Today we’ll learn more about the UniVibe effect with some plugins available in 2023.
The Univibe is a legendary effect that has been a staple on countless guitarists’ pedalboards for over five decades. Developed in the 1960s, this unique modulation effect was originally designed to replicate the sound of a rotating Leslie speaker cabinet used in Hammond B3 organs. However, Jimi Hendrix popularized the effect of the guitar and made it a cornerstone of his signature sound. From “Machine Gun” to “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” Hendrix’s use of the Univibe helped define the sound of ’60s rock and roll.
Since then, the Univibe has remained a favorite among guitarists of all genres and has been featured on countless recordings. From Stevie Ray Vaughan to Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour to John Mayer, the Univibe’s unique modulation has been an essential tool for many of the greatest guitarists in history. With the rise of digital audio technology, virtual versions of the Univibe have become increasingly popular, offering guitarists the same distinctive sound in a more convenient and affordable format.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at a couple of the top Univibe plugins available on the market, comparing their features and capabilities to the original hardware. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a bedroom player, if you’re a fan of the Univibe, you won’t want to miss this virtual showdown. So, let’s dive into the world of Univibe plugins and explore the best options available in 2023.
But first, let’s answer a very common question that many musicians, guitarists, and producers still have:
What’s The Difference Between UniVibe, Phaser, and Chorus?
UniVibe, Phaser, and Chorus are all modulation effects that can add depth and movement to the guitar tone. While they may sound similar initially, each effect has a unique character and function. Understanding the differences between these effects can help guitarists choose the right one for their playing style and sonic goals.
Phaser is a classic modulation effect that was popularized in the 1970s. It creates a sweeping, swirling sound similar to the UniVibe, but with a more pronounced comb filtering effect that gives it a more metallic or futuristic quality. Phaser pedals typically have a range of controls for adjusting the effect’s rate, depth, and resonance, allowing for a wide range of sonic possibilities.
The chorus is an equally popular modulation effect often used more subtly and transparently than the UniVibe or Phaser. It creates a thicker, more shimmering sound by duplicating the original signal and adding a slightly detuned copy. The result is a sound often described as “sparkly” or “watery.” Chorus pedals typically have controls for adjusting the effect’s rate, depth, and mix, allowing for a wide range of subtle or extreme sounds.
And lastly, the UniVibe is a vintage modulation effect that creates a pulsing, swirling sound. It was originally designed to simulate the sound of a rotating speaker cabinet, but it became famous when Jimi Hendrix used it to create his signature tone. UniVibe pedals typically have a few basic controls for rate and depth. Still, the effect is often unpredictable and organic, with a more natural and warm sound than other modulation effects.
In summary, while all three of these effects are modulation effects that can add depth and movement to the guitar tone, they each have a unique character and function. The UniVibe has a more organic, warm sound, while the Phaser has a more metallic, futuristic sound. Chorus, on the other hand, is often used in more subtle and transparent ways. By understanding these differences, guitarists can choose the right effect for their sound and playing style.
The Best UniVibe Plugins 2023
1. Blue Cat Audio PolyVibe
More Info & Price (Trial Available)
Get lost in the swirling depths of modulation with Blue Cat Audio PolyVibe.
Blue Cat Audio PolyVibe is a versatile virtual modulation plugin inspired by the classic UniVibe analog effect. With its intuitive interface and advanced controls, PolyVibe allows guitar players and musicians to create swirling, pulsing tones that have become a hallmark of the UniVibe effect. Offering a range of effects, including chorus, flanger, Phaser, and tremolo, PolyVibe provides a valuable tool for adding depth and movement to any guitar tone.
- Mode selection
Blue Cat Audio PolyVibe includes three different modes: “Classic,” “Reverse,” and “Phase.” The “Classic” mode is designed to emulate the classic sound of UniVibe. It provides a subtle, pulsing effect that adds depth and movement to your sound. On the other hand, the “Reverse” mode flips the modulated signal’s phase, creating a unique and unusual sound. This mode can be particularly useful for creating atmospheric or experimental music. Finally, the “Phase” mode provides a sound that is somewhere between the “Classic” and “Reverse” modes. It produces a more pronounced swirling effect than the “Classic” mode but with less extreme phase inversion than the “Reverse” mode. This mode can be a good choice if you want a more pronounced modulation effect that is less extreme than the “Reverse” mode.
This section is the real responsible for nailing the classic UniVibe modulated sound. You can control parameters such as “Depth,” “Rate,” and “Swing,” aside from a “Stereo” configuration and a “Dephase” mode as well. This is crucial for creating the characteristic sweeping sound of modulation effects with the optimal values for your parameters, thus giving you the perfect sound you always aimed for.
- Motion switch
Located inside the “Filter Shape” section, the “Motion” switch enables two modes: “Normal” and “Opposite.” The former makes the filter move in the same direction according to the frequencies, thus resulting in a more solid and sober effect. Conversely, the latter makes the filtering move in opposite directions, creating a very experimental modulation sound that may be the perfect secret ingredient for your next track or instrument part.
- Swing knob
The “Swing” knob in PolyVibe adjusts the swing applied to the modulation effect. The knob can be adjusted from 0% to 100%, allowing you to set a subtle or strong swing effect. This can be particularly useful for adding a more natural feel to the modulation effect, especially in music that strongly emphasizes rhythm and timing. This tool is useful for producers who want to add a unique rhythmic feel to their music with flexibility and ease.
