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Opinions regarding various versions of the MXR Phase 90

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by 40Hz, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I find myself in need of a bass friendly phase shifter for something I'm working on. And (so far) I've pretty much narrowed it down to either the MXR Phase 90 Custom Shop or the '74 Vintage edition. Right now I'm debating with myself about which I prefer.

    I'm going to be using it with a more midrange heavy bass (e.g. Ripper/T-40/T-20) and I primarily need a slow and rich but subtle phasing sound. Not so much an effect as a texture in the background. Emphasis here is on subtle but rich and smooth. Ideally more noticeable when it's switched out rather than in.

    So all you pedal and effect mavens (I'm not an expert by any stretch)...I'd appreciate your impressions, experiences, opinions, rants, etc. on either of these two pedals - or - whatever else you think a relative effects novice like me should be using as a phaser. The only other candidate I've listened to so far that I thought had potential for the old-school sound I was looking for was the EHX Small Stone. Can't listen to the '74 version of the MXR because they don't seem to available right now.

    I'd also like to keep the purchase price as much below $150 as possible, consistent with getting the results I'm looking for. So recommendations for a beautiful "do everything" H9 or a Strymon box won't be helpful here. And I'd prefer to keep it in the analog realm if at all possible. Because I've got digital coming out the wazoo, and nothing digital I've got quite has the organic sound I'm looking for.

    So...all you pedal and effects wizards...what say you? I'm open to trying out anything at this point.

    Thankee! :)
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
  2. Driven Crane

    Driven Crane

    May 30, 2014
    40Hz likes this.
  3. MGR

    MGR Banned

    Jan 18, 2015
    Bronx, NY
    Personally, the off the shelf stock Phase 90 is one of the better Phasers out there for bass. The lack of features is a plus for your purposes. The Apollo II Driven Crane suggested is a killer pedal, but not as "chewy" as the MXR and it's plethora of knobs and features will most likely make your life more difficult than it needs to be. Sometimes, especially with phasing, the simpler the better and the standard stock Phase 90 is as simple as it gets. The EH Small Stone is not as focused a sound as the MXR.
    Billy C., 40Hz and skydivingninja like this.
  4. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    Well the EVH looks the coolest, but doesn't sound radically different than the standard Block Phase 90. I just don't like orange pedals.

    Malekko Phase sounds pretty awesome as well. And at $119 it's well below $150.

    40Hz likes this.
  5. Driven Crane

    Driven Crane

    May 30, 2014
    I have tried a lot of phasers... Now i use some phasers and vibes from my Mobius. But there are also 3 pedals i do respect: EBS Dphaser - juicy and powerful, small; EP-2 Pigtronics - good for anything, has its own tone and very versatile, huge; Apollo II - magical pedal that can change your mind, works good with OD's, biggy.
    40Hz likes this.
  6. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    @Driven Crane @MGR @winterburn69

    Thanks all for your feedback.

    Right now I've gotten a chance to try the MXR script and block versions. Do like the script version slightly better. And I'll agree simple is a plus. And yeah...orange is a little hard on the eyes although at least you'd probably never trip over it.

    The Apollo II looks and sounds (on videos) pretty amazing...but it's not quite what I think I want for what I'm doing right now, Still that would be one awesome phaser to have in your toolkit - so I've got it marked for maybe someday. I would like to try one out at the very least. My GF took a listen (she's a guitarist) and she really liked what she was hearing.

    Logged a little more time with the EHX Small Stone and have since crossed it off the short list. It's nice. But not quite.

    I've worked wth the Pigtronix EP-2 before. Pretty awesome sounding as well. But I definitely don't want any envelope for what I'm doing. This is more an ambient application.

    A buddy loaned me his Calvera Phaser (never heard of this one before!) to play with. Also awesome sounding but too intense and full of character for my requirements here.

    It seems the fewer the stages the more it fits what I'm hearing in my head. The Heptode Virtuoso on the slow stetting exactly nails the sound which is basically the primeval Maestro PS-1A vibe. But since the Heptode runs $300 street for a three fixed speed phaser - me getting one for a single project is "sooo not gonna to happen" as a buddy of mine's young daughter once put it.

    This is the Heptode btw:

    Anyway, the search continues. If all else fails the MXR script would work. It's major plus (besides sound) is it seems like it can be clocked down a little slower than the block version. And slow is a major plus for me for this outing.

    Any suggestions or additional input is very welcome. And again thanks for taking the time to join in the discussion. It's greatly appreciated. :)
    MGR likes this.
  7. Driven Crane

    Driven Crane

    May 30, 2014
    Maestro Phaser is the same tone of Tommy Bolin's DP - Come Taste The Band + lives.
  8. I like the now discontinued Mojo Hand Nebula IV. The regular Nebula is a Phase 45. The IV was a 90 with rate, depth, and level knobs.
    40Hz likes this.
  9. I personally love the standard Phase 90. I know there are lots of Phaser options, but I compared it to the Boss Phaser and a Small Stone and it won for me. Haven't compared it to a Script myself, but the affordability plus the great, thick sound got it a place on my board.
    Billy C., zapped777 and 40Hz like this.
  10. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Another vote for a standard Phase 90. I've had an EVH on my board forever and never wished that it sounded any different.

