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Orianthi TonePrint. Level 2 o'clock, Speed 11 o'clock, Depth 2 o'clock, Tone 1 o'clock
|Clips recorded with a Fender Telecaster and Vox Pathfinder|
The green Corona Chorus is a straightforward and easy-to-use chorus pedal with a fairly wide range of modulation from very subtle to radical. The control set is a conventional array of Level, Speed, Depth, and Tone controls. But the pedal also has an additional switch that enables on-the-fly activation of a Tri-Chorus that you can use in stereo mode for a rich chorus comprising slightly offset depth and speed settings that sounds super wide.
The Corona provided one of the more interesting studies of the potential to transform the pedal’s character via a TonePrint download. In this case, I downloaded the Orianthi chorus, which was a pleasant but subtle chorus with all the controls set to noon. Setting everything to just about 2 o’clock, however, gave the Chorus, with it’s new Orianthi-informed identity, a sweet, swelling Leslie quality that sounded quite nice for Abbey Road or Dark Side of the Moon rotary-speaker colors.
Switching back to standard Chorus mode, however conjured a less smooth and slightly digital-sounding chorus— not unpleasant, but a distinctly more undulating sound than the Orianthi chorus. And having both on tap really was like having two very different chorus pedals in front of me—one more analog flavored, the other a more radical and pulsing sound—but both very useful for drastically changing the mood of a single arpeggio to accentuate a bridge section or chorus. Those very different sounds had me wishing I could switch between them with an additional footswitch rather than having to use the pedal’s onboard knob. Given the compact and standard footprint of the TonePrint pedal, that would require a tricky bit of engineering, but it’s a touch that would make the pedal a lot more useful onstage.
The Vortex Flanger—like any flanger—is not an effect for everyone. Hendrix aficionados looking to capture some of the studio moods from Electric Ladyland will always find a place for flange stylings. But in most cases, they aren’t for the faint-of-heart. That’s no different for the Vortex, but its price and the flexibility afforded by the available TonePrints makes this unit a more versatile and attractive flanger than most.
With controls for Speed, Feedback, Depth, and Delay Time, the Vortex is easy enough to navigate and use to dial up cool, swirling textures. The pedal’s standard modes can range from smooth to hyper and burbling, depending on how aggressively you toy with the Depth, Speed, and Feedback knobs. But the addition of the TonePrint option (which includes prints from Orianthi and Bumblefoot) and the Tape flange switch really expand the Vortex’s range of voices. The Tape setting sounds great at medium-to-strong intensity for both psych-flavored arpeggios and fast, funk-chord comping. It also works wonders if you want to lend motion to a lingering, fuzz-driven power chord.
The Petrucci TonePrint had a distinct envelope filter-like “wow,” but also added more clarity and definition to arpeggios at higher Speed and Feedback settings. According to the description for this particular TonePrint, Petrucci designed the print around a type of phase cancellation that lends warmth. It’s a quality that was easy to discern and also made the pedal more useful and musical in more extreme flange applications.