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NPD: JHS Unicorn "Univibe Pedal"

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Buzzin_Cousin, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. Buzzin_Cousin

    Buzzin_Cousin Tele-Holic

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    I’ve been looking at different univibe like pedals for a couple weeks. I was tied between the BBE Soul Vibe and the JHS Unicorn, although I’ve heard that a modded MicroVibe (fixing volume drop) is also a good option. I also briefly looked at the Keeley Monterey. After a brown used Soul Vibe was bought from under me for $53 otd, I looked more into the Unicorn and pulled the trigger on one.

    Since it didn’t come with a power supply and I’m planning on getting a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power, I took it to GC to make sure it worked and that I wanted to keep it. I used a 99 Am std through a Blues Jr. The pedal sounded great. I like the utility of the knobs, and the aesthetic appeal of the pedal. The sound of the pedal was great, and got plenty of attention from people around me. This is my first boutique pedal purchase, and normally I wouldn’t go for one of these….but the rig I’m starting to build requires few pedals (unlike the Rage Against the Machine rig I built a couple of years ago) and so I’m looking for analog quality sound from beginning to end of the chain.


    Any of you guys demoed or own this pedal, or any vibes at all? Love to hear you opinions on this….and I have thick skin, so you can tell me if you do or don’t like the Unicorn.


    The next step for me is looking at fuzzes, and a wah that I can get Hendrix tones out of.


    Hendrix….not SRV…
     
  2. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Congrats!

    I went thru few vibes before getting a JAM Retro Vibe. All done looking!

    It easily beat the Fulltone Deja, the Drybell, and a few others. To my ears, at least.
     
  3. Buzzin_Cousin

    Buzzin_Cousin Tele-Holic

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    R
     

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  4. Buzzin_Cousin

    Buzzin_Cousin Tele-Holic

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    Forgot about the Drybell!

     
  5. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

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    Happy new gear day - although it is a JHS which is somewhat unfortunate. Hopefully the pedals is doing the job that you needed. My favorite Univibe clone is the MJM Sixites Vibe. The powering requirements and the dimensions of the case are a pain, but it does the best uni sound that I have ever come across (and I have tried probably 6-7 different ones over the years). The MJM makes the guitar swim through the amplifier in a beautiful way. The photocell adds a real cool throb that is hard to replicate otherwise and it is a key ingredient to the original. The asymmetrical throbbing is what really separates it from a standard phasing effect.

    There are loads of fuzz faces to start going through... and the current Dunlop offerings are the best place to start. But if you really want to get something that sounds just like a 60s original, Analog Mike is the top of the pile.
     
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  6. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Exactly my thoughts, and experience. For a C note or less, you can get a Dunlop FF Mini. I had the red one (germanium), and it sounded quite nice.

    But the real deal is an Analogman Sunface. I loved mine, which had the NKT 275 white dot very low gain transistor, and the external bias pot ("sun dial knob"). The bias pot was NOT set and forget. These things are sensitive to temperature, so at different times of the day, or for different tones, I'd fine tune. The pedal cleaned up beautifully with the guitar's volume pot.
     
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  7. Buzzin_Cousin

    Buzzin_Cousin Tele-Holic

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    Are you referring to the controversy behind JHS cloning pedals and supporting them? Or a quality issue with JHS pedals, or the sound of them?

    Cool, I'll have to check out the MJM Sixties Vibe.
     
  8. Buzzin_Cousin

    Buzzin_Cousin Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the tip on the Dunlop line and Analog Mike.

    What about getting a Dunlop FF mini and having it modded?
     
  9. Buzzin_Cousin

    Buzzin_Cousin Tele-Holic

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    Did you mod it, and how close was it to the analogman? Was the analogman sunface $100 nicer?


    Were these mods or do they come with the Analogman sunface stock?
     
  10. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I modded neither of them. I bought my Sunface direct from Mike, and just specified everything from the start. If you look at http://www.buyanalogman.com/Analog_Man_Sun_Face_p/am-sun-face.htm you'll see the options that are currently available. They change over time with availability.

    The NKT 275 transistors are NOS, and in extremely short supply, perhaps now gone completely, and only available by purchasing someone's used pedal. They're rapidly becoming collector's items.

    The two pedals sound completely different. The Dunlop is not a cheaper 'replacement', or an upgrade path, to a Sunface.

