You are bound to run into a chorus eventually when searching for FX pedals for the bass.
The chorus pedal is a way to make your instrument stand out and give it a fuller, more lush sound. But bass is an instrument that typically sits in the background and supports the core structure of a song, so why would you want it to stand out? Well, a lot of bass players will use a chorus very sparingly. They will use it so that it is barely noticed for an untrained ear, but still impacts the overall feel of the song. Others will crank that puppy all the way to create that chaotic, warbly sound. The beautiful thing here is that whatever chorus pedal you get, you will always have the option of going either for that subtle layering effect or full chaos effect in the same pedal.
A lot of multiFX boxes for guitar and bass will feature a Chorus. In this article, we want to bring you to terms with the benefits of buying a stand-alone chorus unit. It will give the player much more control over their sound and most likely give them a different view of what a Chorus can do. In this list, we hope to provide you with a good entry point into the Chorus FX world by presenting a couple of very reliable pedals with slightly different looks, interfaces, and, most importantly, sounds. Chorus happens when individual sounds that are close to each other in pitch and time come together and are perceived as one sound. For a more detailed explanation of the chorus effect and all the different parameters, look at the buyer’s guide down below!
The All in One
|MXR M83 Bass Chorus Deluxe||
Long Lasting and Straight Forward
|BOSS Bass Chorus Guitar Pedal||
|Electro-Harmonix Clone Bass Chorus Pedal||
|Mooer Audio Ensemble Queen Bass Chorus Pedal||
High Quality and No Fuzz
|Aguilar Chorusaurus Chorus Bass Effects Pedal||
|Eden I90 World Tour Bass Chorus Pedal||
First on this list is a pedal from MXR. MXR is a brand that is known for creating high-quality effects pedals for both guitar and bass. It is one of the most expensive pedals on this list, suitable for those that have tried out a chorus before and want the ability to dial their effect in with more precision. The M83 delivers very high-quality sound and also features a Flanger mode.
A handy feature of the M83 is the” X-Over” button, which shows that this pedal is truly tailored for bass players. The X-Over button prevents the chorus FX from targeting the lower frequencies of the bass at around 100hz. It lets the bass maintain a level of clarity you would not get if the chorus effect was applied to your sound’s entire frequency spectrum. This type of control means the M83 is perfect for blending in just the right amount of chorus to your sound. In addition to that, the M83 has a built-in 2-band EQ for high and low frequencies. It means that there won’t be a need for an additional EQ unit in a pedal-chain. Overall the M83 has a high-quality Chorus, Flanger, and EQ. What is missing? Nothing!
Bass pedals will typically be a little more expensive than their guitar counterparts. Chorus pedals are also a little more pricey on average than say the average distortion pedal. Next on this list the BOSS Bass Chorus Pedal. This pedal has a medium price and is a little friendlier on a budget than the last review. Similar to the previous pedal, it has a low filter to cut out modulation in the lower frequencies. It also has controls for Rate, Depth and E.Level. It is all you need in a Chorus pedal. For more details on what these different controls do, please visit the buyer’s guide!
BOSS as a manufacturer is known for making easy to use, sturdy, and reliable pedals. This pedal is made to last and has convenient controls. This pedal is made to be used and comes with a five-year warranty from BOSS, which shows the level of confidence they have in their product. For the musician on the road, this pedal will stand the test of time and many stomps. On top of that, the chorus effect is of good quality and has the iconic, simple BOSS look. If you want your pedal to stand out, however, this might not be your best bet.
The EHX Clone Bass Chorus is a story of success. This pedal is modeled after EHX’s extremely popular Small Clone Chorus for a guitar with an iconic chorus sound, used on records such as” Come As You Are.” Since the bass covers lower frequencies, it is much more fragile to various FX sounds. A reverberated bass will very easily become too large, and bass with Chorus will easily become too much. It is why all these Chorus pedals have the” X-Over” option. In order to keep the core of the bass notes in tune. In addition, the Bass Clone from EHX has two simple knobs for equalization of treble and bass frequencies.
The Bass Clone has remarkably similar circuitry to the Small Clone Chorus for the guitar, and the pedal itself is a living example of why you shouldn’t try to fix something that isn’t broken. The Small clone’s success means that you can count on this pedal, delivering high-quality Chorus at a relatively affordable price. It is durable and capable of producing both extreme and subtle levels of FX output.
Don’t let looks fool you; this small pedal can speak for itself. Besides being adorable, the Mooer Ensemble Queen Chorus is a versatile pedal that is an excellent choice for the player just looking to try the FX out. It is inexpensive in comparison to other Chorus pedals and is fully capable of producing a satisfying chorus effect. It has controls for Rate, Tone, Level, and Depth.
It is certainly one of the fanciest pedals on this list, despite being so cheap. If you play with your eyes and want a pedal that keeps you interested, the Mooer Ensemble Queen is a good bet. It is also perfect for a player that is lacking space on their pedalboard or a traveling musician who likes to pack light.
Featured here is the most expensive and slickest pedal in this list. It is an analog Chorus with Bucket-Brigade technology. It is relatively expensive but has a lovely quality of output. Despite the price, the controls of the Chorosaurus are simple. Four knobs are controlling Width, Rate, Blend, and Intensity.
Worth the price?
