DryBell Vibe Machine review

October 15th 2012 | Posted in Reviews | 53 Comments

I’ve always been a huge fan of UniVibes. That mysterious haunting tone made famous by Hendrix, Trower and Gilmour is simply irresistible. However, the UniVibe’s large footprint is often a hassle for cramped pedal boards. The DryBell Vibe Machine promise to capture all the magic and lure of the classic tones with a few extras under the hood. All in a neat little box suitable for any pedal board. Here’s my review.

To say that I’m a fan of UniVibes is perhaps an understatement. I love them and can’t live without them. Machine Gun, Breathe, Bridge of Sighs… It doesn’t get any better that this. David Gilmour first started using UniVibes in early 1972 when Pink Floyd premiered and toured Eclipse – the suite that would later evolve into Dark Side of the Moon. Years later, the circuit was customized into a rack unit still featured in David’s rig.

The Vibe Machine is housed in a MXR-sized box with true bypass switching and 9V Boss-style adapter power feed. A smaller sized design allows the same four photocells opto-system of the original UniVibe to be fitted into a neat little box. By carefully testing and measuring the physics of the system, DryBell has come up with a pedal that’s quite impressive and unique.

The Vibe Machine is loaded with lots of cool features. It has two main controls for intensity, controlling the depth of the sweep, and speed. A mini toggle switch switches between vibrato and the more familiar chorus mode. A second toggle switch switches between bright and original mode. The original mode produces the same lo-fi throbbing sounds of the original UniVibe. The bright mode sets a higher input impedance, boosting the high mids and treble and creates a more dynamic tone that works especially well with low output single coils and large tone draining pedal boards.

Located on the side of the pedal there are three trim pots allowing you to adjust the symetry, the range of the intensity control and the master volume (reduce up to 4dB). There’s also a second input for expression pedal for controlling the speed just like on the original UniVibe. Any expression pedal will do (100 kOhm pot recommended). Inside the pedal there are two jumper switches. One switching between buffered or original Uni-Vibe output circuit and a second switch that sets the speed ramp for the expression pedal just like on a real Leslie.

I’ve lost count over how many different UniVibes I’ve played over the years. Some of them are very true to the original while others offer something different with more or less success. I must admit that I was a bit skeptic when I first heard about the Vibe Machine. Yet another clone cramped into a small box that didn’t live up to its name? Well, I was wrong. This is the real deal.

I’ve always preferred brighter sounding UniVibes. It works best for my setup. However, the original mode sounds incredibly open and lush and blends nicely with overdrives and more aggressive distortions. The bright mode is my favourite though. With the intensity at about noon the Vibe Machine will produce those huge Hendrix tones even on the lowest amp volume levels. Add a bit of tube gain and you’re on your way to Woodstock! As you can hear from the featured clip, the Vibe Machine also manages to stay focused and balanced even at the fastest speed rates.

The Vibe Machine is definitely one of the better UniVibes I’ve played and with its smaller footprint it will be welcomed with cheering applause to my pedal board. Whether you want Gilmour, Hendrix or just a great sounding vibe pedal, the Vibe Machine will deliver! Check out DryBell.Com for more details.

The Vibe Machine was tested for both stage and home setups with a Reeves Custom 50 and a Laney L20 with both single coils and humbuckers.

53 comments so far

  1. Chris Steenson says:

    Hey Bjorn, great website. I cannot thank you enough for the advice you’ve provided about effects

    I’ve got an old Fulltone Deja Vibe 2 & although it’s a great way to get the fabulous vibe sound, it’s a seriosly cumbersome thing (The transformer weighs more than it does). I’ve been curious about the MJM Sixties vibe for some time & so I’ve been wondering. Which has the better vibe sound; The Deja Vibe, the Sixties Vibe or the Vibe Machine? (I’d be looking for one that goes well with Silicon fuzzes & overdrives, as well as great cleans)

    Many thanks for your help

    [Thanks for your kind words! They’re all great sounding units. I had a Deja some time ago but prefer the Moon Vibe and now the Vibe Machine. The 60s Vibe is also great but it lacks some of the new features on the Moon and Machine. I don’t think the Deja sound as open as the three others but that’s my personal opinion. It also depends on the rig. A bright sounding amp will make a fuzz+vibe combo sound horrible but a darker JTM/JCM Marshall or VOX will make it sound huge. The Vibe Machine is the first unit that I’ve tried that handles most gain units without getting thin but you also need to match this with the amp setting and add quite a bit of mid range. David’s amp setting, which are fairly bright, only works on cleans and mild overdrives. Anyway, hard to tell all these apart but there you have my two cents. – Bjorn]

  2. faq says:

    sounds great ! a bit pricey though….
    whats a good budget vibe?

