Tech 21 has long been known for their SansAmp family of guitar and bass processors. These were some of the first amp simulators on the market, and they still hold up well, producing excellent tones. The Character series upped the ante with a line of pedals that each simulated a particular type of amplifier. These pedals have been very popular in the worship market because they include a nice extra: speaker simulation. This lets the pedal become, in effect, your amplifier. Just feed it straight into the PA, and you’re ready to go.
Now Tech 21 has a new line of pedals, the Boost series. They sent me two members of the Boost family: the Boost Chorus and the Boost Chorus Bass. The new Roto Choir was also in the package. These pedals re-create the sound of vintage pedals, while adding some nice extras. The Boost Chorus, for example, can replicate a very wide range of chorus pedals from the ’70s, from pedalboard-standard choruses to “Tri-mode” choruses. You’re given a ton of control, including a mix control (this has become a must-have for me on my chorus pedals) and a pre-delay control that allows the pedal to reach into the flanger realm and almost get into the slap-delay range. A level control lets you match the output of the effect to the bypassed signal, or you can boost the level of the pedal way up if you so desire.
You can set the Boost Chorus for everything from a subtle thickening to a lush, syrupy wash to a warbly tonality, with rich, colorful tones on tap at every setting. The Multi Voice switch makes things even richer and deeper. I have a number of choruses in my collection, and I have to say that the Boost Chorus can stand in for any of them – color me impressed! If you’re after a Swiss Army knife of a chorus that sounds great at every setting, this is the one. The bass version adds detuning for even thicker, richer sounds, without losing bottom end.
The Roto Choir simulates rotary speaker effects. It can do pretty much everything the original can do: it ramps from slow speed to fast speed, you can overdrive it, you can adjust the mic distance from the cabinet, you can EQ the treble and the bass, and you can even switch from a single rotating drum to a bi-amped Leslie. In use, this pedal sounds very convincing. The flexibility of the controls allows you to dial in just the sound you want, whether you’re looking for clean or dirty sounds. The overdrive sounds and feels natural, and the speed ramp up/down feels right. All in all, it’s an excellent pedal – I believe this one has earned a spot on my pedalboard!