If you look at the recent development of events, you will notice that cheap pedal brands are creating a really harsh competition for the more expensive lines. They manage to capture the same vibes but still maintain the low price point, which leaves us wondering, is it worth paying ten times more when you can get something at such a low cost? The answer, of course, depends on the specific circumstances, yet there is a simple truth behind it: these cheaper versions cannot substitute the originals they were based on, but can come really close. So close that they will allow budget players to save a lot of money and still get the chance to experiment the sounds they long for so much. All brands have their own copycats and for Boss, it happens to be Behringer. It does not take too much intelligence or experience to see the similarities between their pedals and if the latter manufacturer manages to keep up their game, they might even turn into a legitimate rival to the Boss. The pedal we are going to discuss today is a knock-off version of the renowned VB-2 from Boss. It is called Ultra Vibrato and promises to deliver amazing results. Though you might know what the general pattern will be here, you should still be ready to be surprised. After all, those Chinese brands know how to amaze their customers. Let’s see what we have here!
If Boss VB-2 and Behringer Ultra Vibrato were siblings, they would definitely be twins, but not identical. They do share similarities in their appearance, yet they both have some unique personal characteristics. Let’s be honest – the part where Boss is really hard to beat is the build quality of their products. If you went on a journey to find their pedal with crappy chassis, you would probably fail because I don’t think such a thing exists (at least I have not encountered yet). When it comes to Behringer and their Ultra Vibrato, the chassis isn’t early as rugged and sturdy as with Boss. It is way more fragile and will probably fall apart easily unless you take a good care of it. If you are abusive player, you might want to skip this one. But this pedal really succeeds in other parts of the pedal. It offers three modes of operation: Latch, Unlatch and Bypass. The first one activates the effect as you tap the footswitch once, the second one requires you to press and hold in order to steep desired sections with vibrato and the third one simply disengages the pedal and lets you bypass it. Speaking of which, you might notice some tonal suction in that process so beware of that and take precautionary measures. Typically, Ultra Vibrato can be powered either with a single 9V battery or an adapter. It is equipped with an LED that acts as a check indicator and displays when your battery is close to dying. This way you can get yourself ready for whatever venue or scenario you have ahead of you. All in all, this pedal from Behringer does an amazing job at creating wonderful performance and giving you options to work with.
Those surprising qualities continue in the control section as well. Here we have a full scope of encoders that you might need for creating vibrato. You don’t have to worry about being unable to tame the beast since you have every means for that here. You can just insert a battery or connect an adapter, plug it in and start playing immediately. You can easily grasp everything along the way, but let me give you a brief overview so that you are prepared.
The control panel start with the Mode selector, which enables you to choose either of the three available modes (Unlatch, Latch and Bypass). It is followed by Rise knob, which determines the time it takes for the vibrato to reach its peak settings. Rate alters the rate of the modulation and hugely defines how intense the effect will be. Depth also defines the amount of vibrato added to your sound, so that you can go from subtle sounds to fully steeped ones easily. The footswitch, of course, is required to trigger the effect and don’t forget that it should be utilized in conjunction with the mode selector. That basically rounds up everything we have in the control section of Ultra Vibrato.
Let’s be honest, even though Behringer Ultra Vibrato shares the basic characteristics of Boss VB-2, and has the same vibes in its sound as well, it still cannot deliver the quality you would get if you paid 5 times more. If you can, it will be better to splurge on the original. But if you don’t require something sophisticated and want just a typical vibrato, then this might be the perfect option for you. Its effect is of decent quality and can be really useful when utilized with other effects. It won’t be defined in all the frequency spectrums but, again, it creates the sounds that are good enough for most scenarios. If you are a gigging musician, you should look elsewhere since this one won’t hold up with qualities. But it can be a really useful tool in your bedroom to nail vibrato down and learn how to master its features. It can be tweaked to perfection and utilized on the smaller parts of your song, just so you know.
When comparing the pedals that are so far from each other with their prices, there is always a risk of cheaper one not working out as well as the expensive one. However, in this particular case, Behringer Ultra Vibrato is quite a decent pedal on its own. It can add texture and beautiful swooshes to your sound with little to no effort, and all of that at an extremely affordable price. If you aren’t too picky about your vibrato, go for this one as it will do the trick. Good luck!
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