What was the original Uni-Vibe effect?

Uni-VibeWhat was the original Uni-Vibe exactly? A vibrato pedal? Leslie simulator? Chorus? Phaser? Well, yes, sort of.

To hear a beautiful example of the Uni-Vibe in action, listen to David Gilmour’s guitar on Pink Floyd’s “Breathe.” You can also hear Jimi Hendrix playing through the effect on “Machine Gun” from Band of Gypsys.

Uni-Vibe AdThe original Uni-Vibe pedal was created by the Japanese guitar effects company Shin-ei in the 1960s as an attempt to emulate the sound of a rotating Leslie speaker. Although you’re not likely to mistake the sound of a Uni-Vibe for a Leslie, it can produce some wonderful phase shifting effects.

So why is it so hard to pin down exactly what this effect is? The original pedal had a Chorus/Vibrato selector switch, and to this day you may see the pedal referred to as a chorus/vibrato pedal. However, it doesn’t really sound like a chorus pedal. Internally, a series of phasing filters were used, and in Chorus mode, the dry signal is mixed with the phase-shifted signal, producing the unique phase shifting sounds the pedal is most known for. In Vibrato mode, there is no dry signal present, resulting in a throbbing pitch bend (vibrato) effect.

Mobius Modulation PedalIf you want to evoke these sonic textures in your own music, you can easily dial them in with our Mobius Modulation pedal. Set the Mod Machine Type to Vibe, and you’re ready to go. Just like on the original, you can select between Chorus and Vibrato modes, vary the speed and depth, and adjust output level. Additional controls not found on the original effect: a Headroom parameter allows you to dial in some dirt reminiscent of the transistors used in the original analog design (by turning the parameter down) or stay clean at high headroom settings. You can also alter the waveform of the LFO with the Waveshape parameter, and choose how much bass you’d like present in your sound with the Low End Contour setting.

Take a listen to some Mobius Vibe audio examples below, and learn more about Mobius here. 🙂

*All product names used in this article are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Strymon or Damage Control Engineering, LLC.

About Matt Piper
Matt Piper Matt Piper writes words and makes videos for Strymon. He plays guitar and a variety of other instruments but sucks at drums and a much larger variety of other instruments. He also makes electronic noises and teaches Fundamentals of Synthesis at the Los Angeles College of Music in Pasadena, California.

2 Responses

  1. Nunu says:

    The Mobius offers a great Univibe. I use the following settings for an authentic sound:
    Mode: chorus
    Lo end: in the middle
    Wave shape: almost all to the left
    Depth: 3 o’clock
    Headroom: 3/4

  2. […] A vintage Uni-Vibe, the pedal that blurred the lines between chorus and vibrato while trying to achieve the effect of moving speaker cabinets. […]

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