    [Check out the Voodoo Lab Micro Vibe and the Love Pedal Pickle Vibe. Neither are true UniVibes to the circuit but they sound very nice. It’s also worth checkiong out the MXR Custom Shop Phase 45 and Dunlop RotoVibe for similar sounds. – Bjorn]

  3. Bryce says:

    Hi Bjorn, nice review! That is definitely a nice sounding vibe. I have been in the market lately for a new vibe so this is a timely review as well. I have a Fulltone Dejavibe 2 (the huge one with the footpedal) and although it’s a great vibe, it is rather large for my pedal board. I have been looking at the newer/smaller chassis MJM sixties vibe for a little bit but now I am intrigued by this pedal. How would you compare it to the MJM?

    [The Vibe Machine and Moon Vibe are perhaps my favourites with the 60s on a close second place. Compared to the Moon and Machine the 60s is pretty much stripped for extras, which is kind of the idea I guess. A straight clone. Personally I like the extra features and the bright mode on the Machine is especially cool. I also think the Machine sounds a bit more open and dynamic, compared to the 60s and it also has a deeper throb on lower settings. – Bjorn]

  4. Tony says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    How is the strength of the throb on slow settings?? This is where I find most vibes fall short. The only vibe I’ve ever found that does that well is the FoxRox Aquavibe, and with the exemption of the Vibe Machine, I have tried them all.

    Tony

    [I think it does a very good job. For the slow setting I sat the intensity at about noon but past two o’clock it produces a very deep and pronounced throb/sweep. The bright mode also adds to the depth. – Bjorn]

  5. Alon says:

    Hi bjorn! Great review as always.

    How is it compared to the mojo vibe?

    [To be honest I don’t think the Mojo is up there with the Moon Vibe nor the Vibe Machine. I’m sure many will disagree and they’re all UniVibes so I guess it’s like choosing between apples and oranges. The Vibe Machine sounds much more open and dynamic I think and it also has a few extra features, which are very nice. – Bjorn]

  6. Stephen Ford says:

    Bjorn, Thanks for the review, it sounds like a great pedal but the price tag was a bit of a shocker. It still puts it in line with the other boutique vibes…guess I had hoped for a $200 price tag not a $300. If I didn’t already have a great Sweetsound Ultravibe II, I might consider the Dry Bell though it is nice to have the separately located large speed knob for on the fly foot adjustment without having to add an exp pedal.

    The tones are nice…

    Cheers

    [Well, apart from the ridiculously overpriced overdrive and distortion boutiques, a UniVibe is actually both costly and takes a lot of time to build. One thing is to make a photocell opto system but very few makers take the time to fine tune and test the circuit. A small boutique company also makes pedal on a very small scale, which means higher production costs. Anyway, $300 for a pedal is a lot but in this case I would say that it’s well worth it and justified… just my two cents. – Bjorn]

  7. martin says:

    it would be nice to a/b this pedal with moon vibe or similar.

    [I think you’ll find them very similar. Hard to tell them apart and I love them both. I’ve been commenting to others here that the Vibe Machine does sound a bit more open and dynamic… at least on my rig. Anyway, they’re very similar. – Bjorn]

  8. Keith says:

    Wow Bjorn, a must have pedal! I was thinking back the other day, and realized that my very first pedal, (It was more like a large Tank!) was a univox Univibe. I learned bridge of sighs, and being a new guitarist, was always proud that I could sound exactly like Trower with the one pedal, and an old Silvertone tube amp, and my lovely first guitar, an SG copy, called an Ampeg Super Stud. Wish I still had both the guitar, and the Univibe. I will have this peda; soon I hope!
    Peace, Love, and Gilmourish, Uncle Ebb

    [You should have kept that old gem. They’re worth a small fortune now :) Cheers! – Bjorn]

  9. Thomas says:

    Hi, Bjoern,

    Great review as always – thank you very much!

    As you have reviewed the Electronic Orange Moon Vibe a couple of months ago, I am now pretty unsure which one to choose. Could you please let me know which one you prefer and which one may sound closest to the originial? Both are great units -actually I had alreadey decided to choose the Electronic Orange Moon Vibe, but they will come out with a version later this year, so I have not yet ordered. And now there is obviously an alternative….
    Thanks a lot inadvance,

    Best regards

    Thomas

    [Right now I would say the Vibe Machine. Both pedals are very good and probably my two favourite UniVibes but the Vibe Machine, in addition to the smaller footprint, does sound a bit more open and dynamic. It also go a few cool features that the Moon Vibe doesn’t have. Anyway, love them both and they’re very similar. Pepsi and Coke :) – Bjorn]

  10. Fernando says:

    That sounds pretty cool!

    I guess you’ll have to update the Buyer’s Gear Guide soon… :)

    Cheers.

    [Indeed :) – Bjorn]

  11. bernhard says:

    very cool review, bjorn, thanks for the clips, too, I agree this box sounds like the real thing, love your tones, especially your take on “the blue”…. cheers man, bernhard

    [Thanks a lot! – Bjorn]

  12. Marc-André Paquette says:

    Hey Bjorn, hope you’re doing great!

