Other chorus guitar pedals have come and gone, but the Boss CH-1 Super Chorus has remained in production for over 20 years. There’s something about this pedal that has made it a popular choice for guitarists looking for a lush chorus sound to add some spatial character to their tone. In our Boss CH-1 Super Chorus review, we’ll find out if it’s the best guitar chorus pedal for the money.
While boss has updated their long-running Chorus Ensemble pedals with the CE-5 and the now discontinued CE-20, they have kept the CH-1 in the product roster despite releasing competing models. There’s just a different character to the CH-1 that makes it a staple in the lineup.
The most noticeable variation between the CH-1 and the CE-5 is in the tone-shaping controls available. While the CH-1 sports a simple EQ tone knob, the CE-5 has a Filter section with High and Low cut controls. This lets you find a precise tonal range for letting your chorus cut through the mix, while the CH-1 simple lets you shape the overall tone of your chorused sound. While it may appear at first that the CE-5 Chorus Ensemble is the more versatile pedal, some people feel that it’s ultra-modern sound lacks the warmth of the CH-1. Let’s get on with the review and see if the Boss CH-1 is worth considering.
Effect Level control for setting the overall amount of chorus applied to your original signal
EQ control for adjusting the tone of the chorus effect
Rate control for controlling the speed of modulation
Depth control for controlling the intensity of the effect
Stereo Outputs for true-stereo depth of sound
Sound & Performance:
I started with a setting of moderate Effect Level, flat EQ, low Rate, and high Depth around 9 o’clock. I played a Fender American Standard Stratocaster through the CH-1 into a jangly clean amp and immediately found a very nice depth added to the sound. With mild tweaking from those settings I sound a satisfying level of atmosphere added to my tone.
The Boss CH-1 adds a lush expanse to your sound with its gentle motion. It’s like waves washing up on a shore. Adjusting the Effect Level and Depth controls let you saturate your sound nicely for thick sound. The effect sounds very full-range, and I like how the EQ knob lets you accentuate the highs or lows. You can also use subtle Effect Level and/or Depth settings to get that “barely there” chorus sound that adds a little hint of magic to your clean tones. Simply beautiful.
With a higher Rate setting I was able to capture a nice rotating Leslie-like sound. Very cool. Pushing the rate to higher settings turns this pedal into a very extreme tremolo-like effect, too. And the CH-1 does a great flanger impression with experimentation with the depth and rate knobs. There’s a lot you can do with this pedal to conjure up tones for various needs.
I highly recommend trying it in stereo through two heavily distorted amps. You’ll be in Zakk Wylde territory instantly with a sound so huge it must be heard to believe. The warmth of this pedal comes through on clean and dirty sounds, making it easy to see why it’s still in production. In mono mode it’s not quite as flexible as the TC Electronic Corona Mini Chorus, Red Witch Empress Chorus, or Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl, but the CH-1 is still a serious contender if you’re looking for some solid stereo chorus effects.
Let’s see the bottom line.
The Boss CH-1 Super Chorus lives up to its name. It is a lush and versatile chorus pedal, great for clean and high-gain sounds. It also simulates a range of effects nicely, including flanger, rotating Leslie, and tremolo effects. Its full range and warm sound make it a great option for anyone seeking a not so hi-fi chorus pedal. It’s certainly a contender for the best guitar chorus pedal in its price-range. While tonal character is all a matter of personal preference, the Boss CH-1 offers a satisfying sound that just might make it your chorus of choice.
That concludes our Boss CH-1 Super Chorus review.
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