TC Electronic broke the mold with the Ditto Looper, a “mini” looping pedal that has become one of the best-selling guitar pedals available today. Now they’ve thrown down the gauntlet with the Corona Mini Chorus, Vortex Mini Flanger, Shaker Mini Vibrato, and Flashback Mini Delay. (See our separate Flashback Mini Delay review to learn why it’s quite possibly the best all-in-one mini pedal around.) The 3 modulation pedals we’re reviewing here aim to cover a range of quality chorus, flanger, and vibrato tones in pedalboard-friendly mini pedals that won’t break the bank. These pedals can also be used with TC Electronic’s TonePrint Editor for completely customizing each one to your needs. And that’s not to mention the world of downloadable TonePrints available for each pedal. In our combined review of the TC Electronic Corona Mini Chorus, Vortex Mini Flanger, and Shaker Mini Vibrato, we’ll find out if these really are the best modulation mini pedals around. Here’s a list of features before we dig in.
TonePrint-enabled – load each pedal with your favorite artist’s tones.
Free TonePrint Editor to create your own custom pedal.
Beam enabled – send TonePrints to each pedal with the free TonePrint app for iPhone and Android.
True-To-Tone: True bypass and analog-dry-through
Each pedal is controlled via 3 knobs which are completely programmable with TonePrint Editor.
Corona Mini Chorus: See the lowest price on Amazon,
Vortex Mini Flanger: See the lowest price on Amazon,
Shaker Mini Vibrato: See the lowest price on Amazon,
Sound & Performance:
I was talking to a guitarist recently before a gig. Sure enough, pedals came up. There was a point in our conversation where he scoffed at the idea of mini pedals. Some people have this idea that if it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. So the idea of a tiny little pedal saving precious pedalboard space AND sounding great seems unreal to some. Let me just say that these players clearly haven’t plugged their guitars into one of TC Electronic’s new mini pedals.
I previously reviewed the Ditto Looper and Flashback Mini Delay pedals and loved them both. TC Electronic has been hitting a string of home runs lately, and if the sounds of their bigger siblings is any indication, the pedals we’re focusing on here look sure to be hits, too. Here are my brief impressions of TC Electronic’s mini modulation pedals: the Corona Mini Chorus, Vortex Mini Flanger, and Shaker Mini Vibrato.
Corona Mini Chorus
As with the Vortex and Shaker minis, the Corona Mini Chorus packs in all the possible tones of its predecessor, the original Corona Chorus. Out of the box you get a lush, clean chorus sound that is shimmery with a musical warmth that is sometimes lost in lesser digital chorus effects. I like that the pedal gives you control of both Depth and FX Level, letting you find a range of subtle sounds that are great if you want a chorus pedal that you’ll leave on most of the time. Maxing the FX Level gives you a 50/50% wet/dry mix that washes your guitar in a mesmerizing chorus. If you want to dig in deeper, using the TonePrinter Editor lets you choose between the sound of TC Electronic’s classic SCF chorus pedal or a tri-chorus sound. You can also adjust the tone for a brighter or darker chorus. Darker settings create a more analog-chorus sound but without the added grit that comes with most analog chorus effects. Want more? Tweak the range of the knobs and even reassign them to each control up to 3 parameters of your choosing to create your own one-of-a-kind chorus pedal.
Vortex Mini Flanger
With the Vortex Mini Flanger’s knobs at just about any setting, you’ll be immediately blasted into the stratosphere when you kick it on. This is one serious flanger, and quite frankly, one of the best I’ve ever heard. While it rocks out of the box, you’ll really be in for a treat when you dig in with the TonePrint Editor. Classic tape flange, psychedelic whirlwinds, jumbo jet sounds, and more can be dialed in. And yes, it packs some of the sweetest “through zero” flange sounds around. The default sound offers a speed that is still not too fast at maxed-out settings. If you want to take it over the deep end, tweak the pedal with the TonePrint Editor for even more insane flange sounds. Also, there are a ton of artist TonePrints on TC Electronic’s website that give you plenty of expertly crafted sounds if you’re not up for editing your own. However you use it, the Vortex Mini Flanger offers one of the most convenient and pedalboard-friendly solutions for achieving high quality flange sounds quickly and easily.
Shaker Mini Vibrato
The Shaker Mini Vibrato gives you plenty of classic vibrato warble that’ll add some nice movement to your playing. This pedal will probably satisfy most players out of the box as its simple, 3-knob interface provides all the control you’ll probably ever need for a traditional vibrato effect. The Speed and Depth let you easily dial in how fast and how much vibrato you want from barely there movement to a moderate seasick throb. The Ramp knob gives you the added option of having the effect rise to full intensity gradually when you activate the pedal. It’s simple to use and is perfect if you just want a no-nonsense vibrato to fill a small spot on your pedalboard. If you’re up for the tweaking and want a little more versatility, you may also consider the Corona Mini Chorus or Flashback Mini Delay as each of these pedals can give you similar vibrato effects by killing the dry signal when using modulation. But for a straight-ahead vibrato, the Shaker Mini Vibrato is still tough to beat, especially at such a low price point.
Flashback Mini Delay + Chorus, Flanger, & Vibrato?
As some of you may already be aware, TC Electronic added a special little bonus to their Flashback Mini Delay. When using the TonePrint Editor, you’ll find TonePrint templates for several modulation effects. These include the following:
This gives you a way to create some of the great sounds from the Corona Mini Chorus, Vortex Mini Flanger, and Shaker Mini Vibrato. (Again, check out our Flashback Mini Delay review and demo video for more info.) Of course, any of these 4 pedals will fill their dedicated roles of Delay, Chorus, Flanger, or Vibrato respectively, but the Flashback Mini Delay offers a bit more if you’re unsure of which to get first. And even if you buy it for mainly the delay sounds, you might find yourself adding one of these modulation pedals to your pedalboard after sampling the fantastic chorus, flanger, and vibrato sounds that these 3 pedals are capable of.
But back to the main feature at hand. Let’s see the overall result for these 3 pedals.
TC Electronic Corona Mini Chorus
The TC Electronic Corona Mini Chorus excels at creating lush, hi-fi sounding chorus effects that are especially great if you like your chorus to sound pristine. You can also use the TonePrint Editor to add some analog flavor as well.
Want to buy the TC Electronic Corona Mini Chorus?
TC Electronic Vortex Mini Flanger
The TC Electronic Vortex Mini Flanger is probably the most convenient pedal available for adding incredibly authentic flanger effects to your guitar rig. It’s soaring flange sounds are worth far more than its asking price.
Want to buy the TC Electronic Vortex Mini Flanger?
TC Electronic Shaker Mini Vibrato
The TC Electronic Shaker Mini Vibrato is one of the best solutions available for a simple plug-and-play vibrato pedal. The Ramp feature is a nice bonus for bringing in the effect gradually.
Want to buy the TC Electronic Shaker Mini Vibrato?
All of these pedals (along with the Flashback Mini Delay) offer not only some of the best sounds available in a micro pedal, but some of the best modulation sounds you’ll find in a guitar effects pedal regardless of size and price. The free TonePrint Editor is really the icing on the cake, letting you become the pedal builder essentially and create your dream chorus, flanger, and vibrato tones. The 3 pedals reviewed here are without a doubt some of the best modulation mini pedals around and are definitely worth checking out.
That concludes our reviews of the TC Electronic Corona Mini Chorus, Vortex Mini Flanger, and Shaker Mini Delay. Thanks for reading.