Chase Bliss Wombtone
Since 2013 and thanks to their revolutionary Warped Vinyl pedal, Chase Bliss has made quite a name for themselves in the boutique pedal community. Named after owner Joel Korte's brother Chase, who was taken from this world too early. Chase's life philosophy was shaped by Joseph Campbell's mantra, “Follow your bliss.” To me, this means one should focus on the enjoyment of life, as everything we do in life is meant to lead to this enjoyment. The goal behind Chase Bliss is to give unprecedented control to original and creative analog designs. What does this mean for the end user? This means you get warm and lush analog sounds, with all the pedal's controls connected to a little digital brain. As a result, with control that rivals the top digital effects, your signal still stays completely analog. So a “best of both worlds” kind of situation, with none of the draw backs that can imply. All in an enclosure no bigger than a Boss pedal. Sounds too good to be true, but it sure isn't!
Just like the Warped Vinyl, the Chase Bliss Wombtone comes inside a silky cloth baggy with a drawstring, inside a nice looking wooden box. The difference is, the Wombtone's bag is a candy apple red color that matches that of the pedal, and the wooden box has a darker stain this time. Like the Warped Vinyl, the Wombtone has a very detailed set of instructions that go a long way in explaining the pedal. As well the Wombtone features and extensive and impressive control set. The controls include Ramp, Volume, Feed, Rate, Depth, and Form. There are four toggle switches, one for tap subdivisions, one for each the beginning and end of the wave form shape, and a three way preset toggle switch. The left and right shape toggle switches have three different settings. Left is sine, middle is triangle, and right for square waves. The Right shape toggle switch has the same settings, but in reverse order. The tap division toggle goes from 1, 2, and 4.
The bottom of the enclosure has a rectangle cut out to unveil 16 separate dip switch, numbered in two sets of 8. With a sticker that displays each one's function. One of these dip switches lets you switch the tap division toggle to 3-6-8. The 5 dip switches with the names of the controls choose whether each parameter will rise or fall with the Ramp, depending on setting. The Bounce dip control lets you decide whether you'd like the parameters to go back and forth or ramp and hold. The Stages dip lets you choose between 4 or 6 stage phaser. One of the dips can even turn the bypass switch to a momentary bypass setting. This allows you to only have the pedal engage when the switch is held down. As well, there's a tap tempo out and a separate expression pedal input jack. Topped off with a true bypass switch and a tap tempo switch. As I said before, all in a size no bigger than a Boss pedal! Volume sets the level of the effect, Depth is sort of a “width” control, and Rate controls the speed of the waveforms. Form controls the shape of the modulation waveform and Feed controls the amount of feedback on the phaser signal. Ramp is sort of the magic knob, as Chase Bliss says. This control can be set to control ramp up and down effects for and of the 5 other controls, selectable with some of the dip switches on the bottom.
Starting with the shape toggles set to sine, Ramp all the way down, Rate at 9:00, everything else at noon except the Depth which I have set at 11:00 I plug it in! 11:00 for the Depth is supposed to provide the most “vocal” phaser tones. I was greeted with a nice and warm slow phase, the sort of phaser sound I tend to prefer. Not too wild and not too subtle, very nice. From there I decided I wanted to increase the speed a little bit. This immediately made me want to play “Ain't Talking About Love” by Van Halen, very sweet indeed. Immediately after I decide I'd like to make this pedal go insane. For this segment, I will neglect to mention the exact settings I use, for the same reason I believe Chase Bliss did not list any suggested settings in the instructions. I believe it's because the joy in this thing is the experimentation. Just by a little tweaking and flipping of some of the toggles I was able to dial in the sound of just about any phaser I could possibly want. The Volume control has a lot of output on tap, to push your amp or provide a solo boost. I found the Feed control to be pretty amazing in it's own right, making the phaser as gritty or as clean as you could want. The Ramp control is truly magical, this is not just a “buzz word” either. It was very easy to dial in tons of psychedelic sounds that can blow the mind. I was even able to make the Ramp modulate the pedal in such a way that mimicked a tremolo sound. My favorite control is probably the Depth control, to me this is the “flavor” or “voicing” control. It really allows you to tailor the tone to sound like just about any popular phaser our there. The tap tempo worked very precisely, and was a welcome feature when I took this to some jam sessions. Preset saving was nice and simple, obviously a great feature to have. But keep in mind there are only two presets one can save, the center position is for where ever the knobs and dips are currently set. As great as this feature is, I find it unfortunate there is no ability to connect an external footswitch to go between presets. I suppose it's not such a big deal though, since so many features are crammed into such a small pedal. I really like this thing!
Final Verdict: 9/10
Just about the most lush phaser I've ever used, as well there are things this does that no other analog phaser will do. The only way I'd not recommend this is if you need an external preset footswitch or something simple. Not really a con, but I was surprised that there aren't more phaser stages one can dial in. That said, it's hard to dial in a bad sound on this thing! Interested? Feel free to ask us anything and get the best price possible by chatting with us at RogueGuitarShop.com.