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  • Nick Rambo

Review: Dunlop DVP4 Volume (X) Mini

I have a love/hate relationship with volume pedals. I’ve used one, off and on, for years, constantly fighting back and forth with whether or not it was worth it. On the one hand, I love how an onboard volume pedal makes life easier by relegating a lot of what I’d normally do with my right hand to the floor, but on the other — all that real estate eaten up by a utility pedal is a real sacrifice on a small pedalboard like mine.

But along comes the Dunlop DVP4 Volume (X) Mini and all seems right with the world.

Small Wonder

The DVP4 Volume (X) Mini is an ultra compact volume pedal that can double as an expression pedal — but we’ll get to that in a bit. Weighing in at half the size of its predecessor, the full-size DVP3, the DVP4 is a continuation of Dunlop’s foray into the world of miniatures, fitting in alongside such successes as the Cry Baby Mini Wah and Mini Fuzz Face series.

Despite its name, I was actually a little surprised by just how small the Volume (X) Mini actually is. Pulling it from the box, I let out an audible “wow” when I had it in hand. It’s made of lightweight aluminum that feels rugged and sturdy, but in reality, it’s only slightly larger than a standard size pedal and fits nicely across two rungs of my Pedaltrain Jr. It even allows a luxury I haven’t experienced before — room for another pedal above it.

And it works quite well. Going in, I was a little concerned about the sweep of the pedal, unsure whether or not the range of motion would be a smooth as a full size volume for swells. After some testing though — both at home and in a live setting — I’m happy with it. The angle change does take a little getting used to, but much of the quality performance comes as a result of Dunlop’s patented Low Friction Band-Drive mechanism and the rubberized non-slip grip tread on top.

On top of all that, you can also adjust the tension of the pedal via an adjustable torque screw, making sure the DVP4 has your ideal amount of resistance.

Express Yourself

Out of the box, the Volume (X) Mini is set up to run in expression mode. Here, you can run a stereo or TRS cable from the AUX jack of the DVP4 to the expression jack of, say, your favorite delay —or anything that will work with a 10k ohm expression pedal.

You can set minimum and maximum expression levels on either end of the pedal, too, thanks to an internal switch that switches the heel/toe polarity — a particularly nice feature. Beyond that you can also set the minimum expression setting via an internal trimpot.

Of course, for those like me who prefer to run a tuner out of their volume pedal, doing so is as easy as opening the Volume (X) Mini and switching an internal toggle switch from EXP to Tuner, and then connecting the tuner to the DVP4’s AUX jack. This way you can tune on the fly, or silently, without issue.

Parting Shots

From the size to the internal flexibility, the Volume (X) Mini clearly has a lot going for it. Yes, the price point is a little higher than other mainstream options, but unlike some of those — you don’t have to worry about broken strings or worn out gears. And that’s a real relief. Of course, the primary selling point here is the small footprint. And while the sweep is nice, the shorter throw and change in angle will probably take a little getting used to if you've become accustomed to a larger pedal. After just a short time with it though — and a few tension adjustments — operation became much more intuitive.


Note: This review was originally featured in Tone Report Weekly


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