A new chorus pedal geared for maximum low end.
Eden Bass Amplification has been cranking out quality bass amps and cabinets since 1976. The company entered the pedal game in 2010 with their popular WTDI direct box/preamp for bass, and now they’ve unveiled the new I-90 chorus.
Chorus pedals have been a bass staple since the ’70s, when they gained popularity among fusion and prog-rock players. Perhaps the most recognizable chorus tone from the era came from Jaco, who achieved his signature sound by splitting his signal between a pair of Acoustic 360 amplifiers with one channel clean and one with the onboard tremolo cranked.
Quality chorus options designed specifically for bass were once few and far between—and the frequency range of guitar chorus pedals doesn’t always suit the bass’s lower range. But now, thankfully, there are more bass-specific chorus options, such as the I-90.
In the Garden of Eden
The compact, sturdy-feeling I-90 has a simple, industrial design that screams user-friendliness. Its four knobs control modulation speed, depth, low cut, and mix. The controls are comfortably spaced and more easily accessible than on some rival stompboxes, permitting quick adjustments.
To audition the pedal’s depth and range through a classic, booming setup, I plugged the I-90 into a 300-watt Ampeg SVT head powering an Ampeg SVT-810. Strapping on a Fender American P bass, I dimed the mix level and slowly rolled up the speed and depth knobs, which displayed noticeable changes in tone, even in subtle increments.
The chorus frequency is bandwidth-limited on the I-90, so the maximum mix setting is not fully 100-percent vibrato, but it certainly sounds fully wet when the mix is cranked. The mix-level range encompasses a subtle to a dominant sound from about 1:12 to 1:2 and the bandwidth limiting is intended to prevent dull tones while providing an ideal chorus sound with very little background noise. In my time with the I-90, I found that the tone of the chorus remained clear and focused at any volume.
Dialing the speed and depth to 12 o’clock creates an eerie resonance perfect for double-stops and high-register chords. At speeds and depths set a bit beyond noon, the modulation greatly alters the frequency of each note, creating the classic, tripped-out sound that chorus pedals are best known for.
To test the I-90’s responsiveness with an active bass, I plugged in a 1989 Music Man StingRay. The bass’s piercing midrange yielded a more distinct and cutting timbre, plus a surprisingly cool tone when the pedal’s speed and depth were lowered down to the 8 o’clock range. Rolling back the mix level produces many attractive blends, and even when set mostly dry it maintains a profound impact.
Regardless of which bass I used, I found the pedal’s greatest trait to be its range of modulation. With moderate levels of speed and depth at around 9 o’clock and the low cut and mix around noon, the I-90 adds a beautiful ambience to the tone that’s perfect for slow- to medium-tempo riffs in the mid-low register.
On the far end of the spectrum—which I explored by cranking the speed, depth, and mix levels to between 3 and 5 o’clock, and setting the low cut at 12 o’clock—you get a tremendously effected frequency that is great for soloing in the higher register. Though these particular settings might not be suitable for all players or all genres, the clarity of the speed-heightened chorus is impressive.
The Low Cut is the Deepest
The I-90’s low-cut control lets you exempt the lowest frequencies from the modulation effect for improved bottom-end focus. Tones maintain their depth and body at all settings, though, even with a good amount of chorus applied to the low end. The BBD (bucket-brigade delay) 3 dB roll-off point for the I-90 is 16 Hz and the chorus is also fed through a high-pass filter. I found this ideal for bass because it prevents smearing of the higher harmonic content and allowed me to play all over the neck without depleted tone.
The I-90 is a sturdy chorus pedal that allows bassists to control the range of their chorus effect without frequency loss, and it offers up a richer and thicker tone with a deeper low-end than some other pedals in its class. I was probably most impressed overall with the consistency of the I-90 and its dedication to doing one thing and doing it very well—this is a stompbox with a spotlight solely on chorus. The easy-to-use design and ergonomic knobs make adjustments a breeze, even on a dimly lit stage. The speed, depth, and mix dials are sensitive in a good way, providing a wide tonal spectrum. Eden’s I-90 is a chorus pedal to be reckoned with.