In the late 1960s, the ‘psychedelic’ era spawned a range of new musical ideas. Some caught on and stayed with us; others disappeared forever. One that arrived and changed its format and essentially split itself into two was the Phaser.
The first time we heard it was on Itchycoo Park by the Small Faces, but that’s not to say that was its first use. That effect later became a flanger, and the phaser became a different thing with the release of the Maestro PS-1 Phase shifter in 1971.
A Phaser creates a string of lows and highs in the frequencies, and the position of those points is then modulated to form a range of sound effects. One of the great exponents of the phaser, of course, is Eddie Van Halen.
Today it is a common sight on most guitar players pedalboards and is often used on other instruments.
So, let’s have a look at the Best Phaser Pedals around…
Top 10 Best Phaser Pedals In 2021 Reviews
1 Mxr M101 Phase 90 Guitar Effects Pedal
Where there are pedals there, you will find MXR quality, and this Phaser is a great addition to their product range. They have been producing phaser’s for nearly 40 years now across the spectrum of musical genres.
They know what they are doing, and many artists have used this pedal to create sounds and atmospheres in their music. It is a very basic and a simple pedal to control and therefore easy to generate its sound. It is really a case of what sort of sound you want to create.
Quick shimmering sound to dreamy backgrounds…
This pedal has effectively just two controls, on and off and speed. The speed control sets the pace at which the peaks and troughs of the frequencies are reached. It can either be a quick shimmering sound or a dreamy background and all points in between.
It generates warm analog tones and sweeping, swooshing phases of sound at the turn of a dial. And, don’t just limit the use to a guitar. It works well with bass and keyboards and adds a whole new spectrum when applied to a vocal.
One important thing with this pedal is that MXR has resisted the urge to apply too many control options, keeping it simple.
Like all MXR kit, this pedal is well made with a robust and sturdy frame. It will take the knocks and come back for more. This is a classic phase pedal by anyone’s standards. All the sounds you need are there and so easy to call up.
It operates from a 9v battery with a power unit as an optional extra.
Price wise it is set very competitively.
If you are thinking of adding that sweeping, swooshing sound we know from so many players then this pedal will provide them.
2 Boss Ph-3 Phase Shifter Guitar Effects Pedal
Normally we write in glowing phrases about Boss pedals and their simplicity. This time with their Phaser they have come up with a pedal that offers a bit more in its sound options than many of its competitors.
Boss doesn’t do that every day so let’s see what is on offer from one of the stalwarts of pedal production.
You don’t have to look too hard to know it’s Boss. The familiar sturdy pedal shape and that heavyweight on/off switch tell you that. You know it’s going to last the course and is going to be a tough little pedal.
Vintage phasing at your fingertips…
The rate and depth controls provide the standard phasing effects and allow the creation of some vintage phased sounds. The shimmering and swooshing sounds are all there as is that 60’s Pink Floyd type swirl.
Boss have ensured, as with all their pedals, that the sounds that made the pedal desirable are within its capability and this pedal is no different. But, beyond those basic sounds, they have created some new options.
They have included a Rise and Fall switch. The up and down cycles of the sound are standard, but this allows you to have entirely upward or downward cycles. Added to this are selectable stage steps in 4, 8, 10 and 12 patterns. And, synchronizing this effect is as simple as just tapping out the tempo required.
It is typically Boss. A quality pedal that produces the goods. This pedal does give you a little more, but the basic phase effects are vintage sounding and very good.
It is made in China where a lot of the good stuff is these days and is typically ‘Boss-tough.’
If you are looking for a simple to operate, reliable phase pedal this should be on your list.
Not the cheapest pedal around. It operates from a 9v battery.
3 Digitech Sp-7 Hardwire Stompbox Stereo Phaser
Digitech have always been where you would look first to give your guitar a bit extra. With so many competitors in the marketplace these days that status has been cut down a little, but they still produce quality pedals.
Their phaser pedal is a good example of them being able to produce a quality pedal with innovative ideas. It is, however, remarkably similar visually to the Boss version, even down to the color.
