Best Phaser Pedal Of 2023

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Whether you’re after the dreamy soundscapes made famous by Pink Floyd or gearing up to master Van Halen’s iconic ‘brown sound’, a phaser is a must for your pedalboard. We’ve carefully handpicked a list of the best phaser pedals that are set to create a buzz in 2023, looking at their pros, cons, key features, and pricing. Get ready for a musical journey that’ll take your tunes to the next level. So, whether you’re an old hand at pedalboards or just starting out, stay with us. Your ideal phaser pedal is waiting!

The MXR Phase 90 phaser pedal

MXR Phase 90

Overview

A mainstay on pedal boards for over four decades, the MXR Phase 90 is a popular phaser pedal known for its versatility, durability, and iconic sound.

Its simple design with only one control knob to adjust the speed of the phasing effect and a switch ensures easy operability. It offers a modulation effect that splits the signal into two paths, with one path remaining the same and the other being out of phase. This pedal is renowned for offering a similar sound to famous guitarists like Eddie Van Halen and David Gilmour and can be powered by a 9-volt battery, a Dunlop ECB003 9-volt adapter, or certain power supplies.

Key Benefits

  • Offers a classic phaser sound
  • Simple design with one control knob for easy operation
  • Versatility in sound ranging from a shimmery effect to a more intense swirling sound
  • True bypass switching to keep the guitar tone unaffected when not engaged
  • Durable enclosure to withstand years of use
  • Provides a range of modulation effects
  • Affordable with great tone

Pricing

The MXR Phase 90 is priced under $100, making it an affordable option for guitarists looking for a versatile phaser pedal.

Pros & Cons

The MXR Phase 90 comes highly recommended for serious musicians in search of a robust and awesome effect. Its simplicity and easy-to-use layout, consisting of one dial and a switch, make it a favorite among many guitarists. It’s known for its versatile sound that ranges from a shimmery effect to a more intense swirling sound, allowing musicians to experiment with different tones. Its durability is another aspect that’s appreciated, with the pedal holding its value well over the years.

On the downside, the MXR Phase 90’s simplicity can be its con too, as it may not offer as much versatility or customization of the phasing effect as some other phaser pedals on the market, such as the MXR Phase 95, MXR Phase 100, Boss PH-3 Phase Shifter, and Walrus Audio Lillian Analog Phaser. However, for those who value simplicity and a classic, robust sound, the MXR Phase 90 still stands as a great choice.

The Boss PH-3 phaser pedal

Boss PH-3

Overview

The Boss PH-3 Phase Shifter is a well-regarded phaser pedal recognized for its tone quality and versatility. It is a digital pedal that offers an array of phase effects suitable for various musical styles and playing situations. The PH-3 has a more modern sound compared to its predecessor, the PH-2, lending itself well to modulation effects and clean tones, chord progressions, sustained chords, single-note fills, and short melody lines.

Key Benefits

  • The PH-3 offers seven phase modes, allowing for a wide array of sound possibilities.
  • It features an expression pedal control for real-time adjustments.
  • A three-band EQ enables the manipulation of the effect.
  • A broad range of control over the effect is provided, including the ability to sync with tap tempo.
  • The PH-3 is compatible with other Boss pedals and accessories, offering additional flexibility.

Pricing

The PH-3 Phase Shifter is more expensive than some competitors, such as the MXR Phase 90. However, it offers additional control and flexibility, presenting a balanced offering of price and performance.

Pros & Cons

The PH-3 Phase Shifter offers an impressive number of settings and options for creating different phase effects, making it an incredibly versatile tool in any guitarist’s rig. Its four different phase settings, rate control, and depth control offer a dynamic range of effects, from slow and subtle to fast and intense. The resonance control allows for fine-tuning of the overall tone, with the ability to go from subtle to a more pronounced “wow wow” sound.

The pedal also offers additional stage settings, including 8, 10, 12, fall, rise, and step, each with its unique phase characteristics. These settings enable the creation of phase effects that continuously go up, go down, or a digital-like effect with the number of steps depending on the rate and depth controls.

Despite its many advantages, it is worth noting that the PH-3 lacks a wet/dry mix control, a feature some players might miss. However, the pedal’s durability and ease of use more than make up for this, with its built quality living up to the Boss reputation. Given its broad range of features and options, the Boss PH-3 is indeed a reliable and versatile phase shifter pedal, providing a unique and interesting array of phase effects.

The Electro-Harmonix Small Stone

Electro-Harmonix Small Stone

Overview

The Electro-Harmonix Small Stone is a legendary four-stage analog phaser pedal known for its unique and characterful sound.

