Best chorus pedals for guitar- Buyer’s Guide
Chorus pedals are famous for their watery, shimmery, tone-thickening effect. Now you can hear the chorus in many music genres: it was used by such artists as Prince, Nirvana, and now modern pop and neo-soul musicians make use of it.
The chorus pedals were really popular in the ’80s: people heard the tone everywhere from radio-friendly rock to something heavier.
So, if you’re in the market for a chorus pedal, check out our guide. We will review a selection of products and find out which is the best one.
Best Chorus Pedal — the Comparison
To give your a better idea of how the product differs from each other, we have compiled their features into the table. Here you can look and fundamental differences and similarities between the different products.
To get more info, there are more detailed reviews for you below the table.
|Product||Material||Sound features||True bypass|
|Donner Tutti Love Chorus||Aluminum-alloy||Level, Depth, Rate||+|
|Rowin Analog Chorus||Zinc-alloy||Level, Depth, Rate||+|
|Biyang CH-10||Metal||Blend, Sprend||+|
|Tom'sline Engineering Analogue Chorus||Aluminum||Volume, Depth, Speed||+|
|AZOR AP-309||Aluminum-alloy||Level, Depth, Rate||+|
|Boss CE-2W Chorus||Aluminum||Rate, Depth||-|
|Electro-Harmonix Neo Clone||Aluminum||Depth, Rate||+|
|Strymon Deco||Aluminum||Saturation, Blend, Lag time, Volume, Wobble||+|
|Ibanez Chorus Mini||Aluminum||Depth, Level, Speed||+|
|MXR M234 Analog Chorus||Aluminum||Depth, Level, Rate||+|
|TC Electronic Corona Chorus||Aluminum||Speed, Depth, FX level, Tone, chorus/TonePrint/tri-chorus switch||+|
|Walrus Audio Julia V2||Aluminum||Rate, Depth, Lag, Dry-Chorus-Vibrato blend, Wave shape switch||+|
|Way Huge Smalls Blue Hippo Analog Chorus||Aluminum||Speed, Depth, Vibe/Chorus switch||+|
|Boss DC-2W Dimension C||Aluminum||Mode selector buttons x4, S/SDD-320 switch||-|
|Boss MD-500||Aluminum||Mode, Rate/value, Depth, E. level, Param 1, Param 2||+|
Boss CE-2W Chorus — the New Revision of the Best Analogue Pedal
Here we got a classic metal body housing the simplest array of controls: on the sides, there are a pair of output jacks and a single input jack, with the front panel featuring a footswitch, an LED to signal the working state, the rate and depth control knobs, and to top it off — the CE-1 slider.
The slider of the front panel enables the user to switch between different pedal sounds particularly for different BOSS products. By pacing the slider on the left the user gets smooth CE-2 sounds, with the middle position giving a definitive effect of a CE-1.
- Low noise
- BBD tones
Electro-Harmonix Neo Clone — Kurt Cobain’s Favourite
Neo Clone spots a minimalist look and has no flashy features to it. On the sides, you have a regular pair of input and output jacks, while the front panel greets you with a footswitch, an LED light, and two sound controls: the depth swithc and Rate knob.
Though the majority of EHX products are renowned for the over-the-top sound they tend to produce, it is possible to achieve subtle tones with the fella. For instance, setting the rate to 10 o’clock with a light depth will surely do the trick.
- Authentic sound
- Low price
- Compact size
- Lack of versatility
Strymon Deco — True Tape Chorus
Here we have a bulkier device with all of its inputs located on the top portion of the chassis. On the front, you have an array of controls like 5 sound control knobs (saturation, blend, lag time, volume, and wobble), the type switch, two footswitches, and two LEDs.
Since Deco is rather a tape simulation than a chorus pedal, it has some interesting controls that can be set to generate tape chorus sounds. Keeping the blend knob on 12 o’clock and turning the lag and wobble controls the users are able to push the delay line into chorus territory and rely on wobble control like an LFO.
- Good sound
- Tape-style chorus effect
- High price
- Bulky size
Ibanez Chorus Mini — the Best Compact Pedal
Apart from an interesting color choice, there’s nothing much to say about the product’s overall look. Its compact size is surely a benefit for those looking to not overdo their guitar setup, and a soft purple finish is just as subtle as the device itself. Just as usual, the front panel housess three sound control knobs, a footswitch, and a LED light, with the I/O being located at the sides of the pedal.
