Posted on03 August 2017 10:54 PM GMT

9 of the Best Chorus+Vibrato Guitar Pedals for Your Consideration

Electric GuitarGuitar OwnershipGuitar PedalsEffects PedalsChorusVibratoUni-VibeVibe+-
2017AfBlg9ChorusVibe700

Apart from the intro to Purple Rain, I’ve never been a particular fan of the Chorus Effect per se, but add some flutter and depth for Vibrato, and I’m all in. Many of the smarter Chorus + Vibrato pedals go one better and give you a decent flavour of a Leslie / Rotary Speaker too, do note that even though there are a myriad chorus effects pedals out there, the vast majority are mono only and cannot therefore properly simulate the Leslie effect, which really does need stereo separation for proper left-to-right panning.

 

You should know by now that I am a huge fan of Chase Bliss and when considering individual modulations it is usually top of my list. As with everything, it is a matter of weighing up the feature set, how you are likely to use it etc. and however high in my affections the Warped Vinyl may be, the Vibe Machine somehow manages to top it in some ways - it really sounds lush. Then again both of those are mono, even though you can get an additional footswitch for the Vibe Machine to ramp up and down speed of vibration / oscillation. For a similar reason you might like the Fulltone Mini Deja’Vibe - which comes in a rocker pedal format for exactly the purposes of ramping up and down oscillation speed etc.

 

Only three of the pedals featured have stereo output - The Viberator, Strymon Ola and TC Electronic Dreamcast - meaning that you can approximate Leslie-style sounds, but you ideally need an additional switch / expression pedal which is actually only a possibility for the Viberator currently. The Empress Nebulus puts in a second appearance (it was also a recommendation for Flanger) - you get a fantastic range of features here in one pedal, for my taste it is a little large though, and limited by its lack of stereo out.

 

Chorus + Vibrato of course overlaps with Uni-Vibe, so we could not leave out MXR’s official contemporary version of that, and for a tiny footprint, the Mooer Soul Shiver as usual punches significantly above its weight - with a 3-way toggle for Chorus, Vibrato and Rotary. I will most likely end up acquiring the Warped Vinyl at some stage, would be great if Joel Korte could make his pedals fully stereo, and include some more clever functions on the footswitch - so that the tap tempo switch could also be used for a Leslie-style ramp up / down switch - or better still, licence TC Electronic’s ’Mash’ technology for that (of course I realise you are limited for space and Chase Bliss pedals are already crammed - so stereo would be tricky within that enclosure). For my second choice I am really torn here - it’s a dust up between the Viberator, Vibe Machine and the Dreamcast - all have their merits - and The Dreamcast gives you Flanger too, plus Toneprint.

 

There were so many great pedals in this category that alas I had to make some really tough choices, so mention must be made also of - BBE Mind Bender (£118) | Catalinbread Callisto (£159) | Diamond Vibrato (£272) | Dunlop Rotovibe (£219) | Effectrode Tube-Vibe (£339) | Electro-Harmonix Good Vibes (£128) | Electronic Orange Moon Vibe MkII (£260) | JHS Emperor Analog Chorus + Vibrato (£235) | Pigtronix Quantum Time Modulator (£129) | Red Witch Empress Chorus (£189) | Sweet Sound Mojo Vibe (£299) | Voodoo Lab Micro Vibe (£145) | Walrus Audio Julia (£167)

 

NOTE - Pedals are pictured and listed alphabetically by brand, prices are the lowest I could find online for new. I generally look for a range of pedals at different sizes, price ranges and varying degrees of functionality / ability - to suit most scenarios.

Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl - £349

I really can't help it - I'm totally captivated by Joel Korte's Chase Bliss pedals and I will likely acquire this one at some stage too. All those dip-swtiches, dials and toggles seem a bit much to begin with, and the Spectre is probably the most complicated one to use of all of those - because of the Zero-Through cross-over. Yet once you get the hang of the ModuShape features and switches, it's all quite straightforward really - possibly this offers more than some people are comfortable with, and certainly at a premium price. As I've said before, these are the jewels of the pedal world. The only improvements I would like to see are stereo outputs to handle proper rotary sounds (needs panning), as well as an alternative footswitch use to ramp up and down oscillation speed. That way this could be a really neat Chorus, Vibrato and proper Rotary function pedal.

Dawner Prince Viberator - £239

This is one I overlooked initially but came across on my third or fourth due diligence sweep. Dawner Prince are most famous for their most excellent full Binson Echorec recreation / miniaturisation 'Boonar' pedal. On this occasion they update and improve on the classic 'Uni-Vibe', adding stereo output and a couple other smart modern features. For a long time the Warped Vinyl and Vibe Machine were my front runners here, and while I am likely to get the Vinyl anyway, the Viberator is possibly my current second favourite. I wonder if I could use an individual footswitch in the expression slot - to ramp up and down per the Vibe Machine? As noted previously stereo output is essential for getting close to any kind of Leslie / rotary effect - which this pedal does quite nicely.