    Thanks again for sharing! I was looking for a univibe so the timing is great! How would you compare this one with the Moon-vibe? From the clips I heard so far the Moon-vibe seemed a little better?

    Which one would you pick if you had only one choice?

    Thanks so much!

    [Well, it’s the same effect so it’s like choosing between Pepsi and Coke I guess. I love the Moon Vibe and use it a lot. I like the bright mode on the Vibe Machine as it makes the vibe tone sound a bit more open and dynamic. I don’t know… both are very good but the Vibe Machine wins I guess not least because it fits nicely onto the pedal board. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  13. Alan Day says:

    Lovely demo – I would take a serious look at this if I had not just bought a Tech 21 Rotochoir to help with my DSotM Tones. I would also like to know your opinion of the TC Electronic Vortex Flanger for those Wall tones as compared to the EHEM that is.
    A

    [It’s quite OK but I think it resembles MXR and the more modern sounding flangers that the Mistress. – Bjorn]

  14. dominic says:

    great pedal, pricey pricey pricey though!! what about the univibe from dunlop (not the stereo) or the Voodoo Lab Micro Vibe? there are tons of vibes out in the market for less…the BBE is another option though i dunno if got the four photocells like the Voodoo Lab.
    Nice review..Cheers!!

    [Well, it is pricey but there are many reasons for it as I’ve explained in another comment here. There are cheaper alternatives but I don’t think you should confuse the quality and tone of the Vibe Machine, Moon Vibe, Deja etc with the Micro Vibe, BBE etc. These are OK but nothing more. The reason is that a UniVibe is very much an “organic” pedal… if I can use that term about electronics. A lot of care goes into creating the perfect photocell opto system and that will cost a little extra. – Bjorn]

  15. David McDade says:

    Great version of Any Colour You Like Bjorn! I have allways loved that tone, its allways been a goal of mine to get that sweet funky sound so I guess after my keely bd2 gets here ill have to save up for one of these. Did you try the expression pedal with this or did you just use the controlls on the pedal? Also how dose this pedal interact with overdrives like the bd2 and distortions like the Musket? Any problems using a muff with it on a mild setting?
    Thanks a ton for all the time and effort you put into keeping all of us Gilmour tone freaks up to date on the best quality gear.
    Cheers!
    -Dave

    [Thanks Dave! I didn’t test the expression pedal since I don’t have one at the moment. The VM works nicely with the BD2 but you need to be careful with treble. Be sure to set your amp up for a warm clean tone with lots of mids and moderate treble. Keep the BD2 fairly dark and boost the volume a little to enhance the mids in your tone. UniVibes rarely sound good with too much distortions and with Muffs they either sound harsh if there’s too much treble or you get these wild oscillation sounds, which are cool but perhaps more Hendrix than Gilmour :) – Bjorn]

  16. David McDade says:

    Thanks for the tip with the bd2, im really looking forward to playing with it but im going to have to use my Ibanez RG350dx now because my Fender FSR strat was stolen out of my car today, hopefully the police can catch whoever busted my window out and took my strat that I saved and saved up money by eating nothing but ramen noodles for 3 months to buy with a dg20 set with it. I mean who would be low enoufh to steal the guitar ive allways dreamed about, hoped for, and wanted sence I was a kid? Im sorry for cluttering up the thread Bjorn, im just really sad because my Gilmour inspired strat is probally gone forever. So to all my other Gilmour fans and Gilmourish.com community never take your eyes off your gear for a second, take your guitar into the store with you like I should have.
    Once again Bjorn im sorry for messing up your thread but I just needed to vent.
    Thanks for everything Bjorn, Gilmourish.com has been my #1 website for a long time, without it I’d never have learned so much, and gotten inspired again to keep playing because with your help i finally got the tone I wanted but couldn’t quite get.
    Thank you Bjorn and the Gilmourish family for your help,
    Cheers everyone!
    -Dave

    [Oh, that’s just too bad! I’m very sorry to hear this. Hopefully they’ll find it but I guess chances are small. Wish you the best of luck! – Bjorn]

  17. Keith says:

    Didn’t know where to post this, so I figured this would be the first thing seen. Yesterday I stopped by tom’s shop to see how close my Strat was to being finished. While ther, I mentioned i was going to stop at Sam Ash to pick up 2 new 12AX7’s for the TSA30, but Tom said he had them, and would give them to me at cost, which is $9.00, instead of $14.00. He only had two JJ ecc83 s’, and a Sovtek 12AX7, and I took them, and after installing them, the amp made a really loud, and awful sound. I had put the Sovtek, in position 3, which is the only preamp tube after the EQ, the other two are right after the input, before it gets to the EQ, and output section. I decided to try that one first, it being the odd man out, and replaced it with the original chinese tube. The amp is now working, but it now has a pronouced hiss, even if nothing is plugged in. it is quiet with the master volume down, but the louder the master, the louder the hiss. I am going to go buy 3 new JJ 12 AX 7, or ecc83s, and see what happens, but I think the amp is going to the shop! Any ideas Stephen Ford? Ibanez has a 5 year warranty, and I called them before I replaced the tubes on the 15, just to make sure it wouldn’t affect the warranty, but I feel a little ripped off. The 15H has chasis mounted tube sockets, and so I assumed the 30 did too, but I found out yesterday that they are PCB mounted, and while many amps are that way these days, it still scares me. I hope the noise is a tube, but I think that bad Sovtek did something very bad, or the PCB mouted sockets are already an issue, and one of them moved, and is grounding on something. This is mostly venting, but if anyone has an idea about what occured, I’d appreciate your comments.
    Thanks Bjorn, the new fonts in this comment area are much easier on my old eyes!
    Peace, Love, and Gilmourish, Uncle Ebb

