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

9. TC Stereo Chorus Flanger

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

9. TC Stereo Chorus Flanger

The SCF is not the only TC chorus of note but it’s the first to cross my bench. There’s no denying the depth of experience at TC… this one is a stonker. Deep, clean chorus and modulation effects are there for the asking and it sounds crystal-clear. The SCF has been in production since the 1970s – and now I know why

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