Ibanez goes for a sweet, syrupy chorus that’s very ’80s, utilized by such artists as Prince and Metallica, but also provides the controls required to reach extra versatility. With level control, the user can reach near-vibrato wobbles at higher levels.
- Classic BBD tones
- Compact size
- Noise when used in gain.
MXR M234 Analog Chorus — Comprehensive EQ
MXR M234 offers a lot more control than its aforementioned counterparts. Styled in a light blue and greenish color, the front panel sports a set of five sound control knobs, LED signaling the working state, and a footswitch. There are also a single input jack and two output ports.
That model offers its users a middle solution between a minimalist Micro Chorus and the larger format Stereo Chorus. The juxtaposition of the rate and depth controls enables the users to achieve a wider tone range of classy chorus.
- Versatile tone controls.
- Four screw battery compartment.
TC Electronic Corona Chorus — the Best in Terms of Variety
Corona Chorus features a flashy green finish with a company logo slapped on the front panel. On there, you can also find an array of four sound control knobs: speed, depth, FX level, and tone. There are also a chorus toneprint switch, an LED, and a footswitch that turns the pedal on and off.
What we have here is a good combination of vintage TC Stereo Chorus Flanger and a Tri Chorus. The pedal offers the variation of the regular tone that is composed of three stereo choruses with tweaks to the depth, speed, phase, and delay time. As a result, we get a very unique and lush effect.
What really sets the pedal apart from the competition is a TonePrint feature: by using the mobile app or USB connection the users can store a custom tuning of the pedal.
- Toneprint feature
- Good versatility
Walrus Audio Julia V2 — All-Analogue with Great Versatility
Though discrete in color, Julia V2 offers a unique design of the chassis for those looking to lighten up their pedalboard setup. The artwork is great, and it is not covered by the controls, which are carefully placed around it. Speaking of controls, here’s what you get with this pedal: two I/O jacks on the top portion, four knobs (rate, depth, lag, d-c-v), a footswitch, and a LED light.
Despite its reputation, that particular product from Walrus Audio is relatively simple to operate. The mix knob is used to swtich between chorus and vibrato, and there is also an intuitive waveform control. The lag control might be a little tricky though: it controls the center delay for the LFO.
- Analogue tone
- Good vibrato
- The flexibility of control
Boss DC-2W Dimension C — the Good Update
DC-2W has a flashy look with a great paint job. You get a large footswitch, a slider, four buttons that allow you to switch between different sound modes. There are also two input and output jacks.
The device features an ’80s chorus that the users loved about the original Boss Dimension C. You can switch between different tone modes: mode 1 is great for subtle effects, with mode 4 remidning the player of She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult-like tone.
- Unique tone
- Good versatility
- Not fit for pure chorus lovers
- High price
Boss MD-500 review — Swiss-Army Knife
Another step away from the traditional form-factor of a chorus pedal. Here we have a larger boxy design that makes up for it with the additional sound controls: you have a knob that changes chorus modes, and effects knobs (rate/value, depth, e-level, param 1, param 2). The front panel of the device also houses three footswitches, with the I/O located on the top portion of the casing.
The pedal offers 12 different chorus modes, studio-quality sound, and EQ for each effect mode. On top of that, the device has a dedicated Dimension mode emulating the Roland SDD-320 Dimension D rack chorus.
- Good sound
- Great versatility
- Bulky size
Way Huge Smalls Blue Hippo Analog Chorus — the Old-School Way
Another minimalistic approach among our selection. The front panel of the pedal has only two sound control knobs that are used to tweak the speed and the depth of the effect. You will also find here an LED light that indicates if the pedal is on, the chorus/vibe switch, and a footswitch. All of the I/O is on the top panel of the device.
The pedal is a downsized version of a Blue Hippo, nonetheless, it manages to have all of the essential features of the original. It is capable of providing the user with extreme settings for the rotary madness some players enjoy, while more subtle settings offer a lush chorus full of detail.
