Chorus Round-Up

Features:
Ease of Use:
Sound
Overall:
Summary:
7.5
7
8
8
Very warm – some may say ‘dark’ – tone, so it’s not your average bright, processed, 1980s chorus sound. This means it works really well when combined with distortion and would be ideal if you have a preference for subtle modulation, or just don’t want your effects to completely take over your sound. A gem in the world of chorus pedals.
Aria CH-10
Dual Stage Chorus

(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)
8
7
8
8
Same as the CH-5 but has a 'Dual Stage' footswitch; press the switch normally (first click) to engage the first setting, press the switch firmly (second click) to engage the second setting.

This function allows the user to switch between two user-defined chorus/vibrato rates. However, I didn't find this function that useful as when changing the speed of a chorus effect, I'd usually want to adjust the depth too. It is a nice idea though.
Boss DC-3
Digital Dimension

[Also known as: Digital Space D]
(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)

7
7
7.5
7
The effect is quite subtle compared to some other choruses – the vibrato is fairly shallow – but it can easily give your guitar sound a more produced 'thickness' without resorting to obvious modulation or delay.

The ‘Tone’ control is the key to its versatility; allowing the DC-3 to sound bright and processed or (when dialled back) very natural and not 'digital' at all.

The name of the DC-3 was changed from ‘Digital Dimension’ to ‘Digital Space-D’ in 1989. At the same time, Boss stopped offering the DC-3 to other markets than Japan.
Danelectro CC-1
Cool Cat Chorus

(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)
8
7
8
8
Unbeatable in terms of features and function to price and will give far more expensive pedals a run for their money. It really does sound great.

The mix and tone controls are very useful and add a lot of flexibility, making this pedal a very good choice whatever your budget and status.

As with the rest of the Cool Cat range, some people complain about the aesthetics, or the control layout, or the fiddly dual-ganged control (for the Mix and Tone on the CC-1) but really, none of those 'issues' bother me.
Danelectro DC-1
Cool Cat Chorus

(18v, Original Series)
(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)

6
8
7
7
[Note: This is for the original 18v version.]

Lovely warm chorus pedal; the modulation blends nicely with the dry sound to create a very characterful effect. At slower speeds the DC-1 adds a thickness without being too chorus-y, but crank it up and the modulation is very audible and the Cool Cat wobbles with the best of them.

The DC-1 does add a little noise to your signal (it does use an analogue delay circuit after all, and the delay time is fairly long compared to many other chorus pedals), but it's by no means noisy - I've heard much worse, but it may bother some people. There is also a very apparent volume boost when the effect is engaged too, which could also be considered a mark against it.

My one real issue with this range of Danelectro pedals is with regards to the construction, more accurately, the PCB mounted jacks.
Digitech PDS-2715
Rock Box

(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)
8
(8)
6
(6)
6
(5)
6
(5)
The distortion is nothing special in all honesty, it's good for lo-fi crunch but is about as bland and generic an 80s 'metal' distortion as you'll ever hear. But that's not why we're here today...

The chorus is digital but please don't let that put you off.

In keeping with several early DOD/Digitech pedals, the controls are very wide ranging and get in to extreme territory pretty quickly. Beyond halfway on the Depth control for example, the detuning is very pronounced to the point that everything you play will sound wildly out of tune.

The PDS-2715 is one for the more experimental among us.

[The first rating is for the pedal just as a chorus, the second is for the pedal as a whole including the distortion side. Yes; the distortion is bad enough to take the overall score down!]
DOD 460 Mini Chorus
(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)
5
10
6
6
Limited in features (mono and only two controls; Speed and Depth) and a little noisy (hiss) with a slight volume drop but it has plenty of character and is easy to use.

Plus, 'vintage' pedals, like bow ties, are cool.

Steer clear though if:

  • You're fussy about the type of DC jack a pedal has. (These old DODs - being American - have 3.5mm mini-jack inputs for power.)
  • You must, must, must have true bypass pedals.
Electro-Harmonix
Small Clone

(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)
The Tremolo Page Editor's Choice
4
10
9
8
OK, so it doesn't have a depth control meaning you're stuck with two preset options - one which some may complain is too deep, the other too shallow. And yes, it can be a bit rich, over the top and overwhelming (in true Electro-Harmonix fashion).

But, it just sounds so beautiful. Magical.

A flawed classic? Or just a classic?

If you can't get a great sound from a Small Clone, chorus probably isn't the effect for you.
6.5
9
6
6
Very similar to the Yamaha CH-10MII and Korg CHR-1, this is a simple pedal and veers towards the more subtle and musical end of the spectrum rather than being extreme and processed. It does - usefully - feature a hi-cut tone control (Guyatone labelled this as 'Brilliance' on several of their early pedals) which is something I wish more pitch modulation pedals had.

There is a little hiss when the effect is engaged but it isn't excessive when compared to other BBD-based pedals. Also, the hiss can be tamed a little using the Brilliance control so it's not too big of a problem.

The PS-002 is a bit of a mixed bag; it has some good points, some bad but is a solid, reliable pedal with just a touch more versatility than a typical two-knob chorus.
Guyatone PS-013
Stereo Chorus

(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)
7
7
9
8.5
The PS-013 has a very shimmery quality to it which - in the wrong hands - could make it sound very 1980s, but it is a very versatile pedal and is particularly effective when used in stereo...

Each output has a dedicated Effect Balance (mix) control, so it is up to the user whether they want to have a wet output and dry output pairing, or varying degrees of chorus/vibrato from each output (the effect from the second output has had its phase inverted).

