Set sail with the Julia Chorus/Vibrato
I first picked up a guitar as a teenager at the very end of the 20th century. By the early 2000’s, grunge had become a parody of itself, nu-metal was taking over the airwaves and punk rock reigned supreme. As I built my collection of guitar gear, I wound up purchasing a Chorus pedal as it seemed like the thing to do. In honesty though, I never figured out how use it properly and quickly listed it on eBay. It was good timing too, because Chorus pretty much became the most despised effect on the planet at that point. A tonal faux pas like no other!
Skip past the rise and fall of pop punk, garage rock and good Coldplay songs to the current day, and Chorus is well in the midst of a resurgence. Guitarists like myself have come to appreciate the sounds of the 80's and have ditched the mid scooped distortion for sounds that delve into more subtle and ambient realms. Riding this Chorus wave from the murky depths is Walrus Audio with their mythical Julia Chorus/Vibrato. A new and exciting take on an effect we had all but left to drown.
Don’t bore us, get to the Chorus!
To simply call the Julia a Chorus pedal is to sell it somewhat short. What you get here is multiple flavours of both Chorus and Vibrato and a whole lot of weirdness in between. As you’d expect, the Julia allows you to dial in those typical 80s Chorus tones for the rare occasions you think you can pull off ‘Message in a Bottle’, even though you probably can’t. For this, the Julia is as lush as being ensconced in velvet. Crank the Mix control past 12 o’clock and you begin to venture into the warbly depths of vibrato. Form slow moving pitch modulation to faster, rhythmic vibe, a quick turn of that Mix knob will see you traversing waters you thought never existed.
Pledge allegiance to the Lag
The real genius of the Julia though is the Lag control. Without getting bogged down in technical jargon, the Lag control lets you shift the timing of the centre delay that the LFO modulates from, delivering a slew of interesting sounds not commonly available in standard Chorus pedals. At very low Lag settings, you get a subtle but shimmering sound that to my ears, sits somewhere between phase and flange. In the middle, you’ll find the best spots for standard Chorus with a little extra flavour just either side of 12 o’clock. At max, you enter a deranged universe where only the bravest experimentalists and prog rock warlords dare tread. Godspeed to those of you who venture there!
Take back control
The Julia’s switchable waveform selection (between sine and triangle) helps to dial in the sounds you’re searching for. It’s particularly useful at higher depth settings to achieve pulsating rhythms that can get you pretty close to Leslie/Uni Vibe land. The flashing rate LED is a nice touch too and shines like a beacon, so you can stay the course in the most turbulent live performances. Lastly, Rate and Depth round things out for a suite of controls that serve up a smorgasbord without entering the mind bending territory of Chase Bliss’ Warped Vinyl.
Since those days of my youth, I never thought I’d see a Chorus pedal back on my board. But as the landscape of music changes and the social acceptance of modulation returns to the world of guitar, the Julia is a welcome addition and a whole lot of fun!
The Julia Chorus/Vibrato from Walrus Audio. 10/10 Ocean Explorers do recommend!
Written by Chris Strutt
Signal Chain Marketing Manager