Author Topic: Empress Effects Nebulus Modulation Pedal: Quest for the Best Chorus of All  (Read 164 times)

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Offline Rhcole

I recently went on a quest to find the best-sounding modulation pedal I could for my pedal board. I wanted to augment the Boss mod effects in the GP-10 and SY-300, which vary between poor (GP-10 Rotary) to outstanding (GP-10 Flanger) and everything in-between. In particular, I couldn't quite nail that 80's rack chorus sound that was used everywhere back in the day. I made several attempts on both the GP and SY but just never hit the mark.  I decided I wanted a brighter, more ringing multi-chorus sound and set out to find it.

I compared the Strymon Ola, the Digitech Nautilus, and a few other pedals. Earthquaker intrigued me with their Rainbow pedal which has an amazing chorus, but literally every other sound that the pedal makes appeared to be utterly useless to me. These comparisons DID inspire me to create a handful of strange and eccentric patches which a few poor souls on the SY-300 section were subjected to, but that's as far as it went.

Here is the quick rundown: The Strymon Ola is a superb chorus and vibrato pedal with lots of variance. The Strymon, unlike most other effects I checked out, had a TRUE multi-chorus like 80's racks: their multi has multiple LFOs and thus no obvious center frequency that you can detect. Listen to old Police and Rush recordings and notice how thick, complex and beautiful those old choruses sounded. Multi-choruses with varying waveforms were part of the trick.

However, listening to online resources, the Nebulus stood out as the most ringing and chimey chorus I heard, with the Digitech Nautilus a close second. In fact, the Nautilus at nearly half the price of the Nebulus almost won my vote. But, I went with what I considered to be the best, which was the Empress Nebulus. The Strymon Ola, while a wonderful product, just didn't sound quite as good to me.

The Nebulus has chorus, flange, Uni-vibe, vibrato, rotary, and tremelo/chorus effects. They all sound uniformly superb. The chorus is not, however, a true multi in that it only uses a single LFO, but I can modify that easily enough with my other pedals. The rotary is not overpowering unless you want it to be and it doesn't destroy your tone. Pay attention, Boss. BUT, there isn't an easy slow/fast option without using up the presets, which is a mistake in my opinion. The pedal has up to 8 presets that you can set. There  are various toggle switches for setting FX and modifying them. The pedal is compact and well-built.

The Nebulus cost $300 which is not cheap, but in the same range as the other high-end pedals. The chorus and flanger are the best I have heard from anybody, and I'm glad I chose it.