Magazine Archive

Home -> Magazines -> Issues -> Articles in this issue -> View

A Chorus Line-Up

Which Chorus?

Come with us now as we check out more than 20 different chorus boxes and tell you which is best.


Four and twenty chorus pedals all in a row. Making Music surveys the top units for your delectation.

CHORUS: there's nothing to be ashamed of - we've all used it at some time or other. Add it to a guitar, keyboard, or bass and you have instant lushness - aural riches. It does this by delaying a signal and modulating its pitch in relation to its original. Width or depth knobs control how much the pitch wobbles up and down, while speed or rate dictates how often it changes, this roughly simulates the effect of two instruments playing in unison — hence the added depth.

According to the Buyer's Bible, chorus is the most popular effect in the battery (ahem) of foot-tapper-lodes. We've divided the pedals into four categories — mono analogue, stereo analogue, double choruses, and digital (which are all stereo).

We invited everyone we could think of to send us all their stand-alone chorus pedals (which means no Korg board, or Boss Micro-Rack). The resultant enormous pile of stuff we duly sat down and tested (without reference to price) with guitar, two amps, and four ears; the tabulated results you see below.

All pedals have certain features in common: Rate and Depth knobs, for a start, that and a deep emotional attachment to 9V batteries. They are made from either metal (M) or plastic (P). The digital pedals should be used with 9V AC adaptors. The initials in the Controls column stand for rate (r), depth (d), tone (t), feedback (f), delay (dl), mode (m) and balance (b). The star rating is out of a possible maximum of 5½. (Some mathematician - ed.)



There was nothing particularly wrong with any of them - some just worked better than others - though we weren't convinced that the digitals were necessarily £50 better than their analogue equivalents.

Of the monos, the Frontline seems the best value, though for only a fiver more you could have the very impressive Aria ACH-1 (but remember that you need two amps for stereo). The double effect Guyatones seemed good value, and there's also an honourable mention for their dedicated Bass Chorus (not listed), which was jolly good.

Higher up the price range, we liked the sweetness of the Roland Dimension C, but felt the best stereo pedal (arguably the best of them all) was the Ibanez CSL.

We couldn't really see the point of the double choruses unless you're into using weird wibbly noises.

None of the digitals sparkled as much as we'd hoped, but we did like the flanges and choruses on the Arion DCF, which gave it a slight edge over the Ibanez.


Chorus Line-Up

MAKE/MODEL M/P KNOBS PRICE RATING COMMENTS

MONO CHORUSES

BOSS CE-2 M r,d £100 ★★★ industry standard; slightly shallow effect; usually indestructible
FRONTLINE SERIES II M r,d £50 ★★★½ good, though switch had slight click
GUYATONE PS023 CHORUS/FLANGER M r,d £94 ★★★½ combined chorus/flange, plus vibrato; useful range of settings, though chorus rather slow
GUYATONE PS/17 DIST/CHORUS M r,d £95 ★★ combined distortion/chorus; horrid fuzz, adequate though noisy chorus
RAK CR-1 P r,d £56 ★★★★ like Boss, though much less robust; warm deep chorus, little noise

STEREO CHORUSES

ARIA ACH-1 P r,d,f £55 ★★★★½ part of new Bigfoot series: impressive stereo spread, good warm sound. Very nice, and good value
ARIA CH-5 M r,d,f £73 ★★★ similar to ACH-1, though less controllable, more awkward to use
ARION SCH-1 P r,d,t £60 ★★★★ wide ranging rate, though not as rich as could be; tone is useful
BOSS DIMENSION C M r,d £129 ★★★★ four non-adjustable preset choruses; sweet smooth sound, though slightly muffled
BOSS CE-3 M r,d,m £105 ★★★½ well-respected; mode gives two types of stereo; rich chorus, though not too versatile
DOD FX65 M r,d,dl £100 ★★★ reasonable stereo, reasonable chorus, solid box
FRONTLINE II M r,d,t £63 ★★½ Poor stereo image
GUYATONE PS013 M r,d,b(x2) £89 ★★★ good stereo image, wide range of sounds, though slightly harsh; complex — sliders for rate/depth
IBANEZ CSL M r,d £83 ★★★★★ instant cinerama; big stereo, immediate rich attractive musical sound; marriageable proposition
JHS CH-600 M r,d,f £47 ★★ coarse sound; flashing LED indicates rate; not very stereo-ish
YAMAHA CH10MII M r,d £65 ??? very popular; is this why Yamaha couldn't find us one to look at?

DOUBLE CHORUSES

ARIA CH-10 M r,d,f £89 ★★★ two-stage chorus; vaguely useful, but complicated and awkward to use
IBANEZ BCL M r,d £100 ★★★½ two choruses in a box, LFO & Depth times two; not twice as good, however — confused
GUYATONE CC-1 M r,d,b,t £162 ★★★ double chorus pedal; adequate performance, easy to use; why bother though?

