Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

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Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby wildschwein » 11 Jan 2009, 05:42

I just got one of these a few days ago; paid $140 Australian with postage - Deluxe Memory Men sell here for $400+ new. The VM1 actually runs on 9v - it has a 100ma 9v adapter included. There is a picture that's floating around on the net which shows it with an 18v-labeled jack but that may have been a prototype. What I have written here is more a review and quick peak just to get the topic started. I hope someone finds this marginally useful.

First of all the thing weighs about 1kg and has rather tight feeling pots - unlike a few other Behringer Vintage models. I've never owned a Deluxe Memory Man, so I can't compare them directly but the Behringer sounds alright - very analogue and spongy - maybe bordering on muddy at times. The vibrato is more usable than the chorus feature - though they both simulate tape warble, but the chorus is too detuned after 1 on the dial to my ear. The Time Machine sounds pretty cool on clean and dirty stuff and the preamp section gives you a nice, crisp, fat sort of boost when it's put in front of a dirty amp. The delays themselves are best described as lo-fi. After about 7 on the delay dial (about 300ms) things get pretty murky. The pedal distorts in a nasty way if you turn the level and repeats up too high. Backing off on the level helps a lot with this. I really enjoyed playing my Strat clean with about 300ms of delay and a touch of vibrato - got some nice Tommy Bolin Echoplex-type sounds when I dialed in a bit of OD. Self-oscillation happens after 5 on the feedback/repeat knob and it could really destroy your speakers. I have 400-500w Eminence PA speakers in my two 65w amps and I was worried about the violence of the oscillations and quickly backed off on the knob.

The quirks with the pedal are in bypassed mode. The led stays on, although more dimly, when you hit the footswitch to disengage the effect and the sound still seems to be influenced by the preamp section of the pedal; although the level knob doesn't effect the volume and the output sounds a little thinner. The led is brighter when you engage the effect and you know when it's on because the level of the preamp has a fair whack of boost and fatness to it after 3 on the level dial. You can also turn off the effect with a switch on the back and this leaves you with what sounds like a passive bypass - the pedal will in fact pass a signal without any power - and it sounds the same when the switch is off; but in this mode there is a fair bit of tone suckage - it's certainly thinner and dead sounding to my ears. But, this is mainly an issue for me and my rig because I am splitting the signal between two amps and I really need an active/buffered bypass to preserve my guitar signal. I've yet to do much one amp testing yet. The Time Machine does do some very nice reverb-types of sounds though, and I'm probably going to hook it up into my recording pedal board, as my little recording amp needs a bit of random echo at times.

It's not really what I'd hoped for, just because of the tone suckage when bypassed - I need a better buffer to split my signal. I think this pedal will work best as an "always on" unit with one amp (either in the fx loop or in front), so you can get the boost from the preamp section - this part of it sounds really good. The unit is also very heavy and seems quite sturdy.

I have actually been using a Behringer DD100 digital delay to split my signal to my amps and the Time Machine just can't do this job properly - so the DD100 will be staying on my board for a while - I don't often use the DD100 for delays; it's mainly just an active splitter box. I also have the Behringer VD400 ($50 AU) which is (apparently) a copy of the the Boss DM-3 - this is a great analogue delay (with a good bypass) and I use it for slapback - in addition I use a Moen Pretty Dolly ($80 AU) for medium length echoes and that's analogue-voiced but based around a digital chip - it sounds a lot clearer than the Time Machine to me. I'll still be using the Time Machine for recording though - it does sound good when it's on - just don't turn it off or bypass it if you're running in a dry/wet setup and you're using it as a splitter. Or put it in a true bypass looper perhaps. I still think it's a bargain and eventually there may be some mods that could improve things about it.

The main chip is a Cool Audio V571M Y7N9UA
I can also just make out 3 other smaller 8 pin chips labeled: 4558 ED82.
Here's a quick look, sorry wimped out of taking the boards off:
VTM5.jpg
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby Rocket Roll » 11 Jan 2009, 10:26

Thanks a lot for the pictures!

wildschwein wrote:The main chip is a Cool Audio V571M Y7N9UA.


That's actually a compander, not a BBD chip. I presume BBDs are on the opposite side of the mainboard?
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby wildschwein » 11 Jan 2009, 11:01

Rocket Roll wrote:Thanks a lot for the pictures!

wildschwein wrote:The main chip is a Cool Audio V571M Y7N9UA.


That's actually a compander, not a BBD chip. I presume BBDs are on the opposite side of the mainboard?

