011 | MXR M101 Phase 90: A Closer Look at this Popular Phaser Pedal | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Welcome to episode 11 of the Sonic Renegades Podcast, where we're exploring and Renegade Pedals that have changed the music landscape. Today, we're going to be talking about MXR's famous orange Phase 90 phaser pedal. This one's a classic and we can't wait to unpack it for you guys today.
Hey everybody Scott Schwertly here with Siren Pedals.

Austin Bryan:
Hey guys, Austin Bryan here with Siren Pedals.

Scott Schwertly:
And today, we're going to be talking about MXR's Phase 90.

Austin Bryan:
Whoo!

Scott Schwertly:
This is a classic orange stomp box that most people tend to love.

Austin Bryan:
I think everybody has one.

Scott Schwertly:
It seems that way. You actually have two of them have two of them.

Austin Bryan:
I have two of them.

Scott Schwertly:
So definitely a pedal that's got a rich history behind it and some modern appeal.

Austin Bryan:
First Soul by MXR in 1974 and really helped launch the company.

Scott Schwertly:
Definitely.

Austin Bryan:
Simple orange enclosure with basically a script logo. It changed the game for a lot of people discovering effects.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, sure. And if you don't know much about MXR, it was actually created by two guys, Terry Sherwood and Keith Barr in 1972 and the MXR was actually, or the MXR Phase 90, was actually one of their first pedals that they came out with in 1974. So just two years later.

Austin Bryan:
Two years later, crazy. It's an awesome effect. At 1977, they actually changed from the script logo style to the block style, which a lot of people see, which is pretty much what the re-issue is today that you see the M101 Phase 90 that is on everyone's board is in that block style. Yeah.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. The official title of any modern day Phase 90 pedal is the MXR M101 Phase 90.

Austin Bryan:
It's very official.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, it's a mouthful, but that is the common stomp box. And that's specifically the stomp box that we're going to be talking about for this episode. I believe that actually a few years after they launched it, can't remember the exact date, but they actually even tried the Phase 45, which was a more simpler version of the Phase 90. I don't think that one was received quite as well.

Austin Bryan:
It's good for folks that want a little more subtlety it has a little less sweep than it's older brother in that sense, but a great version, nonetheless, if you're looking for something with phase, but it's not maybe as strong. Some people feel that the Phase 90 is a pretty defined phase tone, but that 45 just kind of backs it off a little bit.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah and for real true fans of the Phase 90. I know there are a lot of, not a lot, but there are some complaints that a lot of people do appreciate the scripted version, sort of the original circuit, for those that aren't familiar with MXR's history in the 1980s, the company actually went bankrupt.

Austin Bryan:
84.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. And were basically acquired by Dunlop at that period of time. And then Dunlop essentially came in and revitalized the brand, revitalized this specific pedal. That's where you have the Frankenstrat, Eddie van Halen version of it.

Austin Bryan:
[crosstalk 00:03:25] The signature model. They added an LED and an optional AC power supply.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. It's a pretty amazing pedal. And speaking of this signature model and Eddie van Halen specifically, we're going to go ahead and share with you guys, just some other artists, some other musicians that actually like to utilize this pedal currently.

Austin Bryan:
A ton. Yeah. A ton is not even the word there's so many folks. Dave Grohl, who I love, Slash, Billy Joe Armstrong, Steve Vai, Billy Corgan, Frank Iero from My Chemical Romance, Bucket Head, John Mayer...

Scott Schwertly:
John Frusciante, Jimmy Page...

Austin Bryan:
There's a list. There's a mighty list.

Scott Schwertly:
It goes on and on. So, testament that this is very much a popular pedal.

Austin Bryan:
And the gigging musicians and the warriors out there rocking and rolling with this thing who aren't listed on websites. There's so many folks using this pedal daily.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, for sure.
Now obviously a lot of people love this pedal simply for the fact that it's minimalistic. It's easy to use, but like any pedal, no pedal's perfect. We always kind of talk about that. It does have its flaws, not a ton, but I know going back to the scripted version of that, most people tend to really love, it obviously lacked an LED light.

Austin Bryan:
Nope. You don't get one.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah.

Austin Bryan:
You don't get one. That's the only old ones. If it was on you got to know it's on.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah.

Austin Bryan:
If you don't, I don't know you're in trouble, but may not be something for some people to gripe about, but I need something to tell me, hey, this is on. And that's one of those aspects and crazy enough, the replicated 1974 hand wired custom shop, whew that's a lot of words, MXR Phase 90 is a recreation of that. No LED a pedal and they actually use NOS new/old stock components for that. If you do want that version with no LED you can get it. But I need one with an LED so I could see that being a problem for some people.

Scott Schwertly:
And then fast forwarding to sort of the more current model, the one that we're specifically referring to today, there's really not a whole lot out there. I know myself, I love this pedal. There's really not much for me to complain about. Some people have complained that maybe there's a little bit too much gain, but other than that, there's really not that many complaints that I've heard.

Austin Bryan:
It's dumb proof. It's just one knob, that's it. Adjust the speed.

Scott Schwertly:
Well, and speaking of that one knob, now talking about things that we really do like about this pedal, obviously it's very minimalistic. It's easy to use. It's super affordable. I think you can get one brand new for about 80 bucks, which is not bad at all.

Austin Bryan:
For phase tones it is a stable. And hence why it's so widely available and why it's so popular.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah.

Austin Bryan:
It's simple, minimalistic, gets the job done. You've heard those tones before. I mean, if you've listened to atomic punk by Van Halen, that's Eddie's work on there. That is a Phase 90 just magically in use.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. And one thing we failed to even mention early on in this episode is that the MXR Phase 90 is a phaser pedal for those that are completely brand new to, to this model or this effect, we are talking about phaser.

Austin Bryan:
Not a reverb. Not a reverb or delay or a distortion. Just phase.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. So on that note, we're going to go and sample this one for you guys. So we've got the current sort of modern version again of the MXR M101 Phase 90. And we're going to sample this for you guys right now.

Austin Bryan:
That is the MXR Phase 90.

Scott Schwertly:
Love it man. It's such a unique effect. I know phasers aren't used a ton, but got to love that sound.

Austin Bryan:
It's an awesome tone. It's got parts in songs where it's needed for sure. If you're just trying to mix things up and trying to add a little bit of phase in your song, the Phase 90.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. It's a good one for sure. Makes sense why it's a classic.

Austin Bryan:
The Orange Box.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. All right. That about concludes what we wanted to discuss today with the MXR Phase 90. Up next time, we're going to be talking about the DOD Grunge Pedal. I know you love this pedal Austin.

Austin Bryan:
The FX 69. There's a few revisions on it, but the one we'll be checking out the widely available one that you can find pretty much anywhere on the internet, the FX 69 B a very popular distortion pedal and has a huge cult following for folks that are big Nirvana fans, who might be just wanting something from the nineties to cherish a particular tone. It is a really cool effect.

Scott Schwertly:
Awesome. Can't wait to unpack that one for you guys. See you later.

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