- Analogue tone
- Good rotary tone
- Subtle vibrato
Donner Tutti Love Chorus
Donner’s chorus pedal has what it takes to be the best chorus pedal on the market.
Starting from the casing, the pedal has a strong aluminum build that will last you a long time. The size of the pedal allows space-saving placement in the pedalboard. The minimal design and soft color ensure that the pedal fits perfectly in any setup.
When it comes to the features, the basics are definitely covered. There is an LED light that shows whether the pedal is turned on. Also, you can no longer worry about tone discoloration: the true bypass switch is also available.
To control the sound, you can use 3 knobs: “Level”, “Depth”, and “Rate”.
Donner Tutti Love Chorus — Best in Class
The pedal features an aluminum-alloy build and a compact form-factor. You can find a true bypass switch on the front along with sound control knobs. There is also an LED indicator to display the working state. On each side, there are input and output jacks.
Natural chorus tones that the pedal produces are great for jazz, rock, and pop music. A true bypass mode keeps the sound clean when the effect is not in use. Three knobs available for precise tone control: use “Level” to adjust the volume, “Depth” for effect depth control, and “Rate” for speed.
- True bypass. Metal casing. Good tone quality.
- Power supply not included, small variety of connection methods
Rowin Analog Chorus — Best Analog Chorus Pedal
Here we have another sturdy casing built from zinc alloy. The pedal is also compact and does not take up much space on the pedalboard. The build is pretty similar to the previous option including sound control knobs, a true bypass switch, and an LED.
The pedal provides a wide range of tone adjustability with its three knobs: “Level”, “Deth”, and “Rate”. The sound that the pedal produces is a warm and clear chorus. True bypass is included as well. So the guitarist can be sure that there would be no problems with the sound control when the pedal is not in use.
- Compact size. Strong build. True bypass. Good tone.
- Power supply not included, small variety of connection methods
Biyang CH-10 — Bulky Sound
The case of CH-10 greets you with a bit quirky design and a sturdy build thanks to its metal chassis. You can find two tone-control knobs and the front with a true bypass switch. There is also an LED indicator and a speed toggle. The input and output jacks are on the sides of the pedal.
The pedal produces a big and full sound that is great for rock music. You have your “Blend” and “Sprend” knobs to tweak the sound in whatever way you want. Another must-have feature is true bypass which is also present here. The LED light shows the working state of the pedal.
- Good sound quality. Metal build. True bypass.
- Some users report background noise, small variety of connection methods
Tom’sline Engineering Analogue Chorus — Build Champ
This compact pedal has a heavy aluminum case for the best durability. On the front panel, you have your usual set of knobs with a true bypass switch. But here’s a catch — there’s also a metal bar that prevents accidental button presses. To complete the package, the pedal comes in three colors.
As usual, you have three options to tweak to get the sound you need. There’s a depth knob that you can use to go super-heavy or light. On top of that, you can adjust the speed of the effect and its volume. Maximum convenience is achieved with the help of a true bypass feature.
- Ture bypass. Metal casing. Special bar.
- No power supply. Small variety of connection methods. Some users report sound under effect goes in bypass mode.
AZOR AP-309 — No Bells and Whistles
The pedal features a strong aluminum-alloy body in a compact form-factor that allows it to fit any pedalboard. The LED indicator and true bypass switch are on the front panel, with input and output jacks on the sides. On the top portion of the front panel, you have tone control knobs.
It has a classic warm jazz chorus tone. True bypass helps to keep the tone clean when the pedal is not in use. You also have your common “Level”,”Depth”, and “Rate” knobs to adjust the effect according to your needs.
- True bypass. Sturdy casing. Small size.
- Power supply not included. Small variety of connection methods. Some users report problems with no effect.
How does a chorus pedal work and why do guitarists use it?
Chorus is a polyphonic effect that simulates the sound of several identical instruments. Imagine two or three guitars playing the same melody simultaneously along with your guitar. Due to slight differences in the timbres of the instruments or some different settings for the human ear, such polyphony and surround sound will be heard.
How does the chorus effect work?
Clear, unprocessed signal goes to the input of the electronic circuit. Then the input signal is split into two components. One part of the signal remains intact, while the other goes to the input of the “delay circuit”. As a result, the copy of the original signal is delayed by 20-30 ms. The delay time is adjusted using a “low frequency generator”. Then the clean and “delayed signal” are summed up and come to the main output.
