aware that you will need a power addaptor to run this pedal.
The instructions address you to play with the inner trim pot to get the sounds you want.
Playing it - First Impressions
Well, when I tried it first, my thought was: "excesive". I mean, the valleys and peaks of the sound are excesive so, some notes are really weak while others (mainly basses) peak really high. Also, the EQ range was excesive, the sound was a bit harsh, with piercing trebles.
So, time to unscrew the tap and go inside the guts.
The Trim Pot can be found inside, in the upper right corner (more or less) and, can be easily accessed with any plain head screwdriver. It worth the try, since you can shape the sound to your taste (between some limits) and it's a one-time operation so, I fully recommend it to you.
The Trim Pot adjustment is a bit tricky. There is a lot of change moving the pot just a hair to right of left.
To left, it seems to increase high end (or to move the sweep range closer to that frequencies) while, to right it seems to increase low end.
Take your time, move it a hair at once and check the sound (what earned, what loosed?). The trim pot is affecting both, the central sweep frequency (I guess) as the depth of the effect so, take it into consideration.
I know, this unit isn't based on photocells, as the original ones (something that Fulltone is also using) but, the sound is very convincing (once you tweaked that trim pot).
I've tried it before and after gain units and, its place is clearly before gain units, as usual with Vibe effects.
I'm still checking the pedal in a wider sense. I need to know if it's having some type of impedance issue when combined with other pedals. The pedal itself, doesn't seem to be affected depending on what do you put before but, still not sure if it is affecting to the following pedal.
Machine Gun's tones can be easily achieved with this pedal but, a depth control could be interesting to allow to tame a bit the excesive modulation for other kind of works, even that it sounds convincing with anything else. That Trim Pot remembers me the BIAS knob of the Voodoo Vibe+.
By now, I have a very small pedal that gives me the tones I wanted from bigger units, as the MDV2 or the Voodoo Vibe+ and, it's way easier to play so, not a bad thing. I still need more time for my final decision but, my first impression is that is practical, useful and nicely voiced.
The video demoes several speed settings and, how it sounds alone, with overdrive and with distortion.
No sense playing, just trying sounds. About 12 mins.