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Chorus/Flanger: Empress Nebulus or…?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Raman, May 20, 2018.

  1. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc

    (Sorry for being verbose. I’ll put a summary at the end with my specific questions. :) )

    I’m thinking of adding a chorus and/or flanger to my effects chain.
    I’ve played a little bit with such effects many, many years ago when I was into experimenting with multi-effects pedals and other weird units. But I’ve never had dedicated pedals for chorus or flanger, so I’m not very familiar with them.

    Now so you can understand what I’m after, please consider that I rarely use effects. In fact, I’ve gone without any at all for most of my jamming/gigging years (bar a compressor and a SansAmp DI).
    It is in recent years that my playing has evolved (as in crawling out of the sea) in a way that effects sometimes become very useful in shaping the overall band’s sound. My main influences as a bassist have always been post-punk (Simon Gallup!!!) and grunge music (Breeders!!!). And the music we’ve been playing gives the bass that type of presence in the mix.

    This said, I still rely on the bass alone most of the time. So I’m not really interested in having 15 different pedals around. This has led me these last years to acquire 3 pedals, all by Empress: A Compressor, a Multidrive and lately a Tape Delay. I’ve gone with Empress because they are extremely well-built, they react super well to my G&L L2500’s hot active output and they are very versatile. I especially like the idea that 3-4 easy to carry little boxes can answer pretty much any sound fancy that I can have.

    Logically, I’m now looking at an Empress Nebulus to complete my chain. Only problem is, they are quite expensive on the local 2nd-hand market and I’m cash-strapped.
    In all the ads that I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, the sellers were asking for CAD300$. I find this surprising because I bought the previous 3 pedals for CAD200$ each… And a new Nebulus would cost me minimally CAD365$ with taxes included (if I order from the “Scratch & Dents” section at Empress).

    So I’m thinking that another option could be an EHX Bass Clone, which I can get new for less than CAD100$, and possibly add a flanger. Or buy a flanger and possibly add a chorus… Again, not knowing the possibilities of both effects, I find it hard to gauge, and this is why a Nebulus would be a sure bet, having both and more!

    So, assuming that you’ve read this far, here’s what I’d like advice on:

    1- Is the Empress Nebulus worth the extra $$$ ? It’s advantages being: -versatility and quality (plus the esthetic pleasure of having an only Empress effects chain :D )
    My worry is if I pay more for the Nebulus, I’ll actually be paying for too much versatility: I.e., a lot of the effect’s potential would be great on guitar, but only limited settings will prove really useful for bass…?

    2- If I go the cheaper route, are chorus AND flanger necessary? Or do you find one to be enough mostly? And if so which one?

    3- What flanger units should I look at in the same price range as the Bass Clone? And on which can I count to not crumble under the mightiness of my L2500 output?

    Thanks a lot in advance !

    Basse G&L L-2500.jpg
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
    stambroker likes this.
  2. Moody Tuner

    Moody Tuner

    Jun 30, 2017
    Simon Gallup used the Boss BF-2 for flange and chorus tones. I can even get a vibrato effect out of that pedal. If I replace the BF-2 with anything one day, it’s going to be the Earthquaker Pyramids.
  3. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    It does chorus?

    My experience with BOSS pedals is that they were noisy. But more especially, since I plan to use it sparingly, I'd rather a true bypass unit.
  4. Bassmike62

    Bassmike62 Punch'n Ooomph provider Supporting Member

    MXR Bass Chorus Deluxe has a flanger switch.
    Rickter and Raman like this.
  5. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    ...Looking it up.
  6. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    Oooohhhh... Reading and listening to it... Very, very interesting! It's in my price range 2nd-hand, and it has lots of options exactly where I need them. Thanks!
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
    Bassmike62 likes this.
  7. Schmo_bass


    Dec 28, 2017
    Look into Keeley Seafoam+. I just got one, and it sounds amazing. Internal switches to access "bass mode" which has a flanger. Also a nice reverb!
    Bioflava, Rickter and Raman like this.
  8. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    Very interesting demo video: MXR VS BOSS.
    (They don't seem to fully understand what the low filter on the BOSS is all about though...)

