The Uni-Vibe seems to finally have gotten its well earned renaissance. Its haunting, throbbing phase tones captures the essence of the late 60s and early 70s and of course, if you’re a Hendrix, Trower or Gilmour fan, owning one is a must. A few years back I did a review of the Moon-Vibe from Electronic Orange. Now, the MkII has arrived and I know many of you have been waiting eagerly. Here’s my review.
The original Moon-Vibe, or the MkI, was one of the first Uni-Vibes I played that actually sounded like the old legend – the Shin-ei Uni-Vibe. It’s a funny story because the Uni-Vibe was actually designed to emulate a rotating speaker cabinet but it doesn’t sound anything like it. The original circuit was also very noisy and unreliable. It had a magical tone though, and the Moon-Vibe captured that lo-fi, swhoosh and throb.
The MkII is basically the same pedal as the MkI. It sounds very similar and it looks more or less the same. The casing has been upgraded with a sturdy custom enclosure, protecting the pedal from severe stage abuse. There are a few very cool upgrades to the circuit though. An internal trimmer allows you to adjust overall brightness/darkness of the sound to your own taste. The old “vintage/modern” switch featured in the MkI is omitted.
My favourite change though is the new control on the front, marked “symmetry”. A trim located inside the MkI had a similar function but now, you can fully control the light and dark throb of the phasing with a wide range control. This again, interacts with the intensity and speed controls. A huge improvement to the UniVibe circuit, in my opinion.
The Symmetry allows you to fine tune your tone. Fuzz and UniVibe together often sound very harsh and thin but lowering the intensity a bit and rolling the Symmetry counter clockwise, adds a warm and dark phasing, with a deep and pronounced throb. On most units, if you want lower speed settings for your cleans, you need to boost the intensity quite a bit but that sounds too throbby. However, roll the Symmetry clockwise and get a nicely balanced top end, without all that heartbeat throb.
The Moon-Vibe is also one of the very few on the market that manages to produce those almost tremolo-like tones for Any Colour You Like. Whereas most units tend to either sound moddy or too flat on higher speeds, the Moon-Vibe stays remarkably focused and the Symmetry control makes it even easier to dial in just the right depth.
So I guess you know by now that I’m thrilled about the new MkII. Apart from the changes and upgrades discussed above, I also think that the overall slightly darker tone of this pedal is what, or one of the things, that sets it apart from most clones on the market. Uni-Vibes can often sound too bright and it can be a real pain to get the tones you want for smaller, typical bedroom setups. The Moon Vibe MkII is by far the best “bedroom Uni-Vibe” I’ve played and not just because of how it blends with boosters and fuzz pedals but different amps and pickups too. The featured clip is recorded with a Fender Blues Jr III.
Like the MkI, the MkII can be operated on either 18 or 24V for maximum headroom. It feature true bypass switching and a dead silent circuit. Check out Electronic Orange for more details.