DIGITAL CHORUSES

ARIA DM-X10 M r,d,f,b,m,dl £175 ★★★ two flanges, one chorus; nice versatile clean effect, but difficult to control; good reverb impression
ARION DCF-1 P r,d,l,t,f,m £148 ★★★★½ three choruses plus three flanges, all very useful; good clean sound, but fiddly switching
IBANEZ DCL M r,d,b,dl £137 ★★★★ nice bright chorus, possibly lacking in warmth; reasonable stereo, easy to use
DOD PDS1700 M r,d,dl £200 ★★★½ separate chorus/flange in one big box; simple switching, clean bright sounds, but lacking depth





Previous Article in this issue

Sessioneers

Next article in this issue

Drum Hum


Making Music - Copyright: Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.

 

Making Music - Dec 1986

Feature

Previous article in this issue:

> Sessioneers

Next article in this issue:

> Drum Hum


Help Support The Things You Love

mu:zines is the result of thousands of hours of effort, and will require many thousands more going forward to reach our goals of getting all this content online.

If you value this resource, you can support this project - it really helps!

Donations for October 2020
Issues donated this month: 0

New issues that have been donated or scanned for us this month.

Funds donated this month: £59.00

All donations and support are gratefully appreciated - thank you.

Chorus Line-Up

MAKE/MODEL M/P KNOBS PRICE RATING COMMENTS

MONO CHORUSES

BOSS CE-2 M r,d £100 ★★★ industry standard; slightly shallow effect; usually indestructible
FRONTLINE SERIES II M r,d £50 ★★★½ good, though switch had slight click
GUYATONE PS023 CHORUS/FLANGER M r,d £94 ★★★½ combined chorus/flange, plus vibrato; useful range of settings, though chorus rather slow
GUYATONE PS/17 DIST/CHORUS M r,d £95 ★★ combined distortion/chorus; horrid fuzz, adequate though noisy chorus
RAK CR-1 P r,d £56 ★★★★ like Boss, though much less robust; warm deep chorus, little noise

STEREO CHORUSES

ARIA ACH-1 P r,d,f £55 ★★★★½ part of new Bigfoot series: impressive stereo spread, good warm sound. Very nice, and good value
ARIA CH-5 M r,d,f £73 ★★★ similar to ACH-1, though less controllable, more awkward to use
ARION SCH-1 P r,d,t £60 ★★★★ wide ranging rate, though not as rich as could be; tone is useful
BOSS DIMENSION C M r,d £129 ★★★★ four non-adjustable preset choruses; sweet smooth sound, though slightly muffled
BOSS CE-3 M r,d,m £105 ★★★½ well-respected; mode gives two types of stereo; rich chorus, though not too versatile
DOD FX65 M r,d,dl £100 ★★★ reasonable stereo, reasonable chorus, solid box
FRONTLINE II M r,d,t £63 ★★½ Poor stereo image
GUYATONE PS013 M r,d,b(x2) £89 ★★★ good stereo image, wide range of sounds, though slightly harsh; complex — sliders for rate/depth
IBANEZ CSL M r,d £83 ★★★★★ instant cinerama; big stereo, immediate rich attractive musical sound; marriageable proposition
JHS CH-600 M r,d,f £47 ★★ coarse sound; flashing LED indicates rate; not very stereo-ish
YAMAHA CH10MII M r,d £65 ??? very popular; is this why Yamaha couldn't find us one to look at?

DOUBLE CHORUSES

ARIA CH-10 M r,d,f £89 ★★★ two-stage chorus; vaguely useful, but complicated and awkward to use
IBANEZ BCL M r,d £100 ★★★½ two choruses in a box, LFO & Depth times two; not twice as good, however — confused
GUYATONE CC-1 M r,d,b,t £162 ★★★ double chorus pedal; adequate performance, easy to use; why bother though?

DIGITAL CHORUSES

ARIA DM-X10 M r,d,f,b,m,dl £175 ★★★ two flanges, one chorus; nice versatile clean effect, but difficult to control; good reverb impression
ARION DCF-1 P r,d,l,t,f,m £148 ★★★★½ three choruses plus three flanges, all very useful; good clean sound, but fiddly switching
IBANEZ DCL M r,d,b,dl £137 ★★★★ nice bright chorus, possibly lacking in warmth; reasonable stereo, easy to use
DOD PDS1700 M r,d,dl £200 ★★★½ separate chorus/flange in one big box; simple switching, clean bright sounds, but lacking depth





Previous Article in this issue

Sessioneers

Next article in this issue

Drum Hum


Making Music - Copyright: Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.

 

Please Contribute to mu:zines by supplying magazines, scanning or donating funds. Thanks!

Monetary donations go towards site running costs, and the occasional coffee for me if there's anything left over!
muzines_logo_02

Small Print

Terms of usePrivacy