It was in the ‘70s when a legendary phaser was born. Back then market was not as crowded as it is today and the available options were quite limited. No one knew that something this spectacular would be born and withstand so many years of competition. But it did and keeps amazing countless musicians till this day. I am talking about Electro-Harmonix Small Stone – a phase shifter that changed history and created sounds that are still sought after. This wonderful fella has been utilized on many records and has travelled through rigs of renowned guitarists. This is the case where time has only made it stronger and more famous than it used to be. It had analog circuitry and its sound had really unique characteristics. But as with many vintage pedals, its price has risen significantly and exceeds our budgets quite a bit. Plus, it was bulky and was really hard to fit on the pedalboard. For these reasons, Electro-Harmonix decided to put together a smaller version of the original – Small Stone Nano. It has the same features as its predecessor but has tinier footprint – making it a definite must-have. Today we are going to talk about its features, controls and sound in order to see if it is as amazing as the original. Let’s get started!
As I have mentioned above, Small Stone Nano is part of the Nano series from Electro-Harmonix. The idea of more compact bodies has occupied the minds of so many brands and we, as musicians, are really thrilled about that. What can be better than the ability to fit your favorite stompbox on your pedalboard even if you have a tiny space left? Plus, it is even more exciting when vintage originals are delivered in a smaller chassis, giving you the ability to taste those legendary sounds without emptying your savings account or sacrificing any other units. And that is why Small Stone Nano is such an inspiring device. But apart from small enclosure, it has some other features that make it worth the hype. It has classic Electro-Harmonix design with silver sides and the combination of black and red colors on the surface (though it has been redesigned recently, sporting a way modern chassis). The build quality is nice and rock-hard exterior will withstand more abuse than you would have thought considering its size. The circuit is analog with true bypass switching, meaning that your tone will be intact and its qualities will not be interfered with. Though it is not that common in such small units, Small Stone Nano can be powered either with a single 9V battery or an adapter. Yes, this is a small feature, but it is always good to have a choice, am I right? It is clear as a day that this fella is a one trick pony and no one can argue otherwise, however, it knows what to do and succeeds in the prime job it has – it replicates the sounds of legendary Small Stone.
The control panel is probably the most precise replica of the original (compared to other parts of the pedal). It has the same set of knobs and still shares the simplicity that the full-size version had. In fact, this thing is one of the easiest phasers to operate since you only have to mess around with one knob and a toggle. I am sure you will find your perfect sounds in no time with this one. Cool, isn’t it?
So what we have here is a Rate knob and a toggle which is labelled as Color. The former alters the speed of the sweep when your signal gets shifted in phase and lets you experiment with either slow or fast sounds. This is the control you will see in every phaser out there since it is a crucial part of creating the effect. The latter shifts between two different voicings: in Down position it has a fuller sound, while in the Upper state it delivers more pronounced phasing and is more dramatic compared to the other one. Of course, we have a footswitch that is not that significant, but is the main part of operating this pedal. As you already know, it activates or disengages the circuit and lets you start exploring everything.
When it comes to the sound of Electro-Harmonix Small Stone Nano, we cannot skip comparing it to the original. As much as I wish to discuss it separately, I just cannot avoid the similarities and differences between the two. The smaller version of the vintage unit succeeds quite a bit at replicating the sounds of Small Stone. It has the same vibes and overall character, yet it is brighter at certain settings. If you do a side-by-side comparison, you will definitely notice that. What is more, Small Stone Nano has two voicings that basically change the ambience of the phase shifting. In the Up position, the switch yields more powerful effect that gets even more dramatic in the fully clockwise position. In the Down position, the switch delivers a warmer phase and has subtler character. The scope of each control is quite wide – more than enough to deliver that perfect, somewhat balanced phase shifting. But this baby is definitely in charge of one simple task and will not give you versatility if you are looking for one.
All in all, Electro-Harmonix Small Stone Nano comes pretty close to the original – as close as possible at these measurements. It has the characteristic sound that will take you back in time and remind you of the legendary times in music history. This small pedal will deliver more than you might initially think and keep you company for a long time. Small Stone Nano is an amazing option if you loved the original version but cannot get your hands on it anymore. Try this baby out and we shall see what your opinion is. Good luck!
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