Barge Concepts VFB-2 Variable Feedback amp Blend Bypass Looper

April 1, 2010

gp0410_gearbargevfb2The most unusual pedal offered by Barge is the VFB-2 ($125 retail), a buffered effects looper with a feedback option. It features a Clean Blend control and a footswitchable, variable Feedback control. This pedal worked well for taking a Fender Blender fuzz—a tone-sucking but cool-sounding effect—completely out of the signal path when not in use. The Clean Blend control let me mix my clean signal with the output of the effects loop, and then send that signal to the buffered output jack—a handy feature with my Nano Clone pedal, which has no blend control of its own. The real fun begins with the VFB-2’s Feedback switch, which permits you to kick in a feedback control circuit that adjusts the amount of signal that is fed to the send jack. A rotary knob sets the degree of feedback. This feature only works on certain effects; with the Nano Clone, as well as some standard distortion boxes, it merely removed all signal. But when it works, wow! Placing the aforementioned Fender Blender or an Ampeg Scrambler in the VFB-2 loop with the feedback engaged resulted in wild, random octave jumps. And with the Scrambler, extreme feedback settings caused self-oscillation, tunable with the Ampeg’s Texture and Balance controls. Major wackiness was achieved by plugging an Alesis Bitman (discontinued) into the loop. Feeding its signal back through the unit and manipulating the Ring Modulator and Phaser speed controls produced a blip and bleep festival, with a wide variety of sounds and effects coming off a single note struck on the guitar. The VFB-2 is a useful tool for any effect user and a must have for experimentally minded players.

—Michael Ross

KUDOS Good for adding blend control and on/off LED to effects that don’t have these features. Feedback circuit great for creating unique effects.

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