What is it?
We can all agree that the wah pedal and volume/expression pedal is for many players a nigh-on essential part of their rigs. But the problem arises when it comes to mounting treadle-equipped pedals on our pedalboards – they tend to hog all the room.
In the past, Dunlop looked to downsize its market-leading Cry Baby design, shrinking it down to the small but mighty Cry Baby Mini 535Q, and to great effect. But in collaboration with Pedaltrain, the stompbox giant has found a third way – the Cry Baby Junior.
The idea was that the Junior-sized model would be easily mounted on Pedaltrain 'boards such as its Metro series. While the two companies were spitballing ideas, it made sense that they would develop a similarly volume pedal, and so the DVP5 Volume (X) was born, too. And sizing up from the mini-pedal format presented Dunlop with the opportunity to add in some features that make the Cry Baby wah an even more attractive proposition.
The DVP5, too, is more than just a volume pedal. It has an input jack for your tuner, so you can taking it out of your main signal chain. Hook up a TRS cable and you can use it as an expression pedal. Moderately priced, these are not going to break the bank, and amid the battle for pedalboard space, they might well make a practical alternative.
Performance and verdict
One of the drawbacks of the mini 535Q wah was that the treadle size, while respectful of the space you are working in, might not be to everyone's taste. Guitar players with big feet and big appetites for the wah pedal might require something more substantial underfoot.
Is the Cry Baby Junior – and for that matter the DVP5 – the Goldilocks profile? Well, it's about two inches shorter than a regular Cry Baby which perhaps doesn't sound like a lot but it makes a difference. The space-conscious will be cheered to know also that there are top-mounted jacks, which can help make for tidier routing.
• Dunlop Cry Baby Mini 535Q (opens in new tab)
Sound-wise, this is classic throaty Cry Baby with little difference from a full size pedal through the treadle travel.
• Morley Mini Wah Volume (opens in new tab)
At this price, it may struggle to wow your attention away from larger pedals, but if a crowded pedalboard is compromising your tone then the two-in-one format and dinky design tick all the boxes.
Simply click the switch under your toe to turn the wah on and off in the regular Cry Baby fashion, and an LED lets you know when the wah is engaged. Cognisant that wah is very much a matter of taste or occasion, Dunlop has packed three modes of wah into the junior – modern Cry Baby (H), vintage midrange (M) and the throatier (L).
These accessed via a switch on the side of the pedal and quite dramatically alter the sweep. The H setting will be familiar to anyone who has played a Cry Baby GCB95 or similar It has a generous sweep and out of the three it has the most high-end with the toe down.
If that's a little piercing, dial M for vintage mids. There's noticeable less treble there. Darker still, the L setting digs a little deeper and puts a little talk in the wah. There is something for everyone here.
As for the DVP5, well, it's just so practical. You can adjust the treadle action with an Allen key but its out of the box setting will please most players. In the pantheon of guitar pedals, the volume pedal lacks the sexiness of, say, a modulated delay or octave fuzz but once you incorporate one in your rig there is no going back.
For pedal-steel style bends it's an essential bit of kit, but it's amazing how many uses you will find for it. Say you are running a single-channel tube amp hot, rolling it back will clean it up nicely, and of course you can violin your notes if the piece calls for it.
The tuner input is very handy. Simply rock the pedal back on your heel and tune up without anyone noticing. As an expression pedal, you can adjust the maximum and minimum parameter settings via the treadle or internal pot – though you'll have to unscrew the baseplate for that.
MusicRadar verdict: The Cry Baby Junior delivers three great-tasting flavours of wah in a pedalboard-friendly format, while the DVP5 Volume (X) 8 is so handy it could well become a perennial fixture on your 'board.
The web says
"All the functionality of a well-sorted Cry Baby in a very practical footprint for pedalboards... We’re talking serious utility with this diminutive charmer – it’s a shoo-in for any pedalboard!...
"As a volume pedal, it works well for instant muting, rolling things back to clean up a dirty amp or swelling to a violin-like attack for your note."
Guitarist (opens in new tab)
"While clearly more compact than a full-sized wah, its footprint – which was developed with help from Pedaltrain – isn't the only board-optimizing feature. Top-mounted jacks, a flat, rubber bottom panel, and a bright bypass LED on the heel of the enclosure also help make the Junior a wah that space-conscious players can love."
Premier Guitar (opens in new tab)
Dunlop CBJ95 Cry Baby Junior Wah
- ORIGIN: USA
- TYPE: Wah pedal
- FEATURES: True hardwire bypass, LED, flat rubber base, plastic hinged battery access panel on the base, 3 voicing options, adjustable torque clutch
- CONTROLS: Treadle, Bypass (toe down), 3-position voice switch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
- POWER: 9V battery or 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 3 mA
- DIMENSIONS: 100 (w) x 202 (d) x 68mm (h)
- CONTACT: Dunlop (opens in new tab)
Dunlop DVP5 Volume (X) 8
- ORIGIN: USA
- TYPE: Volume and expression pedal
- FEATURES: Flat rubber base, adjustable torque clutch
- CONTROLS: Treadle, internal
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output, EXP, tuner
- POWER: Passive
- DIMENSIONS: 100 (w) x 96 (d) x 64mm (h)
- CONTACT: Dunlop (opens in new tab)