Chorus emerged as a shortcut to the rich sound of double track recording. What we know as chorus is the beating effect between two almost-identical sounds, much like a flanger or phaser.
In the ‘80s, chorus was like musical ketchup, and the excessive use gave the effect a bad name.
Thankfully, people remember that a good chorus is so much more than “that cheesy ‘80s sound,” and there are more high-quality chorus pedals than ever before.
Guitar pedal giant MXR’s champion, the M234, is one of the most praised options on the market. You’ll learn the reasons here in my MXR M234 Analog Chorus guitar effects pedal review.
MXR M234 Analog Chorus Sound
If I had to describe the MXR M234 Analog Chorus sound in one word, it’d be a toss-up between “exquisite” and “versatile.” The sheer tonal quality and the impressive range of the dials make it a useful tone-booster in just about every context.
From angelic pop ballad chords to dimensional psychedelic riffs and soaring metal solos, the MXR 234 has you covered. You can get the glittery ‘80s-tastic swirls or a tight funk chorus with a quick adjustment.
Turning up the rate and depth brings to mind Nirvana’s watery “Come as you are” motif. Turn them down instead, and you get something similar to the flanger on “Tom Sawyer” by Rush. Really high rates give you a Leslie-style rotating tremolo sound.
If a lush, otherworldly soundscape isn’t your thing, you can just as easily get a subtle, elegant thickening effect and false vibrato. Paired with some good delay and overdrive, it’ll melt faces. Alternatively, moderate settings can produce a pretty 12-string illusion.
Since you can filter the bass and treble to taste, it can bring your sound deep under the sea or up high among lush clouds. Good guitar pedals are ones that inspire music, and this will certainly do that.
An important thing to note in an MXR M234 Analog Chorus review is that the effect retains crystalline transparency even with high settings. The guitar’s character shines through beautifully, but it still sounds like one unified sound rather than a clean signal with a crude overlay of chorus.
That’s what sets the M234 apart from cheap chorus pedals, and even many not-so-cheap ones.
Both Eddie Van Halen and Slash use MXR M234 chorus pedals. So do the masked ghouls of Ghost, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, and Paul Barker of Puscifer and Pigface.
MXR M234 Features
Improved Bucket Brigade circuitry gives the MXR M234 that authentic classic chorus tone. In typical MXR fashion, the circuitry is all high-grade with an impressive tone buffer.
Moreover, there are two output jacks, which means you can get a stereo effect with two amplifiers or effects chains. Also, you can feed it the signal from an effects loop.
Surrounding it all, there’s a rugged metal casing with an elegant blue sparkle finish. The footswitch and controls are also sturdy yet responsive.
The LOW and HIGH knobs control the cutoff frequency of a low-cut filter and a high-cut filter respectively. In other words, they determine how bright or dark the tone is.
LEVEL sets the balance between the effect and the clean signal.
RATE controls how fast the effect sweeps.
DEPTH determines how far the modulation drifts or detunes from the clean tone.
- Size: 4.5 x 5.5 x 4.5 inches
- Weight: 13.4 ounces
- Input Impedance: 1 Megaohm
- Output Impedance 1 Kilohm
- Noise Floor: -96 dBV ( -106 when bypassed)
- Bypass: Buffered
- Powering options: 9-volt battery or DC adapter (not included)
For more information, check out the user manual.
Is an MXR M234 Analog Chorus the Best Chorus Pedal for You?
It’s transparent, versatile, and smooth as butter. You can use it to thicken and lightly color your tone or create intense, mind-bending soundscapes. It’s a high-quality pedal in terms of both sound and hardware, and it comes at a reasonable price.
Therefore, the M234 Chorus can do a great job on every guitarist’s pedalboard. In fewer words, it’s highly recommended.
That’s the conclusion of this MXR M234 Analog Chorus guitar pedal review. Stay tuned for more guitar pedal reviews.