20 June 2013

Pedal Effects: Fulltone MDV2 Mini Deja Vibe 2 - Test


Note: this blog entry was already published in my old Spanish version of this blog, around July / 2011. I am just revisiting it here.

The Vibe effect is a cousin of Chorus and Phaser effects. It's an old modulation effect type, that wanted to emulate the behavior of Leslie rotary speakers that were used for electronic organs that time.
Even belonging to same family of effects, the Vibe has its own and distinctive voice and, even that we can go closer with a Phaser, there is no way to get the exact Vibe sound like this.

You can hear this effect with total clarity in "Machine Gun" by Jimi Hendrix, or more subtlety in "Shine on You crazy diamonds" by Pink Floyd and, in most of themes of Robin Trower, by example.
I particularly love this effect.

As happens with most of vintage effects, to find a modern unit having THE SOUND is really complex.
My first try was Roger Mayer's Voodoo Vibe+ (ex Jimi Hendrix tech, among others). Indeed, the Voodoo Vibe is an excellent Vibe unit but, there are a lot of controls to tweak before achieving what you are after.
Also, it's an excellent Studio pedal but, its big size makes it not so comfortable for pedalboard use.

My second try was to look for an smaller unit, with less controls and, I've choosen the Vodooo Lab Micro Vibe, which had just the Chorus side of the Univibe original effect (the side I was interested on, anyway).
To be honest the Micro Vibe sounds to me very dark and, often its being lost in the mix (not the case of the Voodoo Vibe+) and, lacks I-don't-know-what in the sound.

My third try is this Fulltone MDV2 Mini Deja Vibe 2, which I am just discussing in this blog entry.


As usual in Fulltone stuff, the pedal comes in a white cardboard box, with no pics, very anonymous.
Inside, the pedal wrapped in a plastic bag, a couple of paper sheets that are intended to be the "user's manual" and, some sticker to ad Fulltone for free.

This pedal looks like close to any Wah. The rocket is being used to regulate the effect speed and, rest of parameters are controlled with pots and switches.
As the original Univibe, it has two modes: chorus and vibrato and, two sub-modes: modern and vintage.
Mode and sub-mode are selectable with the help of a couple of switches in one side of the pedal.

The Intensity pot regulated the amount of effect that will be blend with the original dry signal. The more intensity the more wet and less dry signals.

The Volume pot is very useful to balance the output level, respect of the input level (something that also has the Voodoo Vibe+ and hasn't the Micro Vibe).

Additionally to this, there are two more trim pots inside, to fine tuning some characteristics (pulse of photocells, by example) but, better to leave stock settings (at least, until you are really familiar with the pedal).

The pedal looks solid and a tad rude, in the line of Fulltone pedals, which seems more interested in the sound than in the look.


Apart from the sound, which probably more differentiates this pedal from others is the possibility to regulate in real time the effect speed with the help of your foot.
Usually, Univibe units allow to link some external expression pedal to do the same (by example, the Voodoo Vibe+).

This is good ... and bad!.

It's very useful to be able to modify the speed in real time and, seems even better if such an expression pedal is already incorporated in the own pedal, as in the case of the MDV2.  This is very interesting to save room in your pedalboard for other effects.

And, now, the bad side. If you have an external expression pedal, you can leave such a pedal in any position (any determined speed) and, when switching on/off the vibe effect, you will have same speed you left there.

The issue with the MDV2 is that, to switch on/off the effect, you should press the switch that is is the rear side of the rocket so, you cannot leave a determined speed, you need to "search" again the right speed when switching on the effect.

More weird even, the switch is of type "momentary off" and, that means that the unit will be switched off if the rocket stays over the switch by weight. The minimum movement of the rocket switches on the effect, what is a real mess.

Respect to sound, I have nothing wrong to say. In fact, it sounds awesome. Indeed, this Vibe effect sounds as it should. Instantaneously Machine Gun tone, complex, deep but, cutting the mix.


From the sonical point of view, it's barely perfect.
From the operational point of view, I don't like how Fulltone solved the speed regulation and switching system. To me, this should be fixed to make it really usable.


Following video isn't exclusively dedicated to such a pedal but, to its function integrated in my pedalboard and, therefore, will not explore the whole possibilities of this pedal but, can be of help to get the overall sound of this Vibe effect.

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