    Was my Sunface $100 nicer than the Dunlop? I honestly don't know what that means. My ears don't know how much things cost. And what is a lot of money for one person is peanuts for the next guy. I do know that you're looking at considerably more than $100 extra for a NKT 275 Sunface.

    Thing is, there are about a zillion fuzz face clones out there. All sound different. If you want to dive in, be prepared to own a bunch. Buy used, audition, A/B, and sell.

    If you just get a used Dunlop germanium mini, you could be fine for a long time. Like this:

    https://reverb.com/item/3566196-used-dunlop-fuzzface-guitar-effect-pedal

    Or you could get a non NKT 275 SF, like one of these. At these prices, roughly, you won't lose when you sell.

    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/in...st-all-the-options-185.1772515/#post-23170199
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/in...don-bmf-sisy-whe-rhino.1769796/#post-23081325
     
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  11. Buzzin_Cousin

    Buzzin_Cousin Tele-Holic

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    Thanks, Moosie! for the wealth of information and links. I will definitely check this out, and may end up with a Dunlop fuzz face. Do you have a preference regarding red or blue?
     
  12. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I owned the red. It's germanium, which has that special loose grind that I prefer, and it cleans up extremely well with the guitar's volume pot. Crank fuzz all the way, level to taste, and then manage it from the guitar all night long.

    The standard blue one is silicone, not germanium. So is the current production blue Hendrix version. Silicone is a much 'tighter', more aggressive sound, the way I hear it. Not as pleasing.

    Look at the Analogman site to see the notations for the various transistors offered. The variants of NKT 275 are all germanium. He typically offers the best (still) available germanium, or silicone, at various gain levels, all laboriously hand selected and auditioned on the workbench. That's why Mike's shop is the hands down best FF cloner working today.
     
  13. Buzzin_Cousin

    Buzzin_Cousin Tele-Holic

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    Thanks Moosie. I'll look further into this. appreciate your information.
     
  14. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Er... meant to say SILICON, not silicone. Bathtub caulk doesn't have good tone :)


    ...or does it?
     
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  15. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

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    OP....If you're looking for "Hendrixy, late 1960s sounding" boutique stuff, look at Wilson Effects. Most non gear nerd (I'm a gear nerd, so not a diss) folks have never heard of Wilson Effects. I'm a huge fan. Hand built, one man shop, excellent customer svc, and some of the highest quality wahs and fuzz fuzzes available, but reasonably priced (though not cheap). I have 2 Wilson wahs, a Haze(univibe) and a Fuzz (ultra versatile Tone Bender circuit). GREAT stuff!
     
  16. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just to confuse you more, I've gone through the Fuzz Exercise too. If you are considering the red Fuzz Face, look at the Trachouse 70's Fuzz. It's all that and a little more, a little cheaper, and fits the pedal board better than the round box.

     
  17. Buzzin_Cousin

    Buzzin_Cousin Tele-Holic

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    I remember the look of that fuzz but didn't listen to any sound clips. I will add this to my list. Thanks for the info!
     
  18. Buzzin_Cousin

    Buzzin_Cousin Tele-Holic

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    Based on the website (copy below), it's got the silicon instead of germanium. Doesn't the red fuzz face have germanium? And is the dunlop red FF have the real guts, or just mass produced average guts?

    "Trachouse has taken great care in duplicating the 70’s sound by using the 2n3904 silicon transistors vs. the germanium transistors. The fuzz layout went to transistors because of the scarcity of germanium transistors during the 70’s period."
     
  19. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

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    [​IMG]

    The Hendrix Zone on my big board
     
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  20. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    Cuz, I believe that you are correct on the germanium/silicon. Thing is, that's why I bought the red mini FF in the first place. Side by side however, the silicon responded to the guitar volume better, and the gain came on a little earlier on the dial. Neither sounded better, I just liked how the silicon felt with response to the guitar. The video did a good job demonstrating it. They left the fuzz full up, and I think that's the best way to use it. The FF especially, because the dirt doesn't really kick in until 2:00 anyway.

    Bottom line, germanium does not sound automatically better than silicon, but you may need to experience for yourself because 'feel' is also involved. Listen for what you like, and who cares what it's made out of.

    As far as 'real guts' in the FF - I don't think many fuzz pedals are true to the original transistors without the high dollars for un-obtanium parts (Analog Mike). Even the originals have fairly inconsistent response from one to another, so they may not necessarily be the Holy Grail.

    I'm sure the Wilsons sound good, and I have a RonSound fuzz too, but they all have some huge boxes and higher prices.
     
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