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 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 emails in our inbox and we honestly really enjoy communicating with you.


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 into 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 selecting 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 development! But remember the key here is not just the new customized photocells but also the ability to select each one in their detail and quality. Our production process consists of several complicated selecting 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 select the photocells we want so 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 selected 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 February!
But trust us it will be worth the wait!


Your DryBell team


P.S. Follow us on Facebook