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The Vibe effect is essentially a heavily tweaked phase shifter, meant to produce lush chorus and vibrato sounds a la the Leslie Rotary Speaker. That was the goal for UniVox at least, who released the Uni-Vibe in 1968 to offer musicians an affordable alternative to an expensive and bulky rotary speaker cabinet. The phase effect is a similar form of modulation, created by splitting your signal into two paths and mixing an altered signal with evenly spaced notches in the frequency spectrum. The distinct peaks and valleys in the signal occur when certain frequencies in both signal paths cancel each other out, making the whooshing sound we know and love. The difference between that and the Vibe is that the frequency filters are staggered rather than layered, creating a deeper and more hypnotic effect. The richness and clarity of the RetroVibe come from the use of photocell resistors and a bulb, just like the original Uni-Vibe. Using an optical circuit creates distortion free modulation that gives the chorus and vibrato tones exceptional depth. In fact the original Vibrato circuits created for Fender amplifiers operated on photocell technology.
In terms of layout the RetroVibe is almost identical to the Uni-Vibe while taking up considerably less real estate. It features Depth and Speed knobs, a Chorus/Vibrato switch and expression pedal out for real-time speed control. One special addition to the RV is an internal trimmer that lets you set the overall intensity of the effect. However, the factory setting is guaranteed to handle the full spectrum of Retro-Fun, from Trower's "Bridge of Sighs", Hendrix's "Machine Gun" and Pink Floyd's "Breathe". One of the major improvements on the RetroVibe is the ability to produce a much sweeter doppler effect at high speeds, which was never quite right on the original Uni-Vibe. Combined with the Chorus or Vibrato effects you can achieve the dizzying sounds of a Leslie cab with impressive accuracy.
As with every JAM pedal, the Retro Vibe nails the spirit of the original while improving flexibility, noise and reliability. It's not cheap, but for the true effect connoisseur, the JAM Retro Vibe is without peer.
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