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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.
At times, I was struck by how close I could make it sound to an analog flanger with manipulation of the rate and depth. With the volume rolled back on my amp’s gain channel I got a tone nearly identical to the intro to “Hear About It Later” from Van Halen’s Fair Warning. With a Strat, the same settings evoked Crowded House’s clean tone. And with the distortion cranked I couldn’t resist ripping some “Tom Sawyer” inspired solos.
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.
you crave retro analog chorus tones but need greater range of modulation.
you’re still trying to forget the ‘80s.