  18. Keith says:

    Hi folks, I went and got 3 new JJ preamp tubes, which in itself is a bit confusing. The JJ marked 12AX7 on the label, and the tube, is marked ecc83 s on the end panel of the box. They are eveidently the same tube, but I also found that the offending tube, which caused the problem in the first place was a Ruby 12AX7, which is also a JJecc83 s. The TSA’s with two preamp tubes, the 15h, and 15 combo, have two Electa output tubes, and two 12AX7’s marked only with the tube3, and made in China, while the 30 has the chinese pres in 1 & 2, and the Ruby/JJ 12AX7/ecc83 in posistion 3, which like I said is the tube that is after the EQs, while the cheapos are in the two right after the input. When reading about tubes, it says the JJ ecc83 s/ 12AX7XXX is a great high gain tube, and is a great tube for Marshalls, and Heavy Metal, but I think this is the tube you use Bjorn? I notice that even with the pronounced hiss/hum, changing the tubes in the 30 to all JJ’s, I can now get more cklean headroom, and I don’t notice a volume drop, but alas the hiss/hum is unbearable, and the amp is definitely on it’s way to New Jersey for God knows how long. As much money as I’ve spent at Sam Ash this year, and the fact that both amps have had tube issues, and now thios, within the first 20 hours of playing time, and the fact that it was a bit misleading that the 15 has chasis mounted sockets, and the 30 PCB mounted sockets, I am going to at least try to get a new amp out of them, or my money back. I’ve had it less than six months, and rarly have used it, becuse the 15 is loud enough at home. Onnce again, just venting, but it is a bit depressing to find an amp that does everything you want, only to be hassled by this issue. It all started when I heard a very loud honk when I turned it on, and the bad tube was then replaced, but the hiss was there even though that very scary honk was gone. I have heard that honk before, When My Early 80’s 100 watt Laney Lead Pro Died! So The fcat it even still works, is at least somewhat encouraging!
    Peace , Love, And God I hope I get this straight quickly!

  19. David McDade says:

    Well Bjorn I have an update, they caught the guy who stole my strat and busted my window out but alas the guitar is gone… My insurance is paying for the window but told me they will only pay for the amount of the orignal guitar, not the dg20 emgs and the 7.25 nitrocellulose vintage neck so im out a total of 500$, but atleast ill beable to buy another strat with the 499$ theyre giving me for the guitar. I just dont understand why they wont cover the cost for the upgrades I made…well anyways thanks for the kind words Bjorn and soon ill be replacing my vox with either a Hiwatt clone or a Reeves once ive replaced the guitar+pickups+neck. Oh and my bd2 keely finally got here and you were right it really is a great transparent booster for my Musket, and an amazing od! I couldnt be happier with the combo, cant wait to hear em with the DG20s! Thanks a ton for all the advice, if not for all your hard work with Gilmourish I wouldn’t have known about all the amazing gear youve reviewed.
    Cheers!
    -Dave

    [Thanks for your kind words Dave! Glad to hear that you got most of your money back. – Bjorn]

  20. Bryce says:

    Hey Bjorn, thanks for the info. Im 99% convinced on the vibe machine now, but I was wondering that since there is no volume knob on the pedal, if it suffers from the infamous vibe volume drop when on? Cheers

    [No, it pretty much unity with the bypassed signal. The bright mode also gives you slight volume boost of a couple of dBs… – Bjorn]

  21. Bibz says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    did you get a chance to put a hand on the Jam RetroVibe? How does it compare to the Drybell? I must admit your review makes me really think about getting the Drybell even though I had the Jam on my wishlist for a very long time now… :)

    [I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet so I can’t really comment on that. What I can say though is that the Vibe Machine has more features and therefore it’s perhaps a more versatile unit. – Bjorn]

  22. martin says:

    off topic … but i just discovered a one-man-shop in great britain who sells used fender guitars made in japan. if somebody is looking for a 57 strat in black or a 62 tele in sunburst … take a look:

    http://www.fareastguitars.co.uk/usedguitars.htm

    this should not be a kind of advertising – i am not related with mr. blackman in any way.

    [Thanks for the tip, Martin! – Bjorn]

  23. John Hargnett says:

    Great review, Bjorn!

