Review: Vintage Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble

Boss CE-1 Chorus EnsembleThe Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble was the first chorus pedal that has been put on the market in the 1970s.
Originally, the wiring of this pedal has been integrated into the legendary Roland Jazz Chorus amplifier.

Enclosure and pots

The big enclosure of the CE-1 has a built-in power supply and therefore can be switched on by a power switch.
The left footswitch activates the pedal while the right one switches between chorus and vibrato (by hiding the dry signal).

The input signal can be controlled by the “high” and “low” setting of the input switch. “Level Control” adjusts the volume.

The chorus effect, speak the rate of the modulation can be set by the “Chorus Intensity” pot. In difference to many recent chorus pedals, the modulation is not uniformly but is always accompanied by some kind of drift. By this the CE-1 creates a quite vivid chorus sound.

With “depth” and “rate” you can adjust the depth and the rate of the modulation.

Modification yes or no?

A possible modification for the CE-1 is to make the “depth” pot usable for the chorus, too. By this mod the pedal becomes more flexible but it will also loose a part of its particular character.

Because of an input impedance that is not perfectly suitable for guitar sounds, the CE-1 has been modified pretty often. But by using a good buffer before the CE-1 you this modification will not be necessary anymore.

Stereo effects with the CE-1

The chorus becomes especially beautiful when you use the CE-1 as a stereo effect by using both outputs. By this, the sound will become three-dimensional and creates a gorgeous depth.
By the way, the chorus effect of the original Roland Jazz Chorus has always been stereo from both speakers.

The vintage pedal is pretty robust and will last for a long time.
Because of its unique chorus sound it is still in demand today.

The successor, the CE-2 also is pretty popular but it boosts the mids even more than the CE-1 does. For overdriven sounds this will be perfect while the original CE-1 is the ideal partner to create clean sounds.