Build Your Own Clone Analog Chorus Pedal Review

An interpretation of the Boss CE-2 that you build yourself

For many players, chorus can be a tricky effect. The right amount can lend welcome space and dimension, but add too much chorus and your tone can sound cheesy and cold. One pedal that did a great job of striking this balance is the legendary Boss CE-2 Chorus Ensemble, which has been long coveted for its warm and watery voice. Build Your Own Clone Effects, makers of DIY kits that closely model famous effects, recently released the Analog Chorus, an interpretation of the discontinued Boss CE-2 complete with high-quality components to enhance sonic performance.

Sizing up the Situation
As the company name suggests, you actually build BYOC pedals yourself (though you can also order a pre-built unit at additional cost from BYOC’s Canadian distributor, Axe … And You Shall Receive). So after getting the kit, I fired up a soldering station and delved into the manual and parts checklist. To save paper, BYOC requires kit builders to download the manual and instructions from their website. All of the parts listed in the checklist were included in the bag, as well as an extra capacitor or two, just in case one found its way underneath my desk or in the carpet—a thoughtful touch on BYOC’s part.

BYOC does a fantastic job with making the building process as easy as it could be, without using terminology that would confuse a novice builder. Each step—whether it’s soldering resistors, capacitors, or IC sockets—commands its own page of instruction, complete with a large blowup of the circuit board with easy-to-read labels.

After about two hours of laboring over the soldering gun, I completed the pedal and was ready to test it. I wanted a great name for a watery chorus, so I christened it “The Slobber Box” and PG Web Content Editor Rebecca Dirks revealed her artistic skills by painting the enclosure for me.

The Birth of the Slobber Box
With the moment to test my new creation finally at hand, I borrowed an original CE-2 from a friend to A/B it with the BYOC pedal. The Analog Chorus did a fantastic job recreating the original CE-2’s subtle, three-dimensional tone. But my “Slobber Box” bested the CE-2 when it came to background noise and bypass tone. Simply put, the Analog Chorus was dead silent when active, unlike the CE-2, which had a slightly audible whooshing-noise in the background. And the Analog Chorus’ true bypass circuitry (the original CE-2 used a buffered bypass) left my guitar’s high-end tones intact. The BYOC Analog Chorus is a breeze to work with and its sparse control layout (one knob for Depth, another for Rate) makes it easy to dial in a variety of usable tones without fuss.

The Verdict
It was easy—and a blast—to build BYOC’s Analog Chorus pedal kit, and the end result exceeded my expectations. Assembling the kit with my own two hands gave me a real sense of satisfaction that no off-the-shelf purchase can match. It’s worth keeping in mind that attempting a pedal kit can present some challenges—even if you’re experienced with a soldering gun and circuit boards. But if you’re up for the challenge, the BYOC Analog Chorus delivers classic, tasteful, and subtle chorus tones along with the gratification of having built a part of your own rig.

Buy if...
you’re after a warm chorus you can decorate yourself.
Skip if...
you want a pedal that works right out of the box.

Street $79 - BYOC -

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