This Chorus Goes to Eleven

AVID’S ELEVEN RACK, A GUITARfriendly computer interface for Pro Tools LE as well as a live performance rack unit, has gotten a lot of attention since its introduction.
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Fig. 1: The basic program. The effects in the Mod, FX1, and FX2 slots are enabled; everything else is bypassed. Note the Vibrato settings in the Chorus Vibrato effect, and how the rate is synched to tempo.


AVID’S ELEVEN RACK, A GUITAR friendly computer interface for Pro Tools LE as well as a live performance rack unit, has gotten a lot of attention since its introduction. But what some people may not realize is that there are novel ways to combine effects that aren’t obvious at first. For example, the stock chorus sounds like—well, a stock chorus that’s optimized for standard chorus speeds. However, I didn’t want stock, but a much slower, more swirling/randomized chorus sound with a bright “acoustic guitar” tone. While I couldn’t coax this out of the existing chorus, taking a different approach gave exactly what I wanted. (Note that this concept applies to other guitar effects devices, not just Eleven Rack.)

The secret is using a somewhat unconventional order of effects (Figure 1): first Mod, set to C1 Chorus/Vibrato with Vibrato selected; then FX1, also set to C1 Chorus/ Vibrato with Vibrato selected; and finally FX2, set to Graphic EQ. With this program, for the cleanest sound, all other effects (and the amp/cabinet) are bypassed.

As the stock Vibrato Rate control doesn’t go slow enough for my purposes, I synched both vibrato rates to tempo, with the Mod Vibrato set to dotted-half-note sync and the FX1 Vibrato set to whole-note sync. To obtain a more animated, swirling sound, it’s important that they not sync to the same note value. Depth for both vibrato effects is set between two-thirds and three-quarters of the way up.

Fig. 2: The Graphic EQ (FX2) settings used for this program. This is optimized for dry guitar going through a flat system, so if you end up using an amp, you’d likely need to change the settings.


Adjust the Graphic EQ to taste. Figure 2 shows the settings I used for a bridge-plusneck humbucker setting, which provides a bright, present sound, and reduces some of the “meat” by pulling back at 370Hz and 800Hz.

When you check out the audio example (see the More Online box)—the first part uses the stock chorus and the second part plays through my custom program—you’ll definitely hear the difference. What’s more, the patch itself is available online, so you can load the same sound into your own Eleven Rack. Have fun, and don’t forget to tweak the Graphic EQ for a tone that fits your particular ax and playing style.