Posts Tagged ‘Phaser’

Ibanez PH5 Phaser

Friday, February 14th, 2014

PH5

What is it?
Ibanez PH5 Phaser from the Soundtank series. Made in taiwan around 1996.

I’ll admit it. I love phasers. Don’t use them much (or at all) on my standard pedal board, but i always have a couple of differently voiced ones with me when i’m in studio. Some phasers are bad, while some can really improve your tone. This one sinks easily into the latter category. Opening this puppy up shows oldschool acidy corners on the traces, which always make me feel warm and fuzzy.

PH5-guts2

As i couldn’t find a reasonable schematic floating around, i’m going to assume couple of things by just looking at the component side of the board. To me this looks like a four stage design with JRC1458s acting as LFOs and single TL022 taking care of the mixing. Some folks on forums were talking about this being quite close to the PT9, which may very well be true. If you get a chance to read the schematic for this, the phasing JFET biasing should not be overlooked. Forum folks say that it’s unconventional.

PH5-guts1

With just three controls, this is quite versatile phaser. Speed and Depth act as they should and the Feedback control can take this thing in to space. Bad swithing, as is natural for the series, but simply swapping it makes this run happily again. I do have couple of other phasers in my collection, but it seems that i take this one with me a lot.

How does it sound?
Soft and powerful. From slow and mild to fast, vibe-like and swirly wild. Despite the near-standard Phase90-style circuitry, this is versatile phaser that sounds quite natural. Biasing sounds on point and accurate as there are no “broken” parts on the phasing sweep. Really nice sounding design which makes this one of the best sounding phaser tools i know.

Ibanez PH10 Bi-Mode Phaser

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

PH10

What is it?
Ibanez PH10 Bi-Mode Phaser from Power series, made in japan between 1986-89.

One of the nicest phasers. The Bi-Mode here means that the phasing stages are switchable between six and ten stages. Which is not a bad idea to throw in to a huge bowl of phasers. Got this unit for a reasonable price from J. Linden of Linden guitars. As i tried it out, i felt like the six stage mode was losing the phase from most of the sweep. That could only mean one thing. The unit had went misbiased over time. I’ve seen this happen with new units too, so it’s not that uncommon. Biasing the JFETs with the trimmer is a bit of pain on this one, but i think i nailed in the first 5 minutes or so. So all i needed to get this unit running properly was a screwdriver and a hint of patience.

PH10-guts1

As most of you may already know, i’m a sucker for symmetry on the board layouts. The idea of placing all six ICs in a single row is a heart warming visual candy.

As for the design.. As the photo below shows, there are six JFETs responsible for the phasing. So how does it become 10-stage phaser just by a flick of the switch? The design sort of re-uses the first four stages in the 10-stage mode. Quite an elegant solution. You should be able to find the factory schematic PDF through your favourite search engine. I’m not linking it here..

PH10-guts2

The feedback control takes the signal from output filter and pushes it back to the beginning of the phasing stages through the one half of a dual opamp which is there, just to drive the feedback. This is very nice feature as well. I’ve seen this type of feedback network used a lot on different flanger designs, but not in many phasers.

So. In general this is pretty versatile and neatly designed phaser. Definitely more usable than the standard and overly cloned Phase 45, 90 or 100.

How does it sound?
Like a good phaser tool with lots of versatility on the controls. On six stage setting it is not that far away from Phase 100, but the feedback control lets you tweak this to a lot thicker and much more psychedelic swirls. Now if we take the ten stage setting, the sweeps and swirls get even more depth and psych on. The slow ambient sweeping on both, 6 and 10 stage settings are really good sounding and usable too. Once again, the feedback control takes the trophy home. Very good phaser.

Danelectro DJ6 Pepperoni Phaser

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

DJ6-Pepperoni

What is it?
Danelectro DJ-6 Pepperoni Phaser from the Dano Mini series.

Standard mini plasticky box. Bought it for cheap and now that i have it – i can say that no-one should pay good money for this. Mine came in as horribly misbiased, so i needes to tweak it quite a bit to get it running as it should. Although i’m not using a lot of pahsers, i tend to like them. Which leads to me having a few. The schematic is posted at Experimentalists Anonymous, and it shows the design to be very similar to Phase90¬†and many other four stage phasers. Accompanied with your standard Danelectro electronic switching, the build quality seems ok, if not better than average minis.

DJ6-Pepperoni-guts

Note the empty pads. Those are for through-hole JFETs. I enjoy running into such curiosity. Definitely something that i didn’t expect to see.

In general the layout, all SMD construction and everything else is on par with mini other series boxes.  Could be a nice, small footprint alternative to Phase 90. Assuming you can get one of these for next to nothing. Otherwise it may not be worth the trouble.

How does it sound?
Not too good, but to my ears the overall sound is better than current reproduction versions of MXR Phase90, which is very overrated phaser. The bias trimmer may need adjustment, as for my unit the setting was off enough to kill the whole signal on certain parts of the sweep. To get it just right, the trimmer needs to be turned very, very carefully. I do suspect that the SMD JFETs are not as perfect match for each other as they should be. So taking a use of empty pads and using your own matched quartet of JFETs could be a nice improvement.