The Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl might just be the most ambitious analog pedal ever designed. It’s certainly the most in-depth and featured-packed analog vibrato/chorus pedal I’ve ever seen. The Warped Vinyl was masterfully engineered with compulsive attention paid to every possible little detail. From the carefully selected audiophile-grade components to the painstakingly well-thought-out arrangement of the parameter controls, the Warped Vinyl is a rare treasure in the world of guitar effects pedals. And these are my impressions of the pedal before even plugging it in. And it’s truly the immaculate sounds and myriad creative possibilities offered by the Warped Vinyl that separate it from lesser vibrato/chorus pedals, elevating it to a plateau of greatness that few instruments ever achieve. Is it the best analog vibrato/chorus pedal available today? You’ll find out in our Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl review.
Follow Your Bliss
As the first offering from Chase Bliss Audio, the gauntlet has certainly been thrown down. A lot of passion went into creating this pedal. No compromises were made, and no expense was spared to fulfill the incarnation of this unique creative vision. While simply awesome to behold, the Warped Vinyl evokes more than awe. Inspiration is more like it. There’s a certain connection a musician has with their prized instruments, the connection between an artist and their muse. The Warped Vinyl is likely to induce similar feelings among those who appreciate what this work of art is capable of. For musicians who demand the best in everything, the Warped Vinyl was created from best available materials and with the best intentions to help guitarists fulfill their own vision of sonic bliss. This release may go down as the iconic moment that a new standard was set among analog guitar pedals.
Digital Brain. Analog Heart.
It’s evident that this pedal was created out of a strong desire to perfectly bridge the analog and digital realms. With an all-analog signal path, the Warped Vinyl is made for guitarists who obsess over warm analog tone. But logical left-brainers will be in tweak-hungry heaven with more ways to manipulate the chorusing and vibrato than has ever been offered in an analog effects pedal.
Here’s a rundown of the Warped Vinyl’s features before we dive into the review.
All-analog signal path.
Ramp control knob can be set to control any of the 5 parameters (Volume, Mix, RPM, Depth, Warp) individually or simultaneously via dip switches on the back of the pedal. Controls the ramp time in which this takes place.
Volume control knob sets the level of the effect.
Mix control knob can be set from 100% wet, to 100% dry, or anything in-between.
RPM control knob sets the rate of the vibrato. Can be overridden by the tap tempo switch.
1 – 2 – 3 (3 – 6 – 8) toggle switch sets the tap division for tap tempo. A dip switch on the back accesses the “3 – 6 – 8” divisions.
- Depth control knob sets how wide the vibrato goes. Crank it clockwise for insane, pitch-bending modulation.
- Warp control knob sets the center point of the modulation. Set it counterclockwise to make the wave ramp up quickly and down gradually. Set it clockwise to make the wave ramp up gradually and down quickly. Set it at noon for a perfectly symmetrical wave.
- Left Wave Shape toggle switch sets the first half of the wave modulation. Left for sine, middle for triangle, right for square.
- Right Wave Shape toggle switch sets the second half of the wave modulation. Left for square, middle for triangle, right for sine.
Bypass footswitch activates or bypasses the effect via true relay bypass. Can by changed to a momentary bypass via a dip switch in the back of the pedal.
Tap Tempo footswitch sets the tap tempo and always honors the last two stomps.
Preset toggle switch recalls presets. Middle position reflects current knob positions, right position recalls right preset, and left position recalls left preset.
Exp input jack allows expression pedal control of parameters selected via dip switches on back of pedal.
Tap input jack can be used for tap input or output with a regular ¼” instrument cable.
Powered by 9-volt battery or 9VDC power adapter (consumes ~25mA).
Volume, Mix, RPM, Depth, and Warp dip switches on the left side simply turn that parameter on or off for ramping or expression pedal capability.
Volume, Mix, RPM, Depth, and Warp dip switches on the right side control whether the parameters rise or fall in ramp mode. This also affects the direction of movement with an expression pedal.
Bounce dip switch makes parameters go back and forth (i.e. modulate) or ramp and hold.
Lo-Fi dip switch makes signal noisier with some fidelity loss for authentic warped vinyl record sound effects.
MoByp dip switch activates momentary bypass, activating pedal only when Bypass footswitch is pressed in.
Tap Control dip switch allows tap tempo to modulate RPM rate (v) or Ramp speed (r). Bounce needs to be on to modulate Ramp speed.
Tap Division dip switch selects from “1, 2, 4” tap divisions (1) to “3, 6, 8” tap divisions (3).
Sweep dip switch selects where Ramp sweeps. In “t” (top) the ramping (or expression control) will occur between the current Ramp knob position and the max position (fully clockwise). In “b” (bottom) the range is set between the current knob position and the minimum position (fully counterclockwise).
Sound & Performance:
If you’re at all intimidated by the incredibly deep amount of options the Warped Vinyl offers, let me assure you that it’s really not that difficult to wrangle control over. There are 2 basic ways to approach this pedal: 1, as a more traditional chorus/vibrato effect, and 2, as a winding rabbit hole to tweaker’s paradise. If you’d like a more traditional functioning chorus/vibrato, you can easily get such sounds from this pedal, although you might miss out on exploring the full potential of what the Warped Vinyl is capable of. If you want chorusing and vibrato effects unlike those heard from any other pedal, the Warped Vinyl is definitely for you. I’ll start with the basics and gradually get to the more extreme possibilities of the Warped Vinyl.
