There’s a fine line between “old” and “vintage,” and that subtle quality called “character” is what stands between the two. Many music lovers today enjoy the sonic imperfections of vinyl records, and while several examples of vinyl emulation plug ins for recording have been around for decades, guitar pedal manufacturers haven’t shown as much interest in the idea, if any.
That allowed Minneapolis manufacturer Chase Bliss Audio to build “mini-monopoly” when, in 2014, they unveiled their Warped Vinyl stompbox, which encapsulates all the warbly character of vinyl (with an added chorus effect) in a compact stompbox. The effect was recently updated to mkII.
The pedal is presented as a “true pitch” analog vibrato/chorus (we assume the “true” is intended to stress the analogness of the effect), and features a few extras compared to mkI:
- a tone knob for shimmery, transparent vibrato/chorus
- increased signal to noise ratio
One of the most unique features of the Warped Vinyl are the top mounted DIP switches, which allow for quick access to a wide variety of tones from swells, tremolo, pitch shifting, vibrato, chorusing, flanging, and more.
‘Volume’ controls the total output level, and ‘Mix’ is a clean/dry blend that very much comes in handy for dialing in the perfect amount of vinyl effect. ‘Depth’ and ‘Warp’ settings control the parameters of the waveform, while toggle switches control the shape of the waveform. The RPM knob affects the speed of the vibrato element. The ramp knob controls overall modulation for every other knob, giving even more authority over the sound.
Combining the best of both worlds, an all analog signal path and digital control scheme provide a hybrid approach Chase Bliss was among the first manufacturers to move toward. The pedal can also save 2 settings, with easy switching between them.
The versatility of the Vintage Vinyl makes it great for a lot of styles. It really excels at warbling country arpeggios, but is equally at home in rock, rhythm and blues, funk, and many other styles. While the pedal does sit at a higher price point, its uniqueness and build quality more than make up for it.– Brandon Stoner