FINALLY: Behringer VD-1 Vintage Distortion Review (Big Muff Clone)

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by tplyons, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    About nine months ago when I found out about the Behringer stompbox clones, I was hardly impressed until I saw a pedal that looked exactly like my personal favorite, the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi. I waited and waited, and asked my brother to pick up the pedal for me for Christmas, and the moron obliged, ordered it, but they wouldn't ship due to a complication with his credit card he didn't straighten out in the course of a month. Growing impatient, I placed the order from on Friday and the pedal arrived today.

    First impression: it's in a bubble package, not a box. Like the ones GI Joes come in or something. Tore that right open to get to the pedal, and it's actually metal... something I wasn't expecting. Took a quick feel around everything, seems very solid, jacks in the same places as the Big Muff, knobs are the same and the stomp switch looks the same. Key word is looks. More on this later.

    Much to my surprise, Behringer opted to use a Boss style power adapter as opposed to the 1/8" jack that EHX uses. This is good, because I don't have to buy another adapter for my OneSpot. Plugged her in immediately, cranked the knobs to 12:00 and wailed away. Very nice impersination. If I didn't know better, I'd be pretty convinced this WAS a Big Muff tonally. The pedal is whisper quiet until engages and she wails just like I expected the Muff to.

    Two things bothered me at first. One being that the knobs moved very easilly, could be problematic with such large knobs. The other being that the Carling looking switch did not click when depressed. Building, modifying and repairing a half dozen or more Big Muff's in my day, I quickly tore into the pedal.

    A few questions were answered immediately:
    1. The switch is not a Carling, or copy by any means. It's a metal piece molded to look like the top of a Carling, attached to a spring, which pushes down a sub-mini pushbutton switch. Explains the lack of clicking.

    2. The knobs were also attached to sub-mini pots. These are where they really saved money. Instead of the quality, metal encased pots of Electro-Harmonix, they used plastic pots with long shafts to attach to the knobs.

    3. Almost no soldering was done by hand. The pedal consists of a series of printed and (probably) machine populated PCB's. The attachment between these was done with simple connectors and gobs of glue to hold them in place. Reducing man hours associated with assembly.

    All and all, this pedal is really up to my expectations thus far, looks like what I'm used to, almost feels like it, and I trust with the construction that it will last for some time.

    A/B comparison between a USA Big Muff coming fairly soon. Believe it or not I sold my Muff to get my girlfriend a Christmas present, so no A/B comparisons today.

    Solid pedal, machined consctruction, cheap components. This thing should last a while and sound good doing so.

    5/5 Jumpy Guys
    :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper:
  2. syciprider

    syciprider Banned

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    How much for this puppy? I want a Muff at work and I don't have a secretary.
  3. IcedEarthWOM


    Oct 2, 2005
    Go to:
    VD-1 Product Site
    and select you country on the right where it says "Your Price"...
  4. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
  5. Thank goodness for this, I've been so interested in these FX pedals,
  6. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    Thanks for the review, Tplyons! At that price, I'll have to pick one up and give it a try. :)
  7. my guess is that if you are keen, you could replace that cheap plastic stomp switch with a metal one...

    could you give us some photos of the inside?
    ((waiting for photos as I warm up my soldering iron :) ))
  8. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I could very easilly make the swap, the only problem is following the traces on the connector back to see what is what. I don't anticipate this breaking, nor will it be a permanent fixture on my board. The real EHX is what really belongs.
  9. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast

    Jul 16, 2005
    Syracuse, NY
    Very nice to see a review on these products. I know a few people on other forums that own various Behringer bass pedals, and they are content at such a price point. I may add some of their pedals to my guitar board, as my POD suits my bass just fine.
  10. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca

    am i the only one who caught the joke in this post? :eyebrow:
  11. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Nope. I caught it, but figured there was some genuine interest in the question too.
  12. Sounds pretty cool... although you can probably find a scuffed up USA muff in the same price range. Still though, it sounds like a decent pedal.

    I'll probably pick up the vintage phaser at NAMM if behringer is selling anything.
  13. Ewwwwww.... icky.
  14. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I guaruntee not. USA Muffs hold their value, VERY seldom below $45 in awful shape.