Can you imagine a world without sound effects? What would our music be like if we did not have so many options on hand? I am pretty sure you are having a hard time picturing such kind of parallel universe. We are so used to having an abundance of choices that we often forget to appreciate how lucky we are to be alive in technological era. Sometimes we lose the ability of cherishing individual things on their own. Take a minute and think, if you had to choose only one audio effect, what would it be? For me, that would be vibrato. This will probably sound quite odd, because, let’s be honest, it is not a go-to-effect for many musicians. However, I fancy its somewhat unique and different nature and I absolutely love the way it changes my sound. If you have ever played with this one, you know what I am talking about. If not, then keep on reading, because I will help you find the best vibrato pedal, so that you can become a proud member of our modulation family.
Top 5 Best Vibrato Pedals
|Diamond Vibrato - Analog Vibrato||(5 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Boss VB-2W Vibrato Effects Pedal||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|TC Electronic Shaker Vibrato Pedal||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Dunlop M68 Uni-Vibe Chorus/Vibrato||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|BEHRINGER ULTRA VIBRATO UV300||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
Diamond Vibrato – Analog Vibrato
I always get excited when I start talking about boutique pedals. Even though they are a bit more expensive than others, their quality and performance make them worth every penny. Diamond Vibrato features all the sweetness and characteristics of an analog circuit. Its bucket brigade design allows this pedal do break the boundaries and take your music to a whole new level. It has simple controls: with typical Speed and Depth knobs you can change the rate and intensity of the effect; the Volume knob modifies the level of the overall output, while Chorus takes care of the chorus itself, which can be doubled due to the circuitry of the pedal. Additionally, Diamond Vibrato has two switches: Jazz makes the Vibrato a bit darker, while High does the opposite. This pedal is a true bypass, guaranteeing the elimination of noise when switched off. If you are looking for an accurate and natural vibrato effect along with defined chorus, look no further.
- Offers two effects
- Extremely powerful and durable
- A bit pricey
Boss VB-2W Vibrato Effects Pedal
Boss VB-2W is an improved version of its predecessor. It features an analog circuit and delivers all the remarkable qualities of the bucket brigade chips. Just like all the pedals of this brand, VB-2W is extremely durable and sturdy, featured in a classic Boss body. This model has added an input jack and allows you to connect an expression pedal for more control. The knobs of this one are quite standard: the first two are Rate and Depth, which modify the speed and intensity of the effect; the third is Rise which sets how gradually the effect reaches its peak in latch mode; the fourth knob is a mode selector, giving you the option to choose between Latch, Bypass (guarantees full transparency and no signal interference when switched off) and Unlatch (activates the effect momentarily) modes. Below the knobs, you will see a slide, which lets you choose between Custom and Standard modes. The former delivers a darker and deeper vibrato, while the latter replicates the sounds of the original VB-2. In short, Boss VB-2W will provide you with amazing performance and natural sound.
- Extremely durable
- Quiet operation
- Analog circuit
- Powerful vibrato effect
- A bit expensive for the features it offers
- Rate cannot be controlled with the expression pedal
TC Electronic Shaker Vibrato Pedal
When speaking of TC Electronic, we cannot avoid praising the amazing qualities that TonePrint has to offer. This is an app that can be connected to an array of their pedals and provides an abundance of versatility. Shaker Vibrato is no exception. It goes up in high gear as soon as you turn the app on. This feature can be activated using a toggle switch (by setting to TonePrint), which also allows you to choose between Vibrato and Latch (the effect is activated when the footswitch is pressed and held) modes. In addition, this pedal has four knobs for controlling the parameters of your sound: Speed and Depth, which are essential to any vibrato pedal, modify the rate and intensity of the effect, Rise sets how fast the maximum potential of vibrato will appear, while the Tone strives to find the perfect balance between bright and dark notes. Shaker Vibrato is a quality pedal that delivers the effect precisely and leaves a lot of room for versatility.
- Versatile sound due to the TonePrint
- Very durable
- Classic vibrato tones
- Drains the battery
- Might drop the volume
Dunlop M68 Uni-Vibe Chorus/Vibrato
The original Uni-Vibe was introduced to the market back in ‘60s. Its classic design and quality sound made it popular with a lot of musicians. Dunlop decided to renovate it and created M68, which maintains all the good qualities of the original pedal. It is a combination of chorus and vibrato effects, which makes its sonic possibilities stand out in the crowd. The controls on its simple enclosure are very easy to operate: it has standard Speed, Depth and Level knobs. The first two alters the rate of the effect and the profundity of the shift appearing in signal frequencies. The Level knob modifies the volume of the output and can act as a boost and EQ as well. M68 Uni-Vibe has a small toggle switch that allows you to choose between vibrato and chorus modes. Its compact design and Leslie-like vibes make this pedal a must-have for every pedalboard.
