- by Kevin Deal
There are tons of guitar pedals and effects that you can try out there. This is why it’s critical to know what you want and what kind of effect you are looking for. Most especially, when you’re a beginner.
A delay pedal or a reverb pedal might even have a similar concept or effect to your music as compared to a chorus pedal. Later on, we will be discussing why a delay pedal’s technological concept is quite similar to the chorus pedal.
When it comes to “thickening” your guitar audio signal, these three effect pedals might be of use to you.
As for the chorus pedal, there are certain things you should and might want to look into to find the best one for you. There’s no doubt that a lot of brands can offer you lots of different features. Knowing the basics and fundamentals about a chorus pedal will help you limit your list of things you might check out.
Remember that your needs and musical preferences should always come first when buying any effect pedal, including the chorus pedal. We will be listing down things you should look for to find the best chorus pedal for you. And to help you get started with your hunt, we also included several reviews of chorus pedals you can first try with.
Background of a Chorus Pedal
For starters, a chorus pedal gives out an ensemble sound to your guitar signal which is what we call the chorus effect. This effect makes your guitar sound as if two or more guitars are playing along with you in not so perfect unison.
This is similar to the delay pedal. However, the chorus effect is based on a short delay. It replicates a certain riff in your music and adds it to your current audio signal instead of just echoing it back. This is what makes your guitar sound as if it’s playing with other guitars simultaneously.
Chorus pedals use a low-frequency oscillator (LFO) to control the delay time. This is what makes chorus pedals different from the concept of a delay pedal.
What Should You Look For In A Chorus Pedal?
Finding the best chorus pedal for you is pretty simple. However, we will only be listing some of the basics and the fundamentals. We are in no way, claiming that these would be everything you’re going to have to look into. There’s still the budget or price, your preferences among others.
Digital? Or analog?
There are two types of chorus pedals: the digital and the analog. A digital chorus pedal produces an exact crisp and cleaner sound. This is because it replicates a riff from your music by consistently delaying the sound.
It converts an analog guitar sound wave to a digital format one, processes it before it back to an analog sound wave. The analog, on the other hand, produces replicas of your riff with variations giving it a warmer sound. It acts directly upon the audio signal it receives.
Depending on your taste, you have to choose between these two kinds. Do note, however, that the digital chorus pedal is better at eliminating any noises in the audio signal than you analog.
Is it true bypass?
You might’ve already read a lot of reviews that a true bypass pedal is a gem both to beginners and non-beginners. True Bypass just basically means that it can eliminate or cut off any audio signal from your pedal, so its tone or gain is not affected when you switch it off and back on.
What else can you do with it?
There are chorus pedals out there that can do more than just give you the chorus effect. If you’re a non-beginner and you want something that doesn’t just do that job, you might want to look into the features.
The usual knobs that you will see in a chorus pedal are the effect level, rate, depth, filler (or tone). The effect level controls the volume or amount of effects you put into your audio signal. The higher the volume level, you will see that the effect is more noticeable.
The depth adjusts the “thickness” of the effect. This is done by increasing or decreasing the number of “voices” or “guitars” playing in unison with your current audio signal.
The rate knob is what controls the delay time between the reproduced sound when it is combined with the original sound. And finally, the filler or tone knob allows you to control which part of the guitar scale, in particular, the chorus is supposed to take effect on. It produces high and low tones as well as middle range ones.
Remember, chorus pedals with multiple effects and varied knobs can give you more freedom to mix and experiment. If you’re up to learning the ropes in maximizing your chorus pedal, try one with lots of unconventional features.
You might encounter a lot of good pedals out there. However, beware of their durability. You might encounter those with excellent effects but end up not working anymore after months.
Remember that especially if you’re a non-beginner, you will be stomping the switch button on and off. So make sure you get a chorus pedal that can withstand all that stomping.
Our Top 5 Best Chorus Pedal 2017
Reviews Of Our Best Chorus Pedal
1. MXR M234 Analog Chorus Guitar Effects Pedal (Standard)
MXR has been a staple among the greatest of effects pedals. This is because of its revolutionary stomp boxes that are designed to be durable and rugged. MXR is also known to recreate vintage models with a modern and practical twist.
The MXR M234 makes use of a bucket-brigade circuitry. One of the best features of the MXR is it creates a classic lush with a liquid-like texture. This is something that you can’t get out of digital circuitry.
The knobs of this product function efficiently and you can use it without much trouble. It has knobs that can cut high and low frequencies. Controls such as Rate, Level, and Depth are also part of the interface.
