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May 2014
more... GearEffectsSound SamplesBass GearReviewsChorusBass EffectsNovember 2011Tech 21

Tech 21 Bass Boost Chorus Pedal Review

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Tech 21 Bass Boost Chorus Pedal Review
Many bassists of varied music styles have found a use for chorus in their arsenal. That “underwater” tone can be heard in everything from ’70s fusion to ’80s New Wave, ’90s grunge, and modern rock. In a market full of chorus pedals, Tech 21 offers a versatile option with the Bass Boost Chorus, which provides the tones of classic chorus effects while solving some the issues that often arise when applying chorus to bass frequencies.

Sea Change
Tech 21 believes that because most chorus pedals are designed for guitar, the resulting tones can be brittle and thin, with an unpleasant warbled effect when used with bass. By introducing a Detune control that adjusts the secondary pitch of the signal, Tech 21’s Bass Boost Chorus is able to provide chorus without that queasy-feeling modulation or loss of bottom end. The Detune control creates a thicker chorus effect, while preserving the fundamental characteristics of each note. The pedal also has a Multi Voice switch that incorporates a third voice to detune, providing a wider, three-dimensional chorus effect. The Mix knob allows you to control the amount of effect in the direct sound, while the Tone knob enables you to dial in brighter or mellower flavors. The handy Boost knob ensures that the overall output does not diminish when the pedal is engaged. The Bass Boost Chorus also includes the standard Speed and Depth controls found on traditional chorus effects.




Chorus Ahoy!
As I set up for my maiden voyage with the Bass Boost Chorus, it seemed as if Tech 21 was inviting my bass on a nautical journey with the underwater graphic on the metal casing. A glance inside the casing revealed a well-organized interior, with solid pots and clean solder points. There is also a user-friendly, no-screw battery cover that provides easy access to the 9V connector.

I plugged the Bass Boost Chorus into the effects loop of a Glockenklang Soul head with two Space Deluxe 1x12 cabinets. Using a Dingwall Z3 5-string, I experimented with the sample settings provided in the manual. Settings titled “Cure Bass” and “Hooky” were very accurate in emulating edgy alt-rock bass tones, particularly when wielding a pick. Soloing the bridge pickup and using the “Jaco Fretless” setting effectively executed the sound made famous in Pastorius’ classic “Continuum.” These settings (along with seven others) provided hours of fun and inspired chorus creations of my own. Extended-range bassists will also be pleased with how the pedal handles notes on the 5th string.

The Bass Boost Chorus proved its worth in live situations. While the Speed and Depth knobs created chorus effects similar to other pedals on the market, the other features enabled it to do a lot more than that. Manipulating the Detune, Level, and Multi Voice functions created thick choral textures while preserving my bass signal in the mix. The Tone knob provided nice variances in brightness: Boosting it, I was able to create glorious crunch when playing with a pick, and cutting it warmed up the sound when playing fingerstyle.

The Verdict
If you’ve been frustrated with the performance of other bass chorus pedals, the Tech 21 Bass Boost Chorus may just be the solution. It provides functional modulating options that work well with vintage and modern basses, as well as signal boosters that will assist in defending your sonic space. It may be on the pricier side of the pedal spectrum, but its features are worth the extra loot. If you play in a cover band, use a lot of effects, or desire another dimension to your bass tone, dive in and check out the Bass Boost Chorus.
Buy if...
you seek an intuitive, great-sounding chorus pedal for electric bass.
Skip if...
you’re on a budget or loathe this polarizing effect.
Rating...


Street $189 - Tech 21 - tech21nyc.com

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