Oh the mighty Univibe! Now nearly 50 years old, the warm, uniquely sensual warble can be found smeared over a whole lot of classic Hendrix and Floyd. And there is a huge resurgence in interest in the classic vibe, with new interpretations  from Korg, Fulltone, Eathquaker, and many others. These hardware devices are fantastic but can go to over £500 a piece. What can an amp do against that?

The answer is..an awful lot. Let’s have a look…..

Amplitube

Now. I have issues with Amplitube. The amp models are crude and harsh sounding. I’ve tried single coils and humbuckers and every interface I can find. I cannot find an amp tone I really like.

But the effects are something else.

Amplitube’s Univibe is part of the official Hendrix package and it looks quite beautiful. Amplitube’s FX screen is pretty limited in terms of routing and flexibility but it does allow you to have big knobs (insert gag here) and makes it easy to control.

The tone is simply gorgeous, it;s a rich, soupy, swoopy mix that begs for appegiated chords. I think it is more Hendrix than Gilmour, but really, is that a bad thing. The important thing is that it is an effect of the highest quality.

It will sit quite happily in a Audiobus chain, but I’ve spent several happy hours just with a Strat plugged into the effect, no other effects, no amp, just this Univibe and a smile on my face.

Ampkit Phunk Phaser

And now we go from a detailed copy of the Univibe to an artists impression. There is a fine basic Vibe tone – lacking perhaps the definition and juiciness of the Amplitube but – with the addition of a spread control and a wider range of speed options – there is a more modern tone that some may prefer to the vintage purity of the Amplitube.

Tonestack

Another effect that goes for the classic vintage tone, the Vibrato setting on this is stunning – with a lovely, dreamy meshing of trem and phaser tone. The Chorus effect is bit brittle in comparison, but with the controls set to subtle, there are some great tones here. It is perhaps very slightly weaker than the Amplitube, but my, it is close.

Jamup

Hey, you have a choice of two here. The original package had a Univibe effect that was frankly…not very Univiby at all and was the worse thing in the package. But the recent vintage effect add on gave you a brand new Univibe – called a Classic Vibe.

And it’s rather good..not as detailed or as rich as the Amplitube or Tonestack, but certainly a huge improvement on the Jamup  original.

And thats it…..Bias does not do effects of course and Mobile Pod does not have a Univibe….yet.

So the best one? For richness and authentic tones the Ampitube is the winner here. For something a bit qurkier then the Ampkit is a lot of fun. But frankly, every one I tried here was pretty damn good which is pretty remarkable as hardware units are complex and expensive to make, yet iOS ampsims seem to keep up pretty well with them.

So toodle pip until next time.

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