DryBell Vibe Machine V-2 - £295 + £33 for F-1L Footswitch

This was actually the pedal that brought me back to Chorus/Vibrato after I had decided it wasn't really for me. I believe demo specialist Nick Jaffe has this pretty consistently on his board, as do a number of pros now, and I caught sight of it 'in-the-flesh' as such on a recent visit to Regent Sounds on Denmark Street. This is a really clever Chorus + Vibrato pedal with just a pair of dials and toggles on the front, but no less than 6 adjustable and easily accessible trim-pots accessed 3-per side of the pedal enclosure. Another clever move is the optional single button F-1L footswitch for added control of the cleverly concealed 6 separate modes. For versatility and flexibility you would be hard pushed to find a better alternative, unless your requirement is for stereo output. This is the only weakness of the Vibe Machine that I can see. As stated, the Warped Vinyl is pretty much a foregone conclusion - and if the Vibe Machine was stereo out, I would have no hesitation to get that too, yet pushed to make a choice right now I would most likely prefer to wait until the V-3 Vibe Machine comes out with stereo capabilities, or else go for the Viberator - funnily enough both these pedals are hand-made in Croatia, and both are around the £300 mark typically, more of course with the added / optional footswitch.

Empress Nebulus - £296

Another pedal maker I have very high regard for, and peculiarly the only pedal that features twice in my 9 pedal overviews - having a spot in the 'Flanger' category too. A really capable pedal which adds Flanging to Chorus and Vibrato with lots of tone-shaping options. I am a little put off by the larger size, would prefer a regular enclosure, would also prefer stereo output and ability to attach expression pedal / button footswitch for oscillation / rotary ramping purposes, otherwise no complaints.

Fulltone Mini Deja'Vibe 3 - £199

Lots of players like to have an expression pedal to ramp up and down the oscillation effects or for more finessed modulation control - here you get it all in a single rocker pedal. I had considered the more vanilla Mini Deja'Vibe or even the Dunlop Rotovibe, but settled on this closest to classic Uni-Vibe variety - with the added bonus of the ramp control. The main downside here is really the size of this pedal - too large for my needs, would prefer if they did a shorter format - along the lines of the CryBaby Mini.

Mooer Soul Shiver - £57

As reported, I have quite a few Mooers, only one is present in my active chain (The Blues Mood), but this one could adequately substitute some of my larger pedals when space is tight. 3-way selector which allows you to toggle between Chorus, Vibrato and Rotary - with 3 dials to adjust - Volume, Intensity and Speed. It may not be the most fantastic pristine sound you can imagine - and certainly won't compete in tonal quality with some of the prestige pedals featured here, but for its size and price it's still amazing - I will likely get one at some stage to add to the collection.

MXR M68 Uni-Vibe - £147

So this is Dunlop's faithful re-render of the classic Uni-Vibe pedal, with very few bells and whistles - as close to the original as possible really. While others are modernising, updating and upgrading their versions of the Uni-Vibe, this is just a very faithful recreation of the 40+ year old original. Would be good to see Dunlop catch up with some of the more recent innovations, offer stereo output, ramping etc. One of the lowest cost pedals featured, but also one of the least appealing somehow.

Strymon Ola - £299

Strymon used to be my very favourite pedal maker for a long time, and are still way up there for pristine studio tones - yet are being replaced in my affections and in my pedalchain by slightly smarter recent releases. Innovation-wise they do seem to have fallen a little behind of late, meaning that their unassailable lead in big pedal workstations is now under onslaught from all angles (Boss, Empress and Source Audio to name a few), and the same kind of goes for their medium-sized mainstays. These are undoubtedly great effects pedals with a raft of features, yet I much prefer the regular pedal enclosure format - having a number of these medium sized enclosures takes up a little too much real estate. If I can find largely equivalent feature set, I will always go with a preference for the smaller size. Strymon though always have that extra quality - stereo ins and outs as in this case, and secondary dial options. For some reason, the Ola does not seem to fully compete here for whatever reason, can't quite put my finger on it. Where Strymon is usually at or near the top of my wishlist, in this category somehow it is not - don't know whether it is largely just the form factor, but I would take most of those pedals before the Strymon - quite strange really.

TC Electronic Dreamscape - £166

In one of my bigger modulation posts I've touched on the signature John Petrucci Dreamscape pedal from TC Electronic before. Much like the Nebulus this combine Chorus, Vibrato and Flanger - with full stereo ins and outs. Also contains the superb TCE TonePrint technology for easy dialling in of unique sounds. I would like to see this pedal with 'Mash' or similar technology update so you can tap-tempo as well as ramp up / down via footswitch. Really smart pedal for its size though and a definite contender while often overlooked.

Additional! - DigiTech Ventura Vibe - £119

This is strictly speaking not an exact fit for this category - being more about Vibe (Vintage), Vibrato (Modern) and Rotary (no separate Chorus per se although this can be achieved via low Mix setting). For me it is a perfect regular-sized rotary pedal - it's the only one I can find which is fully stereo out, and you can use the footswitch to ramp between slow and fast speeds - via momentary hold function. This pedal may not be quite as high-fidelity as some of the bigger or more expensive ones, it only has 5 parameter settings - with tone and drive enabled though a single dual-concentric dial. For the size and price though - nothing comes close here. I really like the look and sound of this and will be getting one at some stage.

Stefan
Posted by Stefan
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