Boasting a simple yet efficient design, this pedal offers a competitive alternative to popular options such as the MXR Phase 90. The Small Stone stands out with its unique OTA chips and an additional color switch, delivering a deeper voicing with a distinctive lower-mid “swoosh.” Above all, the Small Stone is an iconic pedal that can adapt to a variety of styles, from blues to metal, providing a classic vintage sound while avoiding digital artifacts.

Key Benefits

  • Simple and effective design for easy usage
  • Deep, warm tonality and responsiveness to picking attack
  • Color switch for more dramatic effect
  • Compatibility with dirt pedals, providing flamboyant effects at higher settings
  • Vintage sound that avoids digital artifacts
  • Affordability on the used market
  • Compact size for easy pedalboard integration

Pricing

The Electro-Harmonix Small Stone is relatively affordable in the used market, making it an accessible choice for guitarists seeking to add a vintage-yet-versatile phaser to their rig.

Pros & Cons

As someone who’s spent time with the Electro-Harmonix Small Stone, I can safely say it possesses several standout qualities. For starters, the rate control and color switch are key features that add depth and versatility to your sound. The pedal provides a smooth and rounded effect that’s particularly pronounced in the bass, and the color switch intensifies this effect while adding higher harmonics to the signal.

Furthermore, the Small Stone’s new design sets it apart from the older version, offering a fresh perspective on this classic effect. Plus, its fair pricing puts it on par with similar pedals like the Phase 90, yet it maintains its distinct character and functionality.

However, it’s not without faults. For instance, there’s an audible volume drop when the pedal is engaged, but this can be mitigated with a booster. Additionally, a glitch sound issue arises when the rate knob is set close to maximum. This may be an inherent quality of the pedal, or it could be specific to certain units. Despite these minor drawbacks, the Small Stone’s iconic sound and flexible controls make it a worthwhile consideration for any guitarist seeking a unique and characterful phaser.

The Walrus Audio Lillian phaser pedal

Walrus Audio Lillian

Overview

The Walrus Audio Lillian is an all-analog, multi-stage phaser pedal inspired by its cousin, the Julia. Designed to offer a range of phase effects, the Lillian features a high-mid bump, which allows the phase to cut through at all stages of the sweep. It also offers a dry/phase/vibrato control, enabling users to smoothly transition between phase-free signal flow, wet/dry phase mixes, and all-wet vibrato-inflected phase. Although it has a high-mid-forward voice, some may find it lacking the natural and gooey sound of vintage phasers.

Key Benefits

  • Wide-ranging, multi-stage analog phase pedal.
  • Intuitive and responsive controls for easy experimentation.
  • High-mid bump for phase presence across all stages.
  • Blend control and rate control for precise effect management.
  • Dry/phase/vibrato control for diverse sound texture options.
  • Robust construction and precise controls for longevity and reliability.

Pricing

The Walrus Audio Lillian phaser pedal is priced at $199 and can be purchased from the Walrus Audio website.

Pros & Cons

From a personal perspective, the Lillian stands out for its versatility and clear tone, offering a good blend between dry, chorus, and vibrato, which allows for a wide range of tonal possibilities. The controls are intuitive and responsive, making it easy to dial in specific phase textures. However, it seems to cut some of the highs, and the 45 mode can be a bit tricky to set up.

Despite the Lillian’s wide-ranging phase-crafting options, it doesn’t quite match the lush and rich sound of other phasers, such as the MXR Ed Hale. It can also be slightly noisy, which might be a concern for some. There’s a noticeable “pop” when the pedal is activated or deactivated. However, the Lillian’s overall design is commendable, with all the jacks conveniently located on the top side of the enclosure for easy integration into a pedalboard.

In comparison to the MXR Phase 95, the Lillian seems to lack the same warmth and the ability to phase lower notes effectively. The speed knob on the Lillian is faster even on the slow setting, which might not be to everyone’s liking. However, it’s the Lillian’s unique sound and phase-crafting options that make it a compelling choice for many, despite some trade-offs.

The Earthquaker Devices Grand Orbiter

Earthquaker Devices Grand Orbiter

Overview

The Earthquaker Devices Grand Orbiter is a versatile 4-stage phaser pedal with a unique balance of easy-to-understand controls and a wide range of possibilities.

Offering three rate modes – fast, slow, and freeze – the pedal allows players to tailor the phase to their specific amp and guitar tones. The Grand Orbiter is built in the USA, exhibiting true bypass and analog circuitry, ensuring a smooth and high-quality sound. The sturdy, compact design features top-mounted jacks for easy pedalboard integration.

