Purchased from: Trade Up Music (Portland, OR)
Ease of Use — 10
Rarely, if ever, do I give something at 10 - but this device deserves it. It sounds great no matter what you do to it, and I attribute this to it's simplicity - one knob, one switch, and it gets all the sounds I want and then some with minimal hassle and time wasted - ESSENTIAL when gigging.
Patches? What Patches? Were talking the real McCoy here. I spent less time setting this up than I did setting up my DigiTech RP-250, DigiTech GNX-1, Behringer V-Amp Pro, or even my Stereo PolyChorus to get my chorusing sound! Just a couple seconds - boom - done, it does not get more simple than that. Heck, adding it to my board was easy.
The manual is pretty basic, not a lot of information given, but not a lot needed anyway. This is a good entry-level chorus, or a great chorus pedal if you know what it sounds like and have an intended purpose for it like I do where it does the job perfectly. No idea what chip or revision number mine has, just know it sounds amazing with minimal messing about.
Sound — 9
I'll start this off with a few words on what I was looking for...
I'll admit it - being an '80s, especially post-punk fan, and a Nirvana fan, I'm a chorus hound. And I have strong ideas of what I'd like to sound like chorus wise - but for some reason, after having been a Nirvana super-fan for over 20 years, I'd never given this little guy a chance, well, once again Cobain was the path to take to get my own sound - go figure...
My primary chorus sound that I use most of the time (this pedal is going to be on a LOT!) is a very subtle knife-whoosh thing that just gives the sound more body, with a secondary sound I use a lot that is kind of like a more subtle version of Andy Summer's Electric Mistress sound. Well, this pedal gets all that with the bonus of being able to imitate Nirvana sounds without screwing up my knobs so much I can't remember the settings. It has MY sound in a nice little mono package (I use stereo chorus in my home studio), and it's simple, so it's hard to get it jacked up. My typical style is a weird merger of '80s rock with '90s rock with a punk D.I.Y. ethos - and I'm playing in a '90s cover band now, so this is going to be used for more than that I'm sure.
I'm running this on a SKB PS-45 Powered Pedalboard with about 8 or more other effects pedals - you can see that in my profile. I'm running it into a pre-Infinium 2008 Bugera 333XL with EL34 power tubes into a Peavey 412M Cabinet. The idea here - most of the time at least, is to reproduce my studio sound. When it comes to guitars, I have around 30ish, so I'm running everything from a Telecaster to a various hot-rodded multiswitched offset-waist beasts (Jaguars, Jazzmasters, and Jag-Stang's oh my!). But I've also run this thing through the bassist's Mesa Dual Rectifier into an Orange 2X12, and into even my little beat Fender Mini ToneMaster amp - and it's sounded amazing on all that stuff.
Noise? Nope, not very noisy at all, except the small "blip" that happens when you hit the footswitch, which in the context of live nobody is going to hear much of out of me because A.) This thing is pretty much on all the time, and B.) that blip is minimal at best, and C.) This is a live rig only so it's not like I'll be recording with it in my home studio that much.
The three settings I use the most are the knob at 0 with the Switch down, knob at 0 with the switch up, and knob all the way up with the switch down (that "Smells Like Teen Spirit"/"Come as You Are" effect).
On the first setting, is that knife-edged minor, almost unnoticeable "whoosh" I get in the studio. It basically adds a very very tiny amount of modulation. I was inspired by Edward Van-Halen and the "Jape" (essentially a high quality chorus effect) he used on the Eventide Harmonizer for his sound from VHII onward, except this is a far more organic, simple, and less expensive solution to that sort of thing. It takes some low-end off, but only a smidgen, which is actually a good thing.
With the depth switch up, things get warmer, and you are now bathing in a swimming pool of chorus that's not Jello thick but very present. This is the effect I use when I want that "Super-'80s" sound.
Third up is the Nirvana sound basically, that warbly thing from "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Come as You Are," and some versions of Something in the Way, and parts of Endless Nameless. EHX did a great job of making this sound accessible, though it's not something I use a lot or all the time.
I'm sure there is a plethora of other tones dial-able via the dial. I was able to reproduce my old chorus sound (live one) from my EHX PolyChorus Stereo when I still had that by turning the depth switch on and turning the rate knob up a little bit to give it a warped record modulation. Not a single bad sound out of this thing.
Basically put, I give it a 9, I'm happy with it, it fulfills my purposes for it, and it has some happy bonuses I can make use of. I just take one point off for the "blip" when switching on and off.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Yes, this thing is a literal tank, made of brushed aluminum and steel, even the battery compartment door is steel! If the knob breaks, oh well, I got other stuff I can slap on it that looks cool. And of course, my favorite type of footswitch button - the big metal sixties style. Knowing what I know about Electro-Harmonix pedals done in the vintage style considering how beat my Stereo PolyChorus was when I sold it - I expect the paint on the front will start wearing off after awhile, which is fine with me.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, I give it a 9 again... Like I said, I play my own brand of '80s/'90s rock mixed with a punk rock DIY ethos behind it, but I also play in a '90s cover band now, and I like jamming with pretty much anything rock between 1965 and 1995 - and some 2000's mixed in. For a rundown of my gear, go look at my profile, I have so much stuff it's ridiculous. I'm not bragging - I'm just a gearhound whose 20's had too much time on his hands and too many skills with musical instruments and electronics.
If it were stolen/lost, I'd buy another one for sure. I still want to buy another one and maybe set these up in stereo for a stereo rig - but I'll need a new pedalboard before that, it's already full enough as it is.
- I love it. Nothing should be changed. Favorite feature? The sound of course - which is the bottom line, of course!
- I tried out a lot of chorus pedals. I've been a fan of Chorus ever since I first messed with one on a Boss display unit when I was 12 and discovered that is a big part of the "'80s" sound. I think the first thing I tried to reproduce my studio sound live with was a Starcaster Chorus pedal I bought at Target for $12 on a whim, and it just could not cut it. I've tried Roland/Boss, Maxxon, Behringer, using my Super-Shifter as a chorus, using my Whammy WH4 as a Chorus, using modulation on my Boss DD-7 as a chorus, and never been quite as satisfied as the day they had one of these at Guitar Center and I plugged it in and got my sound in 5 seconds of setting it up. Now THAT will sell me on a pedal. Except I decided to get it on a trip to Portland, Trade-UP had a better price and they were a little local shop, and I'd rather support local shops.