Saturday, October 9, 2010

2009 - Fulltone Mini Deja Vibe2

For years I wanted a univibe clone. Always baulked at the expense.
All of the clones cost a heck of a lot. There are a lot of clones too, so which one to pick?
Obviously I eventually settled on the Fulltone, but it was an almost agonising decision.

The MDV2 costs RRP $565 or there about the last time I looked.
No way was I going to pay that much for what is essentially a glorified phaser.
So I started looking further afield...

USA prices were much more reasonable, and our two currencies were nearly at a ratio of 1:1.
I'd sold a bunch of lesser pedals and had a few $ sitting in my paypal account waiting to be put to use.
There was a shop in Melbourne that had one in stock, but when I went to try it out the sales guy told me it'd been moved to another store on the outskirts of the metropolitan area and wasn't coming back for at least a month. Since my effort to try one out in person was thwarted, the only thing to be done was hit the internet.

Not a heck of a lot of information was available on this unit. Not many demos either.
So it was a bit of a leap of faith when I decided to buy online. It was a little over half the Aussie RRP including postage.

So I bought it and then had to wait....
It seemed to take ages to get here, but in reality only took a week.
The unit is fairly large, with considerable weight.
Nice and creamy coloured and the PCB is compact and nicely laid out.
It's been modified from the original to allow a higher and brighter output if one chooses.

When I finally had the opportunity to play it, I had mixed feelings.
The wobble and whoosh was nice, but on my DI rig and Epiphone amps it seemed to drop a lot of bottom end off when engaged. The MDV2 does the lopsided swooshy throb thing very well. Vibrato mode sounded quite subtle but more of just an add on option rather than a useful effect. I liked it, but wasn't really all that impressed. So for most of the time I've had the pedal, it has remained in a drawer and potentially facing the auction block. Also the phase on the lowest speed almost sounded as if the effect was off.

That was until yesterday....

Yesterday I dusted it off and plugged it into the Delta Blues, oh boy what a difference!
I swear there's something about that amp that maxes everything sound good. I'm not saying magical or mojo, but something fundamental on the electrical level. The difference I suspect is the input impedance.
On a stock Epiphone Valve Jr, the input impedance is about 100k and on the Delta Blues spec states 470k.
The end result is the Delta Blues has a greater frequency range on input and your guitar and effects can drive the valve stage a little harder (The Valve Jr is easily modified to rectify this).

The effect that this had on the univibe clone was an overall improvement in sound quality. The bass cut I'd experienced before has gone away. The phasing at low speed is much more pronounced and the pitch wobble in the vibrato mode is now clearly audible. In fact on both settings, the depth control doesn't need to be on maximum. The effects come through nice and clear, great on clean and distorted alike!

In all, I'm glad I didn't part with the MDV2. It's definitely a keeper.

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