Best Chorus Pedals for that 80's Lead Sound

jbru91

Member
Messages
63
Hey everyone,

I've poked around looking at this particular topic, but most are fairly dated so curious to get some fresh insights. I was hoping I could get some insight on a great chorus pedal for lead sounds (light to heavy OD in the mid to late 80s). I basically have that LA session sound and the hair metal lead sound in my head where chorus and delay were used. Curious to hear what pedal people use to achieve that. Analog vs Trichorus for lead sounds? Stereo vs Mono? In front of amp or in the loop, what's the signal chain look like?

Curious to get some insights from the knowledgable folks here. Budget is wide open.

Cheers,
Jesse
 

jlcogar

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
880
If you need to go in front of amp, I prefer analog. Boss ch-1 was my go to, but I’m sure someone will chime in with some modern alternatives. For that real deal 80’s rack sound in a pedal, digital after dirt is where it’s at. The H9 does a great job of replicating what my old rack units do. It will put the schmo on your lead tones.
 

Bucksears

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,326
Take your pick:

DC2W-large.jpg.auto.webp
CE2W-large.jpg.auto.webp
 

Z3P0

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
988
Hey everyone,

I've poked around looking at this particular topic, but most are fairly dated so curious to get some fresh insights. I was hoping I could get some insight on a great chorus pedal for lead sounds (light to heavy OD in the mid to late 80s). I basically have that LA session sound and the hair metal lead sound in my head where chorus and delay were used. Curious to hear what pedal people use to achieve that. Analog vs Trichorus for lead sounds? Stereo vs Mono? In front of amp or in the loop, what's the signal chain look like?

Curious to get some insights from the knowledgable folks here. Budget is wide open.

Cheers,
Jesse
Rack: Rocktron Intelliverb/Intellifex or Fulltone TERC
Pedal: Toneczar Angel Chorus or FTT Tri-Avatar Chorus

Probably the most 80’s rack bang for your buck is the Intelliverb/Intellifex. Use in effects loop witb two amps for lush stereo depth.
 
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Mariocaster

Member
Messages
384
I use the Providence ADC-4. It kicked the 80s black label CE-2 out of my board, and IMO it eats the FTT tri avatar if you are using medium to high gain.

Tri Avatar for cleans, Anadime Chorus for gain. The CE-2 sounds good for other things, not so much for hi gain leads IMO.
 

jbru91

Member
Messages
63
I use the Providence ADC-4. It kicked the 80s black label CE-2 out of my board, and IMO it eats the FTT tri avatar if you are using medium to high gain.

Tri Avatar for cleans, Anadime Chorus for gain. The CE-2 sounds good for other things, not so much for hi gain leads IMO.

Thanks for this. I was eyeing up the Trip-Avatar. Does it work with gain well too?
 

jbru91

Member
Messages
63
If you need to go in front of amp, I prefer analog. Boss ch-1 was my go to, but I’m sure someone will chime in with some modern alternatives. For that real deal 80’s rack sound in a pedal, digital after dirt is where it’s at. The H9 does a great job of replicating what my old rack units do. It will put the schmo on your lead tones.

Thank you. Was considering going the H9 route (perhaps even two??) for the chorus + delay combo etc.

Alternatively was looking at the Eventide Tricerachorus.

I have a warped vinyl but i realize it has far too much tweaking capability for that size format for my liking - the two Boss pedals look much easier to dial in.
 

jbru91

Member
Messages
63
Rack: Rocktron Intelliverb or Fulltone TERC
Pedal: Toneczar Angel Chorus or FTT Tri-Avatar Chorus

Provably the most 80’s rack bang for your buck is the Intelliverb. Use in effects loop witb two amps for lush stereo depth.

Definitely have been eyeing up the Tri-Avatar...The TERC looks compelling too. Not sure how available that one is. Between the two price points I'd have to justify if that extra bit of sound is worth it to my ears.

Thanks for this - that is great insight.
 

JJDon

Member
Messages
250
Hey everyone,

I've poked around looking at this particular topic, but most are fairly dated so curious to get some fresh insights. I was hoping I could get some insight on a great chorus pedal for lead sounds (light to heavy OD in the mid to late 80s). I basically have that LA session sound and the hair metal lead sound in my head where chorus and delay were used. Curious to hear what pedal people use to achieve that. Analog vs Trichorus for lead sounds? Stereo vs Mono? In front of amp or in the loop, what's the signal chain look like?

Curious to get some insights from the knowledgable folks here. Budget is wide open.

Cheers,
Jesse

Funny enough, I've been modeling my pedalboard off of this exact sound myself for months now and was doing research on this forum and Youtube regarding pedalboard order, to no avail. I also happened to just receive my Free The Tone Tri-Avatar Chorus today. I recently brought the Eventide Tricerachorus, but it was a little more complicated for me to program on the fly, so I decided to try the Tri-Avatar. I also have an original Boss CE-2 as well. Either will do, but the Tri-Avatar has the ability to pan Depth left or right or to the center, presets, and a ton of controls the CE-2 doesn't have. The CE-2 is pretty limited with only 2 knobs and I don't think it can do stereo either if that's something you're planning on doing. I like the CE-2, but the Tri-Avatar will get you much closer to that clean and pristine sound.

