Chorus Pedals

Chorus pedals – how can you not love them? They’re so raw, so unpolished, so direct, so easy to fiddle with…

I love using chorus pedals when mixing as they sit the sound in a different perspective to that created by a plugin or a polished, hi-tech piece of outboard gear. I have a decent collection of chorus pedals (see chorus pedals in my shop), and have owned quite a few more, but some stand out more than others

The Revised Flanger / Chorus Hall of Fame

 

1=.Marshall Time Modulator

1=.Boss Chorus CE-1

3. Roland Dimension D

4. Eventide Flanger

5. AMS Flanger

6. Boss Super Chorus CE-300

7. Moog MF Flange

8. Yamaha SPX90 Symphonic

1=. Marshall Time Modulator

The brainchild of maverick audio designer Stephen St Croix, the MTM is a baffling, brilliant piece of art that confuses & confounds even as it excites & amazes the ears. Also known as the Marshall Time Waster – due to the time it takes to get anything useful out of it – this is none-the-less the best time-based effects device ever built

1=. Boss CE-1

What allows the CE-1 to sit at the top of the list? Not because it’s a swirly, deep, flangey chorus – it’s not. It’s subtle, smooth, refined & rather special. It adds depth and subtle movement, making it superb for widening keyboard pads and giving depth to a mix. It does all this without any downsides at all – it’s quiet (or quiet enough), mains-powered so no batteries to worry about, and absolutely incapable of sounding bad

3. Roland Dimension D

The Dimension D sits in a class of its own at the top of the rack-mounted chorus tree. It’s super-simple device with four settings, each of which seems to be perfect, but there is always one slightly more perfect than the rest. Again, it’s not a deep, swirly device, but does a wonderful job of adding subtle movement and widening sounds

4. Eventide Flanger

Eventide is one of my favourite manufacturers. They haven’t made a bad piece of gear since they started in New York in 1971. The Eventide Flanger, and it’s sister, the Phaser, are old-school rack devices which will do deep, resonant flanging, subtle movement and anything in between. My favourite trick is to feed the whole mix though it, slowly cross-fade with the original mix and switch back on a downbeat. Sounds great on the radio, sounds amazing on headphones

5. AMS Flanger

If you could imagine a slightly more British, slightly more buttoned-down version of the Eventide, you’d get something like the AMS. Great audio quality, very smooth in operation, great controls with more finesse than the Eventide, the AMS is a killer flanger

6. Boss Super Chorus CE-300

A new entry, the CE-300 creates a lovely, warm, deep chorus effect. It has two chorus sections and – unlike most “stereo” effects – the effect doesn’t disappear in mono. When modified & recapped the CE-300 is a remarkable piece of kit

7. Moog Minifooger MF Flange

A new entry in the Hall of Fame, the MF Flange punches well above its weight. Some clever design work has led to a new design – using old technology – but not a boring new design. The MF Flange is capable of turning your sound into a hot mess but somewhere along the way you’ll find the perfect flange

8. Yamaha SPX90 Symphonic

When you trawl through factory presets on outboard gear it’s rare to find a sound that jumps out at you that also works in a track. Symphonic is one of the few. Unlike the other chorus / flangers in my list, Symphonic is the only one from a digital device with presets. All the others pre- or post-date the digital era and use analogue, bucket-brigade delay lines. The SPX90 may be digital, but someone at Yamaha engineering spent time creating a killer flanger which someone else from marketing named Symphonic. Whatever – it’s great

Honourable mentions

  • MXR Phase 90 pedal – fabulous stomp-box phaser
  • Any MXR Flanger – I haven’t found a bad one yet
  • Any Electro-Harmonix Chorus or Flanger – I haven’t found a bad one yet
  • Yamaha Rev 7 – Symphonic, just like the SPX90