- Volume is consistent
- Volume level does not drop even if the pedal is on
- One amp doesn’t drop a substantial amount of volume unlike other chorus pedals
- Affordable price range
- Versatile tone and effect
- Chorus effect is rich and glassy at the same time
- Bucket brigade circuitry creates an authentic chorus effect
- Not a true bypass pedal
- Knobs may be prone to fall off. It’s not engineered well to stay intact together with the casing
2. MXR M134 Stereo Chorus
Coming at 2nd on this list is another MXR model. The MXR M134 lets you dial as much intensity as you want through its 5-knob feature. Specifically, this is done by adjusting the Rate and Width controls. Furthermore, the treble and bass controls let you shape the down to your liking.
The mono and stereo features of this product allow a rich and powerful tone when you’re playing. The stereo chorus feature also has a nifty Bass filter function. This lets you maintain your low-end by targeting the higher frequencies with your effect.
Plugging the M134 into two amps can generate a richer sound that has a lot of spatial effect to it. Legendary bands like Guns N’ Roses have used this pedal in its golden years. If you’re looking for a versatile chorus pedal that gives you a lot of mixing room, this one’s a great choice.
- You can freely EQ the voice controls. Bass and treble knobs gives you room when putting effect at either end of the sound
- Features a huge tonal speed that comes from its stereo output
- Mono mode provides you with a lush effect that is in-demand for any chorus pedal
- Comes with an LED light for its interface. It does not only indicate if the pedal is on, but it also mimics the speed rate of the sound
- 18V adapter can be quite an inconvenience for its power supply
- The range of sounds might be lower if you compare it with other chorus pedals
3. Electro-Harmonix Small Clone Chorus Pedal
The Electro-Harmonix Small Clone Chorus Pedal is your classic analog chorus pedal. This pedal was popularized by Nirvana Vocalist, Kurt Cobain. It features a depth and a rate knob which will help you experiment with the different chorus effects in store. It is powered by 9-volt battery which is already included in this package. However, you can also use a 9DC-100 power supply.
- It is a true bypass pedal
- You can experiment with its doubling effects, 12-string chiming tone, and Leslie-like warbles
- It can be powered using a power supply
- It might not be as durable especially if you use it for long hours
- There are issues about its power and power supply (since it’s not easily compatible with all of your standard 9V power supply)
- Some complaint about its pedal polarity as it fails to work with other pedals in a chain
4. TC Electronic Corona Chorus Pedal
The TC Electronic Corona Pedal is a classic among old-school guitarists. It’s one of the more widely known chorus pedals out there. It comes with an actual bypass feature that gives you that authentic touch.
One of the cool things about the Corona is its TonePrint. This gives you instant access to custom pedal tweaks made by different artists. Furthermore, it has three chorus types. These types have expansive tonal options ranging from shimmers to mind-boggling swirls.
- Versatile and effective
- Adds a cut and midrange depth to your sound
- The tone print feature gives you a lot of flexibility to download customized pedal tweaks. This eases your performance if you’re trying to find a specific sound
- Although the tone isn’t loud and powerful, the subtle effect is great for almost any kind of song
- True bypass feature
- The power supply is quite weak. You might need to get an AC adapter especially for longer use
- Can sometimes buzz if you use it with different pedals
5. EarthQuaker Devices Sea Machine V2 Chorus Effects Pedal
The Sea Machine Chorus Pedal by EarthQuaker surely looks stunning. Its name lives up to its design with a cool wave pattern that makes you think of the word “lush”. Speaking of lush, this pedal delivers that great tone which makes it fundamentally sound.
What’s interesting about this pedal is it has six knobs as opposed to the usual five. Some of the unique knobs that you can tinker with are the animate and dimension controls. Animation lets you control the delay time. On the other hand, the dimension knob adjusts spatial regeneration of your pedal’s effects.
- Friendly to use with other pedals. The sound doesn’t get muddy even if you play it with distortion and overdrive pedals
- The LFO has great functions that feature Rate, Intensity, and Shape
- LED lights show the speed and rate even if the pedal is in bypass
- Great transparent buffer. Keeps the all-analog signal dry and crystal clear when engaged
- True bypass, handmade with high-quality material for long-term use
- Its lush sound is good, but it can sometimes produce a robotic sound
- The vast and varying levels of intensity can create a phase cancellation that makes it choppy in sound
Cutting to the chase, the MXR M134 stands out as the winner for this top 5 list. However, it’s not a lopsided victory. There’s a lot of competition on this list, but ultimately, the interface and sound quality of the M134 gives it the edge.
It has cool modes that give you a lot of freedom and versatility in your sound. The knobs are also ideal for mixing the intensity of your bass or treble. Moreover, you get a product that can last a long time while. All of this and you also have a pedal that has a powerful output with an enormous tonal range. Truly, the M134 might be the chorus pedal for you!