Cornerstone, the makers of the lauded Gladio, has released their first modulation pedal: the ultra-boutique Aquarium vibe.
This is a uni-vibe pedal that uses the same rotating bulb technology of the original Shin-ei Uni-vibe, but has been updated to modern specs to ensure no volume loss or tonal change.
The Aquarium is all analog and features a fast and slow speed footswitch to alternate between the two speeds. The Inertia control sets the time it takes to ramp from one speed to the other.
Other controls not included in the original are the Tone knob, the parallel mix option (Mix knob), and an extra boost at the end of the chain. It runs on 18v like the originals.
The Mix Mode toggle opens up some interesting options:
- Blend mode allows everything from 100% full wet effect with the knob all the way up to 100% dry with the knob fully down, and all points in-between to find your own perfect balance of sound.
- Mix mode, instead, sets the dry signal always at 100%, while the Mix knob sets the level of the wet vibe sound added on top of it.
The only kicker? It retails for $520. We added it to our article about the Best Uni-Vibe pedals.
Cornerstone Aquarium Uni-Vibe, Builder’s Notes
The Aquarium is our take on the classic Univibe sound.
Our goal was to design a pedal that creates the beautiful three-dimensional chorus/vibrato tones of an original ‘Vibe, fixing some the common issues of the classic vintage units yet maintain our commitment to simplicity of operation, tonal flexibility and beautiful modern pedalboard-friendly design.
The Aquarium features true 100% analog circuitry, dual speed controls, true bypass switching, board friendly top mounted jacks, and runs on 18V, key to obtaining those classic rich deep ‘Vibe tones from the analog bulb circuitry within.
Below is a breakdown of how the unique intuitive control set works on the Aquarium, feel free to let your inspiration guide your creativity and enjoyment!
Vibe pedals often suck volume and get lost in a mix when engaged. That’s a fact. That’s why we felt the need for a master output volume to cut or boost it where necessary. Unity volume is around 55% rotation, this makes it very useful to boost the front end of the amp with the Vibe itself (highly recommended!).
Simple yet hugely effective Tone control to balance the overall bass/treble.
In many Vibe pedals you can notice a slight “tone change”: your tone can often become overly “dark” because of the complex phase shifting effect. And especially when you put a fuzz in front, it can become muddy.
With this dedicated Tone control you’ll be able to resolve this.
This is an idea given by some pro players in Italy which told me that while working in a professional recording Studio, with many Vibe pedals they often split their guitar signal and do parallel mixing to “preserve” the integrity of the dry signal and just add a little bit of vibe on top of it. Adding our Mix control allows to do this internally within the Aquarium itself.
This ability to be blend the dry signal with the wet gives a huge range of versatility.
Mix is operational in two different ways called “Mix Modes” chosen by the dedicated toggle switch: “B” (Blend) or “M” (Mix):
• Blend mode
Allows everything from 100% full wet effect with the knob all the way up to 100% dry with the knob fully down, and all points in-between to find your own perfect balance of sound.
• Mix mode
The dry signal is always at 100% and the Mix knob just controls the volume level of the wet vibe sound added on top of it. This mode maintains all the integrity of the clean sound with its bottom end and attack, yet creates a different approach a classic vibe sound with many more subtle sound shades available.
Amplitude of the LFO modulation (classic control on a Vibe).
SPEED 1 / SPEED 2
There are two independent speed controls (Speed 1, Speed 2), which can be chosen using the dedicated footswitch. But this is not all, with our “Inertia” switch you also choose ‘how fast’ you want to morph between the two speeds setby selecting one of
I – Instant
M – Medium
S – Slow
This will give the ‘acceleration’ a ramp feel when switching from speed 1 to 2 and vice versa, creating a beautiful classic rotary speaker like effect. There’s also a “Momentary Speed Change” function: you just press and hold the “Speed1/Speed2” footswitch to momentary swap between the two speeds controls with a Medium inertia.