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What makes chorus pedals tick?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by JimmyM, Apr 21, 2019.


  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Take two different classic types of chorus...say a good vintage Boss and TC Stereo Chorus/Flanger, the one in the big black box. Boss choruses are known for their hard and steely tones, while the TC is considerably warmer and fuller-bodied (IMHO of course). What makes them do basically the same thing and have such different character of sound? Is it something about the components and overall build style? Is it the way the two tones interact with each other? Is it just different EQ's applied?

    Never really gave it much thought but it's 3 am and I have insomnia and I find myself suddenly fascinated with the subject. Go figure.
     
    Bassmike62 and theunknowndude like this.
  2. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    There are lots of differences to account for between two analog choruses, but mechanical differences in how they get their tone are difference in delay time (longer ones seem to sound more warm to a point), delay chip, difference in shape of wave modulating delay time (so is it a smoother gradual sweep or more hard or jerky), relative depth of sweep, and amount of filtering or quality of tone from the delay-line tone (for example EHX choruses are known for their edgy tone ala Peter Hook, because of a low amount of delay-line filtering which also means lots of noise). There are also differences in the through-tone line that mixes with the delay line that can sometimes enhance or hurt it (even different buffers can sound different and even a slight boost might sound "better").
     
    Frodolicious, JimmyM and tapedseams like this.
  3. JimmyM and Das Jugghead like this.
  4. ( and to be honest my mind just explodes when they go into talking about multiple harmonics plus multiple waves plus all the other crazy of how complex a signal can get...)
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  5. JimmyM likes this.
  6. @JimmyM and if it helps the nuances of the chips used can be a rabbit hole in itself... like the use of the bbd chips or the ones boss used to use In the rv3 and PS3 etc that had that really clear yet metallic sound...
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Thx for the replies, folks! Very interesting reading that I actually understood about half ;)
     
    theunknowndude likes this.
  8. Since it's kinda in the same vein, is there anything that explains why a boss PS-3 on the dual detune mode with it out he'd slightly up and down sounds like the most '3D' chorus pedal in the world
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  9. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Since it’s literally 3 copies of your bass signal maybe? ;)
     
  10. I found it good but also sometimes too metallic... so ended up with the polytope for a while... even more copies to add in ;) but found I still prefer just plain old boring boss ceb3 shimmer so went back with a flanger pedal and getting rid of the polytope
     
    Veldar likes this.
  11. Totally, but I want a 'scientific' breakdown of why it sounds like it's moving rather than 3 static voices
     
  12. Detune emulates the detune sound of one voice either positive or negative and it fluctuates slightly between completely in tune and a few cents out of tune... ( think of when tuning a string against another string slightly out of tune) a normal chorus does the full wave of going above and below and is controlled by the LFO to modulate it... see my flanger link. So with the PS3 you can set one voice above, one below and your dry tone... but it doesn’t warble or shimmer like a normal modulated chorus. That is my best explanation from what I know... the polytope does even more voices and adds them slightly further away above and below the more voices you add

    ( that and the polytope can also do LFO modulate too!... I think there’s relatively few multi voice detune chorus around... the digitech luxe is just one voice which is either positive or negative.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
    Veldar likes this.
  13. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    A detune doesn’t shift at all, it is just multiple static voices on top of each other- our ears hear it as a modulating signal because they are trying to focus on the correct pitch and/or distinguish between multiple signals (which they can’t). Our ears are not generally so sensitive to being able to pick apart all the different voices in music- we are looking for different cues, the most common ones being difference in timbre (the particular harmonic content character of an instrument), differences in tuning (different octaves or completely different notes for example), difference in attack (either the envelope or timing), or in the case of chords, the particular harmonic relationships within a chord.
    With a digital detune effect all of these natural identifiers are minimalized and we can only identify it as a single voice, so our ears try to hear a single pitch, which can seem to modulate between the outer extremes when there is enough of a distance between the pitches to hear them start to separate. Picture a particular wave at a frequency- if you adjust the pitch of that wave very slightly down and put it on top of the original it is like putting one slightly stretched wave on the other- they will line up and expand the waveform (since you are constantly resampling the forms don’t diverge over time). Because we are using the same signal with all the same characteristics and just minimal tuning shift our ears will still try to hear it as a single voice. Add another voice destined up a hair and you add a third wave which is slightly contracted from the other two, and will line up on attack and decay as well- but with more divergence you start to hear a chordal relationship- you don’t get “beating” because the signals are constantly resampled so they aren’t sustaining at different periods where the waveforms would cross (what would happen with two different instruments playing slightly out of tune with each-other in natural pitch).
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
  14. I disagree to an extent... listen to the I depth review of the polytope that Zach rizer @Proton Lenny does... when in detune mode and no filter applied it still gets “beating”. Could be a trick of the ears as you say, I’m no expert but just going on what I hear.
     
  15. Digitech Luxe Review - Guitar.com | All Things Guitar
    This kinda adds to my argument... you will still hear it slightly... I do wonder if you could get a straight widening without it if you applied more than 50 cents though... now I need to go back and look at how synth works so that can try and think how they do the super saw type sound that just sounds thick and juicy.
     
  16. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    If you detune far enough you will make the sample rate fall behind the period of one of the waveforms. You have to do a pretty subtle detune to not start sampling long enough for the waveforms to start crossing (where you will hear “beating”). Less detune and not more is where this will work
     
    theunknowndude likes this.
  17. Ahhh ok yeah that makes sense.
    I’ll stop there.. my personal interactions with the PS3 and polytope don’t really add to Jimmys question. Although I will add one more, that I haven’t done myself (although I do own it) but apparently the bass whammy reissue does a good chorus with the shallow defune mode
     
  18. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Digital pitch-shifting is actually much more complicated as far as resampling/stretching goes than can be broken down vs a detuned analog synth (which doesn’t rely on sampling of a single voice), but light digital pitch-shifting can thicken pretty well without excessive beating (I used to use a Polytope for this myself). An analog chorus uses a delayed signal that is slowed/sped up, so there is a more predictable pulsing effect. I currently use the detune effect on a Tech 21 Bass Boost Chorus and can get fairly thick without beating, and this one sounds less “synthetic” and closer to an analog chorus than the Polytope to my ears (though the Polytope was great)
     
    theunknowndude likes this.
  19. Just had a thought is the ehx pitch fork capable of dual detune too? Forgot about the bass boost chorus!
     
  20. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    None of my chorus pedals have ever made a ticking sound.









    Yeah, I don’t read posts, just thread titles.
     
    HelpImaRock 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.

     
    Nov 29, 2020

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