Make no mistake, despite being so simple, the price is still correct. The controls on this pedal are incredibly user-friendly and have a response that allows you to dial in precisely the kind of chorus you want. It also has a perfect frequency response with little low-end loss. When paying more for a pedal, you ought to expect more. In the case of the Chorosaurus, it lives up to the expectations.
Last on this list is the least popular Chorus pedal. It is hard to come by, and you will most likely have to buy it second-hand. But there are two sides to this story. Sure, it might not be the best looking or highest quality Chorus out there in this price range. But the chance of finding a unique sound that no one has toyed with before is higher since this pedal is not as popular. It has everything a chorus requires.
Controls for Low cut, Mix Level, Depth, and Speed. The reason most pedals are shaped like they are is obviously to fit well on a pedalboard. The I90 Bass Chorus is, however, not shaped to fit a pedalboard perfectly. It might take up unnecessary space, which could be a deciding factor for live performers.
Reviews say that this pedal has a good quality of output. But there is something to a pedal that has not been as successful as its competitors. This pedal is unpopular because it did not provide the market with anything to push music forward. The question is if there is something to it that has not yet been discovered? Definitely not a safe bet, but if you’re feeling adventurous and have some money to spend, go for it!
In this article and when researching the chorus effect in general, there are a bunch of technical terms and explanations that would help to know. The buyer’s guide is for those that aren’t satisfied with hearing that a pedal can produce “a lush and full sound”. This section is for those curious and who continue to ask WHY a particular thing works like it does until they get to the bottom of it.
Explaining the Chorus Effect
When two signals that share the same volume, timbre, and timing are played together, we hear a louder sound. This technique is commonly used in vocal dubbs, choirs and arrangements. However, in a choir setting where two vocalists sing the same phrase, the output will sound louder and slightly different from if you were to copy and paste the same phrase twice. It will have a different timbre due to the unique characters of the two different voices singing simultaneously. It is an overview of what the Chorus does.
The Chorus takes a dry signal, makes it into a wet signal, and mixes it back in with the original dry signal. It duplicates the original signal and modulates it in the ways that make it unique to the Chorus effect we know. It is why the Chorus effect is in the ”modulation” FX family. The Chorus takes the original dry signal and messes around with its pitch and timing.
Most Chorus pedals recently produced use a Low-Frequency Oscillator (LFO) to achieve this time and pitch effect. As seen in the Chorosaurus listed in this article, however, another component is used when you have an analog Chorus pedal. This unit is called a Bucket Brigade Driver (BBD). The analog Chorus pedals are more expensive due to the fact that they use a BBD, which is not as commonly produced anymore.
Let’s take a look at the most common controls found on a Chorus pedal and dive in deeper!
So, the pitch and time variations that are modulated are being controlled by either an LFO or a BBD. But there are still a bunch of fun things you can do with this signal to make it sound different. ”Depth” and ”Rate” help shape the sound even more.
Modulation Depth or Intensity
It controls how much pitch modulation is applied. The depth is defined as the range between the maximum and minimum values of the pitch. So with the range set high, the Chorus will start to sound more wobbly as it wobbles over a wider range of frequency. Each Chorus pedal has an arbitrary value for this range, and there is no set value, but rather depends on the manufacturer.
The rate sets how fast these modulations occur. Simple as that. With a speedy rate the sound will once again become more wobbly, while a slow rate will make the effect smoother.
The width knob can be found on some Chorus pedals, and it basically does exactly what it says. It makes the sound wider. By default, when the width is turned down all the way, you have a mono sound. Progressively, you can make the chorus sound wider and adjust the stereo output level you would want in headphones or speakers.
As previously explained, this is a parameter which prevents the Chorus effect from reaching the lower frequencies. It is almost always to prefer on a bass unless you want that full synthy Chorus sound that is very beautiful for playing long chords.
With feedback, you change how much of the wet modulated signal is sent back into the dry signal after processing. It will make the tail of the audio longer or shorter.
Difference between Chorus and Flanger
As seen in this listing, some Chorus pedals also have a Flanger option. They both function very similarly really, the signal is split and fed back after As seen in this listing, some Chorus pedals also have a Flanger option. They both function very similarly – the signal is split and fed back after modulation. The difference is that a Flanger has shorter delay times than a Chorus. Likewise, standard delay pedals have a much longer maximum delay than Choruses and Flangers.
All the pedals featured here have a true bypass mode. It is pretty much to be expected when purchasing a recently manufactured pedal. It means that when the pedal is turned off, it does not impact the signal at all. Furthermore, all pedals except for the one exception (Eden L90) are powered by either an adapter or a 9v battery. The Eden has a 15v adapter, which might be another reason why it is not as popular as its’ counterparts.
There you go. A wide selection of toys to look through. All of these pedals are respectable choices. The beauty and danger of pedals is that you most likely will not ever stop wanting more. You can practically keep exploring and tailoring your sound endlessly because each pedal has its own unique approach to how they want to present the FX.
There are beginner-friendly pedals in this article, pedals that charm with looks and pedals that need some figuring out to work with your sound. Whatever it may be, there is a pedal for every player.
In order to shape a satisfying Chorus sound, you do not need to understand everything listed in the buyer’s guide. It is a personal thing that separates those who need to know why and those who would rather not. Simply getting a Chorus pedal and experimenting with it can be even more fun if you don’t understand quite what you are doing. Some people thrive off the chaos.