Price paid: £ 69
Purchased from: Miller's Music Centre, Cambridge, UK
Ease of Use: The CR-7 is easy to use, at least apparently. It has four control knobs, for level, speed, depth and voicing. The last one is particularly interesting, because it opens a gate for the search of your own sound, having to choose from diferent types of choruses: modern (suitable for metal), multi (a crazy 8-voice chorus, excellent for prog), boutique, analog, studio (wonderful for records, because it's stereo), jazz and Vintage (this one is my favorite). It isn't easy, however, to reach to that particular configuration which is yours. You need to work a lot, in order to discover how the considerable array of settings can merge into the sound you're looking for. The good news is that sound is always there and, if you manage to find it, the CR-7 delivers it in an impressive manner. It sounds amazing and it's a silent effect too (I must add, from the very beginning, that the price I've paid for isn't the current one: it was a sale, its original price being 149 GBP or something like that).
The manual is very basic, but the editing patches are simple and easy to use, so there isn't much of a philosophy to make it work. However, it is clearly explained in the manual how to use the CR-7 in stereo mode, which is good for inexperienced players.
I don't know much about the firmware revision number. I bought it new, I have a comprehensive warranty and DigiTech offers also online registration (unfortunately, the aplication for the HW pedals it isn't functional yet).
Last but not least, it is made in USA. Not China. It makes quite a difference. // 8
Sound: I've exposed my setup elsewhere, so I'm not going to do it once again. Basicly, I have three electrics which cover the Strat, Tele and LP area of sounds. I also have a few effects and a practice amp (I gig with a borrowed one). I needed a chorus to refine my clear sounds, especially when using single coils or SD's SH-2n humbucker at the neck of my second guitar. It does this job pretty well, because it isn't noisy and the sound's texture isn't too digital. Clean tones are gorgeous on almost all settings (but not on Modern or Multi modes, then it sounds weird). On Vintage, Analog, Jazz or Boutique, it is one of the most natural and refined chorus pedals in its price range.
Of course, I insist it's a quiet pedal. I wouldn't have bought it otherwise. But it also has a problem: it doesn't get well with some of my other effects. It does get great with the Pickup Booster, but it is more than tricky to use it with the Lava Box: you need to check and check again for the particular setting which allows you to give a hint of a chorus to an overdriven sound. The secret is to avoid cranking up the two effects. With the CR-7 at 1/4 level, speed and depth, you'll get a nice overdriven sound from the Lava Box.
However, its masterpieces are the clean tones. I can easily get a David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler or Eric Clapton type of sounds, if I want to. And, basicly, you can get anything you want, in terms of chorus sounds, from this pedal, but it takes much longer to actually get to them, because of the comprehensive array of tones it delivers. For its price, it's a very good effect, fully suitable for semi-pro use and, in certain circumstances, even for a pro use. If you only want to impress the 50 guests of the small club you're gigging in, there's not a better chorus to do that. // 8
Reliability & Durability: Yes, I kinda depend on it when playing in clean mode (which is more often). This chorus belongs to that category of pedals which keep you busy, because it's like an invitation to explore your equipment's (and your own) limitations.
I will definitely use it for gigging without a backup, as it's a true bypass pedal and also has a smart system of activating this function when the 9V battery is dying. If it doesn't work, I'll simply ignore it. But I'm sure it will last for many decades, being built in the USA. // 9
Overall Impression: I play mostly classic rock, blues and prog. The CR-7 is a good match for all these styles and for my patent-pending sound, which relies much on clean tones. It's not too digital (which is good), it's simple and effective. I can say that in my 30 years of playing I didn't meet too many choruses better than this one, certainly not in this price range (I keep on telling to my younger fellows: if you want something really pro, go for a Pete Cornish pedal, but that's at least 400 quid).
I've played on this pedal before buying it, so there aren't questions I wished to have asked before. Being simple and effective, the only issue would have been the noise, and it's a quiet pedal, so I'm glad I bought it and I'm also happy I've been offered a substantial sale. I would have bought it anyway, because it seemed better than its competition from Boss, Electro-Harmonix or MXR. At least for my music.
If stolen... I'd try to get another one, at the same price! Otherwise, I'd wait until my budget can afford it at its initial price.
I love its clean tones and its quiet operation and I dislike the fact that I have to work a lot to make it 'cooperate' with the Lava Box. My favorite feature is the ability of changing from Vintage to Boutique types of chorus.
All in all, a good and reliable product, offering much to the player who needs a chorus. // 8