Boss CH-1 Super Chorus Review - Stereo Chorus Pedal

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 1900+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$140
Boss CH-1 Stereo Super Chorus Pedal

Specifications

  • Controls: Effect Level, EQ, Rate, and Depth
  • Connectors: Input Jack, Output Jack A (mono)/ B, AC Adapter Jack (DC 9V)
  • Circuit: Analog 1989-2001, Digital 2001-Onwards
  • Power Supply: 9V Battery or an AC Adapter
  • Bypass: Buffered
  • Dimensions (WHD): 2.9" x 2.4" x 5.1"
  • Weight: 1 lb.

CH-1 The Classic Chorus Superstar

The CH-1 by Boss is a guitar chorus pedal that features a stereo output and 4 knobs to adjust your tone.

Tracing its roots back to the late 80's, this is one of the most popular and best-selling chorus pedals in the market today and has been in production for over 30 years!

I've had the pleasure of using the CH-1 during rehearsals, recording and soon at live gigs. It has a clear, creamy and thick chorus sound that I can appreciate even at subtle effect levels.

Alden's CH-1 Top View

My Personal Experience With The CH-1

While recently getting back into electric guitar from an extended focus on drumming, I was able to get hold of some second hand stompboxes and that included the Boss CH-1. Although chorus is an effect that I had taken for granted in the past, I was pleasantly surprised at what the CH-1 could do for my tone.

Being the curious person that I am, I immediately went to town on all the settings, twisting and tweaking all the knobs and quickly came up with some very usable tones, mostly for clean sounds. I wasn't able to try out the stereo feature since I don't have a stereo amp (or 2 mono amps for that matter) but the widening and thickening effect even in mono was enough to remind me of those classic 80's records when chorus was a staple sound and of course that iconic intro to Come As You Are played by Kurt Cobain.

Alden's Boss CH-1 Connected

I did miss the ability to save and recall presets on the fly especially when knobs are easily knocked off their settings in my guitar case. Also, the layout of the 2 outputs are positioned very close together making it tough to use with certain cables like the patch cables I'm currently using.

Although it is a versatile chorus pedal with a lot of usable classic chorus sounds, it doesn't really do the wild, experimental sounds that I was hoping for like extreme detuning or weird sounds that I've never heard before. Also, its classic, widely recognizable sound can be its downfall at times, bordering on the cheesy and generic.

Controls and Features

The Boss CH-1 features 4 highly sensitive knobs to dial in that perfect chorus sound.

Effect Level: Controls the volume of the chorus effect and the level it mixes with the direct signal of your guitar.
EQ: Controls how bright or dark the overall chorus sound is.
Rate: Sets the modulation speed or how fast the detuned signal goes up and down in pitch.
Depth: Determines how far out of tune the copied signal goes.

Alden's Boss CH-1 Alongside Other Pedals

It has two 1/4" outputs to use either in mono or stereo and a buffered bypass which helps maintain signal integrity when using a long cable or in conjunction with other pedals with lots of patch cables.

Some Sounds and Settings

These samples were recorded straight into a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 in mono using a simple, clean amp and cab simulator VST with all settings set at 12 o'clock. The guitar I used is a Telecaster with Hotrails style humbucker pickups.

Thick And Simple Chorus
Alden's Personal Thick And Simple CH-1 Setting

In this one the effect is on all the way through:


Swirly and Rich
Alden's Personal Swirly and Rich CH-1 Setting

This time the effect is off to begin with then comes on at 0:10:


Grungey Hornet
Alden's Personal Grungey Hornet CH-1 Settings

Here the effect begins at the start and goes until 0:11, then it comes back on again at 0:20:


Overall

Cons

  • Decidedly old school and safe sounding
  • No way to save presets

Pros

  • Classic and highly tweakable chorus sound
  • Excellent Boss build quality
  • Capable of stereo output
  • Usable with synths and bass guitar

This a great chorus pedal with no surprises, but sometimes you want to be surprised. If you're looking for a standard, no-frills yet highly tweakable stereo chorus pedal, the CH-1 is a reliable and versatile option. If you're going for something more out of the box and downright wacky, you might want to look elsewhere.

Gearank Recommendation

 
The CH-1 was on our recommended list for Chorus Pedals Over $100 from August 2017 until January 2020 when it had been out-ranked by other chorus pedals.

Then in July 2022 it had high enough ratings to go back on the recommended list where it remains today.

See our Current Recommendation

About the Author

Alden Acosta Alden Acosta

I'm a drummer and former lead guitarist of the band Callalily, a platinum selling multi-awarded band from the Philippines. I also studied music for 6 years majoring in percussion and jazz studies with a minor in classical piano.

I have been playing electric guitar on and off as a recording artist since I was 17 years old using all sorts of gear and guitars. Recently getting back into it, I am currently searching for the perfect electric guitar set up, trying all sorts of equipment. I'm very eager to publish the results of my experiments here at Gearank.