The Behringer UC200 Ultra Chorus is a fantastic chorus pedal available for a fraction of the price of the Boss Super Chorus CH-1 it clones. If you’re looking for a classic analog chorus at a bargain price, the UC200 can’t be beaten. Check them out on Sweetwater here.
The JHS Bump
In the online guitar gear world, few companies divide opinion like Behringer. Some gearheads decry their unoriginality and plastic enclosures, others celebrate how they bring classic circuits to a wide audience.
Over the last few months, the tide of opinion has been more pro-Behringer than ever. In April 2019, Josh Scott of JHS Pedals posted a YouTube video about Behringer’s pedals, and ever since, their pedals have been hotly in demand.
(An aside: no pedal has benefited more from the JHS bump than the Behringer SF-300 Super Fuzz, which clones the Boss Hyper Fuzz FZ-2, which in turn clones the Univox Super Fuzz. At time of writing, at most online retailers the SF-300 is backordered for months and fetches 2-3x its typical price tag on the secondhand market).
According to the JHS video, the Behringer UC200 Ultra Chorus Pedal is a “dead on” clone of the Super Chorus CH-1 and has the same circuit. There is no Boss CH-1 in the Var Guitar Gear Closet, so I’ll be assessing the UC200 on its own merits.
Chorus: an introduction
Chorus is a simple effect. A chorus pedal creates new signals from your guitar sound, subtly alters their pitches, and slightly delays them. As a result, the guitar takes on a wide, shimmery sound. It’s a classic sound that has became synonymous with 80s-era guitar, and has been used (often excessively) on thousands of guitar recordings.
(Growing up, my favorite example of chorus was in the intro to The Mars Volta’s Eunuch Provocateur. Other great examples are Walking on the Moon by the Police and, naturally, Come as You Are by Nirvana).
The UC200 has the usual power options: it accepts a 9V battery or a Boss-style power supply. It has a mono in and two outputs, so it’s suitable for mono or stereo operation. It’s housed in a yellow plastic enclosure and has four knobs:
- level, which controls the mix of dry to wet signal;
- tone, which adds/removes high–end frequencies from the output;
- rate, which controls how fast the chorus sound “wobbles”; and
- depth, which changes the intensity of the “wobble”.
These controls cover the standard chorus parameters. You can go from a subtle, tasteful chorus tone, or you can completely overdo it and sound like you’re playing underwater. Chances are, the UC200 will amply meet your chorus needs.
Like other Behringer pedals (like the VD400 Analog Delay), the UC200 comes in a plastic enclosure, so if you’re a heavy stomper or otherwise prone to damaging pedals, it might not last you for long.
Some higher-end choruses have finer control over EQ (the Boss CE-5 has both high-band and low-band EQ), the modulation waveform (Walrus Julia), or change the modulation rate depending on picking dynamics (Fender Bubbler). This means that if you want something with deeper control, you might want to try a different pedal.
For the price the UC200 Ultra Chorus Pedal can be forgiven for its minor shortcomings. If you want a classic chorus sound at a bottom-shelf price, buy one now before the JHS brigade makes them hard to find.