The first and latest Boss Chorus

The bucket brigade chip

Typical stage setup (click to enlarge)


When we set out to build a chorus pedal, we began by asking one simple question: Why build one if there are already tons on the market? The answer was clear: The Vienna must provide an alternative that can give the more demanding guitarist with attributes that are no longer readily available from companies like Boss.

It is important to state that there is nothing wrong with a Boss chorus pedal. Boss wrote the book on chorus pedals back in the 1970's... and still today, lead the market with their technological advancements. The only problem is that for the purist, these new digital pedals sound too clean. They do not have the character of the old analog chorus pedals from years gone by. And to make matters worse, since the advent of ROHS (lead free initiatives), old bucket brigade chips have all but disappeared.

The first matter at hand was to secure several thousand of the original Panasonic MN3007 bucket brigade chips – enough to make developing the Vienna a worthwhile venture. Next, because these chips actually sell for more money today than they did 40 years ago, we seated the chip so that the rest of the pedal could be recycled and the chips resold.

Now that we had the 'engine' – we had to decide on the feature set. For the Vienna we chose to focus on a compact pedal that would deliver two different settings so that the guitarist could transition from a slow choral to a fast Leslie or tremolo effect. This of course meant adding twice as many controls and two footswitches onto the work surface. But with these controls, you could set tow speeds and two intensities and toggle between them with a single foot stomp. For fun, we added a turbo mode that enables the artist to increase the intensity for more dramatic chorus effects.

Finally, we chose to make the Vienna a mono device. Why mono when most chorus pedals are stereo? Simple... most players use one amp on stage. And when they have two amps, they are usually switching between them. Very few guitarists bring two amps to a gig for a true stereo setup and even if they do, considering the PA speakers are usually spread across 15 peters (50'), no one in the crowd can actually hear the stereo effect. Instead we focussed on maximising the tone and enhancing the mid range where the guitar lives.

The Vienna Chorus delivers the warmth and character of a vintage chorus yet has less noise and dual-mode functionality. And since it is powered by 9 volts, it is easily adapted to any pedalboard.