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9 best chorus plugins

9 best chorus plugins - Arturia Jun 6, Valhalla, Waves and Audio Damage
| @ 16 Sounds music production blog

9 good Chrous effect plugins

In this article, we look at Chorus effect, some plugin examples, and how to use them.

What is Chorus effect

Chorus effect is the sound of 2 or more sources with close to the same pitch and time playing perceived as one. A choir or a string ensemble are examples of chorus effects. Not 2 instruments are played 100% alike but close enough to sound like one.

What is it used for

Chorus is used on any sound that benefits from the excitement it creates. It makes everything shine and sound bigger but should not be overused.
The amount of effect to use depends on taste and genre but today obvious chorus is not as modern as it has been.

Double tracking the same vocals several times for important lead parts is a widely used technique for making vocals sound bigger. Record the close-to-same performance more than once gives it a time and pitch variation that sounds more interesting but still as one.
Just copying the same vocal and time delay it only shifts the time and pitch but with no variation.

In digital math chorus is fairly easy to make compared to reverb.

Effects can be used in serial or parallel DAW setups:

  • Serial setup
    • Inserted instance on a single vocal or instrument channel as an important part of the sound
    • Only one audio path
    • You get more control over the sound of a single mix channel/source
  • Parallel setup
    • Send from a channel to a bus/group channel with a chorus plugin on using channel send
    • Two audio paths. The original sound and the chorus bus mixed in
    • Using one chorus for more tracks to send to save the CPU from multiple effect instances
    • It is common practice to set the plugins Mix parameter to 100% since you send to it from the channels and want full effects output


Some interesting Free and useful chorus plugins

Here are short descriptions of some good free plugins that work well in your DAW.

Arturia Jun 6 Chorus

Free Arturia Jun 6. A famous analog BBD chorusJun 6, Arturia's take on the famous BBD design..

The latest arrival on the chorus plugin scene is Arturia Jun 6 Chorus.
A famous analog BBD chorus design from '69. Originally built into the Roland Juno 60 Synthesizer from September 1982. It has the usual 3 modes but also added manual control for non-standard sound.

TAL Chorus LX

TAL Chorus LX - A Roland Juno 60 Synthesizer chorus model
TAL Chorus LX - A Juno 60 BBD model.

Like the Arturia Jun 6, this is also a Juno 60 modeled BBD chorus. Like Jun 6 it is free. It thas the 3 modes. Mode I, II, and both and a width button that really makes a difference.

The BBD design also comes as an authentic replica hardware guitar pedal from TC Electronics.

Valhalla Space Modulator

Valhalla Space Modulator Deep Chorus
The simpel Valhalla Space Modulator plugin is one of the free Valhalla plugins. 

This no fuzz plugin is good for chorus effects and it is free.
Simple preset selection of programming yourself and get on with it.

Valhalla Supermassive

Valhalla Supermassive used for chrous effects
Supermassive is another great free Valhalla DSP plugin.

Supermassive is one of the greates free delay- and modulation plugins out there.

Here is the payed plugins from out test

If you spend some money you get better and more versatile plugins and here is a list of the ones we have tested for this article.

Audio Damage QuatroMod

Audio Damage Quatromod chorus
A versatile and CPU friendly Audio Damage modulation plugin.
Probably one of the best chorus plugins.

This is a great modulation plugin, CPU friendly but good.

Native Instruments Choral

Native Instruments Mod Pack - Choral ChorusNI Choral plugin from the new Mod Pack

Choral is part of Komplete Mod Pack. A series of smaller quality stand-alone plugins.

A versatile series with all you really need in modulation effects from vintage, classic to modern.

Choral has 4 modes:

  • Universal
    • Modern digital sound
  • Synth
    • The famous 80´s unison chorus mode
  • Ensemble
    • BBD algorithms based on 70´s analog bucket brigade designs (BBD)
  • Dimension
    • The old classic Roland legend dimension 19" rack unit

SoundToys EchoBoy

SoundToys EchoBoy tape Chorus
SoundToys EchoBoy for high-end effects 

EchoBoy is probably the greatest and deepest echo processor but it is also a potent modulation effect processor.
It has extensive editing features for shaping the sound.
The plugin is not the lightest on the CPU and it has a short latency but still is one of our choices for a single "all you need plugin".


Valhalla Delay Modulation

Valhalla Delay for modulation and chorus effects
Valhalla Delay - an EchoBoy contester

Valhalla Delay is the latest high-end plugin competing with Sound Toys Edhoboy and has features that EchoBoys does not have.
With short times it does nice modulation effects for widening or giving more impact to vocals or instruments in the mix.



Waves H Delay

Waves H Delay Chorus
Waves H Delay plugin with modulation section

Waves H Delay is a $29 on sale echo plugin but it has a modulation section the in combination with a short time can be used as a modulation effect.

Experiment with low delay times and modulation for modulation effects.

Plugin CPU performance and latency

As shown in the performance image below, even chorus plugins has a wide range when it comes to CPU usage. Most of them have zero latency and 2 of them have latency. Ther are all ok but NI Choral is relatively heavier than the others but it also sounds good.

Chorus plugin performance and latencyVST performance from Reaper DAW.

Audio Damage QuatroMod and TAL Chorus (LX) has low CPU usage and are actually good sounding plugins.