Key Benefits

  • Versatile and responsive with a range of vibrato and phase sounds.
  • Hand-built, showcasing outstanding build quality.
  • Three rate modes for slow or fast modulation, including the ability to create vibrato.
  • Flexi-Switching for latching or momentary operation of the footswitch.
  • Control panel with knobs for sweep, rate, depth, and resonance, and a switch for phase or vibrato mode.
  • Compact and sturdy design with top-mounted jacks for easy pedalboard integration.
  • True bypass and analog circuitry for high-quality sound.

Pricing

The Earthquaker Devices Grand Orbiter is competitively priced at $199, available at various retailers. Given its high-quality build and the diverse range of modulation effects on offer, it provides good value for money.

Pros & Cons

Taking on a first-hand perspective, the Earthquaker Devices Grand Orbiter boasts a multitude of pros and minimal cons. On the positive side, the pedal delivers a captivating phase-like swirling effect, reminiscent of the lush modulation effects popular in music since the sixties. The Grand Orbiter offers precise controls for depth, rate, sweep, and resonance, which provides exceptional command over the intensity and frequency range of the effect. Moreover, the pedal can create dynamic movement to otherwise stagnant parts in various music genres, adding an exciting new dimension to rock, funk, electronic, or experimental music.

The pedal’s versatility extends to various speed settings, including a slow sweep mode, which gradually thickens the sound over time. The innovative flexi-switching technology allows for standard latching or momentary operation, providing more ways to shape your music.

However, the need for an adapter for power might be an inconvenience for some. Plus, it takes some time to fully explore its capabilities and unleash its full creative potential. Yet, considering the versatility and unique tonal characteristics the Grand Orbiter offers, these are minor drawbacks in the grand scheme. The Earthquaker Devices Grand Orbiter stands as a must-have for musicians looking to experiment with phaser effects.

The Ibanez PH-7 phaser pedal

Ibanez PH-7

Overview

The Ibanez PH-7 is a distinctive phaser pedal, presenting a different user experience compared to similar pedals.

With its utilitarian enclosure devoid of flashy graphics, the PH-7 projects a rugged and durable quality.

This pedal is straightforward in controls, with knobs that regulate the speed, depth, feedback, and level of the phaser effect. A mode switch allows transition between a vintage four-stage phase shifter and a modern six-stage one. The Ibanez PH-7 delivers a dynamic sound and fidelity across clean and distorted signals, proving itself to be a practical and high-quality pedal that measures up well against its competition.

Key Benefits

  • Natural dynamic sounds with both clean and distorted signals
  • A versatile pedal that works with a variety of music genres
  • The Tone-Lok feature that locks the settings in place
  • The pedal offers a vintage four-stage phase shifter and a modern six-stage one

Pricing

The Ibanez PH-7 phaser pedal can be found for around $60, but we recommend checking with official retailers for up-to-date pricing.

Pros & Cons

Speaking from my own perspective, I didn’t anticipate enjoying the Ibanez PH-7 as much as I did. The pedal’s tone is rather pleasing, and the speed control offers the slowest phase speed I’ve ever encountered, with an incremental speed increase that’s nearly indistinguishable at times. It’s worth noting that the mode switch doesn’t drastically alter the two modes, providing only a slight change in sheen and highs.

The feedback control is quite subtle, with a minimal difference from 0 to 10. However, the dry/wet level control on the pedal is a feature I genuinely appreciated. Despite the understated nature of these effects, I found the PH-7 to be a cool phase pedal with a smooth sound.

On one hand, the PH-7 is a quality phaser pedal that offers a good vintage vibe and, if found at a lower price, could be considered a great deal. On the other hand, the pedal might lack the desired warmth of vintage phasers for some and may lean towards a more electronic and digital sound. There have been reports of reliability issues with the pedal after prolonged usage. Nonetheless, I would recommend giving the PH-7 a try, as it brings a lot to the table in terms of sound versatility and quality construction.

The Source Audio Lunar Phaser

Source Audio Lunar Phaser

Overview

The Source Audio Lunar Phaser is a versatile phaser pedal with plenty to offer. It provides three distinct styles of phase modulation: Vibe, Classic, and Multi. The Vibe modeling replicates the throb and warble of the iconic Uni-Vibe, while the Classic mode is similar to the MXR Phase 90, complete with added controls for resonance.

For the more adventurous, the Multi style serves up an eight-stage phaser that’s ripe for experimental sounds. Beyond the styles, the Lunar Phaser provides controls for speed, depth, shape, and resonance, all of which contribute to an extensive tonal range. The pedal is part of Source Audio’s One Series line of pedals, offering compatibility with the Neuro Mobile App as well as MIDI compatibility when used with the Neuro Hub.

