Written by Bobby
Boss CE-2W Waza Craft Chorus Review
The Boss CE-2w is slightly over-priced for what it does, but possibly worth the investment if you loved the original sound of the CE-1 and CE-2. It's also good for fans of more intense chorus swirls.
It's certainly a heavier modulation than the Boss CE-5, which we'd say is more subtle and not as deep as the CE-2w.
This is our full Boss CE-2w review where we'll cover the tone, control, and value of the popular, true bypass chorus pedal.
We'll start by comparing the CE-2w to a few other similar chorus pedals.
One of the things keeping ratings down for the CE-2w is the price tag. At over $200 retail it's significantly more expensive than both the Boss CE-5 and the MXR M234, which are two flagship chorus pedals we often use as market barometers and quick comparisons.
In the following table you can easily browse these pedals.
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MXR M234 Analog Chorus
Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-5
Boss CE-2w Waza Craft
Walrus Audio Julia Chorus
IDEAL FOR: Fans of more intense chorus sounds. Fans of the original CE-1 and CE-2.
The standard CE-2 mode can actually be set for some subtlety, if you just want a thin layer of modulation over a clean tone. Though even when the pedal is set with a higher depth and rate, the sound is still useable.
Vibrato mode with higher settings is particularly intense.
You'll also notice a lot of heavy-sounding pitch movements in the chorus, which is typical of more vintage chorus pedals that relied on multiple iterations of pitch shifting to create their chorus sounds. Chorus pedals still do this, but newer, digitized versions have gotten better about sort of smoothing over the pitch shift so it's more watery and not as pronounced.
All three of the modes in the CE-2w go after the pitch shifting full force.
There's no holding back on this one.
If that's the sound you're looking for - and you're a fan of vintage chorus tones - the CE-2w will be a good fit for you, similar to the EHX Small Clone. Here's a good demo that Reverb setup for the CE-2w:
Boss makes the CE-2w with only two modulation controls:
This is pretty common for most chorus pedals, though it would be nice to have a mix or level knob.
That middle switch allows you to move between the CE-1, CE-2, and vibrato mode, all of which can be tweaked by the rate and depth controls. Otherwise you have a true bypass connection (which is in all the Waza Craft pedals) and stereo outputs.
Though considering the price of this pedal, it doesn't have an abundance of control, especially since it houses three pedals in one. Part of that is maintaining the look of the original CE-2, which only had two knobs for rate and depth. Boss is staying true to that design and moving away from the small knobs that are on most Boss pedals now.
So it's a small complaint, but it would be nice to have some more tinkering power, since we're already paying $200 for the box.
Again, if you like the intense sounds and the vibrato, it's not a bad option.
Just be aware of the limitations of the control scheme if you decide to go with the CE-2w.
To be fair, a lot of people really like the Waza Craft series, partly for nostalgic reasons, but also because they're finally getting a true bypass connection in a Boss pedal.
Is that connection worth $200 per pedal?
I would have to argue that it's not.
Again, I'd make exceptions if you love the tone of the CE-2w, or you were a big fan of the original CE-1 or CE-2. But it's a big ask for a rather limited pedal that's relying on nostalgic appeal and retro ideals.
We'd recommend the Boss CE-5 or the MXR M234 analog chorus pedals instead, both of which are linked in the comparison table at the beginning of our Boss CE-2w review.
But as always, value and beauty are in the eye of the beholder.
If you're happy with the tone and the limited control, don't let me talk you out of it. I'm just trying to give an objective opinion about value based on what the pedal costs and what it provides.
Final Thoughts & Questions
At the end of the day, I'd be happier going a different direction.
While Boss does a good job capturing the vintage appeal of the CE-1 and CE-2, we'd rather not put up the $200 to make it work.
If you disagree, give me a shout in the comments section below and we can hash it out in a civil disagreement.
See you there.