A great sounding, easy-to-use chorus pedal.
by Teja Gerken
May 06, 2019
Ever since the chorus effect became available in pedal form in the 1970s, it has been one of the most popular effects used by acoustic-electric musicians. Creating a sonic shimmer that ranges from a subtle thickening of the sound to a simulation of a Leslie-style rotating speaker, chorus can be a great way to fatten up guitar parts or make an instrument stand out in a mix. Earlier this year, L.R. Baggs added a chorus pedal to its line of Align Series processors, and in this video, I demonstrate the Align Series Chorus, using a Martin OM with an L.R. Baggs Anthem SL pickup system, run into an AER Compact 60 amp.
The L.R. Baggs Align Series Chorus is housed in the same rugged metal box as the other pedals in the line, and like the Align Series Reverb and Align Series Delay, it uses a side-chain signal path. This means that, instead of the entire signal going through the processor all the time, the effect is added to the instrument’s clean signal, allowing for a more accurate retention of the original signal. The unit is designed for mono operation, and has a single ¼-inch input and output. Power comes either from a nine-volt battery or an external power adapter (not included). Four rotary dials are used to control Volume, Tone, Chorus, and Size. The Volume knob is a master volume that allows you to find the right overall level once the effect is engaged. It can also be used as a boost: by turning the chorus on for playing a solo, for example. Tone controls the effect only, leaving the original signal in the side-chain signal flow untouched. It is fairly subtle, but is a great way to fine-tune the output. The Chorus control chooses how much of the effect is blended with the instrument’s signal, and its functionality ranges from no effect at all to only effect. Size sweeps between two different chorus voicings, from a smaller, more subtle chorus effect in the left position, to a larger, fuller chorus in the right position. A sturdy metal footswitch engages the unit, and a small LED indicates whether the effect is on.
I found the Align Series Chorus to be very satisfying pedal. The sound is super clean, and its straightforward layout produced great tones as soon as I plugged in. I hadn’t used chorus on my pedalboard for a while, and I was reminded how useful the effect can be for fattening up chordal passages and single-note runs. I also appreciated that L.R. Baggs focused on rich, lush tones that enhance a guitar’s inherent tone, rather than over-the-top effects that dominate the sonic picture.
There’s no shortage of chorus pedals on the market, but L.R. Baggs has once again created a solid product that acoustic musicians interested in enhancing their tonal options should check out!
SPECS: Chorus pedal. ¼-inch inputs and outputs. Footswitch for engaging effect or true bypass. Controls for volume, tone, chorus, and size. ¼-inch jack for external tap-tempo footswitch. Side-chain circuit. Powered by nine-volt battery or nine-volt DC adapter (not included). Metal enclosure. 5 x 3.25 x 2 inches. Made in China. $179 street. lrbaggs.com
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