The controls are also similar – speed, depth, modify and even stage selection. All reasonably standard requirements for a phaser. What actions they perform speak for themselves, but they are all responsive and deliver what you expect.
Seven different types of phasing…
The final control is where this pedal takes a step forward, offering a range of styles and effects that other phasers do not give offering seven different types of phasing. This is where the pedal becomes very impressive.
Digitech have clearly given some development time to this and not just offered up the same 2, 4, 8, etc. options. Using these controls, you can create a wide range of phased sounds and still have plenty of options to adjust the sound to suit yourself.
It has all the qualities of a ‘boutique’ pedal but without the price tag…
It’s an impressive pedal and whilst some may say it is just a copy of the Boss, it actually takes it all a stage further offering extra options of sounds whilst ensuring the vintage sounds are still there. It also has an effective tap tempo that allows you to set up exactly what you need.
This pedal really ought to be on the ‘let’s have a look list.’
Priced towards the top end but worth the investment in our opinion. Operates from a 9v battery.
4 Tc Electronic Helix Phaser Pedal
TC Electronics have their phaser pedal and as is usual with this manufacturer they provide a product that starts to push the boundaries.
It carries the usual controls with speed and depth creating the mainstay sounds but then adds on feedback and a mix control. The sound possibilities beyond the basics are worth paying attention to.
For starters, it is loaded at the factory with great vintage sounds that you can fine tune and adjust to your liking. Yes, the usual swirling and swooshing sounds of a Gilmour or Van Halen are very evident, but then it goes a stage further.
The turn of a switch will take you from a powerful rock sound to a warm solo tone. At the turn of a control, the sound will change.
The mix and feedback controls then become important as they allow you to give the sound as much or as little of the dirty stuff as you want, and then combine the sounds together.
Digital technology meeting Analog sounds…
Still to come, though, is TC Electronics wildcard, Toneprint.
As everyone is aware, by using TC Electronic’s Toneprint software you can hook up to a Windows PC computer or a Mac and get access to endless numbers of presets created by some guitar greats that can be downloaded to your pedal.
Through Toneprint you get access to all the parameters available to create your very own sound, and some of these sounds are quite simply stunning.
It comes with a requirement that you will be willing to donate the time to get to know the pedal and what exactly is on offer through Toneprint, but if you do a world of sound is at your fingertips like no other phaser pedal can provide.
Priced at the top end but there is a lot of technology here which makes it a competitive price.
5 Red Witch Analog Deluxe Moon Phaser
The first thing that strikes you about this pedal is its build. It is a tough machine that will withstand a lot. That leads you to think that it will be very basic in its sound that it produces. Nothing could be further than the truth.
You are still led down the path of believing this pedal to be very basic by observing that there are only three controls and an on/off button. Less than the Boss. Wrong again. The observant though will notice its stereo possibilities and the descriptors for those controls.
There is Velocity, which sounds like something out of the Apollo Space Program, which is the frequency or speed control. Then there is Trajectory, again a NASA influenced description, of the ups and downs and shape of what you are hearing. The third, Cosmology. Ok, time to sit down and get out the manual.
Whereas Velocity and Trajectory might have been understood, Cosmology is something new.
If you are looking for a ‘boutique’ phaser, then you have found it…
To justify that name it has to deliver, and it does. Cosmology will allow you to switch between 3 different phasing styles and a tremolo effect and further trim phase effects which combine analog phase with tremolo.
The result is stunning.
Considering that the basics controls offer only what other pedals give, the range of sounds is quite amazing. You will though need to invest some time in understanding just how this pedal operates, and it will take a good while to get the best from it.
It is a unique pedal that has so much to offer sound wise, but before you get too excited, I think maybe a quick look at the price is probably a good idea.
It operates from a 9v battery.
6 Earthquaker Devices Grand Orbiter V3 Phase Machine
Earthquaker gives us the Grand Orbiter phaser. Another space-age name.