    What is the signal chain you are using the viddy?

    [Thanks! Guitar > Vibe Machine > Fulltone OCD > amp mic’ed and fed into Logic with delays and reverb added and a low cut below 130kHz. – Bjorn]

  24. dominic says:

    new vibe mate!!!

    http://www.jimdunlop.com/product/hendrix-70-univibe

    [Doesn’t say whether this is a photocell system or digital… – Bjorn]

  25. dominic says:

    all are analog..the fuzz is a bc108 silicon, like the mxr 108 / buffer or the hendrix fuzz..dsotm sounds!!…i reckon the u-vibe is one photocell (like the danelectro or voodoo lab) worth the shot to try em cheers!!!

  26. Bibz says:

    Hey Bjorn, you finally got me sold on that one! I forgot about the RetroVibe and just ordered my Drybell ;) Hope this will cover all my needs for vintage sounds, but am pretty confident…
    Thanks for all your nice reviews, it is really helping narrowing our choices and discovering new products.

    [I think you’ll be very pleased! – Bjorn]

  27. Bibz says:

    Hey Bjorn, just received my Drybell this morning :)
    Have a quick question though as I am not so familiar with the UniVibe: past halfway on the intensity knob, I can hear bass frequencies being produced at the rate set up with the Speed knob, even when no input… Pretty similar to a heartbeat actually. Is it normal and part of the vibe design?
    Thanks a lot.

    [Congrats! There is a noticeable low end throb when you increase the intensity and rate together. A UniVibe is not like a phaser where the frequency is more or less linear. On a UniVibe, you need to adjust the intensity when you increase or decrease the rate, depending on what tones you want. – Bjorn]

  28. Marcus Hilmersson says:

    Been using my Vibe Machine regularily since March and absolutely love it. Gonna stay on my board for a long time I’m sure. In response to the comment about volume, there’s a trimpot for that so you can either boost it a little or just keep it at unity. As far as the bass frequencies go, yeah I had some issues with that as well but playing around with the trimpots a bit took care of that (make sure you photograph or mark the original settings first though if you want to go back). Not overly ecstatic about the buffer, but other than that it’s pretty much the Chuck Norris of vibe pedals as far as I’m concerned.

  29. michael says:

    Again interesting ,mouth watering review till you gt to the price, scary if your just playing in your bedroom. can you produce this tone with a phaser, chorus and delay,or is that to complicated.
    how about the soul vibe or the anniversary release of the Dunlop Jimi Hendrix pedal. Is there maybe a cheap version that approachs these sounds, the Danelectro chicken salad, or vibe pedals are supposed to sound like univibes, but not to my ears.
    Yep too many questions.

    [There are different versions of all pedals and while some vibes are closer to the original, some offer different tones. The Vibe Machine produce those vintage tones but you can get similar tones with cheaper models like the Lovepedal Pickle Vibe, VoodooLab Micro Vibe and, I guess, the new Hendrix, although I haven’t tried that one yet. You can also get fairly close with phasers but chorus and flanger is something else. – Bjorn]

  30. PAUL says:

    Hi Bjorn, Need your permission to let people know I have a large version of the MJM 60’s Vibe Pedal for sale on Ebay for $179 plus $30 shipping, for those who want an authentic vibe tone true to the original, without paying $300 plus. Do you have a section where I am allowed to post this? It’s a great sounding pedal, but needed the extra rack space. Regards, Paul

    [I don’t have a “for sale” section but I’ll approve this post and maybe someone sees it. Great pedal! – Bjorn]

  31. Tim says:

    Yes, it looks like a very interesting Vibe, although I have to say that while I haven’t tried the Jam pedals Retro Vibe , the jetcity youtube clip of that pedal sounds the best to my ears, especially for that Hendrix sound.

    [I haven’t had the chance to try that out yet but it does sound promising. – Bjorn]

  32. Francisco says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    First of all, thanks for all the wonderful info and amazing reviews. Have you ever tried this pedal http://www.fuzzbox.com/vibe-unit. Sounds promising for some Gilmourizing! Greetings from Costa Rica.

    [Thank you, Fransisco! I haven’t had the chance to try it yet but it sounds very promising. I’ll check it out :) – Bjorn]

  33. DG_pap says:

    I wonder how it is compared to my Tube-Vibe. More authentic? Have you tried the effectrode?

    [Just got the Effectrode actually but I haven’t had the chance to explore it yet. What I like about the DryBell is that it blends very well with gain effects and it has a pronounced throb on the lower speed settings as well. – Bjorn]

  34. JAIME says:

    It’s a pity …

    Just when I decided to buy this pedal had saved the money, unfortunately the pedal may not be declared by a lower value(making me imposible to acquire, thanks customs).

    It really seemed like a very nice piece to add to any pedalboard.

    So sad, maybe i need to go for the throbak overdrive. Apples and oranges but really seems the best In their funtion.

