12 July 2012

Pedals: Wampler Nirvana Chorus


Chorus isn't the type of effect that I use the most but, to have a good Chorus unit in my pedal board is always welcome. There are some kind of effects that only a Chorus can deliver.
For sure, there are more mythical Chorus units there, like the Boss CE-1 or CE-2 and, MXR's chorus all good enough.

Seeing the consistence and quality of Wampler's effects and, the fact that they seem to be made just to my taste, I wanted to give an oportunity to Wampler's Nirvana Chorus and, that's what this entry is all about.


As usual in Wampler's pedal line. A discrete white carton box has the pedal inside a fabric bag and wrapped with bubble plastic. This time, not appealing sticker in the front with the picture of this pedal, but very discrete logo, instead.
Inside, the typical sticker with Wampler's logo, some info about other pedals and the "user's manual", a single sheet with just the necessarely info and 4 sample settings to test the unit.

As in the rest of Wampler's line, the unit is well made, the electronics work is clean, well designed and, the pedal seems built like a tank but, with the beauty of a deluxe car.


Well, this one sets the overall output level of the signal. It cannot seem interesting at all but, if you ever played other chorus units, you should notice that the sensation of loudness drops a lot when switching on chorus units. This practical control allows us to restore the unitary volume level, what is nice.

This adds or removes trebles but, the range covers nice tones, never going too dark or piercingly bright.

This is the depth of the chorus but, what it really means is that this is a blending control, which one you can use to choose the amount of clean and modulated signal that willl exit the unit.
In my opinion, the higher the intensity goes, the less wet signal you need to achieve a good tone.

This sets up the speed of the effect or the space between modulation cicles.

Mode Toggle Switch
Up gives a chorus effect, while down is a vibrato effect.

Intensity Toggle Switch
This unit has 3 different intensity levels (this one is the one that should be named depth!). The weakest one is the middle position of this switch, the lower position corresponds to a typical chorus effect and the upper one is the deepest chorus effect of this unit.
Even that the highest intentisity can go crazy, there is always a possibility to use an extreme sound by rolling off the Depth control (increasing the dry signal level).

Playing it

I am not interested on comparing this unit to other chorus units. I only have a thing clear: this is the best chorus unit I've ever tested. Now, I understand why it was called Nirvana.

The foundational character of this chorus is analogic, the tone is always sweet and warm. You can go as dark as you want (not being muddy or boxy) and as bright as you want (not being piercing), the overall sounds is always sweet and well defined.
In my case, I prefer Tone control between 10:00 - 2:00h, just slightly darker, just slightly brighter, depending on what I am doing.

Inserted in my pedal board, with my foundational clean sound (Wampler buffer + Xotic EP Booster + Wampler Faux Echo), it sounds incredible angelical. It can go really weird when Intensity, Depth and Ratio are rolled up to high positions but, whith the right Depth (Blend) I find usable even the weirdest sounds.

Some of the settings are just so sweet and warm that they seem just the destiled essence of Love. What a tone, man!.
During this session, I didn't check it together with overdrives or distortion units, since I was just trapped in the clean sound  nuances.

The unit exhibits some little distortion when pushed hard, this is a wanted effect and adds nice harmonics. It's very dynamic and responsive to picking strength. Smooth picking results on the sweetest sounds I've ever heard in a chorus unit.

Even that I tried the vibrato function, I am not so interested on it, since my Fender '65 Princeton Reverb reissue has the effect onboard. Sometimes, is a bit difficult to see the boundary between the Vibrato and Chorus side of this pedal, since the modulation in background of the Chorus is also altering up and down the pitch but, as a general rule, Vibrato sounds more defined and periodic than the chorused sound.
In the video, two of the sample settings proposed by Wampler are in Vibrato mode so, check those and compare them to two chorused samples.


The video starts testing the 4 sample settings that Wampler is providing in their "user's manual". 2 are in Chorus mode and the other 2 in Vibrato mode. This gives an overall impression about what the unit can do and, it's a good starting point.
Following to this, I am reviewing each control's function and then, testing the effect of each individual control over the chorused sound.
You shouldn't understand this video as a commercial demo with outstanding songs to demo the unit's possibilities but just as the same test routine that you would probably do to this pedal.
Not so much speach here, just from time to time to comment something I find interesting to mention.
The length is about 21 mins so, take it into consideration before pushing the button.


Every Wampler's pedal that I test, is liking me every day more and more. That man seems to have same ears than me but all the skills I haven't to build a pedal unit with my dreamed tones.
As consistent and with the same quality of the rest of Wampler's pedals, this Chorus unit is a granted success in your election. If your rig is good enough, this pedal will enhance your sound, no doubt.

Not interesting on to establish comparisons with other well known chorus units. This pedal has everything I ever dreamed, period. Integrates flawless with the rest of my pedal board and works perfect with the rest of Wampler's pedals.

It's a keeper. Yes, no doubt.

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