Oh right - sorry I'm a noob - but thanks for clarifying that. I'll have to lift the boards and photograph them. Maybe this week sometime.
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby uncleboko » 11 Jan 2009, 11:29

Spongey - preferably of the treacle variety with lots of custard!!! :lol:
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby wildschwein » 11 Jan 2009, 11:50

uncleboko wrote:Spongey - preferably of the treacle variety with lots of custard!!! :lol:

Yeah - that sounds great, especially the custard part. I'm a chef by trade, but I've gotta admit, I've never heard of or tried a treacle sponge; but I'll look it up on the net.
But yeah, it may not be the best metaphor or adjective - I guess it's just for lack of a better word. It's definitely not a bright sounding delay by any means - maybe muffled/dark/thick would have been a better terms. Still I've heard lots of people talk about "chewy" phasers and "gristly" distortions etc!!!
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby sidseizure » 11 Jan 2009, 14:05

Anyone know when these are supposed to be available in the US?
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby uncleboko » 11 Jan 2009, 16:36

wildschwein wrote:
uncleboko wrote:Spongey - preferably of the treacle variety with lots of custard!!! :lol:

Yeah - that sounds great, especially the custard part. I'm a chef by trade, but I've gotta admit, I've never heard of or tried a treacle sponge; but I'll look it up on the net.
But yeah, it may not be the best metaphor or adjective - I guess it's just for lack of a better word. It's definitely not a bright sounding delay by any means - maybe muffled/dark/thick would have been a better terms. Still I've heard lots of people talk about "chewy" phasers and "gristly" distortions etc!!!


This is a good link
http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=h ... image&cd=1

My mother excelled in this sort of desert. Oddly enough, although called "treacle sponge" golden syrup is normally used.
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby nooneknows » 11 Jan 2009, 19:56

wildschwein wrote:It's not really what I'd hoped for, just because of the tone suckage when bypassed


from the pictures it seems quite easy to put a 3pdt swith to make it true bypass, it could not be a big problem.
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby wildschwein » 12 Jan 2009, 08:17

nooneknows wrote:
wildschwein wrote:It's not really what I'd hoped for, just because of the tone suckage when bypassed


from the pictures it seems quite easy to put a 3pdt swith to make it true bypass, it could not be a big problem.

Yeah - well I had thought of that, as I have done it with the Behringer Vintage Phaser following Soulsonic's directions in a post he did here in Pimp My Cheap Pedal. The problem is; that if it's running to two amps the signal will be too weak as well when it's true bypassed - so I don't think it will fix my particular problem with it, as this shortcoming already exists with the pedal. I guess any disappointment on my part stems from the fact that I wanted a good splitter box as well for my dry/wet amp set up. I've been messing around with the pedal into a single amp and it's a pretty cool lo-fi sound - I think a true bypass mod would work just fine in this circumstance.
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby Tom5150 » 12 Jan 2009, 17:06

uncleboko wrote:
wildschwein wrote:
uncleboko wrote:Spongey - preferably of the treacle variety with lots of custard!!! :lol:

Yeah - that sounds great, especially the custard part. I'm a chef by trade, but I've gotta admit, I've never heard of or tried a treacle sponge; but I'll look it up on the net.
But yeah, it may not be the best metaphor or adjective - I guess it's just for lack of a better word. It's definitely not a bright sounding delay by any means - maybe muffled/dark/thick would have been a better terms. Still I've heard lots of people talk about "chewy" phasers and "gristly" distortions etc!!!


This is a good link
http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=h ... image&cd=1

My mother excelled in this sort of desert. Oddly enough, although called "treacle sponge" golden syrup is normally used.




Treacle sponge is AMAZING, and yes, i used golden syrup :)
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby moltenmetalburn » 12 Jan 2009, 17:42

I guess any disappointment on my part stems from the fact that I wanted a good splitter box as well for my dry/wet amp set up.



build this:
http://www.muzique.com/lab/splitter.htm

could probably even tack it on at the beginning or end of the circuit if so inclined though a stand alone might have more uses.
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby JiM » 12 Jan 2009, 23:26

From the solder pads positions, i bet there are two V3205 and one V3102 on the other side of the board.
http://www.coolaudio.com/products.html

moltenmetalburn wrote:could probably even tack it on at the beginning or end of the circuit if so inclined though a stand alone might have more uses.

This half-empty box is begging for mods and added circuitry ! :mrgreen:

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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby Rocket Roll » 13 Jan 2009, 00:26

JiM wrote:From the solder pads positions, i bet there are two V3205 and one V3102 on the other side of the board.


That is kinda like what was said here: http://www.shortscale.org/forum/viewtop ... 84f#454751

I sorta hoped for the impossible - MN3005 clones, 15V and all that headroom. :(
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby fozziemusic » 15 Feb 2009, 22:33

Hi there, I'm new here, but since I have just received a nice VM-1 pedal I thought I'd throw in some review-esque remarks and ask a bunch of newbie questions as well.

I'm really pleased with the delay sound from the pedal itsself (the wet signal); it is nice and free of obvious clock bleed, has a good analog delay character to my ears (lo-fi delay with lots of lowpass filtering, distortion and this kind of fluid blending of dry signal + delay signal). Vibrato is nice, chorus is indeed a bit on the extreme side for normal guitar use. I am using it for now with my Fender strat with gold lace sensors as well as my Korg MS20 analog synth. Both make very nice combinations. Now the part that I'm not so pleased with: when the wet/dry knob is turned to 'dry', there is lots of clock bleed coming into the 'effects out' output. Luckily, the 'direct out' is free of this, so you can always mix dry & wet 'out of the box' without have the clock bleed in the dry part, but this is kinda finicky.

