I’ve been an admirer of Canada’s Empress Effects for a long time, they don’t simply put out an effect pedal they take it one step further and make it a must have, like the Vintage Modified Superdelay for instance which has been on my pedalboard for a very long time as it covers every possible delay effect I could ever want and sounds fantastic. The latest pedal from Empress is called the Nebulus which is a Chorus, Vibrato and Flanger pedal in one, but that’s not all, it has 3 submodes per effect and the Vibrato effect has a Vibe and Rotary submode so much more than just the kind of wobbly pitch Vibrato effect you might be thinking of.
The layout is pretty simple, the Mix control allows you to blend the clean signal with the affected signal and then the rate, depth and output controls are pretty self explanatory. Above these controls you have a set of mini toggle switches, the first is the mode selector (Chorus, Vibrato or Flanger), the second is a Submode control (a,b or c), a tone control (Clean, Bright or Warm) and a Special control (none, little or lots) and this control affects different parameters depending on the submode. The way to find out what each submode is and what the special control does is to view what I call the Effect matrix on the bottom of the pedal, Empress users will already be very familiar with this feature as it is used on all multi-function pedals:
As you will hear in my demonstration Empress haven’t compromised the quality of each effect by having 3 available, each effect has a massive range of tones from the submodes and the additional tone control enables you to tailor each effect to your particular setup or per guitar. You can then save your 4 favourite sounds as presets which is incredibly easy. Simple hit the preset button and select a slot indicated by the color LED above the Preset switch, then hit Bypass to select that preset. Now simply change any switches and knobs until you have the sound you want and it is instantly saved. Now when you select another preset and select and then come back it will be as you left it, very cool. There is also a white LED mode which is not a preset per say but whatever the controls are set to is what you will hear.
If you are looking to simplify your pedalboard by combining your chorus, flanger, vibe and vibrato effects check out the Empress Nebulus, you will be hard pushed to find a multiple modulation effect pedal that sounds this good.
Here is a demo I recorded using the Nebulus with clean and distorted guitars: