First Listen: Chase Bliss Audio Condor
The Chase Bliss Audio Condor is a fantastic new pedal that gives us the ability to shape the necessary frequencies for our source to sit as it should within a mix. On the front panel it reads, “Condor, Analog EQ / Pre / Filter” and it is absolutely just that, but it’s what you do with it that makes it unlike any other tone shaping device out there.
Watch below to see Vintage King's Dustin McLaughlin put the Chase Bliss Audio to the test and continue on afterward for more thoughts on the pedal.
The Condor features a parametric style Bass and Mids control that cuts or boosts said frequencies. So when the knobs are at noon, nothing is affected. Move the Bass to the right and you can add up to 12dB of low end. Turn it to the left to remove any mud you might have in your dry signal. Same applies to the Mids control. This will boost or cut frequencies up to 20dB. The Mids control works in tandem with the Freq dial, which sets the frequency to boost or cut.
Low Pass Filter And Toggle Switches
Implementing the LPF toggle switch is what sets the style of the low pass filter. To the left is a gentle low pass filter, similar to a “Tone” control on a guitar pedal. The middle is a two-pole with a much wider sweep. To the right is another two-pole, but with added resonance.
This is probably the smoothest analog filter sweep I’ve ever heard in a guitar pedal. Exploring the toggle switches within the Mids and Bass sections gives you an extremely wide range of tones. It handles everything from tackling a dull signal to adding some fatness and sparkle to your sound and even cuts all the lows for an AM radio effect.
The Gain dial can thrust your signal up to 20dB of clean boost or blend it with your Volume control for a little color. When engaging the Drive footswitch, now you have a dirty signal resting on top of your dry tone. It states in the Condor manual that this was designed to stack with other drive pedals, but it really does sound killer on its own. The sound is very similar to the B side of the Chase Bliss Brothers.
With the Bass and Mids at noon, the LPF all the way clockwise, the Volume around two o’clock and the switch in the middle, you have a completely transparent tone between your wet and dry signal. Try it out, it’s pretty remarkable. That’s a good point to start from and then you can begin tweaking and shaping from there.
Dipswitch Grid / Expression Control
What sets this pedal apart from any other EQ on the market is its expression control and the way you can modulate these frequencies to have a very iconic sound. Bouncing and sweeping the Freq control was probably my favorite discovery of the Condor. Very chorus-y/Univibe-esque.
From there, I thought, “If I sweep the Volume control, will that give me a tremolo?” You bet your butt it will! A really good one too! Syncing the LPF up to an expression pedal seems like an obvious move, but still a fun one. What really impressed me was linking it up to the Drive/Hold switch and being able to trigger the start and stop in a momentary click.
Digital brain, analog Heart has been the ethos of Chase Bliss since day one. Everything that you are hearing sonically is all analog signal path. The crazy expression control, MIDI, presets and the gears shifting things around is the power of digital. I can’t stress enough that this is the Chase Bliss pedal to really bring users into interacting with the dip switch grid on the back more than ever before.
There’s this feeling reminiscent to entering a cheat code to your favorite video game to access new areas and whatnot. It can be subtle and sophisticated like a piece of outboard gear or otherworldly from fuzzed out filter sweeps to rapid-fire tremolo. The Condor is an absolute adventure of a pedal and without a doubt has already earned a spot as one of my personal favorite releases of 2018.