7 Of The Best Volume Pedals On 2017
Getting the best volume pedal is somehow a tricky process At first, you might think that the process is straightforward. After all, these effects pedal don't produce their unique sound.
Instead, then just serve as a means of volume modulation. Of course, the mechanism is pretty simple, too.
However, once you get down to business, you will realize that these products possess of their own. In fact, there are a lot of components that you have to understand when dealing with these pedals.
Such of these are the impedance, signal chain, potentiometer, buffers and so on. If you are just an amateur, encountering these jargons are truly intimidating.
Even professionals can still get lost when searching for the best units of volume pedals. If you want to be on the safe side of things, then we encourage you to read this article.
In here, we will be featuring some of the best options you can have for this particular pedal. Moreover, we will also give you a comprehensive buying guide, too!
Trust us! You won't regret anything here. So what are you waiting for? Read on!
The Best Volume Pedals
7 Of The Best Volume Pedals
The Boss FV-500H is the trailblazer of the size industry. It has an excellent rapport with the community and never sucked during any applications. There are two versions of this product: the FV-500H and the FV-500L.
They are relatively the same, but the former is for High Impedance, and the latter is for Low Impedance.
To decide which one you are going to buy, you should understand the essential uses of impedance. For example, if you are using instruments that are using high impedance signals, such as your electric guitar, then you should buy the FV-500H.
If you are using keyboards and preamps, then go with the 500L.
Even for its nature, the FV-500H can still work with signals that have low impedance. Therefore, this is a product that worth buying because it is like hitting two birds with one stone! It doesn't color your sound while you are augmenting the volume and it can last pretty long, too!
- Can work with high and low impedance signals.
- Ideal for bass and electric guitars.
- Excellent for recordings and live applications.
- Robust hardware and construction.
- Not susceptible to tone loss.
- Body is too bulky.
- The potentiometer is sensitive to dirt and crackles.
Although it is not the volume pedal that sits on the peak of the industry, it is still undeniable that the Ernie Ball VP Jr. has the qualities of being a great stompbox.
Obviously, it is a cousin of the Ernie Ball MVP. But it still has different arsenals on its sleeve.
One of the best selling points of this product is its simplicity. You don't have to burn your head just to learn how this volume pedal work.
Its control is pretty intuitive. Even the mods are easy to learn, too! It is a pedal that offers excellent performance at a decent price!
Also, the Ernie Ball VP Jr. is the compact and sleek version oof the MVP. It is the real meaning behind its name. However, it doesn't mean that this one has a poor performance.
In fact, it is among those tested-and-proven volume pedals that many professionals want to acquire for their collections!
- Compact and innovative designs.
- Comes in seven variations (mods not included).
- Highly functional and straightforward interface.
- There are no discernable sound leaks.
- Suitable for passive instruments.
- It suffers from minimal tone loss.
- Some of the parts (cloth strings and metals) are exposed on the outside.
The closest contender of the Boss FV-500H is the Ernie Ball MVP. The MVP means Most Valuable Pedal, by the way.
Because it claims such title, the Ernie Ball MVP seems to have something to show off. And we tested, it is indeed an excellent unit of a volume pedal.
Specifically, the Ernie Ball MVP is a type of buffered volume pedal. It comes with a tuner output and controls for gain boost and volume. Meanwhile, its enclosure is like the body of the tank. It can withstand any punishment you will give!
Because this volume pedal is buffered, it can accommodate passive and active signals. Of course, it also means that you can put this pedal in any location of your signal chain.
Whether it is on end or in the middle, the MVP will still work like magic! This product is among those worthy investments in your life!
- Can cater active and passive signals.
- Extremely durable construction.
- Minimal footprint.
- Can work with other instruments, too.
- Sound is pure and authentic; not artificial coloring.
- The gain is not as good as the FV-500H.
- Battery seems to drain even if you are not using the pedal.