    [Sorry to hear but the ThroBak is an awesome booster/overdrive. – Bjorn]

  35. JAIME says:

    JA JA JA

    Same problem with them, maybe I am wrong… or i should have patience and look better on Ebay
    But i just saw your new review, maybe that is the way.
    My best wishes from Chile.

    JAIME

  36. Carlos Mink says:

    I’ve boght an EHX “The Wiggler” 2 tube vibrato/tremolo pedal. As any “tube pedal”, its very difficult to find a “correct” configuration through its enumerou knobs. And this EHX specific pedal deals with so much hum. This Dry Bell Vib Machine, as a UniVibe clone, seems to be more easy to deal with. Bjorn, will you post some vídeos where YOU appear playing some Pink Floyd songs testing this Dry Bell Vibe Machine? For me, your vídeos reflect a “real testing” for this kind of gadget. Best Regards!

    [Well, it’s me playing in the clip so I don’t really see the need to post another :) – Bjorn]

  37. Ben says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    Another awesome review.

    I had a question about the Vibe Machine. Got it in the mail a couple days ago (on my birthday coincidentally) and tried it out with my setup. I am running it as follows:
    MIM Strat w/humbucker (all stock pickups)>Sunface bc183>OCD>Vibe Machine>Fender Blues jr.

    Running clean the VM sounds awesome, and through the OCD it sounds pretty good, but through the sunface it sounds terribly thin and fuzzy. Reversing the combo just made it sound bad in a whole different way. I know you said it can be thin with bright sounding amps so I lowered the treble and boosted the mids but it was no use. I am playing at very low bedroom levels, but if its one person who can help, its you. I will be using it mostly for clean stuff, but I want to be able to do crazy vibe fuzz as well.

    Thanks for the sight and all the hard work you put into it. It really shows!
    All the best, Ben.

    [Thanks for your kind words, Ben! UniVibes are tricky. I’ve tried to explain some of the issues in the Buyer’s Gear Guide UniVibes. Fuzz and modulation, and UniVibes especially, doesn’t go very well together. The character of the fuzz is very aggressive, uncompressed and with very little mid range. Quite the oposite of what the UniVibe usually prefer. Placing it after fuzz, makes it sound thin and harsh because the fuzz will dominate the signal. Placing it first will smooth out some of the harshness but then again you get a distorted modulation, which creates all kinds of oscillation and weird sounds. If you listen to stuff like Hendrix’ Star Sprangled Banner from Woodstock you can hear that he’s getting the same weird sounds but they doesn’t sound as thin and harsh because he’s also cranked his amps, which creates a lot of compression and mid range… especially with Marshall amps. So, with a clean amp I’d go no further than a mild overdrive, preferably one with lots of mid range. On a mildy cranked amp (not full blown distortion) you might have a better result with blending the UniVibe with fuzz and other distortions. In both cases, be careful with the treble on your amp and pedals. Keep in mind that the level on your pedals also affect the signal and frequencies. I’ve also experienced that rolling off the guitar volume to 9 or 8 helps. That’s the nature of UniVibes. There’s nothing wrong with the Vibe Machine. – Bjorn]

  38. Carlos Mink says:

    Hi Bjorn, how are you? Do you have some tips about an easy to find expression pedal to be used along with the “vibe machine”? Thanks! Best Regards.

    [I guess any expression pedal will do but check out the FAQ section on dry bell.com for more. – Bjorn]

  39. Keith says:

    Hey Bjorn, I tried to post this info twice this morning, maybe I’m over my limit! The link to the info about the new photocells is below, hope it works!
    http://www.drybell.com/news_1.html
    gearmandude does 3 clips with the new cells, and there is a review by Katarzis27. I can’t post links, haven’t figured out how, so if you’re interested, y’all will have to search YouTube for demos posted after February of this year to hear the difference. This is not meant to dismiss the awesome MkII in any way, just trying to keep all updated! :)
    Thanks, Keith

    [Thanks! – Bjorn]

  40. Keith says:

    Hello again Bjorn, after all I’ve sanid about the Vibe Machine, I’ve found an issue that is food for thought. Despite the fact that in my opinion, that the Drybell is likely the finest, and definitely the smallest “real” UniVibe made, the one thing that was my absolute necessity has become a serious issue. The speed pedal connection on the pedal is a TPS, or stereo, tip, ring, sleeve connection, and is set up for a 100k expression pedal. Only problem is, there are very, very few 100k expression pedals, and as far as I can tell only one with TRS! And, as nice as the folks at drybell are,( they’ve answered every question fully, and generally within 30 minutes of sending them an email!), They sell that one TRS 100k expression pedal, The Mission EP 100k, it comes in several colors, including DryBell Red, and looks absolutely bulletproof! But, the pedal is $144.00 US! That brings the $320.00 for the pedal,( reasonable for any great optical vibe!), to a total of $464.00 US, excluding the TRS cable of course. While that gives me pause about buying a pedal I really want, they are kind enough to give you two cheaper alternatives, though both require a y cable to work the TRS configuration. They also give you detailed instructions on their online manual on how to convert the very inexpensive old used Crybaby, because of it’s RocPotz 100k pot the crybaby comes stock with. While this conundrum doesn’t totally change my mind about buying the vibe I feel likely the best made,( this belief is due to the company’s idea of maki.g only modulation pedals, and perfecting the first, before moving on, this has been 6 years, at this point!). So, since you have the pedal, do you use a speed treadle, and if so, did they also provide the EP 100k? If not, do you know of a pedal that sells for maybe half the cost of the suggested Mission EP 100k? I’m so disappointed that after waiting this long, because of reading about the new photocells, and matching process, wanting an even better pedal, which it’s claimed to have much more low end throb, I run into $144.00 accessorie, and a cord that probably would be another $30-$40 bucks. If I had room for a Moonvibe MkII, I’d likely order it right now, and deal with trying to turn a knob with my foot!
    Bummed in the USA, suggestions anyone? Keith :(

