ThorpyFX promises Uni-Vibe perfection from the compact and easy-to-use ER-2

ThorpyFX ER-2
(Image credit: ThorpyFX)

ThorpyFX has taken a pass at one of the most classic guitar effects pedals of all, the Uni-Vibe, with its newly launched ER-2 “designed from the ground up” to be the perfect version of the vintage modulation.

You might ask why, all these years on from when Jimi Hendrix and Robin Trower immortalised the pulsating chorus-y chew, that the effect has yet to be perfected. 

But there’s alway something that can be improved upon, and Adrian Thorpe describes the ER-2 as a Uni-Vibe “for those that want the swoosh without the loss of low end, for those that like control without complexity and for those who need massive sound with pedalboard-friendly size”, and it is a project he has had in mind for some time now.

That compact footprint is a no-brainer for the player, but easier said than done for anyone designing a lamp-based ‘vibe circuit. As we have come to expect from Thorpe, this has a super-rugged build. 

ThorpyFX ER-2

(Image credit: ThorpyFX)

Under the hood you will find the typical complement of 1 per cent metal film resistors, WIMA and Panasonic capacitors, high-quality op-amps and through-hole-plated PCBs, which is all to say the final pedal is low-noise and built to last. The chickenhead knobs are recessed and protected from accidents. The jacks are top-mounted to ease your pedalboard placement.

Taking its name from an Nasa’s high-altitude aircraft, the ER-2 is an all-analogue effects pedal with a dual-footswitch design. One footswitch turns the effect off and on, the other selects between Chorus and Vibe modes. The Chorus mode is the Uni-Vibe sound we all know and love. The Vibe mode is 100 per cent wet.

ThorpyFX gives us four knobs to dial in a sound. There is Intensity, which acts as you would expect, adding more vibe into the signal.  Speed is again straightforward, controlling the rate of the modulation’s sweep. 

Fully counterclockwise it is imperceptibly slow, fully clockwise it is quote/unquote “fast and crazy” – which sounds like this should be good for some ray-gun weirdness at its extremes.

Finally, there is the Offset dial, which is where this gets really interesting. It affects how the internal lamp lights up and fades out, and can change the character of the ER-2’s sound.

The ER-2 takes a 9V DC from a centre negative pedalboard power supply and will draw a minimum of 150mA. ThorpyFX recommends a high-quality supply from GigRig or Voodoo Lab’s Pedalpower series. 

ThorpyFX ER-2

(Image credit: ThorpyFX)

As you can hear in the demo videos, it sounds the business, and given that whenever Uni-Vibe is mentioned it is always Hendrix and Trower who spring to mind, maybe it’s time a someone else joined these greats on the pantheon and made the Uni-Vibe effect their own signature sound. There’s no time like the present. 

The ER-2 is priced £299 and available now. For more details, head over to ThorpyFX.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.