I have a boss ce1 and Ive noticed a few things.
I’m connecting a Prophet 5 to the input which I have to keep really low because it will overdrive.
I noticed that when using it in stereo chorus mode the right side is lower in volume than the left side. I have to compensate on my preamp to match them but even when matched it doesnt sound equal in volume. I can also hear how one side is darker than the other.
I’d like to know if this is normal operation or if I should send this in for servicing.
Any help is appreciated thanks!
I don’t mean to insult you if you know this already, but the CE-1 makes “stereo” by having one side be dry and the other side be just modulation (chorus). Is it the “dry” side or the “effected” side that’s lower in level?
You say that you need to keep the input level really low to keep the preamp in the CE-1 from clipping. Is that even with the Level Selector switch at the LOW setting?
It’s possible that your CE-1 is operating normally, but I would have to experiment before I would be able to confirm that. When both outputs are plugged into preamp channels (I assume this is going into a recording interface), does adjusting the Input Level control on the CE-1 affect the level on BOTH outputs or just one?
It’s also possible that someone modded your CE-1 for true bypass or by swapping out the Input Level pot for a different value, which is a common mod for guitar players to raise the input impedance to better match guitar levels.
If you can answer the questions above, I’m sure I or anyone else reading this can help troubleshoot with you. I will check back later and see if you responded.
In the meantime, you can skip using the two outputs of the CE-1 and use a DI box with a pass-through jack so you go Prophet to DI box, XLR from DI box to recording interface/preamp and Parallel 1/4" output of the DI box to the CE-1 input and send a single mono output from the CE-1 to a DI box to your preamp/interface. Unlike using the two outputs of the CE-1, though, this will give you 100% dry on the split channel and wet mixed with dry on the channel coming from the CE-1.
To get the same 100% Wet/Dry effect as using the two outs of the CE-1, plug a cable into the second output of the CE-1 (you’d have to check to see that it’s the output that has only the DRY signal when engaged) and leave the other end of that cable unplugged - you’re just using it as a dummy to engage the internal switch on the output jack of the CE-1 that blends the Wet and Dry together when only one output is used.
Thanks for the reply.
The input switch selector is on the low position and I have the input gain knob around 25%.
When both outputs are in use the left output is the dry signal and the right is modulated.
The input knob affects both output levels.
What I noticed is the left output (dry) sounds fine but the right modulated output sounds dull (loss of treble) and has a bit of noise. When I tried to match the gain visually on my pre to have both output signals leveled it sounds like the stereo field is off.
Loss of treble and noisy is exactly what you expect with early analog BBD chorus circuits. That’s par for the course. That’s just the way they were and that loss of treble is what some people call “warm” and that’s what makes the CE-1 something that people fetishize. I would say that your CE-1 is operating as intended.
As far as matching the gains on each channel, as a recording engineer for 35 years, my advice is always to adjust with your ears and not with your eyes. If you can get the balance to sound right to your ears by adjusting the preamp/recording interface gains, then don’t worry about what the waveform looks like on the screen. Ultimately, your ears are all that will matter.
One more thing to keep in mind is that when you record something that does stereo this way, the dry channel will always seem to be closer to you and the chorused channel, even if it wasn’t duller in the top-end, would sound further away because it’s being delayed by 15-30ms or so. It’s a pycho-acoustic effect. If that’s not the effect that you want, there are other tricks you can do to make a hugely-wide stereo spread which would not disappear in mono.
Simplest would be to doubletrack the Prophet part (actually play it twice) and pan them opposite each other.
You can also record the dry synth part to one track and keep it up the center in mono, but send that track back out of your DAW into the CE-1 and record the wet output of the CE-1 to one track, panning that 100% right and then repeat that same process, recording to another track and panning that 100% left. You will have the solid tone of the dry synth holding down the fort up the middle and the “warm” swirl of the chorus happening way out to the sides and out of sync with each other, modulation-wise. I love that trick. It will stay focused and balanced between the left and right.
By the way, if you think the Roland BBD chorus circuit is noisy, you should try an original Electro-Harmonix Clone Theory! Great sounding chorus as long as you don’t mind the sound of a snake hissing in the background all the time! Ha!