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April 6, 2021
Create Movement and Texture

Buying Guide: Phaser, Flanger and Chorus Effects

Adding depth and texture to your sound opens up the expression in your playing. Your guitar tone becomes otherworldly when it's modulated by a flanger, phaser, or chorus. These effects have come a long way since the early days of messing with the playback synchronization of multiple tape machines. You won't believe the lush, multi-dimensional sounds these effects pedals can create!

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Flanger Effects
When you mix two identical signals together, and delay one of them by a small yet constantly changing amount of time, you get a sweeping comb filter effect that defines the classic flanger sound.

The origin of the word "flange" is classic rock 'n' roll lore: The Beatles' John Lennon wanted to double-track his vocals without having to re-record a separate live vocal track. Engineers at Abbey Road studios realized that recording the same signal onto two different tape machines and synchronizing the playback, created strange and swirling sounds by slowing down or speeding up one machine, while pressing against the metal flange of the tape spool. Searching for a word to describe the newly discovered effect, producer George Martin tossed off a number of made-up words as a joke. "Flange" was the word that Lennon latched onto and repeated at future sessions -- and the rest is history.

Flanging has come a long way since requiring multiple tape machines and a team of engineers. Modern flange effects offer extreme control over the delay time, signal, depth, speed and intensity of the modulation -- even the shape or contour of the waveform. From insane jet-plane psychedelia, to subtle depth and movement to fatten your tone, you won't regret plugging into these flange effects.
Phaser Effects
The phaser has become one of the most essential effects in music, perfect for adding depth, color, and rhythmic pulse to vocals and instruments, or even creating chaotic swirling, sweeping and laser-beam sounds in noise, drone, and avant-garde music.

The classic whoosh of a phaser is created by splitting an audio signal, and sending half of the signal through a filter which varies the original phase over time, while the other half of the signal remains unprocessed. A low-frequency oscillator (LFO) sweeps the effected signal, and when it's re-combined with the original signal, the characteristic warm and swirling sound is created. The rate knob on phaser pedals adjusts how fast the LFO sweeps back and forth.

With the ability to choose the shape of the waveform, adjust the speed and depth of the phasing, and even set the feedback frequency, phaser effects let you dial in sounds from subtle to severe. Plug into any one of these phaser effects and hear your tone come to life with movement.
Chorus Effects
Take a signal, mix it with one or more delayed and pitch-modulated versions of the original signal, and you'll get the multi-layered sound of chorusing. This effect replicates the sound of two or more of the same instruments playing the same notes, with certain timing and pitch variances to make it seem "natural."

Chorus effects can do more than simply thicken your tone. Adding layers of chorus to your signal chain can create underwater, liquid-like sounds -- from the wet sound of a babbling brook, to cold and high-pitched sounds like twinkling ice. Some of the most famous guitar riffs feature massive amounts of chorusing, while a classic lead-guitarist trick is to add subtle amounts of chorus to make one guitar sound like two playing at once.

With chorus being used in so many different ways today, manufacturers have stepped up their designs to give guitarists a limitless assortment of sounds. These chorus effects let you control the shape and size of the waveform while also adjusting the intensity, speed, depth and modulation rate to craft the exact blend of chorusing you need to get the texture you're going for.

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