Strymon Ola dBucket Chorus & Vibrato Review
- 3 modes ; normal, envelope and ramp mode
- Favourite Switch (for saving your favourite sound)
- 3 types of modulation – Chorus, Multi and Vibrato
- Speed, Depth, Mix, Ramp/Env (Speed/Sens), and Tone controls
- Mono and True Stereo inputs and outputs
- True Bypass on/off switch
- 24 bit/ 96kHz DSP processor
- Deep Rich Blue colour
I have been using this pedal since 2012 as part of my live and studio pedal rig. I thought it was about time I reviewed it and let you know what I think.
If you are looking for a versitile chorus that has that classic analog vibe, look no further! yet it goes way beyond what other chorus pedals I have owned in the past were capable of.
Let’s talk about the 3 MODES first:
This is a standard chorus mode, the chorus sounds we are already with.
In this mode depending on the chorus type selected, the chorus speeds up as you play guitar harder, so it is in effect a kind of dynamic chorus. It can also make the chorus slow down as you play harder depending on the chorus type. This makes it excellent for emulating a leslie speaker effect, especially when set up in stereo.
In this mode you hold the bypass switch and the chorus sound slowly fades in, this is really nice on long sustained chords when you don’t want the chorus to be too obvious and in your face. I find this mode most useful in live situations.
now onto the three different TYPES of chorus:
according to Strymon, this mode is a traditional single delay line, using a logarithmic LFO (low frequency oscillator). In this mode you can get an analog bucket brigade style classic chorused sound, from slow and deep to fast and pulsating. By adjusting the ‘tone’ knob it behaves like an EQ, at the left turning down treble and brighter sounding to the right, only effecting the wet signal. The speed and depth knob adjust the LFO in this mode only.
This mode uses three seperate LFO’s, so it is a tri-chorus. This gives a rich and 3D sound perfect for the studio. It is a lot more noticable in true stereo. To my ears this gives an effect closest to a traditional studio rack style chorus and it works well for re-amping mono tracks which you can then make stereo during mixing.
This mode is different and probably the least subtle of them all. You can get guitar tones similar to Hendrix’s ‘Dolly Dagger’ and ‘Hey Baby (New Rising Sun).’
My favourite setting in this mode is with the speed set to its slowest setting, creating a deliberately out of tune but thick vintage sounding vibrato. When used in ‘ramp’ mode you can get some interesting synth like vibrato sounds, either on chords or notes when playing lead guitar.
One of the most appealing features of the Strymon Ola for me was the extra envelope and ramp modes. This is what sets it apart from others, as well as the favourite switch for storing your favourite settings, meaning you can easily switch between two different chorus sounds. In summary then it has all the features of the best analog chorus pedals whilst re-creating their colour and tone, but the innovative modes, true stereo features and 24 bit / 96kHz DSP make it perfect for the 21st century.
written by Ben Tyreman – 27/06/2017.