Now onto the newbie questions:
1. How difficult would it be to add a third output with added pot to make a dry/wet blend by mixing both existing physical outputs (for example: clone the 'direct out' and mix in the 'effects out' with the added pot)? Of course leaving the original dry/wet control to 100% wet for this case. Is it just a case of adding a single pot, or do I need more components?
2. How do I get out the smd boards of the VM-1? The plastic knobs do not seem to come off easily on the outside of the box. Just unscrew the smd board, or do I have to get the knobs off first?
3. Does anyone have any clue whether is will be possible to add a delaytime control voltage/signal input to use with an external signal source (eg. the MS20)? Any ideas on implementation?
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby JiM » 17 Feb 2009, 00:28

Welcome aboard !
Thanks for this review, i think i might get one some day soon ...
fozziemusic wrote:Now onto the newbie questions:
1. How difficult would it be to add a third output with added pot to make a dry/wet blend by mixing both existing physical outputs (for example: clone the 'direct out' and mix in the 'effects out' with the added pot)? Of course leaving the original dry/wet control to 100% wet for this case. Is it just a case of adding a single pot, or do I need more components?

If this works "out of the box", it should work also inside the box - except maybe some electromagnetic interference problems. The cool way to do that would be to replace the existing dry/wet control with that new one ... if that is compatible with the bypass system. Or even better, remove that noise in the fist place ...
For all of those, i'm afraid we can't do anything consistent without a (partial, at least) schematic. There are some gutshots above, but only one side and the resolution is not high enough for accurate tracing of these tiny SMD :cry:

fozziemusic wrote:2. How do I get out the smd boards of the VM-1? The plastic knobs do not seem to come off easily on the outside of the box. Just unscrew the smd board, or do I have to get the knobs off first?

If it's like the other "Vintage" series by Behringer, and the knobs look the same indeed, just pull symetrically and it will eventually detach. Do not use a single lever, but two diametrally opposite ones (screwdrivers, spoons, or just fingers) and apply slow but steady pull. Some screws then hide under the knobs, they hold the PCB on the box.

fozziemusic wrote:3. Does anyone have any clue whether is will be possible to add a delaytime control voltage/signal input to use with an external signal source (eg. the MS20)? Any ideas on implementation?

Sorry, i'm clueless on this one. If it can be done on a DMM, it's likely the same on the clone. One can always use one of the classic techniques to control a variable resistance, to replace the delay time pot (vactrol, FET, OTA, digital pot ... just look at compressors and phasers) Again, let's trace and see ... :horsey:
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby fozziemusic » 17 Feb 2009, 22:49

Wow, thanks for the elaborate reply. I didn't dare to put much force on the knobs, but indeed they come off like you describe. I've made pictures of both sides of the main pcb, but hope that resolution and angle are sufficient (this is the best I can do at the moment). Hope these pics are helpful for other purposes as well. Here they are:
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby JiM » 19 Feb 2009, 23:51

Great pictures !

I've scaled and aligned two of them, flipped and colored one ... tracing is in progress ! :twisted:

I may have something to check and/or some questions in a couple of days, if the weekend is rainy 8)
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby JiM » 22 Feb 2009, 22:42

So, it was not so rainy, but i still have some new stuff :wink: and some questions. :scratch:

Please, can someone :
  • Report the values of the pots and electrolytic caps
  • Confirm C20 is non-polarized
  • Check the power supply voltages (BBD and opamps may have different voltages)
  • Trace the IO board (it includes some caps too)
  • Confirm the orange and green guesstimate traces under the ICs and sticker with an ohmmeter. In short, check this DMM with a DMM.
  • Find any errors (and there are) in the draft schematic below

I can already state that the DMM this pedal is a clone of, is a bit different from all three schematics already available. The main difference is the opamp-based filter stages before and after the BBD stages, which use discrete transistors here. Maybe copied from a really vintage DMM ?
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby briggs » 23 Feb 2009, 01:14

Looks like good work! I've recently been playing with a Behringer RV600 Reverb Machine. The switching on it was utterly useless so I decided to design my own; result: lower noise + full true bypass and trails switching + independent dry/wet level controls + pregain control = 1 very usable and fun reverb unit! My circuits may be of help to you guys modding this so I'll post them up soon 8)
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Re: Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

Postby fozziemusic » 25 Feb 2009, 09:05

Very nice actions so far! I'm quite an electronics newbie, so I'm unsure whether I can answer all questions, but tracing out leads with a dmm should be doable :) . How do I see whether a cap is polarized?

It may take a few days before I can do some more work on it, but I'll try to answer (some of) your questions
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