    [Hmmm… To be honest I really don’t have that much experience with expression pedals. I’m sure there are alternatives out there or some easy mod or something but I don’t have any suggestions from the top of my head. Apart from the fact that I use the Rotovibe for my Airbag tones, and use the sweep quite a lot, I never have felt the need for a speed control for the UniVibes. Of course, if you need to do those sweeps then you pretty much have to use an expression pedal but I you only need to set the speed between songs or certain parts of the song then those big dials like the one on the MoonVibe is more than sufficient and works great with using your foot. If it’s really a big issue and makes it hard to choose then perhaps you should ask yourself how much you really need the expression pedal. The DryBell is amazing, with and without the pedal so if anything you could just wait and save up… just my humble thought :) – Bjorn]

  41. Tony says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Curious if you have ever tried the FoxRox Aquavibe and how you’d compare it to the Vibe Machine?

    Thanks,
    Tony

    [Never tried it. It’s on the list! – Bjorn]

  42. Rob says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Great job whith the review, very helpfull. I’m finally getting a univibe pedal and wanted to know your opinion on which would you recomend between the vibe machine and moon vibe mkii putting the size out of the equation, since i play classic rock gilmour, hendrix etc.
    My rig is a us amr vintage 57 strat through a hot rod deville 212 with vintage 30 and g12h30 speakers. Thnks!!

    [You could go either way. Both will nail the tones perfectly. The Vibe Machine is brighter with a more open and “hi-fi” tone… in lack of a better description. The MoonVibe is darker, more vintage sounding and it has a slightly deeper phasing. – Bjorn]

  43. Keith says:

    Hey Bjorn, have you heard, or played the latest Vibe machine? They seem to have widened the intensity, or phase a bit, and it’s not quite as bright, and hi-fu, and they’ve added a couple of other changes. Seems like Zvonch is reading everything people say, and improves it with every batch, the Lesie acceleration is really cool, as is the fact that instead of just the 100k EP, it now
    takes all TPS Exp pedals from 10-250k linear pots.
    Peace, Keith
    You get the email with the pics of my 50th Anniversary Townshend SG? Picked it up last night. The P-90’s are the best thing I’ve heard out if Gibson in years, sounds, and looks exactly like my ’63 that got stolen :)

    [Yeah, saw the guitar! Awesome! I haven’t tried the new VM yet but talked to Zvonch the other day and I might be sending mine back for an upgrade. – Bjorn]

  44. Robb says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Thanks for the recommendation, i finally pulled the trigger on the Dry Bell, got in last night! I’ve trying to get a nice mild tone with it but whith my neck and middle position pickups the sound is very muffled and undefined. I can’ t seem to dial in the right settings. What could be the problem? Also could you share some settings that you are curretly using?
    Thanks again for your help!

    [You see my settings in the clip. UniVibes can sound a bit muffled on darker sounding amps. Try setting up your amp for a slightly brighter clean tone without compromising the treble balance too much. There’s also a bright switch on the Dry Bell that should help. – Bjorn]

  45. Robb says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I forgot to ask if you changed the stock settings for the symetry and range controls on the side of the VM, if so what are they now? Also could you describe what exactly each of them do? Is it worth messing around with them or they are fixed in the best setting.

    Thanks again, really appreciate your answers!

    [I haven’t adjusted them and it’s often better to just leave them be or you’ll might mess it up. The Symmetry can be worth checking out for a bit more clarity in the phasing. – Bjorn]

  46. Hydro says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Very helpful review. I’m looking to replace my Fulltone MDV-2 (the one with the built in treadle) because it gives very nasty distortion when I play harder through humbuckers (I use 70s SGs mostly). I’ve looked at a bunch of vibe pedals and many of them sound great, but I’m afraid that they may all have this problem to some degree. It looks like you are mostly a Strat player but have you had this problem with any of the vibe pedals you have used, or specifically with the Vibe Machine?

