ZW38 Black Label Chorus review by MXR

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.2 (13 votes)
MXR: ZW38 Black Label Chorus
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Price paid: € 109

Sound — 9
I play an AMStratocaster on a Fener Vibro Champ, mostly clean to slightly distorted sounds. No noise at all. The pedal sounds already great when all controls are at 12 o'clock, and I peak it therefrom. It achieves the most common chorus sounds, from ballads, "Come As You Are", etc. Great warm sound, non synthetic.

What I dislike is the volume boost when you turn it on (or the volume drop when you turn it off - I don't know). That's really a bummer. I've already wrote an email to Jim Dunlop, to find out if the same volumeboost also appears on the MXR analog delay. The analog delay was the pedal that I wanted to buy in the first place, but it wasn't available in my guitar store. So maybe I return it and order the other one.

Overall Impression — 8
I use it mostly for Pink Floyd stuff and to get a thicker sound for my chord jingle. I really like the sound of it and the many but simple controls to tweak it. If this got stolen, I would get another. Cons: Volumedrop/boost. Well that was my first review, have mercy for my bad English I come from Austria, the land which brought you Arnold Schwarzenegger - also sorry for that.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Looks very durable, not as well as an boutique pedal but still ok. The socket for the power supply is on the right side which I find very bad placed because it requires more space on my pedalboard. The ducttape sticks nicely on the bottom of the pedal.

Ease of Use — 10
Very easy to use, standard chorus controls plus a level control for the overall volume of the effect and two knobs for treble and bass. The manual includes just three basic settings, and a description of the controls, but I guess you wan't need anyway. Still waiting for an answering email from Jim Dunlop (see below).

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    iceh88
    i have this pedal and love the sound of it. I dont use chorus in everything i do but it is a great pedal when you pair it with a nice tube amp. Im kind of surprised that the rating was a 5.8. I have never used any mxr product that deserved less than probably a 7 rating.
    Way Cool JR.
    I find it important to have a volume boost in a chorus pedal and prefer them with it. When you have a volume boost with chorus it gives you that extra sparkle with cleans you want and it also makes the bottom of the sweep more audible on slower settings otherwise they sound distant and muffled. My MXR Micro Chorus has a nice boost and it sounds realy realy great, it's the best chorus I ever heard/used. IMO the Micro is the best sounding Chorus MXR makes. It's not as versatile as the other ones but definitely (IMO) sounds better. It covers everything great that you mentioned you want a Chorus for. So they do,do a lot more than you would think with just one knob.
    robsofmar
    this is weird.. it is the exact same pedal as the mxr 234 which gets a 9.5 on this site. What a difference some paint makes :
    MaggaraMarine
    What I dislike is the volume boost when you turn it on (or the volume drop when you turn it off - I don't know).
    Well, that's why there's a "level" control. It controls the volume level of the effect.
    MaggaraMarine
    Way Cool JR. wrote: I find it important to have a volume boost in a chorus pedal and prefer them with it. When you have a volume boost with chorus it gives you that extra sparkle with cleans you want and it also makes the bottom of the sweep more audible on slower settings otherwise they sound distant and muffled. My MXR Micro Chorus has a nice boost and it sounds realy realy great, it's the best chorus I ever heard/used. IMO the Micro is the best sounding Chorus MXR makes. It's not as versatile as the other ones but definitely (IMO) sounds better. It covers everything great that you mentioned you want a Chorus for. So they do,do a lot more than you would think with just one knob.
    I agree with you that Micro Chorus is better. I just bought one and compared it to this. It sounded warmer and richer (maybe because I didn't have enough time to tweak the knobs but then again, if finding a good sound is difficult why should I buy it?) Not too much variety with it but I just wanted a great chorus sound. And it's a lot more simple to use. But about the volume boost. I didn't notice any volume boost with my MXR Micro Chorus. It has the same volume level as when it's bypassed. And I think that's how it should be. Buy a boost pedal if you want a volume boost.
    jon.peebles
    the level control is not an overall volume control. it blends the wet signal in with the dry signal. fully counterclockwise is a 100% dry signal, and i believe fully clockwise is 100% wet signal.
    VengefulTANK17
    I don't understand why this pedal has low ratiings. I love the sound this thing produces when I use it. I switched from the Boss Chorus Ensemble ce-5 and I feel it was the right choice. The sound just blends better and is more natural. Worth every bit of $100.