BY STEVE OUIMETTE
The chorus effect is a classic sound that has been around for decades. It’s probably most associated with ’80s-era production,
though it’s hard to ignore in any context.
Syrupy and liquid, sparkly and lush, it just
makes everything sound bigger. Now, MXR
has brought back the classic sound of the
analog chorus with the predictably named
but lovely sounding Analog Chorus.
Decked out in aqua blue the Analog Chorus
has a five-control layout featuring Low and
High EQ controls, Level, Rate, and Depth
for maximum flexibility. It adds up to access
to just about every chorus effect conceivable
in a compact, easy-to-operate unit. Though
they should probably issue a warning to wear
your sunglasses when engaging the pedal,
because the blue LED must be one of the
brightest on the planet!
Using a Stiff Amplification DirtHead amp in
clean mode with a Mills Acoustic 4x12 as well
as an Overloud TH- 2 amp modeler and Elliott
Tonemaster, I was able to move from Robbie
Blunt’s tone on Robert
Plant’s “Big Log” sounds to
the deeper undulations of
Nirvana’s “Come As You
Are” with just a few tweaks
of the Level and Depth
control. In between that I
pulled out Andy Summers-
inspired lushness and even
a convincing “Black Hole
Sun” Leslie warble.
you crave retro analog
chorus tones but need greater
range of modulation.
The real meat of the pedal lies in the Rate and
Depth controls and they offer great range to
go from subtle to extreme space effects.
you’re still trying to forget the ‘80s.
to hear audio clips of the pedal at
The level control is great for just adding a pinch of chorus if you don’t want to
dominate your sound with wash. Cranking
it up and slamming the depth and rate gets
you into Leslie territory with ease. The
High and Low EQ is a nice addition for
dialing in just the right amount of presence
and depth for any guitar. But the real meat
of the pedal lies in the Rate and Depth controls and they offer great range to go from
subtle to extreme space effects.
Chorus can be addictive. If you’re looking
to get the ’80s in a box, this is your pedal.
But it’s also a great texture in contemporary settings as well as ’60s-style Leslie
wash. It also proves that chorus doesn’t just
have to be a pretty, shimmering sound—
when it comes in a well-designed stompbox and is engineered to move beyond the
most cliché applications, it can rock and
go way beyond too.