Key Benefits

  • Three styles of phase modulation: Vibe, Classic, and Multi
  • Additional controls for speed, depth, shape, and resonance
  • Compatibility with the Neuro Mobile App for downloading additional algorithms
  • Fully MIDI compatible when used with the Neuro Hub
  • Offers a wide range of tonal possibilities

Pricing

We recommend checking with the manufacturer or authorized dealers for up-to-date pricing.

Pros & Cons

The Lunar Phaser is noted for its high-quality construction and sleek design, putting it in the same league as popular pedals like the MXR Phase 90. One of its major strengths is the versatility it offers. With three styles of phase modulation and additional controls for speed, depth, shape, and resonance, there is an abundance of tonal possibilities.

Where this pedal really shines is in its compatibility with the Neuro Mobile App. This free tool permits the creation of unique sounds by offering additional phaser, flanger, and chorus algorithms to be downloaded directly to the pedal. The app also enables adjustable parameters such as frequency, output level, and tremolo, allowing for a highly customizable musical experience.

In addition, the Lunar Phaser comes fully MIDI compatible when used with the Neuro Hub. This allows for up to 128 presets to be saved, further enhancing the pedal’s flexibility and range of possible sounds.

As far as sound quality goes, it receives high praise. The Source Audio Lunar Phaser is highly regarded for delivering a spectrum of swirling, phasing, and flanging effects, making it a standout choice for those seeking multiple effects in one pedal.

The Maestro Orbit Phaser pedal

Maestro Orbit Phaser

Overview

The Maestro Orbit Phaser is a modern iteration of the classic phaser pedal, designed keeping in mind the requirements of today’s players. This versatile phaser pedal offers the warm and smooth tones of an all-analog phaser with an added layer of versatility and control. Hailing from the Maestro Original Collection, this pedal is a descendant of the legendary Maestro PS-1, the first phaser pedal ever produced. It is powered by a 9V battery or a regulated 9VDC power supply and has a current draw of 27.5 mA. With a true bypass switching type, it ensures the integrity of the signal when the effect is not active.

Key Benefits

  • Offers four or six-stage phasing options for customizing the phasing effect
  • Provides a range of tonal possibilities with width and feedback knobs
  • Intuitive 3-knob control layout for easy adjustments
  • True bypass footswitch to ensure signal remains unaffected when not in use
  • LED lights in the Maestro logo indicate when the effect is active
  • Durable construction with dimensions of 5.04″ x 3.45″ x 2.50″ and weight of 1.24 lb

Pricing

The Maestro Orbit Phaser offers a unique sonic experience at a price of $149. This is a competitive price for such a versatile pedal, making it an appealing option for those looking to add a unique sound to their setup.

Pros & Cons

The Maestro Orbit Phaser boasts the ability to deliver a broad range of phasing effects. It features four different modes: Classic, Multi, Modern, and Boutique, each offering a unique phaser sound to suit various styles. Classic mode emulates vintage phaser tones, Multimode adds a complex swirling effect, Modern mode focuses on clarity and definition, and Boutique mode offers a unique, customizable phaser sound.

The true bypass design ensures the guitar’s tone remains unaffected when the pedal is not in use, making it a reliable choice for guitarists. This pedal has been appreciated for its durability, build quality, and the range of phasing effects it offers. Another advantage is that it can be powered by a 9V battery or a power supply, providing flexibility for different setups.

On the downside, the pedal adds a distinct midrange emphasis to the tone, which might not appeal to everyone. However, this characteristic allows the Orbit Phaser to offer a unique sound reminiscent of a cocked wah or filter effect. The pedal is capable of creating both subtle background blends and more prominent modulations. Its fast modulation rates are particularly rich and add a unique and individual sound to the mix.

Overall, the Maestro Orbit Phaser is suitable for a plethora of musical genres, from classic rock to modern alternative, making it a great addition to a guitarist’s pedalboard.

Different Use Cases For Phaser In Your Sound

Phaser effects, whether from a pedal or a Java phaser, can significantly enhance your sound, adding depth and dimension to your music. It’s worth exploring the many ways you can use a phaser to enrich your sound.

For example, when you’re using a phaser pedal, it can give a unique character to your guitar solos. Turning on the phaser during a solo can create a dynamic, swirling sound, adding a touch of excitement to your playing. This can add a new layer of interest to your performance, making your solos pop.

