Strymon Ultraviolet Review – Vintage Modern Vibe Pedal

After lots of testing over the last few weeks I’d like to offer my own Strymon Ultraviolet review. Keep in mind that I buy my own stuff and don’t get pedals for free (at least not yet). Maybe that will help you form an opinion as to how I feel about this pedal.

Let’s start with the main strong points for the Strymon Ultraviolet vibe pedal. This digital vibe’s forte is its flexibility. It doesn’t have to be first in chain, but it can be. It’ll also be very reliable, not that analog vibes aren’t. You just don’t have to worry about the photocell going out. And with MIDI or external control, it can do more than your typical vibe.

Strymon Ultraviolet Review by Six String Sensei

Some guys are running the Strymon Ultraviolet as a chorus pedal over near the end of the chain. After all, it has stereo ins and outs, so it makes sense to use it that way. However, I tested it in various locations in the signal chain and I still prefer it towards the beginning of the chain. Even though it’s digital it still acts and sounds like a vintage photocell vibe, so to me it sounds better before dirt pedals. I do prefer my vibe AFTER my fuzz pedal unlike many other guitar players. Luckily, in my rig I have a germanium fuzz before it, and then I have a digital fuzz after it. More on that later…

How’s the Tone?

As far as the tone itself goes, no I don’t prefer it to my Fulltone DejaVibe MKII. My other point of reference is the Drybell Vibe Machine V3. The DejaVibe is properly bubbly and super warm. It’s my favorite vibe I’ve tried. Then the Vibe Machine I like for it’s almost auto-wah quacky sounds, but in stock settings, I actually prefer the warmth of the Ultraviolet. The Strymon Ultraviolet sits somewhere in between those two tone-wise. It’s easy to dial in and generally less intrusive than the others. You can push it far enough towards the front to make it very obvious however.

In a rig where there is a mix of digital and analog pedals where you would prefer soft-switching, the Strymon Ultraviolet Vibe would definitely be my first choice. If you use MIDI and you can avoid having to put a vintage vibe in the loop of a switcher, even better. This is the reason it’s going on my main pedalboard. The Deja Vibe will remain on my small pre-board with other analog pedals and my Vibe Machine is on a small live pedal board.

Where To Put the Strymon Ultraviolet In Your Signal Chain?

As stated earlier, the Strymon Ultraviolet Vibe does not necessarily need to be first in chain like a lot vibe pedals, or even close to the beginning of the signal chain. There are some important caveats to be aware of though. I initially placed mine right before a fuzz that has to be first in chain, the Chase Bliss ZVEX Bliss Factory. This is one of those fuzzes that doesn’t like a buffer before it. It really prefers being first in the chain. Even though the Strymon Ultraviolet can be set to true-bypass, you wouldn’t be able to use it in conjunction with a vintage germanium fuzz if you put it before the fuzz. You’d have to turn off the vibe first.

My Bliss Factory would completely fall apart if I hit it with the digitally converted sound of the Ultraviolet. I don’t blame the Ultraviolet though. I don’t like the DejaVibe before it either. It’s just that it acts much worse with the Ultraviolet. The Bliss Factory is a finicky pedal. So don’t use that as a yardstick.

I did test various other fuzzes like silicon or Big Muff style fuzzes and they take the Ultraviolet just fine. Also, in my signal chain I have a Source Audio Kingmaker Fuzz which is digital, so it’s perfectly happy with the Ultraviolet before it.

My Final Effects Order for My Strymon Ultraviolet

In my chain, I discovered I REALLY liked the Strymon Ultraviolet after my compressor. I much preferred how it sounded rather than feeding it into the compressor, which is a very typical way of doing things. For that reason, the final effects order for the dry signal chain is as follows:

Vintage Style Fuzz (Bliss Factory) > Standalone Buffer > Compressor > EQ > Strymon Ultraviolet Vibe > Tuner (True-Bypass) > Dirt Pedals > Source Audio Kingmaker as a digital fuzz with other options as a catch-all and dry-out signal split for wet-dry-wet.

I’ll point out that all pedals are set as true-bypass after the standalone buffer, and then there’s a buffer at the end of the chain after the wet effects.

I’m pretty darn happy with the Strymon Ultraviolet. I’m not a big modulation guitarist, but I do like vibes because they can add a very distinct flavor to your sound without getting annoying if you use it too much, like a flanger or rotary. Also, I use vibe as if it were a dry effect, even though it isn’t. I feed it into the front of a dirty amp, and if I split the signal as wet-dry-wet, the vibe is going into that with any other dry effects like distortion or EQ. It’s just the way I like it.

To conclude this Strymon Ultraviolet review…

Yes, I’m going to make good use of the Strymon Ultraviolet’s MIDI and preset capabilities. To me, that, and the soft-switching are what really set it apart. It’s a great sounding vibe that may not necessarily beat my favorite photocell vibe in terms of tone, but every other feature on it really make it incredibly useful and therefore, it goes in my main rig. Normally I use vibe in the traditional chorus setting. Having presets however, I know I will end up using vibrato on it a whole lot more than I normally would.

Similar Posts