Soundroom: MXR Bass Chorus Deluxe & Bass Overdrive
By BRIAN FOX
Thu, 21 Mar 2013
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THERE’S A WHOLE LOT OF NOISE—FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD—IN THE world of effect pedals, with announcements of “better-mousetrap” stompboxes coming fast and furious. Over the past few years, we’ve learned if that racket is coming from MXR Bass Innovations, the booty-loving branch of pedal pushers at Dunlop Manufacturing, it’s worth a listen. Since 1972, MXR has been an industry leader in the effects market, with iconic boxes like the Phase 90 and the Dyna Comp earning spaces on the pedalboards of pros. In recent years, the Bass Innovations subdivision has caught our ear with their fab Bass Fuzz Deluxe, cool Bass Compressor, funky-fresh Bass Envelope Filter, bitchin’ Blow Torch Distortion ... the list goes on. This month we turn to two new additions to the worthy line, the Bass Chorus Deluxe and the Bass Overdrive.

TAKE IT TO THE … CHORUS

Utilizing analog bucket-brigade technology—in which the signal runs through a series of capacitors to create an organic, warm-sounding effect—the Bass Chorus Deluxe offers some key features that set it apart from most other boxes in its class. In addition to bass and treble EQ controls—voiced specifically for bass—and the self-evident intensity, rate, and width controls, this slick stompbox has a built-in crossover that essentially acts like a low-pass filter, allowing low notes to flow un-effected, while the chorus or flanger effect targets notes on the A string and higher (technically, modulation is attenuated for frequencies at 100Hz and below). It’s an elegant approach to dodge the queasy, seasick warble you can get when playing low with a chorus engaged. The Bass Chorus Deluxe also features a Stereo Hardwire Bypass Mode—accessed with a switch mounted on the circuit board—that allows you to split the effect signal via a TRS to TS cable adapter so you can send to two different amplifiers for a true stereo effect. Sweet.

For its part, the chorus effect itself was pretty righteous; the controls were voiced in a way that it was actually hard to get a truly awful sound out of the pedal (no small feat in a chorus pedal), and the pedal gives you ultimate control over depth and intensity of the effect. For my tastes, the pedal’s flanger setting, engaged by depressing the top-mounted flanger button, is where it’s at; the swirling, psychedelic churn it spits out is fun as H–E– double-hockey-sticks, and paired with a fuzz, it’s freaking sublime.

OPERATION OVERDRIVE

One of the features we dug the most about MXR’s Bass Fuzz Deluxe was its dual dry and wet controls, which created the sensation that you were blending the signals of two distinct amps—one clean, and one dirty. With the Bass Overdrive, MXR has honed that concept in a clever way. Recognizing that it doesn’t necessarily sound optimal if you pair a pristine, un-effected signal with a dirty signal, they have equipped the clean control with a pre-set EQ curve to bring out the best in the clean signal. Along with its straight-up tone, drive, and volume controls, the Bass Overdrive is a powerful tone-sculpting tool that simulates a multi-rig setup in a tiny stompbox.

For their ease of use, depth of features, and bottom-friendly, fundamental-friendly disposition, the Bass Chorus Deluxe and Bass Overdrive both earn a Bass Player Editor Award.

SPECIFICATIONS

MXR

BASS CHORUS DELUXE
Street $170
Pros Remarkably versatile, yet easy to use.
Cons None
Bottom Line The Bass Chorus Deluxe’s fundamental-defending X-OVER and double-duty FLANGER features make it a top choice in bass modulation effects.

BASS OVERDRIVE
Street $130
Pros The Bass Overdrive’s CLEAN control goes a long way in preserving ever-important fundamental.
Cons None
Bottom Line More refined than a fuzz and more booty-saving than many distortion pedals, the Bass Overdrive is a good choice for those craving a tube-like overdrive.

Contact jimdunlop.com

SPECS

BASS CHORUS DELUXE
Controls INTESITY, RATE, WIDTH, BASS, TREBLE
Buttons X-OVER, FLANGER
Power source 9V AC or battery
Switching True bypass
Made in U.S.A.

BASS OVERDRIVE
Controls TONE, DRIVE, CLEAN, VOLUME
Power source 9V AC or battery
Switching True bypass
Made in U.S.A.

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