US bass amp specialist Aguilar has stretched its wings into bass pedals. Dan Veall gets to grips with the wonderfully named Chorosaurus. Is it a monster, or just a pussy cat?
Aguilar needs little introduction, having well and truly secured its name in the bass world as a manufacturer that knows how to deliver 'real bass' for the discerning player. The company's range of bass orientated pedals already includes distortion, dual envelope filter, compressor and octave effects as well as the famed Tone Hammer pre-amplifier pedal that has been used as the basis for the pre-amp section in the superb TH500 amplifier head we reviewed last year. Check out the back issues for details - you can find links on our news website at www.iguitarmag.com.
Sure to please lovers of traditional stompbox sounds, the Chorosaurus is built on all analogue 'bucket-brigade' circuitry (used in those great sounding analogue delay pedals too) for a thick creamy chorus sound. The four controls on the top panel above the sturdy foot switch don't need a manual to explain what they do - just some of your time to sit and tweak and that's the fun part. It's that simple to get some great tones out of this pedal. However, for the benefit of the review, I'll talk you through them. That said, to hear how the controls interact with each other I would recommend listening to the video review as I spent a bit of time “knob twiddling” to demonstrate the breadth from the sublime to the ridiculous of effects that you can create quickly. Don't forget to use decent earphones to listen if you are mobile!
The top left hand side knob for me is the most important of any bass orientated pedal as that gives you the ability to control the mix of your clean bass signal that carries all that low end weight and timbre. By turning the control either way you can define how much original instrument tone you have in the output mix versus the chorusing effect.
Top right hand side is the 'width' knob - I guess you could say this was a 'stereo imaging' control. On that aspect - the Chorosaurus's stereo ability - both signals come from the same output socket, so you'll need to use either a Y cable or stereo lead feeding two amplifiers instead of a single 1/4” lead to your normal amp to access the two channels. A normal guitar lead will give you a mono signal. There are chorus pedals on the market that will send the wet effect to one output and leave the other dry - a kind of 'pseudo-stereo' processing, but this pedal is true stereo. It sends an effected left channel and an effected right channel to its outputs for the deepest, most 3D stereo quality. I am a big fan of noodling with lush stereo effects on bass!
In the video you'll hear how advancing the rate control speeds up the chorus modulation from a long wave through the setting I like to call 'drunk old man' where everything seems to slur and sound a bit out of tune, right up to super fast warbling vibrato. Great for experimenting with! That leaves us with just one knob, named Intensity and this is the control that makes the chorus effect lightly swim around your ears or throb like a beating heart. Again I can't impress enough the importance of spending time finding that sweet spot to get the sound you want.
Like the rest of the Aguilar pedal range, the Chorosaurus has an all metal case. Connections feed in from the top of the box for In, Out and a DC adaptor. You have the option of installing a 9v battery inside the pedal too.
Rounding up the features of this chorus pedal is the ability to bypass the pedal completely should the battery die, without the need to disconnect. Essentially, true bypass.
Well made, great sounding, easy to use - there's everything to like about the Chorosaurus except, perhaps, that it's a premium priced effect. Then again, quality rarely comes cheap!