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A quick 6-phaser shootout

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by smeet, Oct 24, 2013.


  1. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    ----------------------------------------------
    EDIT NOTE:

    I just realized that the soundcloud links to my recordings were broken.
    To avoid that in the future, I uploaded the original MP3 files to this page,
    so now you should be able to listen to them here. Let me know if there's
    anything confusing or non-working...
    smeet, 9/6/2015
    ----------------------------------------------

    OK, so I bought 6 phasers to compare:
    VFE Enterprise
    HBE Psilocybe
    MXR Phase 90 (recent block logo)
    Source Audio Orbital Modulator
    BYOC Phase Royal
    Mojo Hand Nebula IV

    I recorded the same short Floyd snippet on each, with (crappy) drums on the second half to hear how it sits. I also recorded some sustained harmonic chords. For each, there is a clean recording, plus the 6 phasers, which are numbered but not named. Some of these phasers are very versatile, so I put the Phase 90 knob at noon, and tried to make the others sound pretty much like that.

    Please let me know which ones you like/dislike, as well as (of course) which is which. If there's enough interest, I can record other sample settings too.

    Until a few people have listened and weighed in, I will refrain from comment, except to say: the recorded samples may not all sound wildly different, but the differences in feel when I'm playing each one is much greater.

    Recorded on a Nordstrand VP5 with tone 75% up, Rotosound 66 strings, played with a pick, direct out of an SVT 7Pro.

    Attached is a set of the 7 recordings of the Have a Cigar bassline:
    phaser_clean, phaser_1, phaser_2, ...

    Also attached is a set of 7 recordings of sustained harmonics:
    harm_clean, harm_phaser_1, harm_phaser_2, ...

    Here's a clean Cigar bass track by itself if anybody wants to run it through the phaser of their choice:
    (I didn't have this one handy, I can re-bounce it if somebody wants to PM me...)


    Here's the Maestro PS-1A, kindly supplied and applied by bkbirge:
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=370630&d=1382750230



    Here's the file I first uploaded the Cigar shootout, in one longer file, but I think the fixed order biases the way you hear them:
    phaserShootout
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
    icarus-falling likes this.
  2. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Man I love the way phasers sound.

    Just through laptop speakers, I think #1 is my favorite.

    I'm not in the market (holding onto my Phaseur Fleur) but thanks for doing this.
     
    Sunnburn likes this.
  3. TinyE

    TinyE

    Jan 31, 2013
    portland,or
    commenting because i want to know what #1 was.

    1) 1 smooth, nice bottom end
    2) less low end?
    3) thinner even than #2
    4) pretty close to #3
    5) pretty close to #4
    6) no - way too thin.
     
  4. I too like #1 best. I pretty much agree with TinyE. But for some reason I like the sound of the last one, aside from the bottom end loss. It has that far-away sound, just like the outro of the song.
     
  5. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Interesting... I have similar reactions to all of you on listening back to the recordings. But the experience of playing through these pedals is VERY different, and my favorite to play through is different than what I like when listening. It's funny how the differences we feel are so important often don't translate to the audience.

    I'm also realizing that the order they are in influences how they are percieved.

    Also, I think that #6 is probably defective, but I figured I would include it anyway.
     
  6. LeonD

    LeonD Supporting Member

    If I could only use one effect, it'd be a phaser.

    Great comparison. They all sounded good to me except for #6. While there might be some subtle differences, I don't think you'd ever hear it on a gig.

    The important question is which looks best on your board?
     
  7. Syxz_ML

    Syxz_ML

    Apr 10, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I am going to say Number 1 sounds the best. I'm also going to say number 1 is the Phase 90. Number 4 sounded good to me in a different way as well. I'm curious as to which is the Psilocybe as I've been interested in checking that one out. Thanks for the shootout though I love me some phasers
     
  8. giglawyer

    giglawyer Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2003
    Toledo, OH
    #1 was good.
    #2 was also good, and sounded like it had a little vibe effect as well.
    #3 was nice, but also sounded like something else was going on (had almost an envelope filter feel)
    #4 meh...sounded tinny. Someone else said "thin," which may be a better description than tinny.
    #5 better than 4, but lacks some warmth. SOrt of Sterile.
    #6 worse than 5...even more sterile sounding...but better than 4.
     
  9. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I think I'll probably record some long sustained ringy chords and harmonics, that way you will hear the details of the sweep in each of these guys. When you play a line like the Cigar bassline, you hear the overall texture, but one of the big differences between these pedals is the shape and range of the sweep, which isn't always obvious. Hmm, does that mean it doesn't matter?

    I hate keeping people in suspense, so I'll probably put up the second set of recordings tonight, and reveal the identities tomorrow.
     
  10. gastric

    gastric Professional product tester for hire

    Jun 8, 2009
    Raleigh, NC
    Source Audio BETA tester
    Great job on the RECORDED demo of the phasers. I fully expected to see a 10 paragraph written review with no audio like the majority of gear reviews here. :) Love the idea of having the gear soloed, then in a mix of some sort. Kudos.
     
  11. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I hope it proves useful to some people, even if all we learn is "it really doesn't matter which one you use..." :meh:

    I will of course wax loquacious about all of these pedals after the reveal. But phasers are all about texture and tone, and that is so personal and hard to describe. Interestingly, the experience of recording the pedals has given me a different view of them all. They now sound different to me than they did before.
     
  12. fishtx

    fishtx Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Genzler Amplification/Spector Basses/Mojo Hand FX
    I also liked #1 the best...
     
  13. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    +1.

    I can't listen yet, but I am overdue for a similar shootout on the overdrive pedals I have been amassing. I really need to get my computer back up to recording speed.
     
  14. XXL

    XXL Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2007
    I got my Psilocybe to sound just like how #1 sounds, but maybe its #3.
     
  15. mouthmw

    mouthmw

    Jul 19, 2009
    Croatia
    love me some phasers!
    I guess #1 sounds the best to me, closely followed by #2.
    In a band mix, out of all the phasers I've tried, Phase 100 does it best for me.
    Throw a fuzz in front of it = bliss!
     
  16. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    I liked #1 the best for sure.
     
  17. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Interesting shootout. 4 of the 6 are Phase 90 type phasers with varying levels of modification and the other two are the Psilocybe and Source Audio.

    The speed controls are pretty close in each clip but not exact which does change how the tone is perceived.

    I'll be interested to see if my guesses are right.
     
  18. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    Well, I think XXL got it right. I have a Psilocybe and it sure sounds like #1 to me.
     
  19. jazzyitalian

    jazzyitalian Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN
    Lawyer and Hobbist Bass Maker
    I like #1. Is that the VFE?
     
  20. Turtle71

    Turtle71 Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    Madison, WI
    Thanks for doing this!

    I am by no means a Phaser expert, but I do use a Phase 90.

    Of the clips recorded, I liked #1 the best, followed closely by #2.

    I however have no idea which is which, and don't even want to guess.
     

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