The Top 8 Phaser Pedals – Essential Effects That You Should Try

the-best-phaser-pedals

One of the best by-products of guitar effects in general has got to be the modulation branch. There are so many awesome effects to be found here, and most of them have something to do with a specific type of filter use. Phasers are considered to be among the more basic modulation pedals you can get.

They are easy to control and offer a something that can be used across different genres of music. A phaser can be fitting in the slowest of the rock ballads, while you can spice up a face melting metal song as well.

Top 8 Phaser Pedals

Image
Looper Pedal
Summary
Rating
MXR Phase 90
A truly legendary phaser pedal that is still among the best today.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Boss PH-3
In terms of versatility, this Boss pedal ruled for a long while.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Red Witch Analog Deluxe Moon
Unusual boutique design that brings a new take on the phaser effect.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
DigiTech SP-7 Hardwire
Well made and incredibly capable phaser that delivers on all fronts successfully.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
dod-phasor-201
DOD Phasor 201
Quality revamp of the legend that started the modern phaser pedal segment.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
MXR M107 Phase 100
Upgraded and beefed up MXR Phase 90 with more controls and features.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Ibanez PH7 Phaser Pedal
Ibanez raised the stakes by adding new controls, and bringing quality performance.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
TC Electronic Helix
The ultimate model for those who like to alter the effect's core.
5 Stars
Total of 5/5

If you are in a market for a phaser, and you are not sure which model to go for nor where to even start, you are in the right place. We’ve done all the legwork for you, and managed to form a shortlist of what are generally considered to be the best phaser pedals you can get at this moment. There will be some classics there, as well as some newer models. Some will be more traditional in terms of controls, while others will bring a lot more flexibility. Either way, you can’t go wrong with any of these phasers, each one of them deserves its spot as an essential guitar effect for you to consider.


MXR Phase 90

mxr-phase-90

Features:4.8 Stars
Controls:4.6 Stars
Performance:5 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

Starting this list with any other model would just be wrong. MXR takes the cake for the number one spot on our list with one of its most prolific models. Phase 90 is a classic analog phase shifter that has been around for a while now. At one point it became a really popular pedal among most of the popular guitar players of the ’70s. One of the best things about this particular model was its simplicity.

MXR didn’t really want to waste too much time by trying to squeeze in various features and controls. No, they went straight to the business. The design of the pedal is rather simple and entails a small orange box with a single knob which has ‘Speed’ written bellow it. As you can probably guess, the Speed relates to the frequency of the phase filter, and that was about all you could control. We are so used to complex new pedal circuits that we keep forgetting just how great it is to have a basic design such as this one. Add a great tone to the mix, and you have yourself a recipe for success. Overall, a great pedal that is still going strong.


Boss PH-3

boss-ph-3

Features:4.9 Stars
Controls:5 Stars
Performance:4.8 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.9 Stars

Boss being Boss, you know they just have to spice things up. Compared to most standard phasers, PH-3 brings a lot more versatility to the table. For the most part, it is this trait that has brought it a lot of popularity from the moment it was released. On a first glance it looks like any other Boss pedal, but this phaser is anything but ordinary. Aside from allowing you to adjust the speed of the effect, you also get to adjust the depth of the ‘dips’ as well as the resonance.

But wait, there’s more. One of the most important aspects of Boss PH-3 phaser pedal is the fact that it allows you to choose the number of stages. You have 4,6,8 and even 12 stage phaser to play with, along with some other modes which are a bit more specific. At the end of the day, Boss PH-3 is the type of phaser you can dial in the way you want to for each distinct scenario. The newer models even come with a tempo detect feature. This is a little green box of swirly goodness that just keeps on giving.


Red Witch Analog Deluxe Moon

red-witch-analog-deluxe-moon

Features:4.8 Stars
Controls:5 Stars
Performance:4.9 Stars
Value:4.3 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

Boutique pedals are bound to be more refined than the usual stuff we have available. After all, that’s why they come at a higher price. Red Witch Analog Deluxe Moon is a very phaser box that packs a tone rarely found elsewhere. The whole point of this unit is to deliver that vintage analog color in a more modern package. There is one twist to this story. Red Witch Analog Deluxe Moon is not just a phaser, it is also a tremolo pedal.

Compared to some of the most popular tremolo pedals, Red Witch Deluxe Moon carries its weight just fine. In short, you get a combo of two effects which both sound great in this particular format. The only thing to keep in mind is that you will definitely need to pay a bit extra for the pleasure of owning a Red Witch Analog Deluxe Moon. Whether or not it’s worth the investment is completely up to you, but it is one of the best sounding phasers on the market at the moment.


DigiTech SP-7 Hardwire

digitech-sp-7

Features:4.9 Stars
Controls:4.9 Stars
Performance:5 Stars
Value:4.6 Stars
Average:4.9 Stars

If you have been involved with guitar effects for any reasonable amount of time, you probably know about DigiTech. The type of impact this company had in the world of music is not something many brands can brag about. While SP-7 Hardwire isn’t their best model ever, it’s definitely among the ones that keep this brand popular.

In terms of design, DigiTech SP-7 Hardwire is pretty robust. The stompbox is made to take good amounts of abuse if that’s what you need to do, which is comforting if you plan to use this thing on stage. The pedal comes with a similar set of controls as the PH-3 we just mentioned. As a matter of fact, in terms of layout and appearances, they are pretty similar. DigiTech SP-7 Hardwire comes with 10 available stages and depth/resonance/speed control cluster.

