Stompbox Blog: April 2010

Stompbox Blog

Welcome to the guitar effects virtual museum. I have been collecting stompboxes for the past few years and wanted to share some thoughts. I will continually add more pics and opinions. Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. Thanks for looking.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Univox Univibe

No other vintage pedal has as much mojo as the legendary Holy Grail of effect like the Uni-Vibe. Made famous first by Jimi Hendrix with Machine Gun and performance at Ilse of Wight as well as Robin Trower(Bridge of Sighs) and David Gilmour(Dark Side of the Moon). Many companies have tried to replicate the original sound but that can be hard to achieve. The interesting thing is that Fumio Mieda created this pedal to be used with organs hence the two-instrument inputs and there is no "on" effect to stomp on for guitar players. What he was trying to replicate was the Doppler effect of the famous Leslie Rotary Speaker using discrete transistors and no Op-amps. He failed in one respect but created one of the most famous sounds ever recorded. It is like no other effect because of it's shimmery watery warble than can't be achieved with any other chorus, delay, or phaser. In some ways it's a bit of all three though. It's a very raw and crude effect but has a complex circuit board that could only be invented by a genius geek engineer. In essence the device is a four-stage analog phaser that sports four lamps/photo resistors that spin faster as you depress the expression pedal. Because it wasn't made for guitar it lacks treble response and the voltage lacks because of the two-prong cord but hey ... if it was good enough for Hendrix...... I think I will stop there......
here is a great link about the technology of the Uni-Vibe according to an electrical engineer


Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensemble

Who invented the first chorus pedal? That's right Boss. No other pedal has endured a greater reputation than the coveted legend of the Boss CE-1. Since then, there have been many incarnations worthy of respect. One of the only surviving chorus pedals today this pedal has been selling well since 1991. It sports a high/low 2 band filter that acts as a cut switch allowing the user a myriad of tonal chorus coloring. Three-dimensional chorus is achieved with stereo outputs and spacial imaging much like the Digital Dimension from before. A little known fact is that the early models were very similar to analog technology like the CE-2 and CE-3 because they contained Bucket Brigade chips. Just look for an early serial number predating P1 or look at the printed PCB(it shouldn't say CE-5A) and you have a winner. Another indicator is if it sports a grey label on the back you have the digital version.

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Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal

The name pretty much sums it up. When this unit was introduced a lot of famous bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, Ratt, Scorpions, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Van Halen, and Ozzy still didn't get any respect or airplay on the radio. That didn't matter because everyone who was cruising the streets of rural America had these in their tape deck at full volume. The sound Boss was trying to replicate was the coveted Marshall stack and they delivered in spades. The HM-2 had color knobs to dial in the high and low frequencies. What? Mids? Forget the mid-range and just scoop it out. The distortion knob didn't affect the sound from 8 o'clock to 3 o'clock but there was plenty of sludge on tap. No other Boss distortion could asymmetrically clip the sound wave better than this. That is until 1991 rolled around and they came out with the Metal Zone MT-2 which has gone on to outsell almost every Boss pedal. It came as no surprise they laid this one to rest just as hair-metal was starting to snuff out classic-metal.

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