Fact  or  Funk
WTF?

 

Many of our customers and others have brought to our attention statements being made by vibe makers which cause confusion about real vintage Uni-Vibe's and modern built vibes. Let's be kind and just call these statements "less than accurate" BS.

Please note the following information is not intended to be a "bash-fest". Certain names are mentioned here only because they are spreading the majority of the self-serving BS about uni-vibes, and while Fuller and Inugami (aka; Jun Dog God) are mentioned specifically, it is also true that many of these less than accurate things are also quoted by other vibe makers in their advertising and on the internet and in discussion forums.

This webpage is intended to focus on this less than accurate mis-information in the interest of clearing-the-air. While there is certainly nothing wrong with hype'ing one's own product for proper business reasons is fair enough, but fostering mojo'ism with less than accurate BS isn't cool, and trash-talk'in about others certainly isn't cool (or necessary) either. We get weary having to address and answer other peoples "stuff" for our own customers benefit so we're posting it here for the benefit of all.

 

Before we focus on the details, for references here are some screen captures of a couple of webpages which host the majority of mis-information going around. We did "screen captures" here for the sake of copyright laws (we own the images of our own monitor screen, and their rights) and it avoids posting links to pages that may likely have changed without notice of course. You can click on a pic below for a close-up so you can read/verify statements made for yourself. From here forward we will simply refer to Fuller as "MF" and Inugami (JunDogGod) as "JD".

 


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Now let's get after it and
De-Bunk the Funk...

 

BUNK #1 - Reproduction & NOS Photocells

(MF) "So when the new booteek company of the month says "uh, I make a more exact copy of the original... SMACK!... sorry Boy... you can't get more accurate than EXACT"

(JD) "...dead stock parts...although they are vintage parts, they remain in excellent condition hence it is possible to successfully reproduce the original Uni-Vibe sound."

MF talks about having photocells made "knock-off's of four of my best" (his words) he even has a couple pictures of his MDV and a real Uni-Vibe so we might as well start with having a closer look at this.

The following pictures were taken by me, of a real vintage uni-vibe and their products (an MDV and a Heavens Vibe) on my workbench showing the photocells. It's very easy for anyone to plainly see that MF and JDG photocells are definately not "exact" or "nos" and unlike real vintage Uni-Vibe photocells:

 

Original Uni-Vibe photocells:

 

MF's "knock-off's" photocells:

 

JD's "vintage" photocells:


Figure-1a

 

The photocells in MF's vibes, and everyone else's for that matter, are what is known as "new production" photocells made from the same stuff by the same Mfr's as all new production photocells made today.

Nothing new, different, or special here because all new production photocells use modern processes and materials (ie; "recipie") and are easily spotted by their much skinnier patterns. Notice how they have more "squiggles" which are also thinner than real vintage photocells which can easily be seen in these close-up's:

 


Figure-1b

 

The simple fact is there are actually only a (very) few photocell makers left in the world today spanning the entire globe that make all the photocells in production today, none are manufatured in America or Japan, so know that there is no "special source" to be had. Original Uni-Vibe photocells were made from a very different process of Cadmium-Sulfide (call it a different 'recipie'), they used a different layer width, thickness, dimension (notice the snake-like squiggles). They were made differently than new production photocells are made.

 

 

BUNK #2

(MF) "The original 1960's Vibe's (and our) photocells have tall sides and a glass top which react differently according to how much light actually gets let in."

All we can say here is that MF may not have seen many real Uni-Vibes up-close and personal or he would surely know that statement is not true.

The pictures below show early and late production Uni-Vibe's photocells and how the sides of the cells look, you can clearly see the "tall sides theory" is (at best) only true in some late production units which had tall photocells and also short bulbs:

 

Original Uni-Vibe photocells:

 

MF claims his "knock-off's" are exact but clearly we can see they are not:
(check the "squiggles", and his bulb)

MF's "correct" photocells:

 

JD claims "original NOS parts", but clearly they are not:

JD's "NOS" photocells:


Figure-2

 

Here is a picture of the photocells and lamp in what I believe is the best sounding Uni-Vibe to ever to come across my workbench. It is the main one (one of three) that I base my own Classic Vibe CV-2TM and Vibe-Baby CV-2TM sound on, notice the photocells are not tall, and the lamp is tall which is just the opposite of MF and JD versions:

 

 

BUNK #3 - Hermetically Sealed LDRs

(MF) "We're the only small company (who can quite frankly afford) to have the correct Glass covered, hermetically sealed photocells Custom-made..."

 

This funk about using hermetically sealed photocalls to sound more like a vintage vibe is seen, heard, and re-gurgitated all over the internet, in music stores, from "effects gurus", and "engineers", but this is simply more BS.

Having done my own extensive testing over the years (tone, light response, speed, etc) with several dozen new production LDRs from different sources and mfr's, comparing the results to original LDRs from vintage Uni-Vibe's I can say without a doubt that the (ceramic-wafer) LDR which is inside a hermetic sealed package acts no differently w/o the hermetic case, period, end of (that) story.

In fact even a normal average-guy (non-electronics) person can just look closely and see that a hermeticaly-sealed LDR is acually made from a normal ceramic-wafer photocall which is placed inside a metal/glass package and hermetically sealed, it's the same photocell peep's!


