Ibanez Tone-Lok CF7 Chorus Flanger Pedal – review

A versatile, if a little noisy pedal

One effect I’ve grown quite fond of over the last few years is the flange. I originally started playing with the effect on my old Zoom G7.1ut, just recently got hooked on it after reviewing the Ibanez AF2 Paul Gilbert Airplane flanger. I plan to buy one for myself soon.

When jamming with a band mate one day I noticed that he had an  Ibanez Tone-Lok CF7 Chorus Flanger, and thought I would try it out.

This is my first experience with the Ibanez Tone-Lok range and I have to say they are built incredibly well. Nice solid casing, and the battery access is brilliant. Somewhere along the lines of the Boss design, but far easier with a nice little latch to open battery compartment under the switch.

The pedals also run on the standard 9 volt battery or Boss style power supply.

Ibanez offer the usual suspects with the CF7’s main control interface. You have speed, depth, delay time and regen. All controls provide ample range to dial in the sounds you are after, no matter how subtle or crazy they may be.

The icing on the cake is the Tone-Lok knobs. One of the annoying things when using pedals is that the knobs can quite often be bumped, losing your dialed in settings.

Ibanez have solved this problem with Tone-Lok. dial in the knobs, and then push them down, and they are locked in their dialed in positions, and out of the way. No more bumping the knobs with your feet, or having them bumped when moving them around. I wish all manufacturers could come up with something like this as it is almost what I would consider revolutionary.

The CF7 offers a number of different base sounds. As the name would suggest it can do chorus and flanger sounds. It also has a “Krazy” switch which gives you “Normal” and “Wack’d” settings. Normal gives you the usual sounds from your chorus and flanger, the Wack’d setting adds another dimension with an almost tremolo type ring modulation effect.

I’m not a big fan of chorus effects, but I have had a little play with it. It offers you all the range you would expect from a standalone chorus pedal. You can keep it nice and subtle, giving your guitar a slightly doubled effect, or go all the way with a crazy shimmering effect.

The flanger is what I was more interested in, and comparing it to the Airplane Flanger, which I had reviewed earlier. Ibanez have managed to make the CF7 quite versatile here too. It is capable of all the flanging type sounds you would want to create, and it does quite a good job of it too. From suble effects, to extreme jet plane wooshing, slow and fast settings, the CF7 definitely has the range to do the whole lot.

It doesn’t quite have the range of tones and effects that the Airplane Flanger has, but it is probably more than acceptable for the majority of users.

I didn’t find any real use for the “Wack’d” mode, but those after pushing the boundaries of tone and noise may find a great use for it. I guess I’m just not creative enough to make something of the mode.

Now the CF7 sounds like it is a fantastic pedal, being that it is so versatile. There is a catch though. The Tone-Lok series are quite cheap, and being cheap something has to give. The chassis construction is first rate, and any sound you want is very easy to dial in.  The issue is that the pedal is quite noisy. To keep costs down Ibanez have obviously used some lower  quality electronic components.

So while it’s a shame that the pedal is a little noisy, it doesn’t really detract from the CF7’s appeal. It’s a great value pedal for budget-conscious people, and it’s also built to last.  Many beginners and bedroom players will probably dig the sounds they can make with the CF7, and in conjunction with a noise gate it would probably satisfy live performers too.

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