    I am interested in checking out the new Custom Shop Phase 90 but I'm not sure it'll sound all that different for my purpose.
    zapped777 and 40Hz like this.
  11. MGR

    MGR Banned

    Jan 18, 2015
    Bronx, NY
    That Heptode is cool. Many years ago I had the original Maestro and although it was limited to the three stock speeds, boy was that a nice sounding phaser. But still for the OP, the standard or script 90 sounds like it fits the bill.
    40Hz likes this.
  12. I recently picked up a Phase 95, and am very impressed. Toggles between Phase 45 and Phase 90, and between script and block, and all in a 1590a enclosure.
    40Hz, Driven Crane and Jonny_Orange like this.
  13. Driven Crane

    Driven Crane

    May 30, 2014
    That would be my choice for 90-ish tone.
  14. NortyFiner

    NortyFiner Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Portsmouth VA USA

    That phaser you're hearing on the bass is the MXR Script Phase 90, as played through by Rob Grange, who is a member here on this board. He explains it here...

    Rob Grange's tone on 'Stranglehold'

    Be that as it may, I have had either the EHX Nano Small Stone or MXR Script Phase 90 on my board pretty much ever since I've been playing bass well enough to bother with effects. For the last several years it's been the Script Phase 90 exclusively; I have the Custom Shop version with standard 9V power and LED. If space was an issue, I'd be strongly tempted by the Phase 95, but as it stands, I'm sticking with my old school orange box for now. :)
    40Hz likes this.
  15. Joey Cash

    Joey Cash

    Nov 1, 2012
    I've been GASing for the Phase 95 lately. But I might just get a regular old Phase 90 because you can get them for like $50.
    Billy C. likes this.
  16. warro


    Feb 13, 2009
    ^ Phase 45 for this. But my favorite is the Phase 100. It can be subtle or not, depending on the setting. It also has lots of headroom, so it stays clean.
    40Hz likes this.
  17. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Haven't found a Phase 100 to try yet. I do like the 45. But I thought the dialed back 90 was closer to this elusive thing I'm hearing in my head. (Besides the voices…those voices…;)) If I was in a spendy state of mind, a combination of a 90 and a 45 could be very cool. I'm a big fan of biphasers and stacked (and parallel) modulation and delay chains. But I'm trying to keep it all to just one simple box. At least so far.

    One surprise. The snuffbox sized Hotone Skyline Series Phaze is amazing sounding. (As is their Eko delay.) So amazing that this might turn out to be the dark horse in the race. :cool:


    I've still got a bit more time to come to a decision. The search continues.

    Thanks again to all for your input. It's been very helpful. :):thumbsup:
    Driven Crane likes this.
  18. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    So the search has ended.

    In case anybody's interested I ended up getting the MXR Phase 90 (script version) and a Hotone Phaze. I liked both pedals enough that I couldn't decide which I liked more. So for the prices asked I figured why pick one when I could have both and still not have to spend a lot of money?

    I did try some fancier and more sophisticated phase shifters. But at the end of the day it was a classic case of less ending up being more. At least for me.

    Both pedals are great at what they do all by themselves. But when used together - either patched in series or in parallel - some very interesting and musical things start happening.

    I'm beginning to think that a phase shifter is one effect you really do want to have more than one of. It's definitely a whole new experience having two in your signal chain. Groovy even! :cool:

    Thanks to everyone who contributed their suggestions and advice. It was all very helpful - and greatly appreciated. :thumbsup:
  19. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Chamonix Mont-Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    This is what you want

    MXR Handwired 1974 Vintage Phase 90 Pedal CSP-026

    The stock Script circuit requires a volume boost to allow it cut through mix. analogMike does this mod on new pedals.

    People end up choosing the block even though it doesn't sound better because it avoids this problem. Not sure why MXR doesn't do it themselves.

    He also offers a blend mod but I don't feel like I lose any Low End.
  20. farace


    Jul 9, 2016
    Connecticut USA
    IMG_0542.JPG So, the reissue script Phase 90 is exactly the same as the original? I have one in a bin that I've owned probably since the '80s (and it seemed old then) and for some reason it never occurred to me to run my bass through it o_O (probably due to a mindset that bass through a guitar pedal loses all the lows, clearly not always true, but at one time I thought that) (I also went through a "no effects ever on bass" phase). I also have a Kent Black Gold Phaser from God-knows-when, a '70s Ampeg Phazzer, and an '80s Ampeg Phaser. I need to explore my "stuff" bin more.
    vlsndgrdn likes this.

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