Chord has become no stranger to GI's pages. The company sets out to offer quality gear to beginners and those without bulging wallets and, by and large, we have been consistently impressed with its offerings. This time around, Chord sent us two specialist bass products - a pair of extremely sturdy looking pedals, a chorus and a graphic EQ. Both look well made, with their 'Hammerite' coated metal cases. Do they sound as good as they look? Read on. Well...after you've checked the video, of course!
Chord BEQ-50 Equaliser
This toughly made graphic equaliser pedal has seven separate bands of cut and boost plus a level control. The addition of a level control is something I find very useful if I am using the pedal as a booster for solos or maybe passages where I am playing more lightly - tapping for example often needs a bit of extra volume to be heard - and it's just the ticket for sculpting tones for such a technique. It's very good to see a feature like this on what is an unashamedly entry-level product.
The equaliser does what you expect and though at very high boosted settings the unit can distort, that's mostly because there's a lot of boost available on each slider, so be careful! The way to use this to best effect is to make wide sweeps across several sliders, rather than just maxing-out one on its own. The resulting sound will be more natural and won't suffer from excess distortion.
This is a well-designed pedal and really excellent value - especially considering the build quality. It would make a great gift for a beginner, or just a treat for yourself.
Chord BCH-50 Bass Chorus
I like this one because it has a certain vintage chorus vibe to it. It's a shade lo-fi but that actually sounds cool, especially when the effect level is all the way up. The four controls are dead easy to get your head around, too. As I've already noted with the Chord EQ, the level control is how loud the effect is in comparison to your dry bass signal. You can go from the lightest of chorusing to add a bit of 3D effect to your sound, all the way to thick 'underwater' washes that can make your bass sound a bit wobbly!
For the controls, below and to the left we have 'rate' - this knob sets the speed of the modulation from a slow long wave to a very fast tremolo. On the far right hand side sits the depth knob, for want of a better description, it controls how deep that modulating sound scoops away at your bass sound. Advancing the knob will take your bass sound from a shallow chorusing up to a wider and more 'synthesised' bass tone.
Finally (and very usefully) there is an adjustable low cut filter, which scoops away the lower frequencies from the effect sound. Using this function means that you can have more of your dry bass low-end left alone. Leaving the lows intact will give the bass more definition in a band mix but can also leave room for other effects pedals in the chain. A drive pedal that favours the low-mid frequencies would be a good example. Place the drive pedal before the chorus pedal in your signal chain to cut down on undue noise.
This is another good value bass pedal from Chord that we can happily recommend.
These two pedals, which are optional battery or mains transformer powered, both represent good value for money for those who are dipping their toes in to effects for the first time, or are just looking for a less costly approach when putting a pedal board together. The metal shells seem strong and will take the knocks and drops of the road. They stand up pretty well, even against some of the more expensive competition so if that's the market you are in, these definitely demand a place on your 'ones to try' list!