Dan Becker's - Pedal Performances

Build Your Own Clone Reverb
Build Your Own Clone Reverb
This article is test of various guitar effects pedals. The pedals include Build Your Own Clone (BYOC) digital Reverb, Fulltone SupaTrem, Markbass Compressore, Roger Mayer Voodoo-Vibe, and Weber 5G15 tube Reverb. Each pedal is tested on its own and presented with sound clips demonstrating various settings. The performances were done in one or two takes, so they have many mistakes, but they do show off the capabilities and the sounds of the pedals.

First up is the BYOC Reverb pedal. This is a kit that you build yourself. The build level is beginner to intermediate: I am sure anyone who can solder neatly can tackle this pedal. I have sprayed the project box tan metallic and applied a decal with text and graphics. The interior of the kit is based on the Belton digital reverb unit surrounded by a single circuit board, and various controls and connectors. It is powered by 9V battery, wall transformer, or pedal power supply. A build article on this pedal will be available soon.

The following clips demonstrate various scales and songs with the BYOC pedal on and off. As you can hear, the range of the pedal goes from quiet to monster springiness. I am quite impressed by the low cost, quiet bypass and "over the top" range of this effect. Negative aspects would include the fact that you build it yourself and the narrow usable range of the dials: I wish the changes were more gradual, less all or nothing.


Fulltone Supa-Trem
Fulltone Supa-Trem
Next up is the Fulltone Supa-Trem. The pedal is ultra quiet when engaged or bypassed, and the tremolo goes from not noticeable to helicopter rotor choppiness. The hard/soft button changes the wave shape, and is noticeable in the sound, especially at high mix levels. The speed button doubles the rate setting.

I am very pleased with the sound of the pedal and the transparency of the tone. The big knobs are a plus, something you can adjust with your toes. The only negative for this pedal was the intensely bright seizure-inducing speed LED. As you can see in the photo, I have applied some acrylic paint to reduce the intensity.


Markbass Compressore
Markbass Compressore
Here we have the Markbass Compressore. This pedal is marketed towards bass players, but I enjoy the sound of it for six string guitars as well. The controls are quite versatile, allowing you to go from moderate to intense compression. The attack and release times allow normal compression as well as hard limiting (when you turn the ratio way up.) The gain and release levels help buffer and normalize your guitar signal. The pedal adds a bit of growly coloration to your guitar tone, but it still sounds good to me. The noise level on the pedal is very low, but still hearable at high volumes. The noise level seems to disappear to non-existent once the tube warms up.
Roger Mayer Voodoo-Vibe
Roger Mayer Voodoo-Vibe
Next up is the Roger Mayer Voodoo-Vibe. This pedal is a combination tremolo/vibrato/chorus. The controls allow a very big range of mild to intense sounds from low to high speed. A bias and output level control allow tailoring of the sound quality.

The tremolo is very good. It has very low noise and little tone coloration. The vibrato clips here sound phony at high levels, but gets better with mild or moderate use. The chorus clips sound nice and wobbly. I may have mixed up the vibrato and chorus recordings here. All in all a very quiet and excellent sounding

I don't like the odd speed settings on this device. First you select a rough range with one know and then a fine range with the next. The selector also acts as a hard/soft wave selector. I think the Voodoo-Vibe+ unit has revamped these controls so its a bit more organized. In general, the sound is excellent, and the 3 types of sounds makes this a versatile pedal.


Weber 5G15
Weber 5G15
Our last contender is the Weber 5G15 Reverb. This is not really a pedal, but a Weber redesign of the classic Fender tube spring reverb. In addition to the do-it-yourself kit nature of this design, I have modified the kit to fit from its amplifier case form to a 2U rack cabinet. The original kit is a moderate complexity build, but the mods to change it to new cabinet make this an experts only build. In fact I spent more time on the metal working, drilling, and filing than the electrical connections here. Expect to sink many hours into a labor of love such as this.

The kit is still a work in progress. I intend to publish more photos and thoughts in the near future.For one, I find I still have lots of work to do reducing the noise present in the unit. Noise may have been introduced into the design by my moving of the transformers,or it may come from the grounding scheme I have chosen. In either case, Weber provides no clue or instructions as to how to ground or lower the noise level of the kit. Luckily there are some self-help user forums to try to address the issue.

I can hear some good sounds in there, but the noise floor is very high. I will have to introduce some shielded signal wiring and new ground scheme to combat the noise. In the mean time, listen to what I could produce with the flawed kit.


Sound clips

All performances were recorded with a Vox Virage guitar, a single pedal, fed intothe direct input of a Zoom R16 multi-track recorder. No processing is applied to the recording except to normalize the volume level.

Thanks for visiting the site and reading the article. I hope you enjoyed the detailed photos and comments and had fun listening to the sound clips. More articles are found at the parentGuitars and Music page.


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Last modified: Tuesday, 18-Oct-2011 08:56:01 MST.