Chorus is a type of effect that belongs to the modulation effect, which is diverse and mostly used for creating a difference in your pitch, motion, and amplitude. The chorus is used for making a sound seem thicker, widening it, and also to offer pitch modulation. With the help of chorus pedals or the effect itself in general, the sound created can be a mixture of many similar ones that have slight variations and differences, adding on timing overlaps. In this article we look at;
- How the Chorus Pedal Works
- Where should the pedal be in the signalchain
- Digital vs analogue chorus pedal
- Recommended Chorus Pedals
- How does the chorus Pedal work?
How can this work? Simply, the chorus pedal can dublicate your sound as it goes through the input. Another way of looking at is is we can say it splits your signal into two separate parts, or make copies of it, then afterward creates the effect of listening to the sound of two different instruments playing simultaneously as if all the sounds are heard as one. This is possible by the fact that our ear can perceive these layered effects as if it moves together. To be more specific, it also adjusts your sounds so that it’s then delayed and detuned. One part of the sound will be left behind for a few milliseconds. How you create the rate and depth is up to you.
So what kind of sounds make people go crazy for the chorus pedal? If you wish to make your sounds fuller and thicker, liven up your clean sound, or create warm, shimmering sounds then you should definitely take a look at this device. Also, to all the fans of the 80s classic pop/rock genre grab yourself a chorus pedal and live that cheap moment with all the famous names like the Police, the Cure or Metallica,…
- Where should you place your chorus pedal in the signal chain?
The most important thing ever when using effects and devices is to consider where to place it in your signal chain, so that everything will work efficiently just the way you want it to be. And of course, you need to consider whether the position of the pedal will destroy or affect the whole signal chain or how the sounds go through the inputs and outputs.
Since the chorus pedal is a modulation effect, it would be ideal to place it somewhere at the end of your signal chain. It should be after compression, distortion, and before the reverb pedal.
If you consider building a signal chain with many different pedals, then maybe there’s one advantage that comes with adding the chorus pedal on the list. Since it has a mild buffer used to boost the signal and sound of your guitar, when the sound finally reaches the amplifier after going through the whole chain, to avoid creating a sudden drop in the volume, this “mild buffer” makes that disappear.
One more thing to consider if wondering where to place the chorus pedal. We all know that pedals designed to modify tone should be placed after the pedals that produce the tone. You need the original sounds first and then after working your magic, the modifying effect, of course. So in this case, for the chorus pedal, it should go after the overdrives.
- What are the control functions on the chorus pedal?
The basic controls that you can list out when mentioning the chorus pedal are “rate”, “depth” and “mix”. To some extent, the chorus pedal sometimes has delay control to create a further and deeper adjustment to your sound.
First of all, the rate control. This allows you to adjust the speed of the modulation effect, which is created by the pedal by an approach and connection with a low-frequency oscillator (LFO). So to be more specific, the chorus pedal works on the rate or speed of this LFO. With a high rate, the modulation effect will have the vibe of vibrato, faster since the repetition of the parts of your guitar sound is getting even closer. On the contrary, a low rate brings a more gradual modulation effect by introducing a further length of time (delay time) among the repetition, the wavering sound will be slower.
The next part is the depth. It concerns the amount of pitch-shifting by adjusting the level of chorus sound or how extreme it’s going to be. The delay time is also controlled by depth. And most important, as its name states, this knob controls the depth of the modulation effects.
The mix knob on a chorus pedal is also quite an interesting part that you should notice. It determines the ratio of how the effect levels, one or many, are going to blend into each other with the perfect amount to make it all the sounds perfect sending to the outputs, between original or dry,… And it depends on you how you want the sound to be in the end, whether it’s going to be clean and subtle or thicker and wilder.
In conclusion, the effect pedal is there if you want to add some spice to your guitar sound and performances. Whether you want to stand out in a band or a duet, solos, or even during the acoustics, you can take advantage of the chorus pedal to add filters and twerk tone, allowing you to explore the potential to the fullest of your sound.
Besides that, on some of the chorus pedal types, we still have the delay and shape control knob. For the delay knob, it controls the period delay between the unaffected signal and the afterward signal thats doubled already. And for the longer amount of time for delays, the wider the distance between the dry signal and the wet one.
The shape knob, on the other hand, controls the different kinds of waves and effects generated by LFO with two common types that are sine (soft, gentle) and triangular waves (sharper).
- Digital vs Analogue chorus pedal
To easily distinguish the differences and strengths of both analog and chorus pedals, you can think of analog circuitry and modern digital circuitry. The Analog pedal is more straightforward since it directly works on your signal, this is considered to be purer and bring the sense of a warmer, deeper tone. With digital chorus pedals, they will transform the analog sound into digital form, then adjust, convert into digital, and finally bring it back to the analog. Comments on digital circuitry are that it’s more precise and versatile due to a wider and greater range of sound. The tone is a little bit brighter too.
But for some people, this is just a subjective opinion. Analog chorus pedals are more popular than the digital ones. The reason is that the digital chorus pedal can hardly keep up with analog, since there’s a huge amount of signals and numbers and levels of analog that digital ones, on the other hand, can not capture easily.
Digital chorus pedals, at the end of the day, are still a device programmed with small samples of the possible sounds created by the guitar, but there’s a variety of different ways a guitarist can produce their sounds. The variations are major. It is really a challenge for the digital chorus pedal to keep up and process all those variations authentically.
Still, nowadays, there’s been some constant changes and updates with innovations that help the digital chorus pedal to process a variety of analog units without sounding too “clone”.
- Some of the best and most recommended chorus pedals
Boss CE-2W Chorus
Widely used by both amateurs and professional guitarists, this chorus pedal uses the analog circuitry, bringing the warm sounds ranging from different effects like dreamy, subtle,…It’s also quite easy to use and extremely versatile too, helping you to create the classic vibing tones that are favored by many people and even adapting perfectly giving you the chance to be creative with your own sounds.
TC Electronic Corona Chorus
This is also one of the famous models of chorus pedals. It has a series of presets designed and created by many professional guitarists, you can download it onto this pedal with Bluetooth connection or wireless. You don’t need to worry too much about how to use all the knobs and controlling functions, easily choose the suitable presets to replicate the spirit of any sounds that you love. And this is a digital chorus pedal.
Danelectro D-5 Fab Chorus
This pedal is quite a simple, easy-to-use model with its design being extremely basic too. The price is pretty low and affordable for anyone. It’s also a digital chorus pedal with three controlling functions – mix, depth, rate, and it sounds pretty warm for a digital one.