If you run Blue Cat Audio PolyVibe in a stereo track, you’ll benefit from the “Stereo” knob control in the “LFO” section. In essence, this knob allows you to phase shift the LFOs between the right and left channels, augmenting the stereo effect that such units could provide, just like in an authentic rotary cabinet simulation.
- Mode selection
This plugin is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows Vista or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Blue Cat Audio PolyVibe is a powerful and versatile UniVibe plugin that provides guitar players and producers with a wide range of options for creating classic and modern modulation effects. Whether you want to emulate the classic Uni-Vibe sound or create your unique modulation effects, PolyVibe can be a great choice for nailing the classic swirly effect from the 1960s and 1970s.
2. Plug & Mix Cool-Vibe
More Info & Price (Trial Available)
A dynamic plugin for odd swirl characters.
Plug & Mix Cool-Vibe is a Univibe emulation tool developed by Plug & Mix, a leading company in the audio industry. The plugin offers a range of features that enable you to add unique character and texture to your sound. Based on the classic Univibe pedal, the Cool-Vibe plugin delivers a warm, analog-like sound that can be used to create a range of tones, from classic psychedelic rock to modern ambient and experimental music.
The “Speed” knob control is one of the most important features of the Plug & Mix Cool-Vibe plugin, allowing you to adjust the speed of the modulation effect to create a wide range of tonal colors. This control determines the modulation rate and can be adjusted from slow to fast. The modulation effect is more subtle at slow speeds and produces a gentle, swirling sound. As you increase the “Speed” knob value, the modulation effect becomes more pronounced, producing a fast, swirling sound reminiscent of classic psychedelic rock. This effect can create more intense and dramatic tonal colors, making it a great choice for progressive rock and ambient music genres.
The “Intensity” knob is another important parameter in the Plug & Mix Cool-Vibe that allows you to set the depth of the modulation effect. It determines the amount of modulation applied to the original signal and can be used to create a range of tonal colors, from subtle textures to intense, swirling sounds. The modulation effect is more subtle at lower intensity settings, and the original signal is more prominent. This can add a touch of depth and movement to your sound without being too overpowering. The modulation effect becomes more pronounced using higher intensity settings, creating a more dramatic, swirling sound that is perfect for creating psychedelic or experimental tones.
The three buttons located on the lower section of your user interface screen can activate some interesting UniVibe modes in Plug & Mix Cool-Vibe. The “Sweet” mode explores more subtle sonorities, perfect for adding a modulation effect that does not take too much space in your sound spectrum and adds a bit of bright and swirly tones to your instrument. “Mellow” mode is similar, but with a bit more modulation attached to it while retaining the soft aspect that the UniVibe pedal is capable of; lastly, the “Deep” mode is perfect for more practical uses and requires a heavy modulation going on.
- VU meter
The VU meter included in Plug & Mix Cool-Vibe provides a visual representation of the input and output levels of the plugin, allowing you to monitor the signal and ensure that it is not clipping or distorting. By monitoring the VU meter, you can adjust the input and output levels of the plugin to ensure that your signal is clean and balanced. This can be particularly useful when working with modulation effects, which can sometimes create unpredictable signal spikes and ensure you’ll keep a clean and consistent tone in your entire track.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST, AAX, RTAS, and AU plugin formats.
The Plug & Mix Cool-Vibe plugin is a powerful software emulation of the classic Univibe modulation effect, renowned for its warm, rich, and expressive tonal character. With its intuitive interface and flexible controls, the plugin allows you to easily create a wide range of swirling, pulsing, and immersive sounds, adding depth and movement to your sound. One of the key strengths of Plug & Mix Cool-Vibe is its ability to capture the unique tonal qualities of the original hardware unit while offering a range of modern features and controls for enhancing and refining the effect. Whether you want to add subtle textures and movement to your sound or to create dramatic and experimental tonal colors, the plugin can help you easily achieve your creative vision.
UniVibe is a classic modulation effect that guitarists and producers have used for decades to add warmth, depth, and movement to their sound. Based on the original hardware unit from the late 1960s, the UniVibe has a unique tonal character that is hard to replicate with other modulation effects.
In the digital age, however, a number of software plugins offer faithful emulations of the UniVibe effect, allowing guitarists and producers to access its warm and expressive sound without the need for expensive vintage hardware. In today’s article, we explored two of the top options for UniVibe plugins, comparing their features and tonal qualities to help you decide which one is the right fit for your music.
Both options are suitable for nailing the classic sonority expected from this unit, and it all comes down to testing. You must be the final judge as to which option sounds best in your setup and track, as both Blue Cat Audio PolyVibe and Plug & Mix Cool-Vibe do their job excellently. They provide all the necessary parameters to tweak the perfect vintage tone or the most audacious modern interpretation. Be sure to download the demos and test them thoroughly before buying them.
See you next time!
Eduardo Cardoso is a musician and audio producer based in São Paulo, Brazil. He studied both music production and theory in college and has successfully launched his career as a solo artist in 2021. With over 10 years of experience with the music business, he currently acts as a session musician, music producer, audio editor, and content creator. Read more..