How awesome (or not) is a vintage CE-1 Chorus?

Tootone

Member
I've got one - it's amazing, in that it's a hugely inspiring and unique sound that's so timeless. Personally, I absolutely love it. Plus, it's stereo (well...seperates the Wet & Dry onto separate channels, so...kinda stereo) and has the vibrato mode.

But - the preamp is always active, so colours your overall sound even when the chorus is off. It's mains powered. It's noisy. It's not true bypass. It's f'ing enormous! And, nowadays, crazy money. There's a few pedal folks (Analog Mike, etc) who do mods to sort the True Bypass; and I've even seen some converted to accept a Boss-style power input. But also...they're old, they're prone to breaking down, etc. And if something inside it breaks, the resale value goes through the floor. Plus, you need to either modify it and replace the preamp pot or always give it a buffered signal to stop it shelving off all your high end.

A few people make amazing clones of it - Retro Sonic being one - with the 'issues' fixed. So...it entirely depends if you want 'THE' unit, or just the sound. If you're a collector/vintage purist then yeah...track down an original. But if you're just after "an analog chorus" there's hundreds of more practical, cheaper & more versatile options out there. The Analogman Mini Chorus is the one I use on my board & the JAM Waterfall is also amazing, to name but two high-end boutique choruses.

But yeah...the CE-1 is epic! ;-)
Aha.... Perky... I never realised you were a TGPr... I like your videos!!! As you can see above.

Maybe a more intricate look at the CE1 in chorus mode might be in order... ;)
 
Aha.... Perky... I never realised you were a TGPr... I like your videos!!! As you can see above.

Maybe a more intricate look at the CE1 in chorus mode might be in order... ;)
Aha yeah, I'm here! :p I never need too much of an excuse to bring the CE-1 out...might have to do it soon!! haha
 
Wasn’t the Boss CE-1 originally designed for keyboards?
I owned one for decades and it is good sounding. The CE-2 and DC-2 would be my preference .
But the best .................
I was fortunate recently in having one of the best pedal makers in the World modify my 1978 Electric Mistress .
Mainly adding a booster ( but also a Bass switch should I desire ) to make up fo the drop in volume when the effect is engaged . This mod has opened up the subtle side of this pedal as the volume drop is more noticeable on low settings . So I used to use it on the higher settings . Not anymore .
 
Wasn’t the Boss CE-1 originally designed for keyboards?
I owned one for decades and it is good sounding. The CE-2 and DC-2 would be my preference .
But the best .................
I was fortunate recently in having one of the best pedal makers in the World modify my 1978 Electric Mistress .
Mainly adding a booster ( but also a Bass switch should I desire ) to make up fo the drop in volume when the effect is engaged . This mod has opened up the subtle side of this pedal as the volume drop is more noticeable on low settings . So I used to use it on the higher settings . Not anymore .
It was, yeah - it's designed for buffered line-level signals, hence why the input preamp pot takes off all the high end from a guitar (think it's 100k, off the top of my head). So, you can either modify it and put a higher value pot in, or just make sure to feed it a buffered guitar signal. That said though, I've spoken to some people who love the darker tone of having the CE-1 shelve off all the high end, so...horses for courses! :)
 
I had one and directly got to a/b it with the ce-1 model in the Zoom MS50G. Was it identical? No. Was the Zoom stupidly close with a bit of tweaking?

I no longer own the Ce-1. An iconic sound in a very PITA package.

TG
 

BGReed2

Member
Ce 1 is the best.....simple
Sure, lots of baggage (as described perfectly by everybody earlier) but it is the ultimate chorus. I'm dating myself, but I bought mine new and it has been on my board until just a year or so, when I replaced it with an early H & K RotoSphere (which is almost as big and just as heavy!).

Actually, the CE-1 basically was my pedalboard early on because I found the level control useful in getting a bit of gain. For someone wanting a fast Leslie sound the Vibrato option does the trick. I only wish I could turn the rate down more - then it would be ideal.

Mine has held up quite well through the years, so I can vouch for the quality. Works as well as the day I bought it. I never see myself parting with it.
 

p.j.

Member
I remember that it did not do well with too much heat. It shut down during an outside summer concert. Other than that, and being kind of noisy, it was cool.
 
Hey guys,
I have a CE-1 and recently it died. I had it repaired and the problem was with the (please forgive my non tech talk) power distribution early on in the pedal. I was worried this might change the tone because all you hear about is the preamp tone this pedal has, however after putting a new unit in there from the local electronic shop it's back to life and sounds the exact same.
I really don't get the electronics so what I'm trying to explain is the part that was replaced is where the 240vac goes in (Im in Australia) it gets split up and power goes in certain voltages all around the pedal. That 'power junction' was what was replaced.
So my question is to those in the know - what and where is the 'preamp' everyone talks about in this pedal? Would anyone be so kind as to take the back off theirs and take a picture of what the original part I'm talking about looks like? Mine is from Dick Smith's shop so all I see now when looking in is dorky Dick Smith smiling back on the part. I'd like to replace it with an original part if anyone can point me towards one?
Many thanks,
Matthew
 

