Over the years, I’ve been following Mission Engineering on Twitter and hit their site a few times. I like the look of their pedals – quality seems high, and the pedals look classy. They make a few other pedals, but what seems to be their focus is wah and volume pedals.
I’ve been working on some looping stuff, and thought it was time for a volume pedal. But which one? I posted a poll a few days ago (What is the best volume pedal) asking for opinions, and got some great responses. I had a few conditions that I felt were important. I wanted a low profile – many of the Ernie Balls just seem too big, and I wanted to save that space for pedals. I wanted something that wasn’t going to break, again I see kits for fixing Ernie Balls and notice that they use a string pulley system which I’m not too confident in. I really hate stuff breaking. And the most important condition is sound quality.
The first attempt was the Boss FV-500L. When I got it, I was already disappointed in the size. It was pretty big, but the deal breaker happened after plugging it in. It was a MAJOR tone suck. Lost all of my sparkle and punch. Had it for 10 minutes and put it back in the box and returned it.
The second (and final) attempt, I decided to purchase the Mission Engineering VM-1 Volume Pedal. I already liked the size and shape because it’s in a the common Dunlop style wah enclosure. The VM-1 has a mute switch, but it also had this statement – “The New Version 2 Mission VM-1 volume pedal will not suck your tone.”. Okay, so it’s built like a tank, has the same footprint as my wahs and is good for my tone. I got the unit, but had to tighten the volume pot mount (not a big deal, just loosened during shipping), I adjusted the tension and plugged it in. There was a very slight change in tone (but could have been psychological) but overall, the tone was in the acceptable range – orders of magnitude better than the Boss I had earlier. The mute switch has prominent true bypass click, so I probably won’t use that (nor do I really need it). I would highly recommend this volume pedal for those looking. I still want to experiment with pedal placement, it seems with a overdrive in the chain the volume roll wasn’t very smooth, but will try to place the OD in front of the volume to see if that addresses that issue.
You can pick up a Mission Engineering VM-1 directly from their site for $119.00