Four dial controls – sweep, rate, depth and resonance – and two switches make up the control panel for this exemplary product. This pedal will not be for the faint-hearted and is going to take some getting to grips with. If you are willing to do that you will be rewarded with some great effects.
The rate controls the speed of the signal, and the LED will flash to show you an indication of what is happening.
The depth will control how intense the signal becomes allowing you to make it very extreme or quite shallow and the sweep will set the intensity of the phase from quite aggressive to a more laid back feel.
The resonance control sets the quality of the signal in terms of its overall resonance from a sharper sound to a warm effect.
The switches offer basic but effective effects. The phase/vibrato will give you a pure vibrato effect and the rate offering changes to the speed of the signal.
From basic and vintage to complex efforts…
From this brief description, it is clear to see that this pedal is capable of producing any sound that you may wish, from basic and vintage sounds through to today’s more complex efforts. When compared with some of the other phaser pedals this is prominent in its sound creation possibilities.
This pedal is pure analog and has true bypass. The price is set at the top end and understandably so. It offers a lot more than other pedals.
If you are looking for a phaser that will do its job very simply and with no fuss, then this pedal is probably not for you. If though, you want something extra then this pedal will probably give you everything you can think of and maybe a bit more.
It is well-built and rugged and able to take a few knocks.
7 MXR M107 Phase 100 Guitar Phaser Effects Pedal Bundle
For many players, MXR was the place to go if you wanted a serious phaser. It was simple to operate and ruggedly built, offered only basic sound options, but a couple of those options created the benchmark by which other pedals were measured.
The Phase 90 pedal so loved by Eddie Van Halen, is now updated to the Phase 100, and it still offers the same great sounds that inspired a generation. It is still a simple pedal and easy to use but has now been given an extra control knob by way of an intensity control.
A little more intensity…
Those that remember the Phase 90 will recall it only had one control, and that was enough. The 100 has kept the basic format for the speed control and has now added an extra option. The intensity control offers four basic shapes of sound, pictured rather usefully by the knob.
These are in effect presets and whilst they are not very creative on their own they do offer some versatility when used with the speed control. Looking at the shapes produced they cover most requirements, and you do have the options to tweak them a little.
A good pedal doesn’t have to be a complicated pedal…
This pedal is a good example of what we personally believe in, that a good pedal doesn’t have to be a complicated pedal. The basic structure of this pedal has been around a long time and is trusted by players everywhere. That says a lot for its quality.
This is a tough pedal and will take its share of knocks and has been built to take them. It has great sounds and really should be on everybody’s wishlist.
One final plus point is the price, pitched towards the bottom end means this pedal represents tremendous value.
Operates on a 9v battery.
8 Joyo Jf-06 Vintage Phase Guitar Pedal
Joyo always offers a good quality budget pedal at a premium price for those who don’t wish to spend much. That does not mean they are poor quality, they perform well and do their job but without some of the bells and whistles of the other pedals in this review.
As always with Joyo the controls are simple and easy to use, just speed and an off/on switch. The beauty of this little pedal, however, is that it replicates the vintage sounds of the first phasers that came along in the 70s.
The swirling, ethereal sounds of early Pink Floyd might be the best way to describe it. In fact, it does sound a little similar to the MXR 90 phaser beloved of some many players.
Physically it is quite small, but it is made of aluminum and quite robust, so that is not an issue.
Does just one thing, but well…
It might be considered a classic phase pedal. In that, we mean, that its delivery and operation goes back in time when pedals usually did just one thing. This pedal does just that. It is a phaser, and that is what it is. It has no pretensions and doesn’t try to be anything else.
At low speeds, the depth of the phase becomes shallow and swirling; at faster speeds, it swooshes around and is far more intense.
So many pedals these days have a primary function but then try to be too clever and spill over into other sound areas. This has the result of you having two or three pedals on your board that all do a similar job.
We have none of that here. Just a phaser and it does it well.
