Mission Engineering's VM‑Pro buffered volume pedal, widely considered one of the best available, just got better! A new, ganged-pot configuration and a small tweak to the circuitry results in an improved taper that Mission are calling Ultrasweep. Whether you use your volume pedal for swells or just hitting exactly the right spot in the mix, Ultrasweep avoids the 'stepped' effect at the bottom of the pot that most pedals exhibit, whether they are passive types like the classic Kevlar-operated Ernie Ball, or active models. Now, if you think that all sounds a bit like audio cork-sniffing, you probably aren't a big volume pedal user. Believe me, having a pedal sweep that gives you a proper soft start and puts the resolution where you need it most definitely makes a difference.
For anyone not familiar with the VM‑Pro, it features a heavy-duty, all-metal chassis, about the size of a classic wah pedal, and uses a high-quality signal buffer — in fact it has two on board, with a second buffer driving a dedicated, pre-volume tuner output, available on the ring circuit of the TRS output jack. This allows you to isolate any tone-sucking effects of your tuner from your main signal path, whilst still permitting silent tuning by backing off the rocker pedal, although you'll require a TRS jack to two TS‑type adaptor (available from Mission if you'd rather not make your own).
Having a pedal sweep that gives you a proper soft start and puts the resolution where you need it most definitely makes a difference.
Other attributes of the VM‑Pro include internal micro-switches to configure the pedal to work optimally with active or passive pickups, a 'sparkle' option to counteract high-frequency loss at low volume settings, and an impedance switch, offering 30Ω or 10kΩ. The last allows the output of the VM‑Pro to replicate the direct output from passive pickups — which means you can use it in front of a vintage fuzz pedal.
There's also a 'minimum volume' trim-pot inside, so you can set the 'off' position of the rocker to something suitable for backing parts rather than complete silence — a very effective alternative to riding your guitar's volume control for those not so adept at the latter.
VM‑Pro's tiny 3mA current draw can be served by 9V battery or 9-18V external DC power via the standard 2.1mm protocol. Really top-quality kit is rarely cheap, and the VM‑Pro Ultrasweep certainly isn't. But sometimes you do get the performance that you've paid for.