A Tour de Chorus

I've been talking a lot about chorus on my mastodon, like, A LOT. So I thought it would be fun to explore my chorus pedals a bit and present this information in some shareable way, since no one wants to listen to 18 minutes of audio in a row.

What's on display

So I have three chorus pedals to show off today:

The other gear

I will be playing each of these pedals through my THR-100HD (see my previous music blog post in which I deep dive a bit into this amp). It's running on the crunch channel, just at the edge of breakup, with little to no reverb.

As for guitar - I am using my Reverend Descent RA Baritone.

The demos

For each of these demos I will be playing the same loop (mostly). I recorded a loop into my Boss RC-3 to remove any playing bias towards the more warbely chorus tones, and to make it easier for me! Each demo is about 48s long (depending on how good my trimming was). I added a bit of EQ in post to cut out some digital hum introduced when pairing my CE-20 with my RC-3 so sorry about that...

Let's start with the clean tone:

This loop is something I had been noodling on all week, while on my chorus kick. I feel it's actually a decent demo because it calls on a lot of classic chorus sounds. Individually picked notes, bright open strings, and then at the end some Nirvana-like dark power chord picking. All classic chorus sounds to me.


Next we can go through the CE-20. The CE-20 has 4 modes we'll be demoing, but there are a total of 6. We are demoing the "Rich", "Standard", "Dimensional D", and "CE-1" settings. I skipped the "Acoustic" and "Bass" settings as they've always felt like some slight EQ on the "standard" mode.


We can start with "Standard" as it's the most "boss chorus". Though I personally feel it lacks a bit of the bite the CE-1 and CE-2 offer. But it wouldn't surprise me if "Standard" was just a CE-2.

CE-20 Standard Mode - Rate 10 o'clock, Depth 2 o'clock
CE-20 Standard Mode - Rate 2 o'clock, Depth 10 o'clock


Let's compare this with the "Rich" mode. And keep in mind the only settings I will be changing between these CE-20 modes is the rate and depth. There is actually quite a bit of tone controlling you get in the CE-20. But I generally keep those fairly static based on my guitar and amp settings, and for the purposes of these demos are static.

CE-20 Rich Mode - Rate 10 o'clock, Depth 2 o'clock

Dimensional D

This mode is a recreation of the SDD-320 Dimension D effects unit, later made into the Boss DC-2. This effect is one of my favorite choruses. It's so unique. On the CE-20 there are 7 modes: 1 - 4, as well as 3 "combo" modes: 1+4, 2+4, and 3+4. These map directly to their SDD-320 counterparts, which also let you stack the modes together. This really shines in stereo, but since the Julia is mono, I felt it's only fair to use these how I use them on my board.

CE-20 Dimensional D Mode - Mode 3
CE-20 Dimensional D Mode - Mode 4
CE-20 Dimensional D Mode - Mode 3+4

These are always so cool to hear. When you get into the combo modes you start getting more "chorus" and less just "width/movement". But these are interesting to listen to compared to the clean. There is subtle differences - but they're there! It's almost like it is now less stark and smoother. Like the notes are lathered in butter, mmm!

CE -1

Okay, now on to the real show, the CE-1. Not much to say about this one. It's a CE-1, you have an "intensity" knob, and it's so rich. The delay rate is much slower than you would expect, almost logarithmic. But when you get past noon it starts to get quite seasick.
Editors note: 7 o'clock may be a bit higher than 7. None of these pedals have freaking numbers on their knobs, so it's all a guess. But it's a bit up from off

CE-20 CE-1 Mode - Intensity 7 o'clock
CE-20 CE-1 Mode - Intensity 10 o'clock

Multivox CB-1 Chorus Box

The Multivox CB-1 Chorus Box is a CE-1 clone, according to the gear page, it's literally just the same circuit and components. I got my 5 years ago because, well, I love chorus. Currently, a part of my rack unit to be used with my synths, this chorus is just so smooth. But the biggest trouble is dialing in the right level. You'll notice for the CB-1 demos it's a different demo recording. I had to move my setup and I accidentally wiped the RC-3. But because the CB-1 can be a bit tricky to dial in, it's a bit quieter than the other demo tracks. But the level control is one of my favorites, as it can add some crunch to the tone on the peaks, adding a lot of flavor. I am running my guitar through the "hi" input, because it gives me a bit more play with the input level.


CB-1 Chorus Mode - Intensity 7 o'clock
CB-1 Chorus Mode - Intensity 10 o'clock
CB-1 Chorus Mode - Intensity 2 o'clock


While this is mono, so it's acting like a straight vibrato. When playing in stereo this creates it's own chorus, the stereo outs are "dry" and "wet". This differs from the CE-1 chorus too, so it's like 2 chorus pedals in one. These demos are in mono.

CB-1 Vibrato Mode - Rate 10 o'clock, Depth 2 o'clock
CB-1 Vibrato Mode - Rate 2 o'clock, Depth 10 o'clock

CB-1 Off with Level Boost

The CB-1 when over driven (just by the guitar itself) gets really warm crunch to signal, and it's a lot of fun. I usually run my Model D through this and I love it.

CB-1 Off - Level to a point where when I dig in it clips heavily

Walrus Audio Julia

I picked up the Julia because it's such a versatile chorus: giving you control over the rate, depth, lag, waveform, and mix. This lets you craft basically ANY chorus sound you want. Exploring sounds, I've noticed the major limiter being the rate. The Julia is just SO fast. Even at min rate, it's still faster than like 1/3 of the Boss rates. But the sounds are still amazing!

Julia - Triangle Wave, Rate 7 o'clock, Depth 2 o'clock, Lag 3 o'clock, Mix 12 o'clock (chorus)
Julia - Sine Wave, Rate 10 o'clock, Depth 2 o'clock, Lag 9 o'clock, Mix 12 o'clock (chorus)
Julia - Sine Wave, Rate 9 o'clock, Depth 3 o'clock, Lag 9 o'clock, Mix 12 o'clock (chorus)
Julia - Triangle Wave, Rate 8 o'clock, Depth 12 o'clock, Lag 12 o'clock, Mix 5 o'clock (vibrato, max)


Realistically? I love every single one of these choruses. It's such an amazing effect, and I was messing around with the dirty channel too, which still sounded great! The CB-1 was by no means a steal, but it's my favorite chorus tone. But it comes with some quirks being a late 70, early 80s device. The CE-20 is amazing but very much a "mid 00s digital pedal" giving some of that digital-ness to it, especially when mixing with other digital pedals. I'm sure you heard the high pitched wine in the background. I EQ'd it out, but it's there, and it bothers me. I think getting a CE-2w would give me a lot of the options I want from this, without those digital artifacts. The CE-20 would be perfect if it had a vibrato mode, given the CE-1 has one, and really make it the perfect all-in-one. But given I've had this pedal for at least 12 years (probably closer to 13. I can dig out the box and see if I kept the receipt). I got in in college as my first ever chorus. I was enamoured with it. I'd be on my board today if it wasn't so big. The Julia is the perfect multi-tool chorus, and I've been really happy with it. But it lacks that really SLOW rate that the Boss pedals have, making it a BIT harder to really dial in the CE-1 tones.

I joked on mastodon that I was did this to convince myself I don't NEED a CE-2w or DC-2w...and now I want them even more!