The landscape of how we make music is always changing. From the first digital recorders, to guitar rigs that fit in your pocket, there’s always something on the horizon that makes musicians’ lives easier. But what about a pedalboard on your phone? The engineers at Chaos Audio have crafted Stratus, an all-in-one (pedal) solution to bringing all your favorite effects (and even a looper) wherever you go. With their easy to learn and use app, (for IOS, Android, PC, and even Linux) you can explore their curation of potent effects and dynamic guitar tone utilities so you can spend more time playing, and less time finding your tone. This is the Chaos Audio Stratus.
A Universe of Effects
At its core, the Stratus is a “smart multi-effects unit.” It takes effects from every corner of space and time and packs them into a single, rock-solid stompbox ideal for studio or stage. And this is where the Stratus really excels. You can tell that each effect was painstakingly researched and designed to give the player incredible tone and control just like the real thing.
Room reverb emulation puts your tone inside great chambers that you’ll swear you can feel, while delay algorithms compete with studio-quality racks or plug-ins sold by the big guys. But where Stratus truly surprises is when it’s out in front of a cranked amplifier with fuzz or distortion selected.
You’ll find yourself writing a dozen or more riffs while playing through the VOID (Collapsed Star Fuzz) or the INVASION (Mass Hysteria Distortion) pedals on your “virtual pedalboard.” And with Stratus’ virtual pedalboard, you can create a preset of effects and settings you can come back to later in the set.
A Space-Age Writing Tool
I found myself utilizing the library of effects the way a producer or songwriter might, noodling around in each pedal that caught my eye and seeing what happened. As each pedal is unique in its own right, I found myself discovering new riffs, arpeggios, and chord shapes. Diving into a pedal that I may have never bought myself had me let go of any expectations and just let the tone do the talking, this led to some profound writing discoveries.
Though “options paralysis” can be a real thing, Chaos Audio offers a great variety of effects that all sound incredibly different. So even though there are dozens of pedal options, they are so vastly different that you won’t be scrolling through the same sounding “transparent overdrives” for hours without actually creating any music. Simply go to their “Tone Shop” tab on the Chaos Audio app and select from the list of effects types. Effects in the current patch at time of writing include: Overdrive, Reverb, Distortion, Delay, Modulation, Fuzz, and Dynamics.
Along with the incredible level and quality of effects, the Stratus also offers a simple looper controllable via the “Multiknob” right below the LED strip. The looper can be used with any combination of effects you’ve built and currently offers up to five minutes of recording time.
The Chaos Audio Stratus is a multi-effects pedal taken to the next level. It’s been highly useful during track production when I don’t want to dig out a specific pedal. Or if I don’t have the option available, I can simply pop the Stratus in my signal chain and get the exact effect I want. If you’ve ever wanted to carry a universe of effects in your pocket (or on your pedalboard) the Stratus is a fantastic option.