||Download Example 1
Channel A; Rate: 8 o'clock, Depth 2 o'clock, Channel B; Rate 4 o'clock, Depth 10 o'clock
||Download Example 2
Turbo Switch 'On' Channel A; Rate: noon, Depth: 10 o'clock, Channel B: Rate: noon; Depth 4 o'clock
|All tracks recorded with a humbucker-equipped Gibson Les Paul and a 1966 Fender Bassman
If you had to pick an automotive analogy to describe Radial
Engineering’s pedals, you might liken them to an old Mercedes Benz.
They’re built rock solid and you can count on them to work and work
well. With the introduction of the Bones series, the Vancouver, B.C.,
company began packaging the quality, attention to detail, and sonic
possibilities that typified their Tonebone line into a more compact box
that’s friendly to crowded pedalboards. The dual-mode Vienna Chorus
is representative of just how successful that effort has been, and it’s an
exceptional chorus by any standard.
You can almost distinguish a Radial pedal with your eyes closed. Few
stompboxes have the heft of a Radial device, and it instills a lot of
confidence in the Vienna’s roadworthiness. Though the somewhat
busy graphics and a control set that includes a slider switch, four
knobs, and two footswitches makes the pedal look complicated, it’s
actually very straightforward and easy to use.
One footswitch engages the effect, while the other switches between
the pedal’s two modes. Two knobs are dedicated to each mode, which,
like most chorus or vibrato effects, enable control of modulation depth
and rate. The slider switch moves between Normal and Turbo settings,
which affect the intensity of the modulation.
The Vienna’s dual-mode circuit is designed around NOS Panasonic
MN3007 bucket brigade chips from the early ’80s, which gives the pedal
a genuine analog chorus pedigree. But you can’t use a 9-volt battery to
power the Vienna. To get this unit working, you’ll need a standard Boss-style
Quiet and Clear
I explored the Vienna’s many modulation options using a very clean combination
of a blackface Fender Tremolux, a Danelectro Hodad 12-string,
and a Rickenbacker 330 run through a JamMan so I could evaluate the
Vienna’s dual-mode setup. On its first channel, I dialed in a very mellow,
slow chorus and on its second, a fast and deep setting.
Playing a mid-tempo, shoegazey set of arpeggiated chords suited the
slow setting perfectly. And the Vienna added a pleasing, hazy swirl that
gave the chiming tones of the Rick and the Danelectro a little more body.
Once I’d looped the pattern, I kicked on the second channel and added
some droning, fast chorused leads over the top. Even in the fairly busy
sonic environment I’d just created, the liquid, and delightfully queasy,
rotary speaker-like sounds popped out of the mix in brilliant detail.
Switching to the Turbo induced even stronger, more radical modulations
that sounded especially demented over the slower loop when I kicked
on a Rat I put in front of the Vienna. Even driven with the super-hot
Rat-tortured signal, the peaks and sweep of the Vienna’s chorus—often
evocative of tape warble—remained intact an detailed.
Radial is famous for their very quiet circuits. And their expertise in
creating them for use in acoustic instrument preamps and DI boxes pays
off in the Vienna chorus too. The inherent quiet of the signal means you
can afford to create more radical modulated environments without losing
picking nuance or the sonic qualities of other pedals in a muddy sonic
whirlpool. And needless to say, the exceptionally quiet nature of the
Vienna makes more delicate and subtle applications of the effect a delight.
Like any Radial box, the Vienna is a top-quality piece of gear that’s
built to handle the road, the stage, and the studio. The pedal’s dual-mode
design also makes the Vienna a very flexible effect. You can
create everything from a lazy, watery rhythm to radically pulsing and
acidic leads in the same song on the fly, without changing any settings.
And with a circuit this quiet, it’s a pedal you can use with confidence
in almost any musical context—especially those calling for a touch of
rotary speaker mojo on the cheap or something far more surreal.
you need a sturdy, quiet, roadworthy chorus
that can move from subtle to psychedelic
with a single stomp.
you can get by with a less flexible