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best chorus pedals

Best chorus pedals

Looking to add some shimmer and movement to your guitar or bass sound? Then a chorus pedal might be exactly what you’re looking for. They’re one of the best types of creative guitar pedals. But not all chorus pedals are created equal, and the best fit for your style depends on what you need from one. 

So let’s go over some of the best chorus pedals in different categories that get your sound moving!

Best chorus pedal overall: BOSS CE-2W

BOSS CE-2W
Best chorus pedal overall
BOSS CE-2W
If you’re looking to add the beloved BOSS CE-1 chorus sound to your rig but don’t want to drop hundreds of dollars on the used market this is as close as it gets!
Pros
Timeless CE-1 sounds at an affordable price
Stereo output
Cons
Mono input only
Not versatile enough for some players

A great chorus pedal should have a number of controls, sound authentic, and offer mono and stereo I/O. The blank is all of that and more. 

The Waza Craft line from BOSS takes some of their most beloved pedals in their stories history and breathes new life – and new features – into their designs. 

It’s a popular consensus that the boss CE-1 is the gold standard when it comes to chorus pedals. For the longest time if you wanted to access this classic sound you had to fork out hundreds of dollars to buy one on the used market…or invest in one of Roland’s (BOSS’ parent company) Jazz Chorus amps. 

This is a reissue of the second iteration of that chorus pedal with a unique twist. It offers the stellar all-analog chorus and vibrato sounds from the first version. 

When it comes to I/O it’s mono in but stereo out. Since the circuit is split between the first and second versions of the CE line it doesn’t have all of the controls that the original does but it does have that inimitable sound. 

It doesn’t offer a host of chorus sounds, but it does some of the all-time classics perfectly. At just over $200 new it’s a great choice if you want to add one of the best chorus sounds of all time to your signal chain and costs much less. 

Best stereo chorus pedal: Strymon Ola

Strymon Ola
Best stereo chorus pedal
Strymon Ola
Top notch DSP and three modulation effects across three modes each makes this stereo chorus one of the best.
Pros
Industry class DSP
2 types of chorus and vibrato
Stereo I/O
Cons
Chorus isn’t very versatile
Larger enclosure
Expensive

Chorus is in effect that’s best experienced in stereo. Some of the rigs of the greatest guitar players of all time of taught us that. But believe it or not, a lot of chorus pedals only come in mono configuration. 

A good stereo chorus offers stereo I/O on the input and output. This gives you versatility in regards to where you place it in your signal chain. 

Strymon’s Ola isn’t just one of the best stereo chorus pedals on the market, it’s one of the best chorus pedals period. The circuit runs on Strymon’s industry leading 24-bit/96kHz DSP. 

Two types of chorus let you choose between a familiar LFO-style chorus, and the 3-phase setting is based on classic studio rack chorus sounds that don’t use a LFO. Bucket brigade vibrato gives you the shimmering warble you’ll find on classic amps. 

Each setting has three modes – Normal, Envelope (sensitivity), and Ramp (speed). This is where it gets interesting. You can get rotary speaker like sounds with the Ramp setting, as it gives real-time control to engage and disengage the effect by holding the switch down. 

Envelope works in tandem with your playing dynamics, making the effect faster and fatter the harder you play. It’s great all genres, especially for metal and country.

Best analog chorus pedal: Electro-Harmonix Small Clone

Electro-Harmonix Small Clone
Best analog chorus pedal
Electro-Harmonix Small Clone
One of the most famous guitarist’s of all time’s favorite chorus, this analog classic gives thick, lush analog sounds.
Pros
Luch analog sounds
Sturdy enclosure
Classic chorus sound of 80s and 90s
Cons
Only two controls
Mono only

Digital chorus pedals certainly have their benefits, but some players just prefer the sound and response of a good, old school analog circuit. 

The sounds it offers can take you from a thick subtle chorus to swirling space sounds. It’s got two simple controls, a rate knob and a depth switch. 

It is mono only but if you’re looking for a chewy, thick, analog chorus it’s been one of the best for decades and a top choice for some of the best professional guitar players in the business. 

Most versatile chorus pedal: Universal Audio Astra

Universal Audio Astra
Most versatile chorus pedal
Universal Audio Astra
UA packed some of the best vintage chorus, flanger, and tremolo sounds in this high end stereo chorus pedal.
Pros
Chorus, flanger, and tremolo
Mono, dual mono, or stereo
Free phaser and other reverb with registration
Control App lets you change things through mobile device
Cons
Expensive

Universal Audio has stepped into the guitar pedal game in a big way. The Astra is a “modulation machine” literally and figuratively. Being a multi-effect there are chorus, flanger, and tremolo settings.

The chorus setting is based on the classic bucket brigade designs of early chorus pedals.The preamp section is included, letting you drive the effect to saturation. Providing the lo-fi, tape-style wow and flutter is the flanger setting. It’s got a scooped tone that doesn’t get lost in the mix like more subtle flangers do. Lastly, the tremolo is based on classic amp tremolos from the 60s that offers sine and square wave modes.

It’s got an interesting I/O setup, with routing for mono, dual mono, and stereo. The pedal automatically detects how it should route based on the inputs and outputs. You can also select between true or buffered bypass depending on how your signal chain is built.

Since it runs on UA’s top-of-the-line DSP, through the Control app you can change settings like true or buffered bypass, how the right footswitch operates, presets, and tap tempo. And when you register the pedal the company gives you two additional effects – the X90 Phaser and Dharma Trem 61 – to load onto the pedal. When they named it a modulation machine they weren’t kidding!

Best bass chorus pedal: Aguilar Chorusaurus

Aguilar Chorusaurus
Best bass chorus pedal
Aguilar Chorusaurus
Bass masters Aguilar bring movement and shimmer to low end sounds with this all-analog, bucket brigade chorus pedal.
Pros
All analog circuitry
Solid low end perfect for bass guitar
Ratio control lets you dial in perfect wet/dry blend
Cons
Mono only

Chorus pedals can do some magical things to bass tone. It thickens up the sound and lets it stand out, especially in a dense band mix. 

You might be wondering what makes a bass chorus different than a regular chorus. They’re designed specifically to handle the extended low frequencies of a bass guitar. It’s possible to use a “regular” chorus on bass and a bass chorus for guitars or keyboards. It’s really up to the player. 

Aguilar makes some fine bass gear, and their Chorusaurus is one of the best chorus pedals for bass guitar. It’s an analog, bucket brigade powered chorus pedal that adds great shimmer and movement to any bass tone. 

It’s got all the controls any bass player could want in a chorus pedal including with, intensity, and speed. The Ratio knob sets the wet/dry blend so the effect can be as subtle or in-your-face as you need it to be. 

The only real downside is that it’s mono only but that’s not really as big of a deal as it is with guitar chorus pedals. The analog circuitry gives you realistic sounds while keeping the low end fully intact. 

FAQ

What is the best chorus guitar pedal?

It depends on the kind of chorus sound that you like. If you want something thick and warm sounding, an analog chorus is a great choice. 

Ideally you’d want at least a few controls like rate and depth. A mix blend is also really handy to have especially with thicker sounding chorus pedals so you can dial it in specifically without having it take over your sound. 

What chorus pedal did Kurt Cobain use?

Kurt Cobain was a famous user of the Electro-Harmonix small clone. It’s our pick for the best analog chorus. It’s got a very thick sound, so if you’re looking for something subtle that’s not what it’s meant to be. 

It can be heard all over Nirvana’s recordings, including “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Come as You Are”. 

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