The chorus effect has been a crucial part of guitarists’ tone since the early 80s. Dismissed by some as cheesy, others can’t play without it. Italian CostaLab has received a lot of praise for their Cornish-inspired pedals and clones of old classics. Here’s my review of the ChorusLab.
I must admit – I’ve never been a chorus kind of guy. Still, I tend to use it quite a lot. It’s one of those effects that, to me at least, sounds better when someone else is using it but I also appreciate how it make a dull overdrive or distortion sound quite sweet. David Gilmour has been using chorus since 1980. Two Boss CE2 pedals were featured in his Wall stage rig assigned to each channel for a wide stereo spread. As most other guitarists in the 80s David featured the CE2 in all of his rigs, either for stereo spread or a single pedal depending on the purpose of the setup.
The CostaLab ChorusLab is housed in a TRex sized box with true bypass switching, a bright easy to see led and it runs on either 9V battery or Boss-style power supply. The pedal feature controls for depth, speed and mix.
It feels almost sacrilege to not dismiss every Boss CE2 clone but I’ve ways found analog chorus like the CE2, EHX Small Clone and similar to be just a little too dominating with too much mid range. The ChorusLab is quite the opposite. No doubt the pedal is based on the classic CE2 with the same analog flavour but the ChorusLab is much warmer and smoother and blends better with other pedals. A huge improvement in my opinion.
A welcomed bonus is the mix control allowing you to mix the effect signal from 0 to flat to near flanger-ish. This makes it easy to adjust the chorus effect to match the other pedals. Clean tones and mild overdrives could do with a fat chorusy tone, while distortions sounds better with a milder setting. You can also dial in a pretty convincing rotary tone that stays in pitch unlike most chorus pedals, which tend to get all wild and swirly when you increase the rate and depth.
Chorus pedals tend to be a bit noisy. Part because of age but also due to the boosted mid range. The ChorusLab is dead silent and the true bypass switching makes it easy to blend it demanding vintage pedals.
If you’re not really a chorus guy or simply think that other chorus pedals doesn’t sound warm or natural enough then the ChorusLab is highly recommended. Whether you’re seeking the magic ingredient for David’s PULSE tones or just something that will beef up your tones you’ll find that the ChorusLab nails pretty much everything. Check out the CostaLab website for more info and ordering.