Custom photocells for the Vibe Machine

February, 4th, 2013
January 2013 is already behind us!
2012 was a very big year for us here at DryBell with the launch of the Vibe Machine.
Many of you will know that 2012 was the year we properly arrived on to the boutique
pedal market. We are really proud of everything that was achieved and want you to
know this is just the beginning! We work really hard every day to assure the best
product for our customers with fantastic customer support. There are tens of
thousands of e-mails in our inbox and we honestly really enjoy communicating with
A strong focus on the Vibe Machine
Four years ago when Zvonch and Kruno first started redesigning a vibe pedal they
didn’t know what awaited them along the way. A very high goal was set to build one
of the best vibe pedals in the world. Back then they didn’t know how big a challenge
that was, and that around four years of development would be needed to make it all
happen. That task led Zvonch to dedicate DryBell to specialize only in Univibe type
pedals. So for now at DryBell we are solely focused on our vibe pedal series.
Now, with this mountain of work behind us, we really feel ready to move forward.
The Team
Apart from playing the guitar, Zvonch is an innovative engineer with huge experience
in professional industrial electronics and guitar audio devices (pedals, amplifiers,
etc.). Kruno is a great guitar player who has been exploring guitar sounds and tones
his whole musical life. Our products are made by musicians for musicians! So we are
really confident here at DryBell that we have a great team which has what it takes to
leave an indelible mark on the guitar pedal world. Ready? Here we come!
A/B testing of two vibe pedals
If you are familiar with vibe pedals then you will know that there are only a few
companies with top notch vibe pedals on the market. This is no coincidence. Why?
The answer lies in the photocells – they hold the key to the Vibe’s magical
characteristics. You cannot find two photocells with exactly the same characteristics
in the whole world. It is extremely hard to develop proper photocells for a quality vibe
pedal; this is why only some companies have succeeded in doing so. If you have had
a chance to test more than one brand of vibe pedal or have read people’s comments
about vibe pedals on forums, you may have come to the conclusion that each vibe
pedal is different. You can even take two of the same vibe pedals from the same
manufacturer and A/B test them and you’ll find they sound a little different from each
other. Of course they do! We are talking about real vibe pedals here that use
photocells. This is perhaps the reason why all guitar players who truly
fall in love with the Univibe sound will search high and low to find the right vibe
pedal for them. When they find it, they rarely let it go!
The photocell behaves like human eye
The photocell’s characteristics are similar to the human eye. If you wake up in the
middle of the night and switch on a strong light your eyes will need some time to
adjust. Similarly if you went from strong sunlight in to a very dark room your eyes
would need time to adjust. The same thing happens with photocells – the resistance
value of one particular light intensity is not always the same. It depends on whether
that photocell has been in the dark or in the light before testing its value. This is
called light history or the memory effect of the photocells. All vibe pedals with
photocells behave this way and that’s why they can sound a little bit different from
day to day.
Some companies have been successful in minimizing this effect, but bear in mind
that this is also part of the mojo of vibe pedals that use photocells.
Electronics and construction development were not such an issue for us; the biggest
problem was how to get good photocells in order to have the best quality vibe pedal.
The new test equipment in production
Two massive developments made last year really important for the Vibe Machine.
Firstly we developed special testing processes and devices for matching the
photocells, which brought us excellent results in the Vibe Machine’s sound and
helped us shorten production time.
Second was the great news that we were finally able to create our own custom
photocells – these definitively lifted the Vibe Machine’s sound to a higher level! It now
has a subtle chorus and a bit more of a pronounced swirl. We are very proud of this
But remember the key here is not just the new customized photocells but also the
ability to match each one in their detail and quality.
Our production process consists of several complicated matching procedures, and
each procedure is performed with very innovative devices (three microprocessor
based testers that are testing 18 parameters of each photocell). With these
production processes we are able to match photocells so they are almost identical
and the most importantly, they are just right for their purpose. All of last year was
spent focusing on these developments, which is one of the reasons we chose not to
start distributing with dealers or shops yet, despite many offers.
Last year we forged a very successful relationship with one of the world’s biggest
photocell companies, we worked with them for over six months just to perfect the
custom photocell design for the Vibe Machine series and they have our sophisticated
equipment for testing samples in their warehouse.
The next batch of Vibe Machines is almost ready !
So, the next batch of Vibe Machines will be the first to have the new custom
photocells, especially designed for the Vibe Machine series and precision matched
by us. The whole development project took several weeks longer than anticipated
and that’s why the next batch of the Vibe Machines won’t be ready until late
But trust us it will be worth the wait!
Your DryBell team
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