The army of pedals unleashed by Dunlop’s Bass Innovations team in the last few years has made them favorites of low-enders around the world. Two of the company’s most recent offerings, the DVP4 Volume (X) Mini pedal and the CBM105Q Cry Baby Mini Bass Wah, continue their winning streak.
MINI MINI WAH WAH
Bassists have been rocking wah pedals since Michael Henderson used one to funk up Miles Davis’ On the Corner in 1972, and since then, Cliff Burton, Geezer Butler, Chris Squire, and Doug Wimbish have all stepped on wahs. But it wasn’t until the late ’90s, when Dunlop introduced the Cry Baby Bass Wah, that bassists had a pedal designed to maintain the low end.
Like its big brother, the Bass Wah, this Baby is built like a tank. On the outside, there isn’t much to it: a compartment for a 9-volt battery, an input for an ac adapter, instrument input and amplifier output, and two trim-pots for volume and Q control. The real test of a good bass wah, of course, is that it doesn’t kill your low end, and the Mini Baby excelled at keeping things fat. It easily handled the sophisticated B of my Elrick Gold 6, the EMG-enhanced lows of my Lodestone Primal Artist 5, and the raw, passive boom of my Lakland Daryl Jones signature 4. It’s also nice and quiet—quieter, for some mysterious reason, than its big brother. My one issue? The effect continued for a moment after I lifted my foot off the pedal. Thankfully, I was able to fix that slight delay by making a couple internal trim-pot adjustments.
PUMP UP THE VOLUME
Volume/expression pedals may not have the sex appeal of bass wahs, but truth be told, they’re even more useful—so useful, in fact, that I used three Dunlop volume pedals in writing this review.
On a musical level, volume pedals are great for swells and dynamics. Using a volume pedal can also be more efficient and consistent than changing the volume on your bass or amp between songs, and it can help tame pedalboards full of effects with varying output levels. And if your volume pedal doubles as an expression pedal, as the X Mini does, you can use it to change parameters on a wide variety of effects.
The X Mini excelled at all three functions, and its fully adjustable rocker tension allowed me to set how stiff or how loose I wanted the pedal to feel. I began by connecting it with a TRS cable to my Eventide PitchFactor, segueing between wet/dry levels and choosing dramatic options that morphed between heel-down and toe-down. Just for fun, I plugged my Elrick into a Boss TU-2 tuner and sent the signal from the bypass jack to a Dunlop (X) volume pedal, the Mini’s big brother. Next, I sent the signal from output through all my pedals and into an even bigger Dunlop (XL) volume pedal. With each big volume pedal going to its own amp and the Mini X controlling the Eventide, I now had complete volume control of my clean tone, my effected tone, and the parameters of my PitchFactor. I was in heaven.
One of the main selling points for Dunlop’s tiny beauties, of course, is that they’re nearly half the weight and size of their predecessors. Even better news is that they’re just as durable. Dunlop’s mini pedals have lost none of the functionality of their bigger brothers, proving that good things do indeed come in small packages.
Cry Baby Mini Bass Wah & Volume (X) Mini Pedal
Street CBM105Q Cry Baby Mini Bass Wah; $108; DVP4 Volume (X) Mini, $120
Pros Good for your low end, good for your pedalboard
Bottom Line Dunlop’s mini pedals are no-brainer additions to any bass explorer’s pedalboard.