Set at a remarkably low price, you really can’t go wrong. Operates on a 9v battery.
9 Ammoon Kokko Mini Analog Phaser
Another pedal at the premium end of the market that will provide you with a phaser and that is all. This pedal is, like so many others, a throwback to the 70s and those days when the Phaser was introduced and seemed to be used by everybody on everything.
It does, however, go a long way to re-creating those guitar sounds of Van Halen and Gilmour that left such an impact. It’s a very MXR phase 90 type of pedal and if that is what you are looking for then this premium budget effect may do it for you.
It is well constructed with a metal box that is rugged and will take a few knocks.
Simple controls for rate, depth, and mix make it very easy pedal to use.
For a basic vintage phased sound they are really all you need. The depth control will raise or lower the speed of the signal which in turn will increase or decrease the intensity of the sound. The rate varies the speed, and the mix will control the variance between the dry and the wet signal.
Easy to use, but effective and will give you that 70s sound…
In fact, it really does give a good representation of a classic 70s Phaser. It has not got the options of some of its competitors or the range of sound effects and technology, but for what it does it doesn’t need it.
It is a pure and simple a Phaser pedal. No bells and whistles or high tech stuff to try and get your head around, it does its job remarkably well, and for the price, it is certainly worth consideration for those just wanting to have a simple to use pedal.
It has true bypass.
10 Walrus Audio Vanguard Dual Phase Pedal
Back near to the top of the leaderboard with this pedal (if you will excuse the pun).
If you are out there looking for a phaser that will give you great sounds and that might even make the coffee if it’s asked nicely and keep the gig diary, then you may have found it. This pedal from Walrus is a game changer.
There is not enough room in this review to go into detail about the options for sound control so we will just give you a brief oversight. If you are looking for a simple phaser pedal to give you some iconic 70s sound, then we’ll say goodnight now. This pedal goes beyond that and beyond it again.
4 Phasers in one…
It makes no pretensions about being an analog lookalike; it is a digital effect and proud of it. It is actually four phasers in one. One is always active and offers a ten stage phaser just for starters with the usual depth, rate and feedback options.
The output from here feeds one of three of the second stage options which you can select through a switch. From there the options are literally limitless. It will throw up your signal in varying waveforms and mix them all together as if controlled by a delay pedal though that is an inadequate description.
So much control…
Eight basic controls and a toggle switch perform the functions. It has the option for storing presets, and real-time control of the effect if you further invest in an ‘expression pedal’ to go with it.
Oh, and it has given us a headache considering the options we can’t even mention like three-color LED and stereo signals. If there is a phasing effect and you can’t find it with this pedal, then we will be very surprised.
As we said earlier, it is a gamechanger, but do not expect to hear Dave Gilmour using it. It will take you some time to get your head around this piece of kit, but for some, it is going to be worth it.
Expensive it might be, but admirers of the options will think it is worth every penny.
Which Of The Best Phaser Pedals Is Best For You?
Do you want the vintage sound? The sound that most of us grew up on with swirling chords and swooshing tones that carried us away to imaginary places. So many bands based there sounds around the phaser in those 70s days it appeared in anger, whilst others used it sparingly for effect.
But, what do you want it for?
If it is for those who want those early sounds, then there are a number of great options. Some of the pedals we reviewed are dedicated to recreating those lush, warm sounds of the start of psychedelia.
But, maybe you want more…
If you want a pedal that will give you phase but then go on a stage further in its sound options, then there are those to choose from. There is even a pedal that will give you a headache, in a nice way, as you explore the stunning sound options it provides.
Plain and simple or complicated and different
They are all there as we looked at the best of the best Phaser Pedals.
So, What’re The Best Phaser Pedals?
We wanted to keep it simple but with excellent sounds. Wanted it vintage but with just a little bit extra.
Every pedal we looked at had things to offer. Even the budget pedals did their job admirably, but in the end, we chose the…
A great piece of kit, not too complex but with a track record with some new options added.
A great pedal and for us the Best Phaser Pedal.