    Wow, I think I'm in love, and this love expresses itself through gas... :)


    PS- I really dig that bass he's playing. An Ibanez Ergodyne if I'm not mistaken. I played one of those for many years. And as far as industrially produced instruments go, it was a very well designed and crafted instrument! :) Mine was an Ibanez EDA 905, and it rocked balls under my fingers!
    As much as I nowadays prefer a precise but beefy wooden "rumbler" of a bass, like my G&L, I remember fondly playing a bass that played itself a little bit more. An instrument that was more forgiving. And the 905 was it.
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
    Bassmike62 and Rickter like this.
  9. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    They are stupid expensive though. I had a Keeley Compressor for 10 years, with the added switch for bass. It worked extraordinary with my 1st passive bass. But it crumbled and saturated when I plugged my later active 5 stringer basses into them; including my present L2500.
  10. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    At this point, I'm salivating.

    Bassmike62 and Rickter like this.
  11. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    I haven't heard the empress nebulus on bass before, but If you are in the market for a chorus/flanger pedal, the ebs unichorus or the mxr bass chorus deluxe would be a good choice for that. that is if you don't mind the flashing leds.
    Raman likes this.
  12. Schmo_bass


    Dec 28, 2017
    Costwise the Keeley is only about $30 more vs MXR.

    But to your point, output is slightly hot and I am playing a passive P not active.

    The musicality of the Keeley ADT chorus + reverb mode is especially nice. But accessing the internal switches is a real pain. I think if the internal switches were externalized then it would be better for your needs.
    hisdudeness and Raman like this.
  13. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    I'll have a closer look then. But I checked some ad and the Keeley was significantly more expensive... Maybe it's a Canadian thing.
  14. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements yet...Are you listening Spector, DR, GK, Line6?
    I had one of these, excellent pedal...I would highly recommend it, now I use a Boss Bf-3 and would highly recommend that also. The Boss can be had used for pretty cheap, usually in the $60 area.
    Loring and Moody Tuner like this.
  15. BigDrew


    Jun 1, 2016
    Indiedog likes this.
  16. Rickter


    Nov 30, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    I was recently researching and shopping for a modulation pedal. Lots of good suggestions, but for bang vs buck the Boss and MXR units seemed to work best for me. Ended up with a Boss CEB-3 because a friend had one laying around that he wasn't using since he'd moved back to the guitar side of the world. Even trade for an old guitar drive pedal that I wasn't using any more either. It may not be the "be all, end all" of bass chorus pedals, but it has performed well for me so far.

    My use of chorus was only going to be a rare occasion, usually on chordal or arpeggiated passages. For this reason I couldn't justify the cost of some of the nicer modulation pedals out there, even used. Someone suggested the Mobius to me as well, but I couldn't justify dropping $500USD on a new pedal that was going to see only occasional use.
    Raman likes this.
  17. jthisdell


    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    I've been looking at a South Hampton Utility Knife, tremolo, chorus, phase & flanger with simple rate and depth controls.

    Utility Knife Modulator
    DirtyDuke and Bioflava like this.
  18. Bioflava

    Bioflava Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2016
    Let me put a vote in for the humble TC electronic Corona -- the quality of the sound is impressive, no less for the size and the cost. I prefer the Corona to, at least, the (analog) MXR chorus. I'm also a big fan of Source Audio. I'm sure their Gemini or Orbital boxes will sound amazing.

    That said the SeaFoam looks good to me, especially b/c you can combine a bit of reverb with chorus and tweak knobs --> In fact, I like it enough... that I just got one on Reverb to try out :woot:
    kesslari, Raman and Loring like this.
  19. Loring

    Loring Supporting Member

    May 4, 2017
    A very sweet flanger is the ada unit. I grabbed the little one - pedal board friendly (pbf). Their original flanger is still regarded as one of the best flangers ever...

    It isn't cheap but it's cheaper than the nebulus.

    Having said that - i have an empress compressor and their products are top quality and made in Canada. Ada is also north american made in usa. If any of that matters to you.
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
    Raman likes this.
  20. Bassmike62

    Bassmike62 Punch'n Ooomph provider Supporting Member

    You're quite welcome. The pedal's actually a rediscovery of sorts for me. I bought one when they first came out, but found it too subtle an effect at the time. After going through a few chorus/flanger options, I recently got one back on the board. Really happy about it, can't wait to test it at next week's jam with a motown/funk outfit.
    Raman likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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