DeltaLab SC1 Stereo Chorus Effect Pedal
“It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done.”
Chorus Effect Pedal:
There has been a lot of talks later in the guitar community about the new line of effects pedals being marketed by Guitar Center Inc. under the name Delta Lab. These new pedals are being sold at an extremely low price point and share nothing with the original DeltaLab company, other than the name (which Guitar Center acquired the rights to). Recently, I was in the market for a Chorus Effect Pedal, so I decided to give the new Deltalab SC1 a chance.
My first impression of the SC 1 was that it was substantially more solid than I expected at this price point- weighing as much or more than any of my comparably sized MXR or Maxon pedals. It definitely did not feel like it was housed in a cheap or flimsy case, which was an immediate relief. The SC1 also featured an easy to access battery compartment, similar to the ones Dunlop uses on their wah pedals that eliminated the need to remove the bottom to access the battery- a nice and convenient touch.
My initial reaction to the pedal was not entirely positive, however- the paint job seemed exceedingly cheap in quality, as did the three knobs (rate, depth and effect level) which seemed both fragile and almost unacceptably lose- losing their position with just the slightest bit of contact. The anti-skid plastic on the pedal’s bottom also seemed to be of low quality, and was almost sticky to the touch, leaving my hand feeling tacky after handling the pedal.
The SC1 features a true hardwire bypass- which impressed me for the pedal’s price, as did the blue LED. While it is not really a complaint as much as a nitpick, the LED does not stay on steadily like in most effects, but rather blinks in time with the selected rate of the effect- a feature that I suppose could be handy to some, but seemed more distracting to me.
Now, onto the meat and potatoes; the sound. When I first plugged into the CS1, I was hoping to have stumbled onto a great bargain basement deal- a Chorus Effect Pedal that would really wow me at a great price. The realist side of me was also expecting the worst- I was met with something about in between the two. The chorus sound itself is nice and swirly, and the level knob provides a decent mix from barely audible churning to Leslie-style warble but doesn’t go very far into the land of wild vibrato.
The effect level knob is also a nice feature, allowing the player to adjust how much of the chorused signal, vs. clean signal is fed through to the amp. I found this feature to be extremely helpful in keeping the Chorus Effect Pedal subtle without losing its impact. The third knob, depth, is where I started to have problems. Whenever I adjusted the depth high enough to achieve the full, rich sound I wanted on higher notes, the lower notes became muddy to the point of almost being indistinguishable.
Adjusting the depth lower preserved the clarity of the low notes, but made the effect so subtle on the high notes that it was barely audible. Adjusting the level knob helped slightly, but could never really dial out the mud. Playing with a distorted tone through the chorus only made the muddiness worse, to the point that only the mildest settings really seemed in any way useful.
For someone who only uses chorus occasionally, or needs a Chorus Effect Pedal pedal to cover a few songs here and there is a band, I think the SC1 would make a great choice. Its true bypass will keep it from altering the signal during the majority of the time when it is not in use, and its tone is more than passable for a slight touch here and there- with the effect knob letting a player dial in anything from subtle shimmer to full out, Nirvana style underwater madness.
For a chorus aficionado or anyone who intends to use effect chorus as a major component of their tone, however, I would have to recommend that they look elsewhere. The inability to create a full, lush sound without losing definition was a long term deal breaker for me, and I don’t think the SC1 will be finding a home on my Effect pedalboard.