This is a long-term favourite of mine.
Guyatone PS-017
Distortion & Chorus

(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)
5
(6)
9
(9)
5
(7)
5
(6)
The PS-017 is one of Guyatone's Double Effect pedals and included basic distortion and chorus effects which could be used independently or together - the pedal's function being decided via a three-position switch (toggling between chorus, distortion plus chorus and distortion only). The distortion is very much of the retro variety and is very reminiscent of the Guyatone PS-001 Distortion; possibly the same circuit.

The chorus effect is a little limited with just Rate and Depth controls and the amount of delay seems shorter than in the other Guyatone choruses, resulting in an almost flanger-like effect at lower speeds. The PS-017 has the weakest chorus of any of the Guyatones and is definitely my least favourite. As a quirky, two-in-one pedal it holds some interest but, unless you find one very cheap, or are a collector, it is not one that I recommend.
Guyatone PS-023
Chorus/Flanger

(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)
5
(9)
9
(9)
8.5
(9)
8
(9)
Like the PS-017, this is also billed as a 'Double Effect' but is actually a three-in-one pedal; the mode switch toggles between chorus, flanger and vibrato.

The four knobs are Depth, Rate, Manual and Resonance - although the latter two are only active in flanger mode.

The range of speeds available isn't as wide as with the PS-018 Jet Sound Flanger (which goes both slower and faster), however, in the chorus and vibrato modes the range of both the Rate and Depth controls are perfect for most uses and the effect itself is rich and warm. Lovely. The flanger mode is incredibly versatile with a lot of sounds on offer; from swooshes and sweeps to metallic chimes, oscillation and much more besides.

I rate the PS-023 as one of the stars of this range of effects.

[The first rating is for the pedal just as a chorus, the second is for the pedal as a whole.]
Guyatone PS-028
Bass-CH Bass Chorus

(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)
7 6 8 7
Very warm sounding; not overly bright and shimmery. The modulation is fairly mild but it has a lovely, irregular wobble. The PS-028 has a fairly limited range of speeds available; the top speed is sensible, yet I think some people (not myself, I should add) would like it to go a little faster.

While a limited number of chorus pedals have a tone control - usually a low-pass filter, the PS-028 has a semi-parametric equaliser (with gain and frequency controls) which acts upon the effected signal only. This feature is very useful to make the effect 'sit' right; whether you want it warm and subdued or sparkly and up-front.
Guyatone MCm5
Mighty Micro Chorus

(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)
9
7
8
8
Compact in size but packed with features - including three modulation wave shapes. Excellent sound and should be able to cover all of your chorus and vibrato needs - but there are potential noise issues...
Ibanez SC5
Super Chorus

(Soundtank Series)
(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)
6
8
7
6
A budget chorus but not a budget sound. The CS5 is a very nice sounding effect; it is very much in the bright, shimmery school of chorus pedals, and thanks to the delay time control, a wide variety of chrous effects can be achieved. From subtle, almost imperceptible movement to blatant, spacious doubling this does it all.

My only reservation is with regards to the build quality; these plastic pedals do feel very fragile. That said, I've seen lots of Soundtank pedals which are still going strong after years of use.
7
9
6
6
This is a standard, typical 1980s stereo chorus (with wet/dry outputs). It's not the most powerful sounding effect but sounds good and has a flanger-like second mode which adds to its versatility; it's fairly mild though and not really viable as a replacement for a dedicated flanger.

I haven't examined the circuit but when switching to Mode 2 (what I've referred to as the flange mode), it sounds like the delay length is shortened AND some of the effected signal is fed back on itself.

By putting a dummy jack in the direct output, (like many other 'stereo' chorus pedals) the CHR-1 can be used as a vibrato.

A good all-rounder but not spectacular.
The Tremolo Page Editor's Choice
8 8 9 9
Disclaimer: This is one of my absolute favourites.

The CH-02 has a gorgeous sound and thanks to additional Tone (low-pass filter for the processed signal) and Mix Balance (wet:dry mix) controls, a wide variety of effects can be coaxed from within.

Whether you want liquid chorus, subtle shimmers, vibrant vibrato or gentle, warm wobbles (and more besides) the Pearl delivers.

If you can find one (they're usually not that expensive) I highly recommend you buy it. [If not, the Danelectro CC-1 is the next best thing - it has identical features, a very similar sound and is readily available.]
Peavey BAC-2
Bi-Amp Bass Chorus

(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)
7
8
8
7
Produces a rich, hi-fi chorus effect with a very wide range. The bi-amping feature may have limited appeal - even to bass players - but is still a clever idea and distinguishes the BAC-2 from the crowd. It is suitable for use with a wide range of instruments and signal sources, and is very quiet in operation.

7
7
8
7
Warm sound. Excels at adding subtle movement or thickening effects but can also be pushed for more out-there sounds.

Washburn A-SC7
Stereo Chorus

(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)
6
9
6.5
6
A bright, shimmery 80s chorus effect; it doesn't get particularly deep but for what it does, it sounds good. At slower speed settings it sounds quite flanger-like.

The A-SC7 has also been available through several other brands - see the Effects Database page for details.

I don't see many of these for sale, but when I do, they are usually very cheap.
6
9
6
6
Very similar in operation and sound to the Korg CHR-1, but lacking the second (flanger) mode.
Yamaha DSC-20M
Digital Stereo Chorus

(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)
7
9
7
7
Some people will immediately be put off by the fact that this is a digital effect, but they shouldn’t be.

It does add a hi-fi, 'digital' sheen to your sound which works really well for sparkly, shimmering clean tones but that is no reason for prejudice. This hi-fi quality is not so favourable when combined with distortion though as it can sound quite processed.

The three chorus types on offer are very different and some extreme, warbly effects can be achieved.

This is another one where you can use a dummy jack in the direct output to produce a vibrato effect.