- Easy to use
- An array of vibrato and chorus sounds
- Small size
- Vibrato is quite subtle at lower settings
- Mode button is too small
BEHRINGER ULTRA VIBRATO UV300
BEHRINGER has been a staple among affordable pedals for a while now. Their pedals do the job well, even better than some of the higher-end ones at the fraction of the price. The same goes with Ultra Vibrato. It is true, though, that build quality is not that great and will not withstand too much abuse. If you are a gentle user, you will be fine. When it comes to the controls, everything is quite simple and mainstream here: it features Rise, Rate and Depth knobs, that modify the parameters their names indicate on. Additionally, Ultra Vibrato has a mode selector, which allows you to shift between Unlatch, Bypass, and Latch modes. Keep in mind that the bypass is not true, so expect some sonic interference with this one. These features are quite surprising for a pedal at this price. Thumbs up to BEHRINGER for producing such a decent pedal.
- Extremely affordable
- Simple to operate
- Adjustable latch mode
- Classic vibrato tones
- Not the best build quality
- Not a true bypass
What’s the difference between vibrato and tremolo?
Music history remembers many misunderstandings. Sometimes unintentional mistakes turn into lingering conceptions that confuse even the professionals. A simple fallacy that supposedly started in 1954 (when Fender developed a Stratocaster and labeled it as a tremolo system) had a great impact on implementing interchangeable usage of vibrato and tremolo pedals. At first glance, you might think that the difference between the two is not that noticeable and, therefore, should be ignored but in terms of sound and performance, they are far cry from each other. I will discuss each of them and, hopefully, put an end to this unreasonable misconception once and for all.
Vibrato is a modulation effect that occurs when the pitch of the signal is altered periodically. To put it simply, it changes up the frequencies and mixes wet signals with your initial sound. This way a sort of “vibrating”, “trembling” tone is created. On the contrary, tremolo modifies the sound without interfering with its pitch. Rather, it causes the volume to fluctuate, thus, producing rhythmical repetitions of the notes. In musical terms, they both thicken up the tones and create an illusion of more than one instrument being played. If you compare them side to side, you will notice that vibrato is way more natural than tremolo and that their sonic characteristics are easily distinguishable.
Now that you know what the effect does, let’s move on to discussing the features that perfect vibrato pedal should possess.
Qualities of the best vibrato pedal
When speaking of musical devices and their characteristics, I always say that it all depends on your taste and preferences. What I mean to imply is that when it comes to determining the best features of a certain unit, your individual views come into play. The type of musician you are and the techniques you employ will define how you perceive each and every parameter. Whether you play in a band or solo will make a difference as well. However, there are specific features that even the simplest vibrato pedal should have in order to deliver the effect properly. Let’s dive into describing them and find out, what are the things you require from a decent pedal.
Since vibrato is a rhythmical effect, it hugely relies on the speed of pitch shifting. That is why even the most basic pedal will have a Speed (might be labeled as Rate) control. Due to its wave-like nature, the intensity plays a huge role as well. For this reason, Depth falls under the category of essential knobs as well. These two together provide you with rudimentary control that might be enough for many, but too basic for the rest.
The majority of fancy pedals offer Rise control. This is where things get a bit more interesting. It allows you to set how fast your vibrato reaches the peak of its sonic potential. Rise adds texture to your sound and creates a whole new dimension. If you like to tweak even the minutia of your tones, you should definitely look for this feature.
Apart from main controls, a lot of vibrato pedals offer additional effects, such as chorus. This two get on like a house on fire and can provide you with an ethereal performance. Having an extra effect on hand is always a good idea and gives you the option to step up your game in a blink of an eye.
In conclusion, choosing the best vibrato pedal is not that difficult. All you have to do is consider carefully the information I have provided. In the list above I tried to include all the best deals on the market, so that you would not have to. I really hope I have contributed to making this process easy for you, since I know all the head-wrecking even a single pedal can cause. Stop hesitating my friend, because the more time you waste overthinking, the less you have left on experimenting (but this does not mean that you should make a rash decision). Go out there, purchase the pedal of your choice and let the magic happen!
Hi, this was a great article on the pedals and differences between tremolo and vibrato. However would like to ask your opinion and research on sounds made in the 60’s using “Vibrato”. If you listen to Lonnie Mack’s recordings especially “Susie-Q” you’ll hear what sounds like a leslie rotating speaker effect when in fact he used a Magnatone amp with a special vibrato circuit as did many other popular records such as the String-Alongs hit record “Wheels”. I’m look for a pedal that I can reproduce these kinds of sounds. Additionally there was an album by The Ventures “Flights of Fantasy” that had a very dominant vibrato effect. Any info on what pedal would best reproduce these sounds would be appreciated. Thanks, Bob Spalding/Ventures