Tap tempo is also there, but unlike the PH-3, SP-7 comes with stereo output capability. That alone is why this awesome pedal is worth checking out. In terms of tone color, you are looking at a clinical, but also organic phaser effect. Overall, DigiTech SP-7 Hardwire is among the top-value deals at the moment.


DOD Phasor 201

dod-phasor-201

Features:4.8 Stars
Controls:4.7 Stars
Performance:5 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.9 Stars

When it comes to modulation effects, you will always have those who prefer older analog circuits, and those who love the new digital stuff. Guitar players who fall into the former category will definitely know who DOD is as a brand, and they might even know about the Phasor 201. DOD was among the first companies on the market to produce a compact phaser that was both small and offered a good effect. Phasor 201 is a reissue of their vintage classic, and it’s every bit as good. The design is rudimentary in a sense that there is only one knob to work with.

However, that was normal for the analog phasers back in those days. The pedal itself offers one of the most recognizable phase effects which is still very much competitive today. Sure, it’s not the cheapest thing out there, but DOD Phasor 201 is definitely among some of the most iconic effects pedals ever made. A lot of people approach it with skepticism only to be completely taken by surprise when they realize just what an old analog circuit is capable of doing. Definitely a model worth checking out.


MXR M107 Phase 100

mxr-m107-phase-100

Features:4.6 Stars
Controls:4.8 Stars
Performance:4.9 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

We have already covered the famous Phase 90 by MXR, but now it is time to look at the model which came as a successor. Phase 100 comes in a larger format and offers a bit more than just the Speed control we are used to seeing on Phase 90. The color of the pedal is the same, and even the tone right about there somewhere. However, with the Phase 100 you get to choose the intensity of the phaser, thus adding another dimension to an already proven platform.

All of this might sound a bit bland compared to the more modern digital models, but keep in mind that we are talking about an analog unit. The device’s vintage nature is exactly what keeps people coming back to the legendary orange box. Some prefer the simplicity of Phase 90, but other know just how much that additional knob means in terms of control and versatility. The pedal is big and might give you some trouble when it comes to fitting it on a pedal board. With that said, this one is absolutely worth the effort no matter what.


Ibanez PH7 Phaser Pedal

ibanez-ph7

Features:4.7 Stars
Controls:4.9 Stars
Performance:4.9 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

After producing one of the most legendary overdrive pedals in the history of guitar effects, people got used to Ibanez delivering good pedals from time to time. The one we are talking about today is the Ibanez PH7 Phaser. One quick glance at this thing will tell you that you’re looking at more or less the same layout as just about any other phaser on the market.

However, there’s a big difference here. Aside from you standard three controls which let you adjust the speed, depth, and feedback, Ibanez PH7 allows you to control the level of the output as well. What exactly does this mean in practical terms? Standard phasers are great for general purpose use, but not when you’re trying to be as subtle as possible. Achieving this is something that that simply requires a level control knob. On top of that, Ibanez PH7 is among more natural sounding ‘modern’ phasers you can find at the moment. For a unit that is not nearly as flashy as some on the market, this Ibanez sure is holding its ground.


TC Electronic Helix

tc-electronic-helix

Features:5 Stars
Controls:5 Stars
Performance:4.9 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:5 Stars

Helix from TC Electronic is more or less what happens when you bring an already popular concept to a new age. Phasers are not that complicated from our standpoint, but not a lot of brands tried to impact the way they worked within their core. Except for TC Electronic. This pedal shop is known to release some of the most outrageous, but also most impressive pedals on the market. Similar can be said about the Helix. So what’s that different?

Let’s start with the fact that this is an effects pedal you can customize using TC Electronic’s proprietary software. In a way, this allows you to achieve just about any phaser effect type you can think of. With that said, the pedal itself features the more or less standard controls, only you also get true bypass as well as dual inputs and outputs for stereo use.


The Effect

Most people are having trouble figuring out what the phaser is all about. You know that effect when it feels like the sound you are hearing is circling you and changing the location of its origin constantly? That is what phaser does for your guitar tone. It has been described as a swirly filter, which definitely paints an accurate picture as well.

On a purely technical side, it’s a dynamic envelope filter that creates the weird effect by cutting specific frequency bands at specific times. Just about every phaser will allow you to change the frequency of the effect, while most will offer a lot more control than that. Finding a good one for yourself is going to depend on a number of factors including the type of music you want to play.

Digital phaser effects are somewhat different from the analog ones in a few ways. Aside from the lack of control (in most cases), analog phasers tend to be a lot warmer and organic in nature. On the other hand, digital ones are pretty clinical and accurate, but that is not something everyone prefers. There are now models out there which will allow you to merge these two by creating your own templates. However, skeptics are not convinced that will be enough to get rid of the good old analog phaser.

Conclusion

Guitar modulation effects are always going to be among the most popular. That’s the way it has been since their discovery, and it’s probably going to remain that way for a long time. Phaser is not the most versatile effect of the modulation variety, but it sure is a popular one. We have tried to show you some of the best phaser effects available today, including old classics and newer models that bring much more control to the table.

Choosing whether to go analog or digital is a personal decision, but we definitely urge you to experiment with as many models as you can. Sometimes you just need to feel the effect for it to start working for you.