As a child of the 1960s and growing up a guitar player in the 1970s, I got to see the birth of real innovation during that period. It was a time when tube guitar amplifiers dominated the landscape, with Marshall and Fender being the kings, but of course a new up and coming little company called Mesa were starting to have an impact too.
My first professional guitar amplifier however was a Roland JC120. Most of my musician friends frowned upon my choice as it was not a tube amplifier, just 120 watts of pure transistor power. The Roland JC120, released in 1975, had one incredible trick up it’s sleeve however, a new effect called Chorus. For me, clean guitar tone changed forever on that day, and I have loved that sound ever since.
Many bands in the late 1970s and early 1980s relied heavily on the chorus effect, either with the JC120 amplifier or with the Boss CE-1 pedal which was released in 1976 and using the same circuits from the JC120 amplifier. It was a sound I loved from the time I first heard it, and while it may have gone out of favour over the years, there is still a place for the chorus effect in modern music.
About the 112dB Mikron Chorus
I have tried so many hardware and software based chorus effects over the years, but none of them ever satisfied my chorus craving. Maybe I am remembering the chorus effect on my JC120 through rose coloured glasses, but nothing I have ever heard since has sounded as good. I then stumbled upon the 112dB Mikron Chorus, a VST plugin for US$39.
The 112dB Mikron Chorus is based on the Chorus effect originally found in the Roland Juno-6 keyboard, released back in 1982. The chorus effect of the Juno-6 had two settings, and the Mikron Chorus replicates both of them here. I am not sure what Roland based the Juno’s chorus effects on, but to my ears it sounds just like I remember my Roland JC120 sounding like. Heaven!
The 112dB Mikron Chorus ships with several presets, as follows:
- Juno 1
- Juno 2
- New Sound
- Piano Bar
- Stereo Flange
- Thru Zero
- Vibe 67
The first two Juno based presets are just that, replications of the Juno-6 keyboards two built in chorus presets and they both sound excellent. Juno 2 is certainly more pronounced than Juno 1, but both are equally useful. I did however tend to favour the Juno 2 preset, although once I got down to mixing I may just use the slightly less pronounced Juno 1, but time will tell.
The New Sound preset is a lovely sounding chorus with less obvious de-tuning, and I think it is aimed at being a more modern take on the chorus effect. I can see this preset being used where a more subtle effect is required, particularly in a mix.
As you can see from the list of included presets, the 112dB Mikron Chorus does venture into the territory of flanging too, and it does a pretty good job of it. For me however, flanging is just too much of a good thing and I rarely ever use it. But if you are after a good flanger it can do the that job too.
The perfect Chorus plugin
Everyone’s idea of a perfect anything varies widely and no doubt some will find the 112dB Mikron Chorus lacking features. Certainly when compared to other chorus effects such as the D16 Group Syntorus2 (an excellent Chorus in it’s own right) which offers so much more tweakability.
For me though, Chorus was never a complicated effect to use. Depth and Rate are all that is needed in my view. I think this has been the problem with so many chorus effects since the birth of the JC120, everyone has tried to make it more than it needs to be. Thankfully, 112dB have stuck to the basics and offered us a simple to use effect that truly delivers the goods. Yes they have added both a time and feedback control so you can get adventurous with it if you wish.
Blind Freddy can see I love this plugin. The 112dB Mikron Chorus is the chorus effect I have been looking for, for so many years now. There is no denying it’s sound quality and it’s ability to replicate the glory days of chorusing. I can not make the judgement of whether or not they have nailed it, as I do not have a Roland JC120 on hand to compare it with.
The 112dB makes a little bell go off in my head that takes me right back to the late 1970s when I first got my Roland JC120, and the first time I played my 1960 Candy Apple Red Stratocaster through it, pure magic! Thank you 112dB, job well done! (Please listen to the samples through good speakers or headphones and not through your computer spoeakers)