    I’ve been researching vibe pedals like crazy and have this one, the Wilson Haze, and the FoxRox Aquavibe on my list…

    Thanks for posting about this and for the great demo also –

    [UniVibes has less headroom than other modulations but it also depends on how hot your pickups are. Amp headroom and how you set the amp is of course also crucial. UniVibes doesn’t like too much treble so you might want to roll that down on your amp and also use the guitar volume to create a smoother tone. I haven’t experienced any distortion from the DryBell but I think it fits single coils better than humbuckers. Tend to get a bit thin with buckers. The New MoonVibe MkII is considerably darker and has lots of headroom. Works nicely with all sorts of pickups. Still, the one with the most headroom that I’ve played is by far the Effectrode TubeVibe. Sounds huge and sweet even with hot pickups. Definitely worth checking out. – Bjorn]

  47. Rob says:

    Have you tried the FoxRox AquaVibe? I have arrived to a decision between the AquaVibe and the Vibe Machine. They both seem to have the most open sound of every UniVibe pedal I have listened to on youtube. And there is a good comparison of the AquaVibe vs the Fulltone DejaVibe. If it is coming down to input impedance and output impedance I could try a cheaper unit and just use buffers. However, I do like the adjustability of these two units.

    [Never tried the AquaVibe but judging by the clips it sounds somewhat similar to the Machine Vibe with a slightly brighter tone than most other models. I can only speak for the Machine Vibe and I love it! Very versatile and the tone is just amazing :) – Bjorn]

  48. Rick Chicago says:

    Hi
    Love your reviews and airbag is the best, looking forward to your solo album.
    I just got the drybell two weeks ago and I’m not really happy with it. It’s prob cause I don’t know how or when to use it properly(caused I never owned one). I play through a fender 65 Princeton reissue. My pedal board is vibe machine, musket, keeleyBD2, Mooer elec mis, tc electronic delay, carbon copy, tuner, amp.
    It seems when I play with the vibe there is allot of clarity that is lost, even with the brite switch on and I’m on chorus, When I switch it to Vibrato it sounds allot better and clearer except I want to use it with the chorus. I bought this instead of the small stone nano and I borrowed my friends and it sounds great with my set up. Could you please give me some recommendations of what I might be doing wrong.

    Thanks for your kind words, Rick! Not sure I understand… did you borrow your friend’s Machine Vibe and his works and yours doesn’t? If so, you better contact Dry Bell. If I misunderstood… UniVibes does have a lo-fi character to them. Although the Machine Vibe is one of the brighter and more transparent sounding on the market t will take some of the highs. That’s just the nature of the effect. UniVibes also tend to sound harsh and almost choked if blended with too much gain. They sound much more natural with a clean signal or a very mild overdrive. So, in your case it should go nicely with the BD2 but not the Musket. You might also want to experiment with the placement and try placing the Vibe after the BD2… – Bjorn]

  49. Rick says:

    Hi Bjorn
    I went back to basics, my amp treble and bass knobs got moved. I adjusted my whole rig and now sounds sweet. Thanks for helping me out. I’m know ready to Rock!

    [Rock on! – Bjorn]

  50. KEITH says:

    Hey Bjorn, Hendrix’s Uni-vibe didn’t seem to sound too bad when he played the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock. But was it high gain, or ludicrous volume? If it was gain, it sounded great with a uni-vibe, but his volume was so loud, it doesn’t take a great deal of gain to get that huge sound. What do you think?
    Thanks, Keith

    [I think it’s the combination of everything. Those old Marshalls sounds huge when cranked, and Hendrix was known for blowing a few amps in his time. A UniVibe changes character dramatically when you play loud and when you combine it with other pedals. Hendrix blended the cranked Marshall with fuzz and (usually) placed the UniVibe in between. This is very different from David’s setup, which mostly was a clean Hiwatt and the UniVibe… perhaps with a slightly dirty Powerbooster. It makes the UniVibe sound cleaner, more mellow and perhaps even a tad thin. – Bjorn]

  51. Pat says:

    Hey Bjorn,
    which vibe you prefer?
    effectrode tube-vibe or this drybell vibe machine?
    Regards

    [Though one. The Effectrode sounds warmer, sweeter and something you’d almost want to leave on all the time. The VibeMachine is perhaps closer to the old UniVibes, with a more defined tone and an overall more versatile setup… I think the Machine Vibe. – Bjorn]

  52. Pat says:

    Thanks Bjorn for you answer!
    I thinks it help me!!

    Ok last question!!!!!!(hope so)
    Overdrive…..
    If you REALLY need to
    keep only one….

    -Buffalo FX Power Booster
    -Wampler plexidrive
    -Xotic SL Drive
    -Fulltone OCD
    Or another one???

    Sorry for tough question!!!
    Cheers
    Pat

    [Depends on how you intend to use it and what tones you’re looking for. The Plexi or OCD is perhaps the most versatile. The Powerbooster is the best clean booster, whereas the SL drive is really more of a distortion . -Bjorn]

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