Figure-3a

 

With or without the hermetic glass sealed package, no tone difference, but plenty of mileage to be made with mojo'ism and less than accurate BS.

 

Notice that Dunlop and JunDog don't buy into Bunk #3, the "tall sides" theory...


Figure-3b

 

 

 

BUNK #4 - The Lamp

(MF) "...but don't look at the size of the Glass, look at the size of the Filament (wire inside the glass)! We got it right.. And this is crucial to achieve the correct amount of brightness..."

(JD) "...Hard-to-find lamp...product of the same standard as use to original Uni-vibe...vintage parts made in Japan. "

The filament type is indeed a factor but equally so is Mscp (light output) of the bulb and even more crucial is the filament voltage and how the lamp is biased.

In original vintage Uni-Vibes, the early models used the C2V filament, which has a single arm support for the filament in an inverted "V" shape. The T1 lamp in MF's vibes has a C2F filament can be seen below is held up by dual arm support in an inverted U shape. So did MF "got it right"?, not so much:

 


original vintage lamp with C2V filament  -vs-  MF's lamp with C2F filament

 

An original Uni-Vibe lamp/bulb is much taller and has a longer filament which this gives the original a different "throb/lope" than using a low voltage T1/C2F lamps.

 


Figure-4
JD's lamp with C2F filament

JD's bulb is clearly not a vintage NOS lamp, in fact it's a modern T1-3/4 industry standard bulb. The standard lamp designations for envelope and bases "TX-xx" were not developed until long after the end of Uni-Vibe's manufactured period so JD's claim about "same standard as use to original Uni-vibe", well, not so much.

 

 

BUNK #5 - A Shiny Cover

(MF) "...the aluminum cover protecting the photocells... is the inside of your clone mirrored? Too bad, the original Univibe's was and so is ours, and that's the only way to get the proper light reflection inside the photo-array. It's all in the details."

We hear this funk all the time, but in fact anyone who thinks this way just hasn't seen many real, original, vintage, Uni-Vibe's up-close and personal.

The Uni-Vibe's light shield was made from aluminum sheet stock which had a brushed finish on one side, and was polished on the other. Most early manufactured Uni-Vibe's light shields were made with the brushed finish on the inside, and the shiny finish on the outside.

I suspect the polished-vs-brushed aspect and which side (inside or out) was most likely a side effect of manufacturing where the operator of the cutting and bending operation would have loaded the blank stock in whatever manner they did and was probably not a "specification" of the part (this is only my suspition) but coincidentally the shiny side in showed up mostly in the later manufactured units so if you want to sound like the later production vibes you would emulate this aspect.
(it is widely acknowleged that early Uni-Vibes sounded best, but dont tell MF ...LOL!)

 



Figure-5a

 

Interestingly, Dunlop was also on the shiny finish inside group with their discontinued UV-1:


Figure-5b

 

 

BUNK #6 - Transistors

"they say only 2SC828's will get authentic vintage Uni-Vibe tone"

 

I get asked this question quite often, and certainly most Uni-Vibes did use 2SC828 transistors as their run-of-the-mill transistor throughout their production.

Oh, but wait! ...let's take a look at the pictures below which were taken by me of real vintage Uni-Vibes on my workbench. These pictures are of stock, un-modified Uni-Vibes and show that they did use other transistors in some units.

 


Figure-6a
Factory installed 2SC945 transistors

 


Figure-6b
Factory installed 2SC536 transistors

 

Clearly it can be seen that 2SC945 and 2SC536 are factory (Shin-Ei) subsitutes for the 2SC828 used in early Uni-Vibes.

What's interesting here is that the 2SC945 transistor is a very common Japanese transistor used all the time in electronic equipment from Japan (Sony, Panasonic, etc), nothing special here folks, in fact they're not even low-noise "audio" transistors just general purpose types.

 

 


MF's Robin Trower Endorsement

(MF) "...Robin Trower says of his DejáVibe: "...It's the best of its kind!"

Robin Trower is a great guitarist, and while I have great respect for Robin I'd have to call him out on this one. Clearly Robin has not tried one of mine, nuff said. I have been a Trower fan since the 70's and play his songs regularly on my vibes. In fact one of our pre-ship tests is our "does it do Bridge Of Sighs quite right" test, but never mind that.

Ok sure, while it's entirely possible that Robin has moved-on in his tone preferences these days and doesn't want that super great tone he had on his first 3 albums anymore, I am of the opinion he actually can't get it with his MF gear.

Hey Robin here's an idea, how about a throw-down? any time you're in the Seattle area be my guest and bring your DejáVibe over (or I'll bring my vibe to you) and let's do a shoot-out and see if your DejáVibe is actually "the best of its kind".
(and of course, the bevy's on me)


 

 

Speaking of great guitarists, here's a fact:  Randy Hansen

Randy Hansen is the guy who IMHO does the very best job at getting and doing the Hendrix groove, a super player with great tone!. Check out these YouTube links, Randy is absoulutely ripping through a great rendering of Machine Gun:

Randy Hansen - Machine Gun (part 1)

Randy Hansen - Machine Gun (part 2)

 

Wish I could have been at this gig: Hansen w/Miles

 

Randy Hansen's website is here:  www.randyhansen.com

 

 

 

 

 


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