Do you crave shimmering textures and sensuous motion in your clean tones? It sounds like you could really use a chorus/vibrato pedal and quickly! While the market for boutique wobble boxes is almost as saturated (pun intended) as the Big Muff clone corner, there are several companies offering unique takes on this effect that push musicality as hard as sound quality.
Walrus Audio has a hard-won reputation for delivering the goods in both these areas with an inspiring range of USA-made pedals that covers a lot of sonic territory. Its own chorus/vibrato unit – The Julia – is an established favourite, and here we see it updated in a more pedalboard-friendly format with new graphics and for the first time, the Walrus Audio logo recessed into the bottom of the pedal.
The fully analogue heart of the Julia V2 beats with hand-wired circuitry offering the customary rate and depth controls as well as a mini-toggle between sine and triangle LFO waveforms and a D-C-V knob which travels smoothly from dry to chorus, and then vibrato. The final secret weapon is a lag knob, which lets you control the centre delay time that the LFO effect modulates from, for immediate exploration of more unusual textures.
As with all Walrus Audio pedals we’ve seen, the build quality is excellent and bodes well for the sounds to come.
With its top-mounted jacks, the Julia V2 fits beautifully on our pedalboard and the soft switch bypassing means that engaging the pedal is pop-free. We begin with the sine wave setting and gradually blend the effect into our signal.
We’ve come to expect exceptional sound quality from Walrus Audio and the Julia V2 does not disappoint. The chorus effect is smooth and subtle to begin with and that musicality persists even in more extreme settings. It’s an organic-sounding chorus with no hint of the wateriness that can become a problem especially in lesser units.
As expected, the triangle waveform is less subtle but still of very high quality. Reminiscent of a vintage EHX Small Clone, it’s ragged around the edges in a good way, but as we move into the vibrato section it veers towards less usable waters – especially as we increase the depth.
The lag knob is particularly interesting on both waveforms, taking you from tight, hi-fi textures to all-out psychonautic throbbing. This may be a little too much for some players, but it’s certainly there if you need it!
Another useful touch is the second LED, which gives a constant flashing indication of the current rate of chorus and/or vibrato, making sure you don’t shimmer when you should be wobbling.
Overall, there’s more versatility on offer here than with the average chorus box and the Julia V2 handles that classic texture as well as anything else we have heard. There is a point where any chorus effect goes from delicious to obnoxious, but we struggle to find it here – especially as the blend knob effectively maintains clarity of attack while you explore more heavily modulated textures.
- PRICE £179
- DESCRIPTION Analogue chorus/vibrato pedal, made in the USA
- CONTROLS Rate, depth, lag, dry, chorus/vibrato blend knobs, sine/triangle LFO waveform mini-toggle switch
- FEATURES Soft switch bypassing, rate LED, on/off LED
- DIMENSIONS 64 x 52 x 120mm
- CONTACT face.be, walrusaudio.com