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Vilan Family

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by mattbass6945, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. PunkRocker33133

    PunkRocker33133 Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2008
    Northern VA
    That parametric looks like a BYOC? I didn’t look at the others.
    mattbass6945 likes this.
  2. They all kind of look like BYOC. Is someone just building them, leaving them blank and reselling? Seems strange.
    PunkRocker33133 likes this.
  3. Elias86

    Elias86 Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2010
    Mebane, NC
    I'm hoping to revive this thread. Has anyone used one of these yet? These are selling on Reverb for under $150 with shipping, which is quite a bit less than the Empress or WMD parametric EQs. Seems like quite a deal for what you get: 3 bands of fully parametric EQ, bass and treble controls, gain and volume controls. Is it too good to be true?
  4. I never took the dive.......
  5. reaqter


    Apr 23, 2018
    I took the dive a couple weeks ago. Lord knows why. Will report back upon arrival.
  6. reaqter


    Apr 23, 2018
    Depends. Mine came yesterday. For you, or perhaps just posterity, here's a rundown.

    • 3.5" x 4.5". Roughly the same size as an EHX box. Here it is next to a spare TS7. Yes, my labels are upside down. I have my reasons.
    tvf - parametric eq - size compare.
    • 9V DC. I'm running it on 500mA but I doubt it needs that much.
    tvf - parametric eq - circuitboard. tvf - parametric eq - circuitboard closeup.
    • Built like a tank. Nothing is loose or jiggly.
    • Layout is very intuitive. Might not even need to put on any tape. Bass and output on the left, treble and input on the right. Low/Mid/High goes left to right, stacking gain/Q/frequency. (TVF lists the second row of knobs as Bandwidth, but since the band narrows as you turn the knob to the right - increasing Q - I think of it as Q.)
    • Knobs have a smooth, measured resistance that is pretty much accidentally-changed-all-my-settings-proof.
    • Gain (+/-), Q, and frequency are adjustable for all bands. Empress ParaEq only has low/mid/high Q toggles, which I see as a tragedy.
    • Bass and Treble knobs. Great to have on any pedal. Bass appears to be a HPF that mostly hits 90Hz and below; the true cutoff looks to be somewhere around 200-300Hz. Treble is a LPF for roughly 4kHz and above. Can dial in 3 surgical EQs and still be able to shape the overall tone. In a perfect world, the cutoff would be adjustable...
    • Input level knob. Helpful if you've got a hot signal coming in, cause you can get these filters to get right up on the verge of proper resonance squeals at max gain and narrow bandwidth. (Speaking of helpful, Empress - why on earth does your input padding toggle go 0db / 12db / 6db???)
    • As mentioned, the filters can get a little nasty if that's what you're into.
    • No center detent for unity gain. "Unity" Output volume appears to be somewhere around 3-4 o'clock anyway if you have Input set to noon, and vice versa. For Bass and Treble rolloffs, it's around 2 o'clock.
    • Due to the previous point, obtaining a consistent, level matched, and unaffected sound to use as a starting point is not particularly easy, which you might have expected from a box described as "based on Soviet Union's schematics". Below are the settings for as close as I could get using an Angels & Airwaves song as a reference track. Clearly, one does not simply start over again by turning all knobs to noon/zero.
      tvf - parametric eq - unity settings.
    • Ergonomics. Knobs are all the same size and closely spaced, which makes it a little hard to fiddle with the middle row. They're also smooth, like mini EHX's. Honestly, things could be worse.
    • Footswitch has shallower action than usual. Not really a con unless you're super picky.
    • With everything dialed up to max, there's some very slight background noise - a spike at 60Hz, a bit of high freq noise, and a hint of a C#3 or thereabouts. My power should be individually isolated (Truetone CS7's), but I am running a lot off of the same power strip so clean electricity might be the culprit. Should be noted I had to turn my playback way up in order to hear it - high enough I got real, real nervous about accidentally pressing play on my white noise test sample. At less extreme settings (input/output not maxed) there is minimal noise, comparable to other boost pedals.
    tvf - parametric eq - spectrum, dialed up to 11.

    • There is a phone jack on the bottom for SCS pedalboard compatibility.

    It works as advertised. If you don't mind the tight knob spacing, it's a great value especially at sub-$140 USD. Adjustable input levels plus separate knobs for bass and treble put this over the WMD and Empress offerings in terms of features. Downside is a slightly less clean signal at extreme boost settings.

    Seems you have to pick your poison with fully tweakable non-graphic EQ pedals because the WMD has its own ergonomic difficulties. I have the WMD Acoustic Trauma which has a similar EQ layout to the Utility (only difference, Trauma's EQ is boost only) and it can be a pain in low light or when you're trying to fiddle with knobs for ants. I'd take the WMD Utility if space is a concern, Empress ParaEq if pristine n clean is your MO, and this TVF if you want the most bang for your buck and don't mind waiting 2-3 weeks for shipping.

    edit: formatting
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019 at 2:16 AM
    Elias86 likes this.
  7. Elias86

    Elias86 Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2010
    Mebane, NC
    Great review, @reaqter! I actually got one a couple weeks ago as well. A used one popped up on Reverb for $60, so I snagged it, but I haven't checked it out quite as thoroughly as you have. Only thing, I think you mean that the bass and treble are shelving controls, not filters, right? Although an HPF would be awesome on a parametric EQ.
  8. reaqter


    Apr 23, 2018
    $60 is definitely a steal. Big grab. What are your thoughts on it?

    You might be right on the bass/treble controls, actually. I initially thought it looked like a HPF/LPF rolloff, but upon closer inspection the existence of that low end tail pretty definitively upends that assumption. It also boosts like a shelf... Thanks for the catch - I'll go back and edit my original post.

    Pedal off:
    tvf - parametric eq - whitenoise off. tvf - parametric eq - spectrum, whitenoise off.
    Pedal on, bass & treble at 0 vs max:
    tvf - parametric eq - whitenoise on, bass treble down. tvf - parametric eq - whitenoise on, bass treble up. tvf - parametric eq - spectrum, whitenoise on, bass treble up vs down.

    Unfortunately, this means I'm still in the market for a proper HPF/LPF. The VFE Standout seems to do the trick as well as some MS-20 filter clones (Frostwave Resonator) which would be incredible imo, but at the price they're going for I might as well just get a whole MS-20m synth itself...

    Update: looks like I can't edit yesterday's post for some reason. I'll keep trying, but it may be incorrect for all of eternity.

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