by Mark King
|L TO R, DUNLOP FULL SIZE CRY BABY, MINI CRY BABY AND MINI VOLUME|
The Dunlop family have grown their business far beyond their "accessory manufacturer" roots. I met Jim Dunlop at many trade shows throughout the 1980's, he was always a joy to speak with and very approachable.
Somewhere along the way Dunlop purchased the rights to the Cry Baby moniker and began building wah pedals with this as their brand.
Fast forward to today, Dunlop has created many different wah pedals and volume pedals. Dunlop uses a proprietary belt drive system in their mini volume pedal while they retain the classic gear drive in the junior and full size wah pedals.
Mini is a term that refers to a version that is smaller than the full size versions we've come to know through the years. The mini volume and junior wah differ quite a bit in physical size from each other which tells me the mini format is still evolving. The mini volume DVP4 is the smallest pedal physically, the junior wah is in the middle with the full size wah having the largest footprint. An even smaller mini Cry Baby is available, I don't have one for comparison but I assume it's a pedal similar in size to the mini volume pedal.
For this review we're comparing a recently acquired full size Cry Baby wah to the brand new, just released junior Cry Baby wah. For reference we'll also take a look at a recently purchased Dunlop mini volume pedal.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
For years I have wondered why wah pedals have not included an ON indicator light. Well Dunlop has finally seen the light and you can too. The mini wah has a white LED on the rear that indicates when the wah is ON. One small step for manufacturing, one big step for wah pedals.
JUNIOR WAH AND MINI VOLUME PEDAL SIZE
From a few months of use I feel like the Dunlop mini volume is a tad too small to be a number-one for my pedalboards. The junior wah pedal is quite a bit larger than the mini volume and it just feels a lot better under my foot.
|FULL SIZE WAH TOP, MINI BOTTOM|
I wear size 13 shoes so the mini volume is dwarfed by my big flipper-like feet. The junior wah with it's additional length and width has a more solid and usable feel to me.
JUNIOR WAH AND MINI VOLUME PERFORMANCE
I'm comparing the new Cry Baby junior wah to a recently purchased full size Cry Baby wah. The junior wah has the wah effect spread out over a wider range of pedal travel than the full size version. The full size wah is a tad more focused in pedal movement with smaller travel in the middle area providing greater change in wah sound.
Both the full size and junior Cry Baby have an overall very similar tone. The Cry Baby junior has the ON indicator light, that would cause me to pick it over the full size model.
The Cry Baby junior has the input and output jacks on the top rear panel rather than the classic right-input,/left-output configuration used on the full size Cry Baby wah
The Dunlop mini volume uses their unique band drive which involves a strap of some sort to modulate the signal level. I have not taken one apart to investigate further. I was very skeptical of this "drive system" when it was first introduced but after using two Dunlop mini volume pedals for a few months I've come to depend on them.
I hate volume pedals that don't turn OFF all the way and stay there. Almost every string driven volume pedal I've used won't turn off all the way and stay there. It's a song spoiler to hear some effect leaking in the low level moments of a quiet passage in a calm composition.
So far the Dunlop Mini Volume pedal has been a very good citizen, when I turn it off, it stays OFF.
The Dunlop mini volume is a 250k device when used as a volume control but this pedal has hidden powers of expression.
The DVP4 is basically a smaller version of the DVP3. The differences are that the DVP4 is half the size physically. It combines the tuner and expression jacks into a single TRS jack (which is mode selectable with an internal switch). For both pedals, the volume pot is 250k ohms, and the expression pot is 10k ohms
I don't use expression pedals very much, mainly because I just don't have room for any more. The expression option in the Dunlop mini volume is a nice option to have for future noodling around.
The Dunlop volume pedal is completely passive and does not require power to operate. Both of the Dunlop wah pedals can be powered by internal 9-volt battery or a standard inner-plus/outer-minus DC power supply inlet jack.
In the old days you had to grab a screwdriver and remove the feet to access the interior of a Cry Baby to change the battery. Now a convenient external battery box door makes it easy to use and replace a standard 9-volt battery. The wah effect does not use much current so a battery lasts quite a while.
All these Dunlop pedals feel heavy duty and high-quality in their construction. All of them were flawless performers right out of the box a sign that Dunlop is taking quality control seriously.
I'm a bit of a wah pedal snob. I've used the same expensive wah for the last 16 years. I'm very comfortable with its pedal travel and operation. With all that said I could easily switch to either of these Dunlop wah pedals and be happy with the tone. Dunlops engineering staff has done an impressive job updating and expanding their volume and wah pedal offerings.
Good music to you!
BTW I purchase and actually use all the gear reviewed. H.o.T. is a labor of love. This article is copyright 2021 by Mark King, it's not ok to copy or use without permission. There are no affiliate marketing links or embedded advertising. Buy your gadgets where you can get the best deal :-)