Boss’s mission has always been: Give musicians access to sounds, normally available in the studio, in a compact effects unit.
The first effect processors Boss produced were not like the compact pedals we know today, they looked like this one here:
Among the first three effect pedals they made in the late 70s the CE-1 Chorus Ensemble was one of them.
Its sound is based on the Chorus found in a Roland Jazz Chorus amp. In a way this Chorus sound is one of the best Chorus sounds we have available today: The CE-1 sounds lush and feels like it is part of your amp instead of playing through a separate Effects unit.
Like most of the effects from the 70s the CE-1 does have an input control for your signal, which makes it like a proper preamp. Do not expect that you can overload your amp here to get some nice over-driven sounds because the distortion you get is hard clipped and sounds far from nice. There are some other pedals from the same period which will let you do this and you can get some nice, unexpected, over driven sounds out of them.
Back to the CE-1: It is a pedal which gives you chorus and vibrato. When I say vibrato it should really read tremolo. The Chorus will go up in speed and intensity when you rotate its control. There is a LED light which lights up at the tempo of the chorus unit. You do have the option to select either Chorus or Vibrato. The Vibrato sound takes off when the Chorus leaves: It can go much faster.
The sound of the CE-1 has been used in many pedal which try to clone the CE-1: Most pedals will compromise on the options—-they will give you chorus and when you go up with the RATE control the sound will go into Vibrato— Boss CE-2 is a prime example of that idea. Unlike the CE-1 most of the clones which fall in this category will not let you switch between Chorus and Vibrato sound: You will get the different sounds by changing the controls. The DOD FX 80 Stereo Chorus is a similar pedal, the pedals can be seen as a straight clone of the CE-2 rather than the CE-1, even its colour is similar.
There are also some clone Chorus pedals which will only give you chorus, and when you max out the controls you will get that seasick sound. The Coron CS-1 is one of those chorus pedals, this one comes even will an LED which works on a similar basis as the LED found on the CE-1. Another pedal in this category is the Rockson Ch. Chorus pedal: Only chorus sounds here, but both the Rockson and the Coron do sound great, and both these pedals are far more compact that the CE-1.
Happy Playing and hope to catch you soon again,