HBE Psilocybe vs. Keeley Phaser

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Matt Dean, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    I know they're different... one's 4 stage, the other is a 6 stage. One has EQ tweaks and the other has a ramp to a different speed.

    I tried both yesterday at Bananas At Large and came home with the Psilocybe for a couple of reasons... first, the cost ($100 less than the Keeley) and second, I mainly use phaser as a somewhat light effect, mostly with dirt (which the Psilocybe does quite well).

    However, after spending the afternoon playing with the Psilocybe, I wonder if I made a mistake bringing it home over the Keeley. The Psilocybe will not be mistaken for a heavy phaser and the Keeley is a lot more intense.

    I wonder if I will have lingering dissatisfaction with the HBE and wish I had the Keeley.

    For the record, I don't think I'll ever use the ramp feature on the keeley and the psilocybe does have a real nice organic tone... just not in your face.

    So, I guess I will have to back to Bananas and try the keeley again (they have a great exchange policy).

    Anyone care to comment on the Keeley's ability to do light and play well with dirt?
  2. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I dig the ramp function but I think tap tempo is the more important feature on the Keeley.

    The Keeley sounds great with dirt IMO, but the Psilocybe is actually a favorite for that application.

    The Keeley doesn't go all the way to super, barely on subtle. Even with the intensity ("edge") dialed back all the way there's still a somewhat prominent pulse. I wouldn't want it any more subtle than that but it's interesting because most phasers reach "I can't tell that it's on" levels with the intensity minimized.

    For your purposes I think you made the right call.
  3. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    Thanks Jared.

    I just played another hour or so with Psilocybe and it's growing on me. With the regen set from 3:00 to dimed, it does have a nice pronounced pulse.

    I'm starting to think that for my uses it will be just fine.
  4. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    This is so funny to run across this thread as I have owned the Psilocybe for awhile now and was about to drive to a little pedal shop about an hour from here today to try out the Keeley. I quite like the Psilocybe but am longing for something a little more prominent in the mix. I can't quite put my finger on it but I am just not in phaser heaven using the HBE. I am also planning to demo the new Cmatmods Analog phaser that they have at this store as its $120 less then the Keeley and has a volume control on it which could be really cool. The Keeley is crazy expensive here in Canada but I am looking for a phaser that blows my socks off for sheer quality of tone. I keep thinking I should be happy with the Psilocybe but there is something that just doesn't do it for me with this one.
  5. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    Here is my list of phasers I have been through so far:

    1. Block logo standard Phase 90: My favorite tone but a little too gritty and no true bypass. This one adds mids which really help it cut through on bass.

    2. EVH Phase 90: Nice warm tone but a touch too thin and not true bypass. Much cleaner then the standard Phase 90 but missing the chewy mids.

    3. Retro Sonic Phaser: Small and well built but just way too subtle for bass.

    4. Diamond Phaser: Big, expensive, hard to power (24v) and in the end, far too subtle.

    5. HBE Psilocybe: Fairly lush and works quite well on bass. I have kept this one the longest but it doesn't have the same sweep and midrangey tone of the Phase 90 that drew me into the phaser tone in the first place.
  6. Funkfaker


    Jan 4, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing Artist: CallowHill Guitars; Aguilar Amplification; MonoCases
    I've been vexed in this arena also. I've found the MXR phase 90 to work really well for it's slowest setting on some synth bass sounds, but it does little else to inspire me. I'd love to find something that cops that vibe along with more features.
  7. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    The new subdecay and empress phasers sure sound good and have loads of features... check out the recent threads.

    For me, I want a simple, but good sounding phaser that adds some hallucinatory flavor to what I'm playing... so, I guess I'll try the psilocybe for a while, especially in a live setting before I decide to pull the trigger on a larger, more expensive phaser.
  8. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    Update! I was able to bring my Psilocybe to a store today and line it up with a Malekko micro Phaser, a Cmatmods Analog Phaser and the Keeley Phaser and do some side by side testing. Here's how this little shootout went:

    1. The little purple pink colored Malekko sounded pretty bad to my ears. There was volume loss, and a very thinned out tone when engaged. This is not a true bypass pedal and was really disappointing.

    2. The Cmatmods Phaser is really sweet to look at as its gorgeously built and had a lush warm tone but despite having a volume control, the low end loss was significant and simply not acceptable for bass use. I could see this being a very nice pedal on guitar.

    3. The Keeley was a huge disappointment for me as I honestly thought I would be coming home with this one. I am so glad I tried it first! The low end loss was shocking and there was even a bit of a volume loss to my ears when engaged. The ramp feature was cool but the no matter how much I played with the Edge and Speed controls, I could not find a sweet spot to my ears. Even if i had found the Phaser sound I am after, there is no way I could use this for bass as the low end loss was more then pretty much any other Phaser I have tried. It probably would not take much to put out a bass friendly version but I cannot see how this pedal could be useable unless put in a blendable loop.

    4. Back to the Psilocybe, after comparing it directly with these other Phasers, I realized how there is absolutely no low end loss, no volume loss, and the phase tone is lush and thick. It was no contest, the pedal I already owned was light years ahead of the ones I was comparing.

    So I have a healthy new respect for the Psilocybe as a bass friendly Phaser and hope this helps others looking for their favorite and most useful Phaser.
  9. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    I spent another hour or so last night playing the psilocybe with my oxide and my goodness what delicious sounds I was able to produce.

    I am really starting to like it. I'll have to record and post some clips.
  10. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
  11. lowbass68


    Feb 3, 2008
    I had my psilocybe for several years and it remains my favorite phaser because it has better low end than my old phase 90 and wider range. Sounds great with dirt too. Also have an Option 5 destination phase that I like but it tends to boast my volume when engaged.

    Would like to get an old Roland Jet Phase. Check out Larry Graham in this video. He describes and demos the Jet Phase about 2 minutes into it.



    May 4, 2006
    Courtenay, BC, Canada
    That was freakin' sweet. Thank you.