Strymon's Ultraviolet Vintage Vibe Review: A Refreshing New Perspective

There's a good reason Strymon has its place as a fan favorite among guitarists, studio musicians, and our team at Russo, consistently capturing our attention with each release. Whether it's a complete reinvention like one of our favorites, the El Capistan, or a refreshing new perspective, like the Ultraviolet Vintage Vibe, there's always something captivating about Strymon's offerings. Modeled after Formula B's Vintage Vibe, this pedal mirrors its straightforward design, featuring only three knobs—volume, speed, and intensity—and two switches, one dictating the modulation type, and the other adjusting bias. 

Vintage Vibe with Modern Mojo

First off, let's acknowledge the impressive MIDI capabilities of the Ultraviolet. TRS stereo input and output in a dual mono setup, 300 preset locations, and the nice modern touch of USB-C jack for smooth computer control and firmware updates, all contribute to to why it's a no-brainer if you're already using MIDI. 

Beyond the MIDI control, the pedal has a high-impedance, ultra-low noise discrete Class A JFET stereo input preamp, so you get all the sensitivity you're looking for when you play on the quiet side, while still being able to rip and rock when you want, tone unaffected. 

What makes this pedal truly stand out is its innate coolness, a characteristic shared with most of the Strymon lineup. Each component, taken in isolation, is already pretty cool sounding. However, the real "vibe" happens when you get to dive into how they all interact with one another—it just elevates the coolness factor to a whole new level. Let's take a plunge into some settings we thought were neat:

Double Double Vision

  • VOLUME: Noon
  • MODE: Blend
  • BIAS: Mid

Maxing out the intensity knob created a mesmerizing, almost doubling effect, intensified by interactively toggling the speed knob, which could be even more useful with an expression pedal attached (did I mention the UV does that as well?). This interaction creates a weird little sonic playground, allowing precise control over depth and character. The expanded intensity range at slower speeds adds richness, constantly transitioning from ethereal swells, to pronounced, tighter modulations. 

Moderate Speed, Maximum Vibe

  • SPEED: 11 o'clock
  • INTENSITY: 1 o'clock
  • VOLUME: 3 o'clock
  • MODE: Chorus
  • BIAS: Mid

With the speed knob set at an average level, intensity reasonably elevated, and volume finely tuned to gently nudge the amp into overdrive, the distinct parts that initially caught my attention on this pedal came to life even more. In this configuration, the control of the bias switch became very pronounced. Positioned in the low setting and selectively influencing lower frequencies, its impact resulted in a slow frequency sweep, evocative of some of the more known "Floydian" soundscapes.


  • SPEED: 11 o'cock
  • INTENSITY: 3 o'clock
  • VOLUME: 10 o'clock
  • MODE: Blend
  • BIAS: High

Adjusting the speed knob to slightly below the midpoint showcased a sweet spot where this portion of the pedals functionality truly shines. This allowed it to function without being too sluggish, lost in the "etheral swells" mentioned above, or too brisk, making its impact inaudible. Paired with a generous amount of the intensity setting and a volume level that exposes the circuit's essence without overwhelming the amp, this configuration results in a distinct hard cut on the tremolo waveform. This subtle modification allows the tone to gracefully "peek-a-boo" its way in and out, creating a captivating effect where the tone can dance in and out of focus.

The Ultraviolet Vintage Vibe is yet another testament to Strymon's unrelenting attention to detail. Occasionally, Strymon draws inspiration seemingly from thin air for their innovative new pedals. Other times, they make subtle tweaks that are just different enough to pique your interest. In either case, Strymon consistently delivers and has yet to disappoint.