If you are looking for another affordable volume pedal, the Fender FVP-1 is a good choice. Although the brand Fender is not usually akin to pedals, their units are still commendable.
After all, they a premium guitar-maker company. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with loving their pedals, too!
The setup of the Fender FVP-1 Volume Pedal is pretty basic. It appears as similar to those standard volume pedals you can see on sales garage. However, such simplicity is perfect for those who doesn't want to complicate their lives.
This particular volume pedal is sensitive to the finest changes in volume. It doesn't color the sound, nor induce any alterations on the signal.
It will just simply refine your signal, just the way you want it to be. Overall, it is a solid pedal that deserves a spot on your pedalboard!
- Intuitive and straightforward interface.
- Does not add colors to your sounds.
- The sound remains clear even in high volumes.
- Good choice for amateurs and beginners.
- No audible interferences.
- It feels a little bit flimsy.
- The lower volume somehow needs additional range.
Another good volume pedal that you should try is the Dunlop DVP4. It can perform well on any applications. It has fantastic construction and interface, too, which makes it a favorite of many guitar players out there.
Specifically, it is the top competitor of the Ernie Ball VP Jr., considering they share almost similar specs.
This product comes with three outputs (Tuner, Expression, and Audio). Therefore, this product provides its users with some freedom of modification. It also uses and audio taper.
This technology enables a slow increase in volume at the start of the rotation then peaks during the later part.
Meanwhile, the overall aesthetics of device is top-notch, too. It has a beautiful appearance that instantly blends with your instrument.
We are also amazed of the interface of the Dunlop DVP4 Volume X.It is rock solid but is highly responsive to any of your adjustments.
- It is a "pedalboard-friendly" volume pedal.
- The mechanism of this device is pretty responsive.
- It has a minimal footprint.
- One of the few versatile volume pedal.
- Hardware is extremely durable.
- It doesn't stay heel down by itself.
- Volume control is not uniform.
If design and appearance are the cut, then the Morley PLA Steve Vai Little Alligator is the hottest volume pedal out there. Its appeal is seemingly irresistible. But beyond its looks, the performance of this volume device is simply overwhelming.
Simplicity is the name of the game of the Little Alligator. But unlike the Fender volume pedal, the Little Alligator comes with a small volume knob for fine increments. Moreover, the pedal offers a smooth operation, which is to be expected, since it is a Morley product.
When testing, we didn't hear any sonic interferences. Also, there are no tone loss or "tone suck" that can be heard when you use this particular volume pedal.
With its price range, we can say that the Little Alligator does not come lacking. It is a decent pedal that any beginners would want!
- Aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.
- Simple but functional design.
- Hardware and body are sturdy.
- No sonic interference.
- No tone sucking.
- The sweep of this volume pedal is not linear.
- It produce clipping at lower volumes.
The battle for the best volume pedal is always dominated by the brands of Dunlop, Ernie Ball, and Morley. However, they are not the only players who seem to stand out in the scene.
An interesting dark horse, the Signstek Guitar Stereo Sound, is a volume pedal is definitely worth your attention.
The Signstek Guitar Stereo Sound is a performing volume pedal. But despite its excellent features, it has a very low price.
Some people say that this pedal is too good to be true. But since it is already out on the market, there is no more choice but to try it!
The glides for this pedal is pretty smooth. It provides a nice feeling to the feel. Although there are some mechanical grinds that you can hear, that is not exactly a deal breaker that can make you turn off.
That is because the construction of this device is pretty solid. Moreover, we didn't ever hear any tone loss during our test for this product!
- No sound coloring.
- Ideal for stereo devices like your keyboard.
- Responsive volume pedal.
- Provides a good feel to your feet.
- No perceivable tone loss.
- Not as responsive as other volume pedals.
- Some parts are made from plastic.
Best Volume Pedal Buying Guide
What is a Volume Pedal
Before we begin, we should clarify that volume pedals are not limited to guitars alone. There are volume pedals you can use for other electronic instruments such as your synthesizer and keyboard.