Also, the "secret sauce" to that LA session sound that is rarely talked about is the Detune. Its especially important on the lead tones with high gain used in hair metal. I brought an Eventide Micropitch, which is basically modeled off of their H3000 rack unit that a lot of those players used to use in the 80s, and it gets me by itself to about 70% of that LA Session/Hair Metal sound. If you can swing both, I'd get both or another good detune pedal to go with the chorus. If you can't, I'd actually suggest going for the Eventide Micropitch first since Detune IMO is more critical to the overall lead tone. It also makes for a simple delay pedal too. EVH popularized it along with the other big session players like Lukather, Landau, Dan Huff, etc. John Sykes, one of my favorites players, also seems to use detune a lot.

Here is my current signal chain. Still playing around with some of the pedal order, but I think I will probably stick with this for now. I'm running it in mono since I only have one cab right now and just for convenience. Still gets pretty close to the sound though. Just ignore the Synth, Fuzz, BE OD, and Flanger as I also use this for my "general" board.

Tuner > Boss Synth > Volume > Wah > Compressor > EQ > Fuzz > OD-9 > BE OD Deluxe > Smart Gate

(End Chain and then next chain into effects loop of amp is...)

Deci Mate Noise Gate > Flanger > Tri Avatar Chorus > MicroPitch Delay > Blue Sky Reverb

1653020693537.png



O, and if you're really trying to nail that sound, you'll need a compressor and EQ pedal as well. The compressor will balance the sound between your cleans, rhythm, and leads, and the EQ pedal will help bring up that overall volume since the compressor will squish some of it. You could also run the EQ through the effects loop instead, which will give you a boosted lead sound. Your clean tones will suffer a bit though since they won't be directly in the chain.
 
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jbru91

Member
Messages
63
Funny enough, I've been modeling my pedalboard off of this exact sound myself for months now and was doing research on this forum and Youtube regarding pedalboard order, to no avail. I also happened to just receive my Free The Tone Tri-Avatar Chorus today. I recently brought the Eventide Tricerachorus, but it was a little more complicated for me to program on the fly, so I decided to try the Tri-Avatar. I also have an original Boss CE-2 as well. Either will do, but the Tri-Avatar has the ability to pan Depth left or right or to the center, presets, and a ton of controls the CE-2 doesn't have. The CE-2 is pretty limited with only 2 knobs and I don't think it can do stereo either if that's something you're planning on doing. I like the CE-2, but the Tri-Avatar will get you much closer to that clean and pristine sound.

Also, the "secret sauce" to that LA session sound that is rarely talked about is the Detune. Its especially important on the lead tones with high gain used in hair metal. I brought an Eventide Micropitch, which is basically modeled off of their H3000 rack unit that a lot of those players used to use in the 80s, and it gets me by itself to about 70% of that LA Session/Hair Metal sound. If you can swing both, I'd get both or another good detune pedal to go with the chorus. If you can't, I'd actually suggest going for the Eventide Micropitch first since Detune IMO is more critical to the overall lead tone. It also makes for a simple delay pedal too. EVH popularized it along with the other big session players like Lukather, Landau, Dan Huff, etc. John Sykes, one of my favorites players, also seems to use detune a lot.

Here is my current signal chain. Still playing around with some of the pedal order, but I think I will probably stick with this for now. I'm running it in mono since I only have one cab right now and just for convenience. Still gets pretty close to the sound though. Just ignore the Synth, Fuzz, BE OD, and Flanger as I also use this for my "general" board.

Tuner > Boss Synth > Volume > Wah > Compressor > EQ > Fuzz > OD-9 > BE OD Deluxe > Smart Gate

(End Chain and then next chain into effects loop of amp is...)

Deci Mate Noise Gate > Flanger > Tri Avatar Chorus > MicroPitch Delay > Blue Sky Reverb

View attachment 603213


O, and if you're really trying to nail that sound, you'll need a compressor and EQ pedal as well. The compressor will balance the sound between your cleans, rhythm, and leads, and the EQ pedal will help bring up that overall volume since the compressor will squish some of it. You could also run the EQ through the effects loop instead, which will give you a boosted lead sound. Your clean tones will suffer a bit though since they won't be directly in the chain.
Wow, thank you so much for this. I can't express how helpful it is to have someone share a similar journey. I'm mono for now as well actually (working towards stereo). I'm with you there, I basically have that super clean session sound, the more tasty 80's lead sounds that those great session guys had and then the hair metal type lead sound in my head when I think about that 80's tone I want to achieve with multiple effects.

Great to meet you and look forward to chatting more!

Cheers,
Jesse
 




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