The Behringer Ultra Vibrato UV300 gives your guitar the retros sound of the ‘60s and ‘70s. When you think of vibrato, think of the Latin word, vibrāre, which means "to shake." With that in mind, it’s easy to imagine how you can get a distortion of notes slightly above and below the normal pitch.
Overdone, vibrato can sound a bit crazy, but done well, it gives your guitar a range of expression similar to a haunting human singing voice.
Although you can achieve vibrato with your fingers, a whammy bar, or plug-in, having the Behringer Ultra Vibrato UV300 lets you do it with the push of your foot on the peddle. Fittingly, it's called a stompbox.
Behringer started as a kitchen-table-startup in Germany in the late ‘80s and became a global pro-audio company with its motto: "Double the Features at Half the Price." Certainly, the Ultra Vibrato UV300 lives up to the slogan.
In this case, the pedal mimics the much more expensive, but more durable, Boss VB2 pedal from the ‘80s with a metal case. The UV300 has a relatively fragile plastic case, but the features are quite similar, for a fraction of the price.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Vibrato
As noted, you can achieve vibrato sounds without a pedal. For example, a Whammy Bar gives you vibrato sounds. Thus, you can get vibrating sounds like Jimi Hendrix, the guitar legend from the late ‘60s and ‘70s.
A Whammy bar is also called a tremolo bar, and it changes the tension on your guitar strings. However, not all guitars come with one. The drawback of a Whammy bar is that heavy use can affect the guitar's tuning.
Also, if a string breaks, the bar creates more tension on the remaining strings. So, your guitar is then rendered out of tune. See the video below to see how the Whammy Bar works:
As an alternative to the Whammy Bar, the Behringer Ultra Vibrato UV300 is affordable. However, the case is plastic, and thus, you can break it if you have a heavy foot. As for sound quality, it's good, but as you'd expect, it is not the same as top-of-the-line models.
Ultra Vibrato UV300
Behringer Ultra Vibrato
PRO's & CON's of Behringer Ultra Vibrato
Features and Benefits
As a clone of the Boss VB2 from years ago, the Behringer Ultra Vibrato UV300 has the same features. Notably, Boss discontinued this model, but it lives on today in the reborn Waza Craft VB-2W. As with the out-of-production Boss model, the Behringer features a Mode switch with three options.
If you switch between the three modes, you get a different functionality for the pedal. First, the "Unlatch" mode, the vibrato effect works only when your foot is on the pedal. Thus, you can use the effect to emphasize the notes you want as you play.
Next, the "Bypass" mode effectively turns off the unit. So, if you put your foot on the pedal by accident, you won't get an unintentional vibrato effect. Although this might seem useless, it can be helpful if you have multiple pedal effects to prevent hitting the one you don't want.
Lastly, the "Latch" mode uses the peddle like a switch to turn on and off the effect. Push down one with your foot, and the effects remain on until you push down again to turn them off.
Tremolo Versus Vibrato
Before we jump into what the controls do, it's helpful to consider the terms, tremolo, and vibrato. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, they are quite different.
For our purposes, the Behringer Ultra Vibrato UV300 changes the pitch of guitar notes. It should be noted; it does not affect the volume of the sound. Changes in the volume are changes in the wave amplitude, which you certainly wouldn't want in your stompbox.
So, by changing the controls, you get changes to the amount of pitch variation or depth. Also, you can change the speed, which changes how the pitch is varied.
If you'll remember, a Whammy bar is also called a tremolo bar, but this name is misleading since it's not changing volume either.
The first control knob, the "Rise" control lets you adjust how fast the vibrato effect rises or kicks into full effect. However, catching the difference may take some practice because it's subtle. On the other hand, after you've used the pedal for a while, you'll see how changing the Rise affects your sound.
So, if you want to blend in the vibrato effect slowly, you can adjust the control accordingly.
With the rate control, you can change how fast the vibrato distorts notes above and below pitch. Therefore, you're adjusting the pitch or frequency. Picture the sounds like waves, and if you increase the rate, then the waves are closer together and choppier. Or, reduce the rate, and the waves are further apart and a bit slower. Thus, you can get whatever sound effect fits your style.
For most, moderation will probably sound best, but first, you'll need to experiment. Kick it all the way to max and then down to see how the sound changes.
With the Depth control, you can vary the pitch to vary the waves. Thus, you can go from frantic and crazy to a drawn-out wah wah wah fail sound. Here's where slight adjustments make a more significant impact on your sounds, unlike the Rise control.
As with anything, using a bit of discipline is probably good because if you max out the sounds, it's quite wobbly and strange sounding.
It seems a little silly, but this stompbox could break if you stomp it. So, keep that in mind before you place your order. On the other hand, it's durable enough if you take care of how you use it.
Given the low price, you could stomp your way through quite a few before you'd shell out the cash for the Boss Waza Craft VB-2W. Moreover, the sound quality gets good reviews. Notably, some users wonder why the price is so low.
LED Indicator Light
The stompbox features an LED light that comes on when activated and for a battery check. Also, the unit features what Behringer calls a "first-class electronic On/Off switch," so it won't affect your sound when you put it in Bypass mode.
3-Year Warranty Program
Although it's quite affordable, Behringer offers a 3-year limited warranty program on the Ultra Vibrato UV300. In that case, it makes any worry about the plastic casing less of a drawback.
Social Proof of the Pedal
When considering any product nowadays, it helps to check out online reviewers. Undoubtedly, you can get a good idea of the overall value, though you always get your random staunch critics too.
Overall, you get good reviews, but also a few complaints. Above, a reviewer notes the plastic is good enough for the price.
In the review above, you can see that he thinks it's worth buying even when he uses it on stage. However, in the studio, he generally opted to use other equipment.
As far as critical reviews, you see complaints about the quality and a few problems with noise, but they aren't very frequent. Above, a reviewer had a lot to say about the battery door they find inconvenient. Also, they seemed to receive a unit with thin metal housing, which seems unlikely.
If you really love to stomp your stompbox, the Behringer Ultra Vibrato UV300 is not for you. That being said, it appears to be overall durable, and reviewers don't often point out that they broke it. Plus, the sound quality and effects are adequate for most, even for a few guitarists who play on stage.
Considering the cost, it's undoubtedly a fun purchase if you love the vibrato sound. Although you may not play like Hendrix, you can enjoy the feeling of the ‘70s. Not to mention, you might avoid wearing your fingers down to nubs.
Moreover, you can avoid the pitfalls of using a Whammy bar too frequently. Therefore, the Behringer Ultra Vibrato UV300 has a lot to offer many aspiring guitarists.