Will all the knobs set at noon, the 16 dip switches set to “off”, and the ModuShape switches set to sine waveforms, I engaged the Warped Vinyl to a pleasingly warm chorusing effect. From here subtle adjustments of the surface knobs will achieve your ideal chorus sounds. A little cut of the RPM reduces the rate to a more gentle, ocean-like chorus. A slight boost to the Mix and Depth controls makes it more prominent. The Ramp knob has no effect when no parameters are assigned to it via the dip switches. It’s easy to achieve very unique-sounding chorusing tones without ever touching the controls beneath the pedal.
The unique tone of the Warped Vinyl is one of its most essential attributes. To hear the character of this pedal in all it’s glory, simply cut the Depth all the way down and use the Mix control to pan between the wet and dry signals. The dry signal isn’t totally transparent. The high-end components in the signal chain seem to brighten the tone a bit for a more twangy sound. This compliments the wet tone which is dark and mellow by comparison. The unmodulated analog tones are so good that you may consider using the Warped Vinyl as a high-end, tone-coloring preamp effect by blending its distinct wet and dry signals to taste.
Starting from the previously dialed-in chorus sound, the Mix knob can be turned fully clockwise for a fully wet vibrato sound. It’s here where you can discover where the Warped Vinyl gets its name. The secret lies in the pedal’s unique ModuShape waveform sculpting. With the Depth control set reasonably high, you can turn the Warp control to move the center point of the waveform to the left or right. This stretches the waveform in either direction for a lopsided, “warped” modulation sound. To get that skipping warped record sound, roll the Warp knob counterclockwise and set the first half of the waveform to square and the second half to sine. This will make the pedal produce a jagged skip, with a slight detuning of the signal. Adjust the Rate and Depth to taste. Once you hear the convincingly record-like effects this pedal produces, you’ll see that the Warped Vinyl truly lives up to its namesake.
The ModuShape section is flexible enough to create all kinds of variation on the warped record theme by combining the square, wave, and sine selections with the Warp knob for plenty of diverse possibilities. For example, setting the switches to square and pushing the Warp knob clockwise can achieve some really abrupt swinging triplet modulation. The ModuShape section is so simple to dial in with great results that I’m surprised no one thought of it sooner. Kudos to Chase Bliss Audio for bringing this idea to market.
The Ramp function adds even more interesting modulation possibilities, allowing you to assign any (or all) of the other 5 knob functions to the Ramp knob for ramp and hold and bouncing (back and forth) modulation. The ramp and hold function allows the parameters you select to ramp up to a level set by the corresponding control knob. The ramp begins when you activate the pedal, and the Ramp knob determines how long it takes for the parameters to reach their maximum positions. Additional dipswitches also allow you to select whether each parameter rises or falls. A Bounce toggle allows the ramp to modulate back and forth. You can also determine with the Sweep dipswitch whether the modulation rate of the Ramp begins from the fully counterclockwise position to the current knob position or from the current knob position to the fully clockwise position. The Warped Vinyl’s Ramp feature unlocks a whole new dimension of modulation possibilities that can only be achieved with this pedal.
Using an expression pedal adds real time control of the Ramp function for even more creative control. You could do something simple like controlling the volume with the expression pedal to turn the Warped Vinyl into a boutique volume pedal. (Try also having the Mix decrease with the Depth set to fully counterclockwise as you increase the Volume for a subtle brightening effect.) Or you can create some pretty intense modulation effects by controlling several parameters – like RPM, Depth, and Warp – at the same time. The control knobs will control the max values of the parameters. Using an expression pedal that lets you set a minimum value in the heel position provides even more versatile use.
There are several other handy features worth noting. A Lo-Fi dipswitch adds some grit to the signal for even more authentic record-like sounds. The only thing that would make it even more realistic would be some crackle noise. The MoByp dipswitch sets the pedal to momentary bypass, allowing you to engage the effect only when the Bypass footswitch is pressed and held. This is great for using the Warped Vinyl on short passages in a song. The Tap Division range includes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 multipliers. You can even set the Tap Tempo to control the rate of the Ramp instead of RPM. The Warped Vinyl also offers 2 presets that can save all of your knob, dipswitch, and tempo settings, perfect for recalling complex presets for live use. You can even use MIDI to sync the timing of the pedal via the Empress Effects Midibox.
The Warped Vinyl is quite an amazing pedal across all fronts. If Chase Bliss Audio’s first offering is any sign of the pedals to come, I can’t wait to see more. Let’s have the final result.
UPDATE: This amazing design got updated. Check out our review of the Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl MKII.
The Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl is easily one of the best analog vibrato/chorus pedals ever created. It comes closer to capturing the unique sounds of a warped vinyl record than any other pedal. But trying to simulate a broken record is only scratching the surface of what this pedal is capable of. An unbelievably wide range of chorus and vibrato effects are to be found in the Warped Vinyl. With 6 knobs, 4 flip-switches, 2 footswitches, 16 dipswiches, a Tap In/Out, Exp Input, and MIDI, the Warped Vinyl is a playground for tweakers and sonic experimentalists. And the sound quality is absolutely drenched in glorious analog warmth. Nothing was compromised in creating this pedal. If you hold your music to the same standard, the Warped Vinyl may just be the best vibrato/chorus pedal for you.
That concludes our Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl review. Thanks for reading.
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