boss ce5 vs ch1

WHICH?: Boss CE5 vs CH1: Battle Of BOSS Chorus Pedals

Pedals enable guitars to achieve certain interesting sound effects. Each of these have their own specific applications. What are chorus pedals used for?  For example, chorus pedals have the ability to make it seem like there are multiple guitars playing instead of just one. Anyone who is playing solo or using a minimal band setup can use the pedal to get a richer sound that can fill a room. This can sound more pleasing to the ears in certain situations. The thick and colorful signal makes recordings get people into thinking that a big band was at the studio. A plain song can suddenly sound glorious.

The main difference between the Boss CE5 and the Boss CH1 is how they operate.  The CH1 is a basic chorus pedal with excellent tone while the CE5 is more versatile and have more tonal options.

Just note that all chorus effects pedals do not sound the same. They have different tones, controls, and usability because of their various circuitry and design. Guitar players will need to look deeper into each model in order to find the best options in town. Although all of them splits the signal into several voices while changing their timber and pitch, they vary in their approach.

Two of the best chorus pedals in the business are the Boss CH1 and the Boss CE5. Any of these Boss chorus pedals will do well for amateurs and professionals alike but most will gravitate to one or the other. Below is a Boss CE5 vs CH1 comparison:

Boss CH-1 Boss CE-5

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Pedal Build

Both of these are from the respected brand Boss. The company has been around since 1973 with headquarters in Japan and a presence that spans the globe. It is a subsidiary of Roland Corporation, another well-established name in the music industry. They do look quite similar with their size, color, design, control placement, jacks, and build quality. One might even get confused upon first glance because even the markings for the brand, controls, input, output, and indicator light are the same down to the fonts. However, there are a few subtle differences that will allow you to tell them apart.

The most obvious would be the model number located at the lower left in the middle portion of the pedal, just above the brand name. Another is the label above this which have different texts and font sizes. The CE-5 is labeled as the Boss Chorus Ensemble while the CH-1 is dubbed the Super Chorus pedal. The knobs on the former are black which make them hard to see in the dark. It’s all about branding so you will have to test each in the shop in order to get a better feel for the responsiveness of the pedals. These should hold up well to abuse even if you travel a lot.


The CH1 Super Chorus is a classic that was first released in 1989 and has continued to be in production since. So many well-known musicians use it and amateurs try to copy their sound by using their gear. It’s best to play around with the controls to get familiar with what they can do and how you can produce certain effects. The four knobs include the effects level, rate, depth, and EQ. If you want to add more vibration, then turn the rate to the right. If you want the modulation to be more obvious, then increase the depth. Level is for volume control while the EQ is able to reduce treble. This is a fully analog chorus pedal with a clear pleasing sound and easy to use features.

The CE5, on the other hand, is a more recent design being the fourth in a respected line of Chorus Ensembles. Although this has the same number of knobs as the CH1 Super Chorus, one of them is quite different. The level, rate, and depth knobs remain but now they are joined by the special filter knob instead of EQ. If you look closely, this is actually two knobs stacked on top of each other for more functionality. Use the inner knob to cut high frequencies or the outer knob to cut the low frequencies. Since you can separately filter the highs and lows, you can fine-tune the sound exactly how you want it to be. Make it sharper or fatter depending on what feels right.

Wet/Dry Chorus Sounds Output

When it comes to the outputs, the two models have the same approach which most musicians will appreciate. There are two signal outputs A and B. This means that users can connect the pedals to two amplifiers for lush stereo chorus output. Each will receive a different kind of sound. With the Output A port, you can tap the wet signal with all the effects created. With the Output B port, you are able to get the straight dry signal for a clean and crisp audio. As a result, guitarists will be able to enjoy a more pleasing and colorful sound where the original signal still dominates while the chorus effect plays support instead of overpowering everything else.

Sound Quality

The chorus sound quality on both of these are quite nice so you simply have to try them out to find the right pick. It is a matter of preference more than quality in this case. With the Boss CH-1 Super Chorus, you can improve output by making your music feel fuller and richer in all frequencies. If you are playing alone as a one-man band, then this is indispensable as you can make it seem like several bandmates are up there on the stage with you. Rock bands loved this back in the day because they can infuse their solos with more character. Many of them have become iconic.

As for the Boss CE-5, the filter knob makes things quite interesting. You can make it sound like the CH-1 Super Chorus if you tweak the settings but you can also make it sound completely different just by playing with the controls. For example, you can cut the low frequencies from the signal to increase sharpness. Use this chorus effect with a distortion pedal to keep the notes clear and crisp instead of muddied. You could also make the high frequencies more obvious so that guitar solos catch more attention. After all, that’s what they are all about. Do whatever you want with the settings to achieve specific goals.

Guitar Pedals Price

In terms of price, none of these two models can claim to be the cheapest or the most expensive in the market. There are certainly more low-cost options in the market if all you want is the effect and not the guitar pedal controls. Some of them only have one, two, or three knobs. You could also find the more serious options with even more controls and higher price tags. Some have five or more knobs and other control options to truly customize the output.

Meanwhile, the Boss Ch-1 Super Chorus costs a bit less in a bundle that also contains the patch cable, instrument cable, three picks, and a polishing cloth. It’s a solid addition to any collection that sounds great for virtually all genres. As for the Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensemble, you also get the same freebies but at a slightly cheaper price. So they aren’t that different when it comes to pricing. They are not the most expensive out there but they are not far behind. Fans will argue that they are worth every penny, but it is up to you to decide.

If price is your concern, I would recommend checking out our best chorus pedals under 100 options here.

Boss CE5 Summary

The Boss CE-5 is a versatile chorus pedal that has a filter knob that sets it apart from the rest. The 2-in-1 knob controls the low and high frequencies separately so that you can achieve a wider variety of effects. You can even prevent common issues when mixing pedals thanks to this handy tool. Shape your tone to your liking with the filter. Change the rate, depth, and effect level with precision. You can connect it to a single amp or a dual amp setup thanks to the two output ports. These have a wet and dry option that you can combine for a clearer signal.

Boss CH1 Summary

This is an analog chorus pedal with a pleasing tone and a clean effect. The CH1 has been around for a while and it is still going strong because of its ease of use and repair. If you are the type who likes to tinker with their effects pedals, then you will probably like this model. Stereo mode is possible because of the dual output configuration. The only downside to this pedal is that it lacks features that advanced users may want to have. It’s great pedal for beginners, but experienced musicians may prefer the Boss CE-5.

Final Words

Boss is a trusted brand. A long line of impressive guitar products have made it a favorite among many musicians. Comparing the Boss CH1 vs CE5 or even to other brands like MXR is hard in a way because they have the same excellent pedigree. You know that you will not be disappointed whichever you end up getting. Even the prices and build quality have negligible difference. Just be aware of there differences in terms of sound and control so you can be guided accordingly. Try both Boss options out before you buy either at the store or at your friend’s studio.