Red Witch Empress Chorus review

Many choruses, one stompbox

  • £189
  • €229
  • $379
Red Witch's Empress Chorus is used by the likes of Andy Summers

MusicRadar Verdict

A full chorus line compacted into one box.

Pros

  • +

    Versatile chorus sounds. Great in stereo.

Cons

  • -

    Lacks a little warmth.

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Unlike most chorus pedals, the Empress has a (voice) knob to adjust the delay time, allowing, says New Zealand-based manufacturer Red Witch, "an infinite number of analogue chorus pedals in one box".

"You can choose between vibrato and chorus modes, with the former yielding vintage vibe sounds"

Modulation depth and speed (velocity knob) are adjustable, as is the wet/dry blend via the mix control. You can choose between vibrato and chorus modes, with the former yielding vintage vibe sounds, plus a neat line in rotary speakers, but it's the chorus that's special - sparkly, spacious and varied.

Early Boss units are the benchmarks here, and next to vintage CE-1 and CE-2 units the Empress lacks some of their warmth, with more of a 'modern' treble content, but is able to replicate the range of chorus available and then some.

It's especially good when hooked up in stereo - like mic'ing a JC-120's speakers separately and panning them. No wonder Andy Summers uses one. Great sound and versatility make this one of the best chorus pedals around.

Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.