I know, I know, many of you will disagree with me but for me, chorus isn’t outdated. Though it reached the peak of its popularity back in ‘80s and many musicians don’t even look its way anymore, it still hasn’t lost its loyal customers (a.k.a. me). With that being said, some of its characteristics might be starting to sound a bit old, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop utilizing this effect. We simply have to reinvent and renew it, so that the pieces we create aren’t reminiscent of vintage times. That’s exactly why it is a great idea to pair this effect with a bass guitar. You might be surprised to see this combination, but trust me, chorus adds everything that this instrument lacks. It brings back shimmer in its sound while still accentuating the lower frequencies. Remember, investing in a bass dedicated chorus is crucial here – you don’t want that bottom-end to thin out and lose all of its qualities – do you? I have the perfect contender for you: M83. It’s part of MXR’s Bass Innovations line, which has brought out countless magnificent products for the bassists and this one isn’t an exception by any means. It has many useful features, and some unique touches that will surprise you pleasantly. Continue reading and you’ll find all the information you were looking for. It’s time to begin!
It goes without saying that MXR designed M83 with all the peculiarities of bass guitar. They have incorporated everything you’ll need in order to create the most distinctive and expressive chorus. I know you want to know how they did that, but before jumping into that subject, I want to give you a basic outline of the things that are happening in the circuitry.
It’s worth noting that this fella is an analog stompbox with those good ol’ Bucket Brigade chips. Such a circuit is considered to deliver the most organic sound while adding effect to all the necessary parts of the spectrum. It makes sure your original signal doesn’t lose its qualities in the process and chorus is blended with precision. Now that you know the character of this pedal, I’ll gladly inform you that it has several unique features. The first one is definitely X-Over mode. It decreases modulation to 100Hz, which means that chorus will be accentuated on mid and high frequencies. This way your sound won’t get overpowered by the effect and keep its original ‘bassy’ vibes. The second one is an internal switch that allows you to choose between Mono and TRS bypass. The former is self-explanatory, while the latter makes it possible to bisect the signal and send it to two different amplifiers. Additionally, M83 employs Constant Headroom Technology (CHT) that will give you plenty of headroom and keep your signal clean all the time. To diversify your possibilities even more, it operates in Chorus and Flanger modes. Powering options include a single 9V battery and an adapter. Needless to say that this pedal has wonderful build quality and the design that pleases the eye. To be honest, it manages to satisfy your ears, soul and body all at the same time. What can be better than that?
When all the features transfer themselves in the control section – that’s when you know you’re dealing with something powerful. More often than not, we see pedals that offer an abundance of properties, but only bring a couple of knobs to the surface. They usually lack control and leave you wishing for something else. Lucky for us, that’s not the case with M83. It has the perfect amount of encoders and switches that are the exact translation of the provided features. And I think that’s what makes this pedal so intuitive.
The first encoder you’ll encounter on the control panel is Bass. It alters the amount of low-end that is attenuated or amplified. The second one is Treble, which does the same thing for higher frequencies. Between these two you’ll find X-Over and Flanger buttons. The former activates the X-Over mode and applies modulation to 100Hz and below, while the latter triggers Flanger mode. In the second row you’ll see Intensity: it changes the amount of chorus (in chorus mode) and alters regeneration (in flanger mode). Rate modifies the speed, while Width adjusts the range of modulation sweeps. There’s one more switch underneath the hood: it lets you choose between TRS and Mono bypasses.
If you’re still having doubts about M83, the control section will definitely convince you to get your hands on it right away. This puppy has pronounced sound even at the lower settings. It adds dimensional character of chorus to your low-end, and submerges you in a spatial, expansive haze. Dedicated Bass and Treble knobs enable you to accentuate either of these frequencies and create a sound that has well-structured body. X-Over is a wonderful feature as it accentuates the qualities of chorus even more and focuses it on mid and high frequencies. M83 might lose some of its volume in live settings, but it is perfect for studio application. One of the best things about this pedal is Flanger mode. It quickly adds warble to your bass and delivers something utterly unique. Routing the stompbox to two separate amps will yield a dimensional sound that bounces from one to the other. This once again will enhance the feeling of spaciousness and drown you in that other-worldly experience.
I’m having a hard time finding the right words to express the full scope of potential MXR M83 carries. It is one of the best members of bass dedicated pedals and shows off all the virtues of the brand. I love the fact that it has some unique features that you won’t encounter that often. After all, we don’t want to own a bunch of stompboxes that are virtually the same. This little baby will be an amazing addition to your chain – no matter how you choose to use it. Keep in mind that it will show its character better in studio so consider that specific application. Good luck!
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