A few months ago I posted on twitter and Facebook about a little company I discovered based in the States called Chase Bliss Audio. I found them through the guys at Emerson Custom, another US based pedal maker. I went online and viewed the many videos that Joel had posted about his latest creation the Warped Vinyl. I have posted a link to the videos at the bottom of this page, go and check them out as whatever I say in the next few paragraphs will not do this pedal justice!
After viewing the videos, talking to Joel over email (all in the space of about 3 hours) I bought one without a second thought. Unfortunately it got stuck in UK customs for about 2 weeks which was a pain but I picked it up today and have plugged it in.
This pedal is exceptional!
In essence this is a vibrato/chorus pedal. I have recently gone off chorus and more on to vibrato to get away from the 80’s cliche, so this pedal seemed to fit the bill perfectly as I can have both on my board without sacrificing any space for 2 pedals. So that is it its a vibrato/chorus pedal. Except it is so much more than just that.
The tag line is digital brain, analog heart. So the outgoing sound is so lovely and warm, a beautiful analog subtle wave form but the adjustments are digital. Meaning you get a huge range of parameters to much around with. It is probably best at this point to just list the front face dials that you get!
Ramp (I’ll get to this) / Volume / Mix / RPM / Depth / Warp / Tap Time / Left wave shape / Right wave shape / Tap Tempo / Presets / Bypass
So that is just what is on the front, all on a BOSS sized pedal. You may be thinking at this point, surely you are going to press the wrong thing, stomp on the wrong button and not be able to read any of the writing to adjust your sound. And you would be wrong! Joel has clearly spent a lot of time designing this so that you don’t have any of those problems. Everything is laid out exactly where you would expect it. The actual dials are not huge, at only 1cm in diameter, but are still a nice size to turn and move around, they also have a lovely weight and feel so adjustments can be very subtle and small, and also means that if you knock it with your foot you wont move it far if at all. The switches are very firm, again cancelling out any possibility of changing something you don’t mean to. The Bypass and Tap buttons are far enough apart (I think) so that I won’t knock them. Although at this point I have only had the pedal for about 2 hours. Check back with me in a few weeks.
So that controls on the face of it do what you would expect.
- Ramp. (I’ll explain this below!)
- The Volume changes the volume,
- The mix allows you to dial in the amount of affected signal with your dry signal (seriously fruity),
- The RPM is simply the speed of the effect,
- The Depth is how much of the effect you can mix, and how wide the Vibrato is.
- Tap time allows you to change the division of the tap you input. Say you input the crotchet of the beat, you can then use this function to change the tempo of the pedal to crotchets,quavers, semi quavers triplets, sextuplets and semi-demi quavers. You access the triplets, sextuplets and semi-demi quavers via a dip switch on the underside.
- Left wave shape allows you to change the left side of the wave to either, a sign wave, square wave of a steady incline.
- Right wave shape allows you to change the right side of the wave to either, a sign wave, square wave of a steady decline.
- Tap Tempo does exactly that, tap in the tempo of the song you are playing.
- Preset. Yes that is right preset. You can save your 2 favourite setting and recall them at any time.
- Bypass turns the pedal on or off
So these are the dials. There is also a jack in and out as well as a side mounted power jack which as you know I love, as well as jacks for TRS cables which you can link to an expression pedal, which then does the same job as the Ramp dial, and another Tap out which allows you to link the pedal to a midi box allowing you to control it with a midi clock. If you have delays and a complex switching system it mean you can preset the tempo of the pedal, your delays and any other midi pedals so they are all in sync.
So the Ramp knob. This is very cool. On the underside of the pedal there are a series of dip switches. These link to the ramp knob and allows you to control one or all of the parameters just by turning the Ramp dial. Say you wanted to create a vibrato sound and as and when the vibrato comes in and out, you want other parameters such as the depth and warp of the left and and right side of the wave to modulate like a chorus pedal, at the same time, you can use the dip switches to turn them all on, or any combination, and then use the Ramp dial to adjust the overall outbound sound. Yes this is complete witchcraft! You can either have to sounds modulate or if you switch another of the dip switches raise and then fall. The Ramp dial affects how long this rise and fall, or modulation takes to take effect. The fact that you can preset which parameters you can change with the Ramp dial means that it is super easy to change this on the fly and all of it is controlled via one knob on the pedal.
This pedal is a must for anyone who likes the sound of vibrato and chorus effects. It will do everything from subtle small amounts of modulation right through to way over the top pitch bending weirdness! The way I have it currently set means on the left preset I have a vibrato effect and a chorus on the right. It is very easy to switch between the two on the fly mid tune, you can also set it in the middle to dial in something totally different!
Because this works on a mix of circuitry and the outbound effect is analog, it is a lot warmer than a digital unit and some of the higher frequencies of the guitar signal are a little lost, but this is a small price to pay! In terms of where I have this set in my pedal chain I have had to rethink my ideas. Normally I would have this after all my drives and solo boosts. With this pedal I am running it right after my Wah, as the second pedal in the chain. This is because the vibrato effect using the volume of the pedal acts like a volume pedal placed at the front of the chain. If you have any gain effects before this it drops the amount of gain that makes its way to the amp. The pedal works in the same way so having the drives after the pedal means that you still get the vibrato but with less loss of gain to the signal. When I use this on a bigger board I will have a drive before and after it so I have more options. My suggestion is play around and see what works for you. Something that you should do with all pedals anyway!
Click HERE to go to the Chase Bliss Audio Youtube videos. They will explain exactly what I am talking about.
Chase Bliss Audio are a company to watch. Joel has executed this pedal brilliantly and I look forward to seeing what the next thing he comes up with is!
Pros: Awesome analog sound / Huge range of parameters / Midi compatible / Tap Tempo / 2 saveable presets / Wave form adjustment / Expression pedal connection / Ramp control / Bright LEDs / Compact Size / Great build quality
Cons: A little loss of tone / Getting one to the UK from the States I incurred quite a hefty customs charge
Overall Rating: 9.5/10