Archive for November, 2013

Nux CH-3 Chorus

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Nux-CH3What is it?
Nux CH-3 Chorus from Nux’s analog pedal series. Made in china, 2013.

There is something appealing in these super cheap new chinese pedals. I have no idea whatsoever what is the amount manufactured, but these are mostly well made and fine sounding boxes. I’m fairly convinced that china will be new japan in decade or two. After all, the japanese electronics were considered crap all the way up to mid 80’s. What chinese pedal industry would need now is tighter quality control for components and a few good graphic designers. Most Joyos and Calines with horrible graphics you can find on ebay are now even pricier than when they were first introduced. There’s not much appeal in those. At least not for me. So it’s good that we finally have a chinese brands that try. No comic sans as labels and Nux’s even have their own, reasonably stylish logo.

Nux-CH3-guts1

Opening the box up shows the Nux standard designs idea. Two boards stacked and through hole components seem to have solid connections, but with residue as usual. Switch is standard 3PDT mini stomper wired as true bypass. There’s the same goo locking the 6mm top adjustment trimmers and the top board ribbon cable connection.

Nux-CH3-guts2

3102/3207 pair is responsible for the chorus delay and TL072 is used for LFO. So it’s safe to say that the design is so far pretty standard analog delay chorus. The third knob, blend, adds a nice flavour. You can dial this to the max which by itself sound “out there”, but then you can blend it with the clean signal. More uses for ugly chorus sounds! Yay.

There’s again just one piece of bad news. I seem to be repeating myself, but i would have gladly paid 50 cents (or $1-2 even) more for these Nux units – if they just would have better quality pots. The pots just feel cheap and turn too easily. Bad decision to save money. Because of the poor feel on the pots, i suspect these units will never get the attention nor userbase that they would deserve. From electronical point of view i mean.

How does it sound?
Nice. Extra nice. From clear and mild signal widening to near flanger styled massive sweeping. Wide control range and you just can’t go wrong with 3102/3207 based choruses. Or you can, but not with this thing.

Ibanez BC5 Bass Chorus

Monday, November 4th, 2013

BC5

What is it?
Ibanez BC5 Bass Chorus from Soundtank series, made in japan in mid-to-late nineties. Serial number is in millions, so it’s safe to assume this is late 90’s unit.

To me it seems like the bass effects are mainly distortions, autowahs and lots of choruses. Bassists are left out on many things as most of the pedals are intended to be used with a guitar. For some reason almost every brand that sells guitar choruses also sell bass choruses. The difference between the two? Mostly just a cap job to let more of the lower frequencies through. There are couple of pedals in Soundtank series that are like broters and sisters. Reverse the colours on the top label and swap couple of caps. That’s it.

BC5-guts1

Take a look at the board. It clearly has CS5 marked on the solder side. Although the board doesn’t look like the board on CS5 (that i covered very recently), it is the same board. The picture below shows that Maxon used the same boards for both units and replaced the label with a sticker – as seen on Soundtank SF5/FZ5 (that i covered a lot earlier). The components used are different. Where my specimen of CS5 has 1/8W resistors mounted axially, the newer board labelled BC5 has 1/4W resistors. The traces do not look alike. Those look much more modern on this unit, which makes me think that this is just newer unit than my CS5.

BC5-guts2

Topologically BC5 and CS5 are the same circuit. Some of the values may be altered, but i couldn’t find a schematic to confirm. And yes. I’m just too lazy to check this units component values against CS5. May it be whatever. These are well built units with lots of user value left in them. Swap the switch and you’re good to go.

How does it sound?
If there is any difference between BC5 and CS5, you’ll need to focus if you want to hear it. In fact i placed both pedals on my desk, tuned the delay time, width and speed to match each other and played away. Pressed both switches at the same time with indicator lights not visible to me. One out of every three times i guessed wrong which unit was active. The bass version sounds probably a hint thicker and fatter, but that’s it. The units are basically identical. So this might even be better for guitarists who want the fat with their cold , haunting gothic chorused guitar leads.

Ibanez CS5 Super Chorus

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Let’s have a full month of posting only choruses as pedal pots. Why? Because i can.

CS5

What is it?
Ibanez CS5 Super Chorus. Soundtank series unit in plastic enclosure, made in taiwan in mid 90s.

I may not be the biggest chorus user there is. I’m really not even sure how and where i would use one. Of course, i’ve used a lot of choruses while recording, but mainly for opening up some synth tracks, rather than using them with guitar. Choruses lie somewhere in the middle ground from vibes, phasers and flangers. There’s always an LFO that creates the modulation pulse. Which then usually controls the delay timer, which then controls the delay itself, creating sweeping chorus effect for the pre and post effect mixing amplifier.

CS5-guts1

Ibanez CS5 Super Chorus is no exception. TL022 as LFO and NM3102/NM3207 pair for analog delay. 1458 takes of the mixer duties. Circuit is quite standard for a chorus, expect for the delay time control, which adds a lot of versatility and definitely is not as standard control as width/depth and LFO speed controls. Guess that’s what makes this Super. For those interested, the schematic is up at SchematicsUnlimited.com

CS5-guts2

To me, it looks like the design is very close to Ibanez CS9 Stereo Chorus, but with added delay time control. So in a way, this is better than its great predecessor.

Board, design, traces and components are well in line with the better standard boxes of this series. Only culprit is – you guessed it – the switch. After swapping it, this one runs like a very nice charm again.

How does it sound?
Good. With these controls, it is very versatile sounding chorus that can do both, hard and soft chorus from fast to slow, from natural to harsh. Basically the sound that makes this one very nice effect, even if it is housed in a plastic box. One of the greatest designs in the series.