Ampeg Liquifier Review
The bass-amp giant's new dual-chorus circuit serves up a wide range of rich modulation with a price that harkens back to the 1980s.
Clip 1: Chords on soloed P pickup with rate at 4 o’clock, depth at 1 o’clock, and effect level at noon.
Clip 2: Fingerstyle sample without effect, and then played again with Liquifier engaged and set with rate at 3 o'clock, depth at 10 o'clock, and effect level at noon.
Easy to use, cool chorus tones, great price.
Can be noisy. Unusually hard pop when engaged, even for a true-bypass pedal. Rate control taper not evenly distributed.
Ease of Use:
It may come as a surprise to some that Ampeg has been in the pedal biz since the 1960s. Although these earlier devices have been somewhat overlooked, the legendary amp company has been making waves of late with a revitalized line of effects. One such effect is Ampeg’s take on a chorus pedal that they’ve named the Liquifier. This purple stomp contains technology that’s often used in more boutique-y chorus offerings, but maintains a very approachable price, like the company’s other pedal wares.
Ampeg describes the Liquifier as an all-analog, dual-chorus pedal. Unlike chorus pedals that send an unaffected signal with one modulated signal, the Liquifier sends a clean signal with two modulated signals. The design is intended to create a chorus effect that is lush and full, and combats loss of low end.
The control layout is somewhat conventional, consisting of dials for rate, depth, and effect level. Ampeg installed two LEDs below the trio of knobs: one an illuminating purple that confirms pedal activation and the other a visual representation of the low-frequency oscillation, which flashes green.
Let’s Get Wet
I first dove into the Liquifier at home by placing it in between a Fender Precision Elite PJ and a Bergantino rig comprised of a B|Amp and HD112 cabinet. Engaging the pedal produced a pronounced pop, which plagues some true-bypass pedals, but it was more of a minor sonic nuisance than a design issue. That said, the level of hiss produced from the test pedal was enough to be concerning for studio use.
The Liquifier shined in the tone department. The effect-level dial did a wonderful job helping me find a sweet spot by balancing signal and effect without impacting the inherent tone of my instrument. It was easy to discover an impressive variety of chorus timbres with the rate and depth dials.
With little adjustment, I could evoke tones in the vein of Peter Hook to Billy Sheehan to John Scofield. My only real concern was with the rate control, as the majority of oscillation occurred between 2 o’clock and 5 o’clock, rather than evenly distributed throughout the dial’s sweep.
In a live setting, the Liquifier saturated the stage quite nicely. The SVT rig I used sent waves of modulated bass sound while maintaining my low end. My favorite setting came positioning the rate at 2 o’clock and the depth at 10 o’clock. This added a smooth sheen to the Precision Elite by adding presence and a brooding vibe. And when I cranked the rate to about 4 o’clock and set the depth at noon, it provided chords and solos with a fun, Leslie-cabinet-like throb.
The Ampeg Liquifier looks cool, sounds great, is easy to use, and is priced better than many in its class. Had it not been for the noise I experienced, I’d say the Liquifier could be one of the better chorus pedals on the market. Beginners and weekend warriors will find it a pleasant addition to their pedalboard, and pros might be happy using it in less formal settings. I had a lot of fun with Ampeg’s latest effect, and look forward to seeing how this sonic branch expands on their family tree. If you’re thirsting for a new chorus pedal, the Liquifier will likely satisfy your ears, and certainly your wallet.