However, in this article, we will just limit the product selection to volume pedals for bass and standard guitars.
By operational standards, a volume pedal is a variant of "dynamics" stompboxes. Guitarists use this device to modify the volume of their instruments through the increase and decrease of the audio signal's aptitude. By concept, it is not that complicated process.
However, once you dissect this product, you will discover that there are a lot of things that operates it. The presence of multiple factors becomes a detriment to what brand of volume pedal you are going to choose.
Moreover, volume pedals have the same appearance as wah pedals. Many beginners always mistook one for the other.
What Does a Volume Pedal Do
Of course, you might be convincing yourself already that you don't need a volume pedal. You think that if your instrument has a volume knob or if you have an amplifier, getting this pedal is not reasonable anymore.
Well, both of those arguments are completely wrong.
Volume pedals offer a different kind of control to the sound of your instrument. Once you partner a volume pedal with the proper positioning and play style, you can get different effects.
For example, a volume pedal can alter the gain of your guitar without changing the location of your hand.
Meanwhile, you can also consider a volume pedal as a tool for creating ambient and swelling textures. Specifically, such effects can work well with delays and reverbs. An experienced guitar player would even fade their notes as if like their instrument is a violin.
Among these purposes, the most practical use of a volume pedal is balancing the volume of your guitar. If you are playing with other instruments (such as in a band), you will need this capability to generate musical harmony.
If the volume pedal you have has a "minimum volume" setting, then you can use it when you are playing regular rhythms. Of course, you have to crank the pedal if you are in dire need to boost the volume of your instrument (i.e. solos and distortions).
All in all, you will just realize how useful a volume pedal once you try it. It could be the game changer that you are looking for.
Considerations in Buying the Best Volume Pedal
Transparency and Sound
You can consider that a volume pedal is great if it is transparent. Specifically, the device should not induce their character to the sound of your instrument. If you want such kind of pedal, you must choose wahs and overdrives, not volume pedals.
Their purpose is different. You should never hear any form of sound coloring at all!
If you are going to buy a volume pedal, make sure that it doesn't suffer from "tone loss." Many pedals are suffering from such kind of detriment.
By nature, the signal is already weak. Once the latter travels to the pedal, it becomes weaker because of the tuner.
Of course, many players won't notice this. One reason is that the tolerance of our ears for such kind of imperfections varies. However, you should still be aware of this concept.
Passive and Active Volume Pedal
A volume pedal that is passive does not use power coming from an adapter or battery. It is a simple setup that gives you an irreplaceable form convenience, wherever you look at it. But still, passive volume pedals still tend to be finicky and sensitive.
Specifically, you have to pay attention to the location of your signal chain as well as the instrument that you are using. Most of the passive pedals have tuner controls. As we mentioned earlier, this particular part is the culprit for tone loss.
Meanwhile, an active volume pedal requires power to operate. But as compensation, it will free you from any worries of tone loss.
Quality of the Build
You cannot just buy a volume pedal that is flimsy and susceptible to damage. It has to be sturdy as the stage out there is always rough. You should always check the construction of the device. Is it responsive? Is it easy to modify?
The pedal should answer these questions positively. Otherwise, you should just veer to another brand.
Despite the common notion, volume pedals are a must have for all guitarists around the world. These devices introduce a new way to modify your volume without losing the quality at the peak.
Although they don't give any effect, volume pedals still provide additional power and resonance to your instrument.
For now, we declare the Boss FV-500H as the best volume pedal. This particular device is a complete package. From the performance down to the controls, everything is simply outstanding for FV-500H.
It is a device that is meant to work with your electric guitar and bass. Once you got this, your plays will never be dull again.
Of course, we still recommend that you try the rest of the volume pedals we featured. We guarantee that all of them are worth the shot. Also, testing each of them will let you realize which pedal will work best for your setup!