Valeton Dapper – Review of Acoustic Guitar Multi-Effects Unit

The Valeton Dapper Acoustic Mini Multi-Effects Pedal proves that great guitar tone does not always require taking out a second mortgage. The Valeton provides everything you need underfoot for an acoustic performance, packaged in an affordable, simple, and sleek design.

The Valeton Dapper has a preamp, tuner, reverb, and compression to allow you to balance your sound and fill out everything from living rooms to small venues and outdoor spaces. 

In this article, we'll help you better understand the Valeton Dapper with a deep dive into its features and the user experience. Read on to learn more!

Things to Consider Before Buying An Acoustic Preamp

Acoustic preamps can do wonders for your sound, depending on the needs of your instrument and your guitar. Preamps will modify the tone and allow a little more versatility than plugging straight into the amplifier. 

First, you'll want to consider whether your guitar has passive or active pickups. Active pickups add power to your signal, allowing your guitar's natural sound to flow from the strings to the amp better. Passive pickups mean you might need more help to keep your desired sound.

Second, you'll want to keep in mind what kinds of effects you need from your preamp. You might not need a chorus sound in any of your set, but for preamps with that modality, you'll pay for it. If all you need is a little balance in your tone, find a preamp that keeps it correspondingly simple.

Guitar

Pedal

Model

Price

Main

Valeton

Dapper

Valeton Dapper Acoustic Preamp Unit

PRO's & CON's of Valeton Dapper

The Valeton Dapper Acoustic Mini has a lot going for it, from the price tag to its potency. Still, the design does leave a little to be desired.

Pros

  • XLR output for plugging directly into mixers
  • Single knob for adjustment to wet/dry ratio on reverb
  • Excellent compression
  • Sturdy build

Cons

  • Tiny knobs are a little difficult to adjust
  • Lacks effects like chorus or flange

Features and Benefits

The Valeton Dapper packs a tremendous punch for such a small package. The design is elegant and intuitive, and each of its features works very well. 

The preamp provides the most critical benefit by allowing you to shape your tone utilizing three frequency bands. The frequency adjustments occur via light-up knobs positioned above the stomp buttons, making them easy to see in a dimly lit venue.

The preamp also has a notch filter, which reduces feedback. Like the frequency knobs, the filter module allows for a range of adjustments to get your sound perfectly dialed. A volume knob lets you use the preamp to boost or drop your sound with your feet, not your hands. 

The preamp setting is truly the bread and butter of this device. With significant tone sculpting opportunities, the Valeton Dapper can help color the same guitar to different shades depending on the song. 

Adjustments to the preamp settings occur via six backlit knobs, aglow in green to separate them from the knobs for the other modules. 

The tuner helps you keep your guitar in tune between songs. The tuner setting uses two modules of the light-up knobs above the stomp buttons. The green preamp module identifies the note, while the red compression module identifies the flatness or sharpness.

The tuner is not a chromatic tuner, representing something of a shortcoming if you like to play tuned down a half step. But the tuner itself works very well, with a high degree of accuracy and responsiveness. 

With the tuner turned on, the sound does not come through the amplifier. That means the gaps between songs do not get soured by the twangy sound of a string pitching up or down. 

A good tuner makes all the difference, especially in a loud venue setting when tuning by ear simply will not work. 

The Valeton Dapper also has an incredible reverb setting. 

Reverb gives your sound a particular sustain and decay that creates a spacious feel. It creates the feeling of echo like you're playing in a larger room.

Dedicated reverb pedals can add many wrinkles to this basic premise, with slap-reverbs or bathroom settings creating specific sounds. The Valeton Dapper has a much simpler design, with just one knob allowing users to adjust the wet/dry ratio.

A single, blue-backlit knob adjusts the reverb. "Dry" means less obvious reverb, while "wet" implies a more saturated tone. Turning the knob all the way to the left, the Valeton Dapper applies very little reverb, while twisting all the way to the right does the opposite. 

Compression enables you to balance your sound by making the quiet parts louder and the louder parts softer. The Valeton Dapper's compression module also comes with an attack adjustment to keep the bite on the front end of your play, if you want it. 

Properly applied, compression does not sound like much at all, but that's the point. The compression should keep unexpected bites from punching through the amplifier, and make the quieter moments audible even if played very softly. 

The compression adjustments sit on the right of the knob lineup: the volume, compression, and attack settings all light up in red when engaged. 

The Valeton Dapper also comes with a few different connection options. In addition to the standard in-out jacks, the device also comes with an XLR output, so you can plug directly into the mixer (at a venue) or the recording equipment.

Valeton Dapper

Users can also plug into the device with headphones. The headphone jack comes with a dedicated volume knob, so you can more intimately explore the tonal possibilities. If you have a silent guitar, the jack allows you to practice quietly while getting a big sound in your ears.

The Valeton Dapper Acoustic Mini gets power via a 9V power supply. While the power supply provides a simple, consistent connection, it does hamper the portability a little bit not to have a battery-powered option.

All in all, the Valeton Dapper has a good amount of optionality and versatility for such a simple design. The device deploys an array of sound sculpting options by utilizing a combination of lights, knobs, and three buttons. 

Users needing a little more "exoticism" (i.e., delay, chorus, flange, etc.) may need to supplement the Valeton Dapper with a few other stompboxes or have the budget for a more robust effects pedal. 

But if you just need something to clean up your tone, widen your sound, and tune up between songs, the Valeton Dapper performs well.

Social Proof of the Pedal

We checked the internet, and they had some great thoughts on the Valeton Dapper.

Valeton Dapper Review 01

This first reviewer touches on one of the biggest question marks: minimum adjustments to the reverb. However, they note that the "style" of reverb Valeton landed on works great.

Valeton Dapper Review 02

This next gentleman highlights the all-in-one versatility of the Valeton Dapper Mini. A good acoustic preamp need not have all the bells and whistles - though sometimes you may want some.

Valeton Dapper Review 03

Last but not least, this review speaks to the beauty in the design of the Valeton Dapper Mini. The sturdy build and small profile make this an excellent device for traveling, especially given the top-notch sound quality.

In Conclusion

The Valeton Dapper Acoustic Mini Multi-Effects Pedal provides top-of-the-line sound quality for an affordable price tag. With just enough effects to develop unique sounds and an easy-to-use interface, this device can do wonders to expand your sonic range. 

It may not do everything, but you can always add a few other stompboxes to your signal chain. What it does do - tuning, reverb, equalization, and compression - it does exceptionally well. All in all, for guitar players of all skill levels, the Valeton Dapper makes for a "sound" investment.

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