Typically, musicians tend to romanticize certain sounds and units. We all have heard people rave about the vintage pedals that created the performance that later on everybody tried to emulate. Those tones were made possible with specific apparatus and as the time passed by, the majority of them either disappeared or saw their last light. For that reason, an overarching trend began: every brand out there began striving towards the pedals that would be able to replicate the sounds of vintage originals, gaining countless customers and deserving an amazing reputation.
Uni-Vibe is just like that. No matter whom you talk to, if you speak about vibrato, you will most likely hear them mention this particular unit. It had a specific character that could envelop you in a complete psychedelia by emulating the sound of Leslie rotary speakers. Though it was beloved by countless musicians and even gave birth to some hits from Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, we have to admit – the thing was awkward and extremely inconvenient to assemble and play. It lacked the flexibility modern pedals carry and it was its biggest flaw. Luckily, nowadays brands like Dunlop (MXR) try to deliver the same character with modern technology and approaches. Their M68 Uni-Vibe shares its core performance with the legendary Uni-Vibe while retaining a special character of its own. If you want this pedal to be a part of your rig, then I think you should read this article carefully and purchase it right away. Let’s begin!
Before diving into the actual features, there is one thing that should be pointed out: even though M68 Uni-Vibe emulates the sound of Uni-Vibe, it is not a copy that shares the same circuitry or components. MXR just found a way to achieve the same result with modern technology and in my opinion, they succeeded at that a great deal. The newer version features the FET based circuitry which creates the effect and gives it all the characteristics it needs. This compact beast offers two different effects in one body: it combines chorus with vibrato and gives you a wide array of options to experiment with. All that is made possible without complicating the layout and keeping things extremely simple. M68 Uni-Vibe has a true bypass that makes sure that your tone remains intact. This way you won’t lose important features of your sound when the pedal is disengaged. And though it has become so common that we usually forget to appreciate it, true bypass is something we would all lack if it were not included. We cannot skip discussing the design with this one, as this pedal strives to retain that vintage character in that section as well. Here we have a grey body that contains the circuitry, while the surface is covered in black, matte paint that is topped with white writings and glossy black knobs. This design will remind you of the Uni-Vibe immediately, and remind you of those days when you had to connect so many things to a unit just to achieve the same results. M68 Uni-Vibe is definitely the one to consider if you are looking for those Leslie sounds. MXR, you have done it again!
The character of Uni-Vibe wouldn’t have been caught if MXR hadn’t assembled such an intuitive control section. All these encoders help you target various properties in your sound deliberately and change them the way your heart dictates. M68 Uni-Vibe won’t take you too much time to tweak, yet you will have to spend some time with it to grasp all of its options and capabilities. Just to make everything clear, let’s break down all the controls we have here.
The first knob you will encounter is Speed. It changes the rate of the modulation and enables you to go from slow to medium to extreme. Then you will notice Level knob, which changes the volume of the overall output while simultaneously opening up the effect and giving you more expansive opportunities. Depth typically takes care of the intensity of the effect and enables you to saturate your sound fully or employ smaller amounts. There is one more button here: Vibe allows you to choose either chorus and vibrato with ease and toggle between them whenever needed. Traditionally, the bottom part of the effect features a true bypass footswitch that will immediately activate/disengage the pedal as you press it.
The sound of MXR M68 Uni-Vibe is so multi-faceted that it might take you a while to locate all those beautiful spots in the spectrum, but once you do, it will all turn into a pure enjoyment. The chorus on this one is pronounced even at lower settings, saturating the whole performance with organic overtones, delayed magic or speedy overflows. Moving on to the vibrato section, you will notice that the effect starts to show itself really slowly. You will have to rotate the Speed clockwise quite a bit to finally hear it. But once vibrato decides to join the party and make an appearance, it will submerge your sound in all sorts of good stuff: starting from slow pulses to rhythmic, fast psychedelia. M68 Uni-Vibe manages to capture the exact character of original Uni-Vibe, especially with its organic and natural qualities. These two shine through the whole experience as there is not a single part of the sonic spectrum where this thing gets artificial. Don’t be lazy to explore everything this baby has for you and trust me, you will never want to look the other way.
Though it is really nice to have vibrato effects that take a different route and offer unique effect that doesn’t have Leslie character, it does also feel amazing to be able to come back to Uni-Vibe classics at such an affordable price. M68 Uni-Vibe will take you on a long, joyful, thrilling journey that will reward you with excitement with every step on the way. Whether you are into those vintage sounds, this one deserves to be played by everyone who is interested in vibrato. Good luck!
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