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Chase Bliss Audio Surprises Nearly Everyone with 'Not-The-Blooper' MOOD Micro Looper!

Chase Bliss AudioDelayDigital DelayDigital ReverbDrolo EffectsEchoverbGlitchGranular DelayLooperModulationOddball DelayOld Blood Noise EndeavorsReverbSpacey ReverbTape DelayUtility+-
2019GPXChaseBlissMood700-min.jpg

As many commentators have noted - we were well aware that Chase Bliss Audio had an Overdub Looper in the works along with their forthcoming Benson Amps Automatone PreAmp MKII collaboration. What most of us did not know is that Joel was busy working with David Rolo and Old Blood Noise Endeavors on a sort of companion pedal or different take on the Blooper looper.

 

As is Chase Bliss’s way now - this was all launched today with much fanfare - with product already shipped and available in world-wide distribution - which is kind of phenomenal. Most of us have been watching the development of the Blooper and were quietly contemplating exactly what format that would end up in.

 

So we’re mostly sort of stunned to see that Chase Bliss have their Not-the-Blooper Looper already fully formed and out there. I’ve been spending some significant time as usual in trying to understand what this pedal is, what it does, and whom it is likely to appeal to. As is generally the rule - if you don’t get what the fuss is about then this is not your next pedal.

 

If however you are an experimental player who is accustomed to using granular delays and micro loopers - and modulating the signal with secondary effects - then this should be right down your alley. You have the usual parameter bounce functions available via the dip-switches - which will give you some truly next level capabilities here, but superficially at least the pedal is quite straightforward, and seems more easier to pick up on than where the Blooper is currently at.

 

The overall topology is not too different to the Dark World - in that you have a dual channel effects processor - and you can use each side independently or in combination. The starting point is probably the MODE switch where you essentially select the signal path:

  • Input Only
  • Input + Looper
  • Looper Only

For the third effect you would obviously be tweaking a captured sample from a previous input and applying different characteristics to that.


The footswitches are very straight forward in that they each activate or bypass their respective channel.

 

I don’t mean to go into too much detail in this post - you can refer to the excellent manual for that. This is really just to get a basic grounding in what this pedal covers.


Right Channel = Always-Listening Micro-Looper Side - designed by David Rolo of Drolo Effects

Those familiar with micro-loopers and granular synthesizers will know how this likely works - in that the pedal will always be picking up input signal even in bypass mode - and depending on Mode selected. This can result in additional noise artefacts in the signal chain or tone-suck - so use the 'Looper Only' mode switch as a sort of mute for that I would guess (I so similar on other Micro Loopers - including the Drolo Molecular Disruptor).

 

There are 3 modes on each side, for the Looper we have:

  • Envelope - Dynamically interrupt your loop with momentary stutters, time-stretching and frozen notes. LENGTH sets the size of the sizes to be looped, while MODIFY sets the Sensitivity of the trigger
  • Tape - Slice your loop into Grains - LENGHT, and then use MODIFY to set speed and direction of loop from CCW - rev 4x | rev 2x | rev 1x | rev 0.5x | fwd 0.5x | fwd 1x | fwd 2x | fwd 4x
  • Stretch - This time-stretches the loop with LENGTH the portion / amount of loop that gets stretched and MODIFY sets the degree or amount of stretch

Left Channel = Live Spacial Effects - designed by Old Blood Norse Endeavors

Here we have 3 ambient Delay/Reverb effects which add further texture and dimension to your input signal and loops.

  • Reverb - Rather a cluster of smearable delay taps - covering essential reverb, multi-tap delay and comb filtering. TIME adjusts time of delay taps, MODIFY controls the degree of smear - from clean repeats to washes
  • Delay - This is a looping delay designed specifically to work with the CLOCK knob - producing different harmonies at different CLOCK settings. TIME is delay time, while MODIFY controls the feedback of the looping delay.
  • Slip - This is a buffer with adjustable playback head (another sort of looper really) - where TIME sets the length of the Buffer, and MODIFY sets the Buffer playback speed and direction (Half-speed to double-speed in either direction)

CLOCK Knob

This is the global control for both channels - controlling recording and playback per Sample Rate set. The CLOCK knob is also used for the Left Channel 'Delay' where the frequency values correspond to timing intervals as I have indicated in my visual above - or 64k = .5s, 48k = .75s, 32k = 1s, 24k = 1.5s, 16k = 2s, 12k = 3s, 8k = 4s, 6k = 6s, 4k= 8s, 3k = 12s, 2k = 16s.


References and Final Thoughts

I've read that for some players this will be their first ever Chase Bliss Audio pedal - I guess those principally interested in micro-looping and granular synthesis. This MOOD pedal has the advantage over most of its competitors in having 2 onboard presets - which are kind of essential for this sort of thing - along with all the extended Midi parameters.

 

This pedal is obviously typically mono as with all other Chase Bliss Audio effects - which limits its use in my stereo chain to a degree - so it is immediately in the 'nice-to-have' versus 'essentials' category for me. That said I do have the Montreal Assembly Count to Five and this is not on altogether dissimilar lines to that (with more besides) - so it's definitely a contender for my Glitch category.

 

Chase Bliss Audio is maturing nicely as a brand - and this is its second foray into digital effects on the heels of its Dark World Reverb - also a collaboration between Joel and two other pedal builders (Cooper FX and Keeley). There are still Chase Bliss aficionados who buy every pedal, but I feel that Joel is attracting a broader demographic now which is interested in different parts of the range. There also seems to be a concerted move away from the bread-and-butter analog modulation pedals for which Chase Bliss Audio initially carved out its reputation.

 

The MOOD is a pedal that requires a certain degree of patience and a willingness to experiment and try new and different things. Certain players will love the exact combination of what it delivers - but it will take many more a while to get into the swing of things - so expect fairly rapid take-up, but probably some degree of abandonment later on for those who lack the discipline to persevere.

 

I am certainly intrigued - this would be my 8th glitch pedal if acquired (and 7th CBA one) - but I'm still mulling over if it's the right one for me - or if perhaps the Blooper would be more my sort of thing. I of course love the form factor as always, but still desire some sort of stereo output (TRS!) and input even, as well as a few more onboard presets wouldn't go amiss.

 

Part of me was expecting more of the Automatone flush-styles button switches coming into play on these pedals, but besides what we've seen on the Blooper, this does not seem to be happening yet - would have thought it worthwhile swapping the toggles for those kinds of switches - but possibly there are reasons against that.

 

So it's a wait and see for me for now - I'm definitely intrigued - it's a definite maybe, but I'm not sure quite where this would sit on my wishlist priorities, and I might prefer the eventual Blooper - I really need to mull over this some more...

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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