We round out our review of the LR Baggs Align Series pedals with three more video demos from guitarist Matt O’Ree: the Align Chorus, Delay and Active DI pedals. You can read the full reviews of the Delay and Chorus by guitarist Mike McKernan here and the Active DI review by Matt O’Ree here.
Align Series Active DI
Their new Active DI is another leap forward from their long-standing Para DI including a ground lift, phase reversal switch and pad. There are several improvements and upgrades from the Para DI, including a handy mute switch so you can safely unplug and change guitars without the sound guy yelling at you. The Active DI features a ¼” and XLR out so you can run one to an amp and one to the PA, or just use one output. Street price: $159
Align Series Chorus
The LR Baggs Chorus creates depth and texture without the periodic “cycling” associated with chorus and other modulation effects. Of the four controls, Volume controls overall (wet plus dry) level, Tone affects the wet signal only, the Chorus knob controls the amount of affected signal mixed with the dry, and Size controls the “depth”.
By tweaking the Chorus and Size knobs you’ll find a wide range of textures ranging from subtle to spacey. You can get an over-the-top effect if you want, but with acoustic instruments most of us prefer delicacy, and that’s what this chorus is meant to deliver.
I found a potential “always on” setting that may make this pedal worth the price of admission all by itself. With Volume, Tone and Size all at noon and the Chorus knob at 8 or 9 o’clock, I got nicely understated 3D-like depth. More than one person mentioned how great my guitar sounded. To me, it was reminiscent of very high-end acoustics I’ve heard and mentally put on my “if I ever hit the lottery” list. That’s not a bad “secret weapon” in my book. Street price: $179
Align Series Delay
Like the Chorus, The Align Series Delay is not designed for the craziness that might be desired by an electric player. In using it on two gigs, I was able to recreate the old studio trick where a delay that seems obvious on a soloed track is imperceptible in the mix… until you turn it off and notice something suddenly missing.
The four-knob form factor is much like the Chorus, but with added “tap” and “div” buttons as well as a tap tempo input (more on these later). As on the chorus, the Tone knob affects only the wet signal. Rather than a Speed or Rate control, the pedal has a Time control which works in the opposite direction… turning clockwise increases the time between repeats, effectively decreasing the rate.
The Repeats knob controls the number of repeats added and the Delay knob controls the amount of wet (delayed) signal added to the dry. This might seem confusing at first to those who have used pedals where “delay” refers to the time spacing between repeats, and where a “feedback” knob controls the number of repeats.
An LED continually blinks to display the delay frequency, but the Time knob is not the only way to set this rate. The “tap” button lets you manually tap the button in time, a feature often used to sync delays to a song’s tempo or for guitar runs where the delayed signal harmonizes with the dry. If you plan to explore this in live performances, you’ll want to invest in an external tap tempo footswitch (connected via a quarter-inch jack at the pedal’s back). If you want to explore more ambitious use of delay, the “div” button delays signals per dotted eighth notes rather than in sync with the blinking LED, so notes and chords will appear between the notes you’re playing (ala “slapback echo” used in some rockabilly recordings). Street price: $179
Subscribe to Matt O’Ree’s Geartorial YouTube page here for gear demos, performance videos and music featuring Bruce Springsteen, members of Bon Jovi and more.