Many well-known manufacturers of guitar gears produce chorus floor pedals/ Here the list of most known chorus guitar pedals:
- Boss CE-5
- Boss CH-1;
- Boss CE-3;
- Dunlop MXR M134 Stereo Chorus;
- Ibanez CS9 Stereo Chorus;
- Electro-Harmonix Small Clone;
Basic guitar chorus pedal settings
Most chorus pedals have the same settings. Additional controllers are most often found in new and expensive pedals. We will cover three basic settings that could be found on all pedals.
“Rate” – the frequency of the effect. Adjust the rate at which the modulation of the signal changes.
“Depth” – the depth of the effect. The parameter adjusts the degree of signal modulation.
“Level” – sets the sound level of the effect. This is the same as the “Mix” knob.
The chorus pedals make your guitar sound richer in sound, it becomes dense, polyphonic is felt. This effect is used for a variety of instruments and is applied to many music genres. Try different guitar chorus settings, experiment with the sound and then you will get your own unique and individual sound.
Here you go — these are some of the best chorus pedals that you can buy right now. In this price category, the competition is pretty steep, so every company is trying very hard to do its best.
That is why most of those products share their features — you can expect decent sound and even true bypass.
But when it comes to unique functions, you can’t really find any at this price range — it’s all about the basics that matter the most.
Still, to buy the right product, you need to know exactly what you need and what’s out there for you. Let’s walk you through the process of choosing the right chorus pedal.
How to Choose the Best Chorus Pedal — Buyer’s Guide
To help you better understand your requirements for the chorus pedal, we suggest you take a look at the following points:
Make sure to know how much you are willing to spend on a product. Keep in mind that there is no need to chase the most expensive item, but also try to avoid the cheapest options. The truth is, most of the time, right in the middle — you will be able to get a good quality product without spending a lot.
Having selected the products at a reasonable price, study the basic features they offer. Then choose the features that you need, like true bypass, specific tone control, and so on. Focus on those and disregard the features you don’t care about — you will be able to save money on those.
Take a look at the unique features that most of the pedals might lack. That could be a stop bar to prevent accidental button presses, LED lights, stronger cases, etc. You might want to have some of those as well.
So here it is. We hope that this guide will help you purchase the product that will fulfill your needs.
The chorus pedals described in the article are outwardly practically indistinguishable. The technical characteristics are also indistinguishable. Some chorus pedal manufacturers such as “Tom’sline Engineering” or “Biyang CH-10” stand out from the rest with their extra options. But the usefulness of these options is ambiguous. When choosing a chorus pedal, a musician is primarily looking for a good sound. And here we advise you to opt for “Donner Tutti Love Chorus”. There is nothing superfluous in it. But the simplicity of settings and high-quality sound will delight the owners for many years.
Unfortunately, the pedal is not rechargeable. You have to use a power supply.
The pedal requires a DC 9v power supply, so that should work.
The volume control is for tweaking the effect signal.
It will work, just make sure to dial down the treble a little bit.
The chorus pedal takes the signal of the guitar, doubles it, and sets the second sound slightly of the tune and time to create a thicker sound.
It is a modulation pedal similar to the flanger pedal. Its purpose is to thicken the color of the guitar signal to provide the sound of multiple guitars playing at the same time.
The Electro-Harmonix Small Clone chorus was his favorite since the recording of “Bleach”.
Well, it’s not entirely a plug and play approach, but rather a plug-and-try out the settings to find out the ones you like. Plug the pedal into your pedal chain and to the power supply, and try to tinker with the sound knobs to learn how they change the sound.
Since it is a modulation effect, it’s best to put it fairly late in the pedal chain. But make sure that it comes before the delay, tremolo, or reverb pedals.
Since the first self-titled 1978 album release up to 2012’s A Different Kind of Truth — it’s an MXR EVH 5150 Chorus Limited Edition Pedal
What chorus pedal does Billy Howerdel use?
Billy Howerdel relies on amp effects rather than on pedals, as stated in his rig rundown.
He uses a Digitech Jimi Hendrix Experience pedal.