Price paid: $ 110
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 7
This pedal was run through a Fender Blues Junior combo amp and a Reissue Fender Telecaster Deluxe. The first element of the effect you will notice is the buzz. Being that the chorus utilizes an analog overlay of the wet and dry signals, the amplitude of the signal is increased, creating an audible buzz that turns many away. It is not as noticeable during play, but tone-diggers beware. However, it is worth it in the exchange for the broad spectrum of sounds the effect generates. Chr1, or Chrous 1, is simple to use, but you lose a lot of control as depth is set to a permanent level. Chorus 2 can generate the same sound by setting Depth to about 9 o'clock. An even, twelve-stringed sound can be acheived by setting rate to 9 o'clock as well. However, for a wetter sound with the same effect, I set both knobs to about 10 or 11 o'clock. This sound seems to closely replicate the sound of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, Who once used the same pedal. However, if you want to accurately reproduce his rig, you want to look at the Small Clone, which he utilized for a greater number of his songs. A slapback-like effect, which you would normally seek out of a delay pedal, is found by setting depth to about 9 o'clock and rate to 12 o'clock. Chorus, however, is a funny effect, and you're going to get some pretty loopy sounds by setting either knob beyond 12 o'clock. This basically goes to say that half of the spectrum of sounds you now have access to are essentially useless unless you've a taste for the experimental. The same rules apply to vibrato, however you can acheive a broad variety of Vintage vibrato tones. I typically set the depth to about 7 or 8 o'clock and the rate to 3 o'clock, which gets a great 1950's vibrato tone which plays great off a tube amp like the BJ.
Overall Impression — 8
For a guitarist Who lands somewhere between modern rock, jazz and blues, this pedal works fine in my rig. I originally bought the pedal when I was orchestrating an experimental surf punk band, but what I found was a deeply personable effect which has lent a deep texture to my sound. I often pair the pedal with a modified Boss DS-1 Distortion for harder sounds, as well as a Line6 ToneCore Echo Park Delay pedal for more ambient textures. However, I often use the pedal alone with the Overdrive provided by the Blues Junior. Notably, this pedal has not been compared to any of it's brothers in the EHX chorus line outside of the Small Clone. Of course, if I had the money I'd always take a gander at the more expensive rigs. However, for a double effect with a rich and unique tone, I think the Clone Theory fits neatly into my ensemble. I'll be holding on to this one.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Electro Harmonix is usually pretty good about the sturdiness of their products. The Clone Theory is encased in a compact metal shell. Everything on the pedal was checked prior to purchase and the knobs, button and jacks were all stable in their factory condition. There is a story circulating, however, regarding Nirvana guitarist Kurt Cobain. Cobain once used this pedal, according to the story, and had broken it, after which he used the Small Clone from then on. The pedal used was an older model than mine, however, and I've yet to experience any difficulties with this pedal, it's as solid as the rest. Believe what you want, but I haven't seen anything yet.
Ease of Use — 8
The pedal is pretty direct. You get a single input jack, and two output jacks for stereo output. The outputs are labeled so that you may opt for mono sound by jacking into the top output. The pedal is activated by a single footswitch, the metal button which is featured on many other EHX models. The knobs are where it may get a little confusing. There are three mode settings you can choose from with the first knob: Chr1, Chr2, and Vib. Chr1 ont utilizes one of the other two knobs: the rate, while depth is kept at a factory preset. Chr2 and Vib utilize both knob. The labels are color coordinated to try and explain this, and it only takes a moment to round the learning curve. The manual explains these features in a more official voice; nonetheless, it isn't too difficult to use, but it's not exactly plug and play.