Phaser pedals can also be used to create rhythmic patterns in your sound. By tweaking specific controls like rate and depth, you can create rhythmic pulses that match the tempo of your music. This works particularly well in genres like funk and dance music, where rhythm is key.

Phasers aren’t just for solos and rhythms, they can also be used to create ambient soundscapes. Setting the phaser to a slow rate and high depth can result in a dreamy, atmospheric sound, adding another layer of depth to your music. This use of the phaser is especially effective in genres such as ambient and experimental music, where texture and atmosphere are important.

Phasers aren’t just for guitars, either. You can use them with other instruments like keyboards and synthesizers to enhance their sound. Running an instrument’s signal through a phaser pedal can produce dynamic and unique textures, further enriching your overall sound.

Phaser effects also exist in the digital realm, with the Phaser in Java being a prime example. It’s a synchronization tool that can be used for easy synchronization between threads and for creating a barrier before the execution of phases in any code. This can come in handy in scenarios where multiple threads are performing tasks that need to be synced or coordinated.

In both these scenarios, a phaser is a tool that can significantly enhance the dynamics of your sound, whether it’s in a live performance or a piece of software. By playing around with different phaser settings and seeing how they interact with your instrument or software, you can discover a new world of sound possibilities.

What Is A Phaser Pedal?

A phaser pedal is an essential tool in your musical toolkit, used to create an oscillating, swirling sound that adds an intriguing texture to your music. This unique audio effect is achieved by sweeping peaks and notches across the frequency spectrum. By adding peaks or cuts to the sound, phaser pedals can enhance the motion and flavor of various instruments, most commonly guitars or drums, across a broad range of music genres, from metal to country.

Phaser pedals started as a tool to replicate the sound of rotating organ speakers. But they’re not just for replication, they use special filters, known as all-pass filters, to alter the frequencies they filter over time, resulting in the soft moving sound characteristic of phasers. These pedals come with various controls, including rate, depth, resonance, and effects level or mode. These controls adjust the sweep’s speed, the effect’s intensity, highlight specific tones in the sweep, and determine the type of phase shift produced.

What sets phaser pedals apart is the varying number of phase shift stages they encompass, like 4 stage, 8 stage, 10 stage, or 12 stage. Classic and vintage phasers had different stage amounts, and modern phasers can emulate the sound of these legacy phasers by adjusting the stage settings. It’s worth noting that phaser pedals are similar to flanger or chorus effect pedals as they all use modulation to create movement in the sound. However, each effect has its unique qualities and serves different functions in music production.

When you’re using a phaser pedal, it’s important to play around with the various settings to get the sound you’re after. Where you place the phaser, either before or after distortion pedals, can significantly impact the overall sound. Some musicians prefer to place the phaser before distortion for a more understated and blended effect, while others place it after distortion for a more intense and pronounced sound. What’s clear is that personal preference and experimentation are key in using a phaser pedal, with each musician potentially having unique use cases and preferred settings to achieve their distinct sound. A phaser pedal can add depth, movement, and character to your sound, making it a valuable addition to your pedalboard.

Dialing in on the Perfect Phaser

In a sea of guitar pedals, finding the right phaser can be like discovering a secret ingredient that perfectly blends and accentuates your sounds. We’ve journeyed together through the swirling world of phaser pedals, exploring some of the top models available in the market. From the classic tones of the MXR Phase 90 and Maestro Orbit Phaser to the modern and experimental soundscapes of the Source Audio Lunar Phaser, each pedal’s got its own unique character and function.

Every pedal’s got its strengths and weaknesses. Some give you the warm, smooth tones of an all-analog phaser, while others offer the versatility of broad phase modulation styles, advanced controls, and compatibility with apps and MIDI. The right phaser for you really depends on your personal playing style, the genre of music you’re into, and the specific tonal color you’re after.

Practical aspects like pricing, power requirements, and durability also play a big role in determining the right pedal for you. Don’t forget to consider the settings that the pedal offers and how you can manipulate these to suit your needs.

Whether you’re a solo artist adding a dash of depth to your solos, a rhythmist syncing with the beat, or an experimentalist exploring the vast soundscape, the phaser pedal can be your sonic confidante. If used right, it can add an ethereal quality to your music, making it stand out and resonate with the listeners’ soul.

So go ahead, unleash your inner sound engineer and let the phaser be your magic wand, casting a wave of enchanting sounds.

Andrew Scrivens

Andrew Scrivens

I am a live musician and guitar teacher from Brisbane, Australia, with extensive experience playing live, in the studio and for TV shows. I play in many venues, studios, music shops and with my students and as such am exposed to a lot of different gear. I form my opinions based on my experiences playing instruments in these locations.

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