sanfi4u

Silver Supporting Member
Hey guys,
I have a CE-1 and recently it died. I had it repaired and the problem was with the (please forgive my non tech talk) power distribution early on in the pedal. I was worried this might change the tone because all you hear about is the preamp tone this pedal has, however after putting a new unit in there from the local electronic shop it's back to life and sounds the exact same.
I really don't get the electronics so what I'm trying to explain is the part that was replaced is where the 240vac goes in (Im in Australia) it gets split up and power goes in certain voltages all around the pedal. That 'power junction' was what was replaced.
So my question is to those in the know - what and where is the 'preamp' everyone talks about in this pedal? Would anyone be so kind as to take the back off theirs and take a picture of what the original part I'm talking about looks like? Mine is from Dick Smith's shop so all I see now when looking in is dorky Dick Smith smiling back on the part. I'd like to replace it with an original part if anyone can point me towards one?
Many thanks,
Matthew
Hi Matt, welcome onboard! Not sure if I got it right. As I understand, you have CE-1, which is 110VAC device. You live in Australia. Thus you were powering it with the help of an external transformer converting 240VAV to 110VAC. A while ago your pedal died. The problem was with the power supply of the device. Professional service has fixed it and while they were on it they suggested to replace original transformer with a new one that matches 240VAC. Your first question is if the changes may affect the sound, right? If power transformer is the only alteration then I doubt any change in sound could take place. Because transformer is followed by a stabilized power supply. If these guys made changes to the power supply itself it may affect the sound. But if you don't hear any changes then there's nothing to worry about, right? :)
The second question is about preamp. It's a Toshiba TA7136P Pre Amplifier For Dual Power Supply. Actually it's a vintage OpAmp. Here's the picture:


It seems they are available from here.
Hope this helps.
 
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Hi Sanfi4u,

Thank you for your detailed reply, it was full of helpful info. My initial post wasn’t too accurate looking at your interpretation, my apologies for that. You’re right, I’m in Australia however my pedal was built for this market and is 240v, no step down needed.

You answered part two of my question perfectly, thank you! So that’s the much loved preamp... that is untouched, hence the same as before tone.

Regarding the replaced part, it is where the 240v first lands in the pedal and is then split up into dcv. I have a pic though can’t figure out how to upload it. My concern was, as wit replacing power amp output transformers, I was wondering if anyone has thought as to weather this could affect tone.

Let me find how to upload pics...

Thanks again for your time in getting back to me, a really appreciate it!

All the best,
Matthew
 

sanfi4u

Silver Supporting Member
Hi Sanfi4u,

Thank you for your detailed reply, it was full of helpful info. My initial post wasn’t too accurate looking at your interpretation, my apologies for that. You’re right, I’m in Australia however my pedal was built for this market and is 240v, no step down needed.

You answered part two of my question perfectly, thank you! So that’s the much loved preamp... that is untouched, hence the same as before tone.

Regarding the replaced part, it is where the 240v first lands in the pedal and is then split up into dcv. I have a pic though can’t figure out how to upload it. My concern was, as wit replacing power amp output transformers, I was wondering if anyone has thought as to weather this could affect tone.

Let me find how to upload pics...

Thanks again for your time in getting back to me, a really appreciate it!

All the best,
Matthew
Hi Matthew, if you refer to a member and want him to be notified you need to use "business at" before the name. It goes as follows: @Matt Silver . I noticed your post just occasionally.
Supporting members can create Albums in a Media area, download pictures to the Albums and use Album links to post pictures in the threads. For example, here's the link to My Albums. As you are not a Supporting Member (yet :)), then you need to use the external file sharing services. For example, I use PostImage a lot. You'll find more details about posting images at TGP in this thread.
Post your CE-1 PCB picture here and we'll find out what mystery part was changed and if it can affect the sound.
Please note tube power amp output transformers is a different story. I doubt it can have any relevance to your case.
 
I had one (as well as a CE-2 - they aren’t at all comparable, IMO). It’s a killer sound (plus that Vibrato!) but for all the above reasons it’s just not all that practical to use.

IMO, the best chorus I’ve ever owned is an old Arion SCH-1. It has the warmth and thickness and 3D swirl of the CE-1 with none of the issues.
Had ce-1, ce-2, tcscf, and arion sch-1 all at the same time. All great.
Kept the arion,

but ce-2 into ce-1 was an unreal tristereo type effect (although kinda noisy)

and fyi an original ada flanger set to chorus into a ehmm deluxe with mild modulation is also very cool
 

p.j.

Member
I had one for a while. The good was that it was cool in a retro/ugly kind of way and sounded good, especially with 2 amps. The bad was that it was noisy and would conk out if it got too hot. It was also gigantic. YMMV, of course.
 

Vox66

Member
I own a 70’s CE-1, 1981 CE-2 and a 1976 Electric Mistress and they all just have THE sound. I recently got a great deal on a Mobius and thought that maybe it would be an all-in-one solution but it’s just a box full of sterile emulations. Maybe I just like the imperfections of the originals, who knows, everybody likes different things. I do have a Boss Waza DM-2 on the way and I’m excited to hear how it sounds.
 
A friend gave me his CE-1 long time ago and after having tried or played many excellent chorus pedals (Analogman, CE2 MIJ, TC SCF, Jacques Meistersinger, ...) I still find the venerable CE-1 to be the unbeaten reference. Of course, I don't use it on my board as the only chorusy pedal that I use nowadays is a Keeley 30ms.
 


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