Though we spend a lot of time researching about various effects pedals, we do not dedicate ourselves to exploring certain technicalities that often. Many musicians know this stuff from their experience, since they go through many different units and scrutinize the circuits in order to understand what is what. But not everybody is like that and it is really easy to get lazy and not give a crap about how sounds are created. Today I want to start this article by defining, what phase shifting effect is. When your sound passes through the signal processor, it is bisected: one part goes through transformation (i.e. it is treated with multi-staged filters), while the other remains untouched. Then these two are merged together and as a result multiple peaks and throughs are created. This way the phase of your signal gets shifted, producing dips and spikes depending on the uniformness of the phase. That is basically it. I know that I might have bored you with this information, but I think it is important to get back to those technicalities from time to time. Moving on to the juicy stuff, I am going to introduce to you Grand Orbiter V2 from EarthQuaker Devices. This powerful device is actually one of the best phasers out there. Let’s begin!
There are pedals out there that draw your attention from the first moment you glance at them. They usually have beautiful designs and sport the controls that intrigue you to say the least. Grand Orbiter V2 from EarthQuaker Devices is definitely one of those. Its metallic, vibrant and shiny red enclosure captivates your heart instantaneously. When you look closely, you notice a painting of a planet, surrounded with multiple orbits. What is more, this thing is hand-built from head to toe and has outstanding build quality (which is not surprising for those who are loyal customers of the brand). But that is not where all the magic happens. This baby is based on Operational Transconductance Amplifier (OTA) and has 4 stages. Each transforms your signal and delivers textured sounds. Grand Orbiter V2 has three Rate modes that alter the range of complementary knob and enable you to go as slow or fast as your soul desires. It does also give you the ability to create vibrato which will add an even more interesting layer on top of everything. This fella has Flexi-Switching, meaning that footswitch can be operated in two different ways. You can either utilize latching operation (it takes one stomp to activate it and one stomp to turn off the device) or employ the momentary one (press and hold the footswitch entire time to emit the effect, if you take your foot off, the pedal will switch off). Grand Orbiter V2 requires an adapter in order to get supplied with power. It has top mounted input, output and 9V jack, which means you can save some space on your pedalboard. It goes without saying that his stompbox is crowded with useful features and some details that turn this fella into a real capable beast.
The control panel sports everything that you will ever need. Grand Orbiter V2 has all the essential knobs and switches, so you do not have to worry about anything getting left unrefined. Just keep in mind that when you go from phase to vibrato, the functions of several knobs will change. Yet everything still remains pretty straight-forward so don’t you worry about that. Let’s see what controls we have here.
The set of encoders begins with Sweep. It modifies the peaks in your sound, meaning that it can emit either brighter or darker sounds depending on the position of the knob. Then comes Rate toggle, which modifies the range of the Rate knob. It can be Slow, act as a fixed resonant filter (disables the LFO) or Fast. The abovementioned Rate knob controls the speed of the LFO. Depth mixes together wet and dry signals and, thus, adjusts the intensity of the phase shift, while Resonance is in charge of regeneration and allows you to emit resonant tones. The last switch we have here shifts between Phase and Vibrato. In the latter mode, you have to turn down the Resonance. Once you create the effect, Depth will act as a volume control. Lastly, there is a footswitch that can be used with latching or momentary operation.
The sound of Grand Orbiter V2 from EarthQuaker Devices will truly take you to the outer space, leave you there for the entirety of your performance and bring you back once you are finished. The phase shifting effect has different results depending on the rate settings: it can be a really slow and defined, or quite speedy and bouncy. Sweep is a very interesting control as it can assist you in creating pulsating sounds. As you crank up the resonance, you have the ability to enter the territory where your tone will start to resemble wah. Moving on to the Vibrato mode, you get the chance to experiment with different speeds, sweeps and resonance. Each setting will yield a different character and, thus, make it possible to tailor the pedal to your liking. When you choose to kill the LFO and utilize the resonance filter, you will notice that very subtle sounds are emitted. This can be both pro and con depending on what you need, but keep in mind that you will not hear anything dramatic in that mode. Grand Orbiter V2 is completely analog, which is displayed in every note you play. But its virtue is about the “multi-effected” nature.
You know how sometimes you feel really blessed that you have the opportunity to play with amazing units. Well, Grand Orbiter V2 from EarthQuaker Devices will make you feel like you are the luckiest bastard out there. Its sounds will make your dreams come true: now you can travel to space with your tones! I will not say anything else, since this unit speaks for itself. Good luck!
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