Phase shifting and flange are two audio effects that are widely associated with the name of Eddie Van Halen. Though he was not the only one who utilized and popularized this effect, he still employed it frequently. It is featured in renowned tracks such as Unchained and Hear About It Later, and many musicians strive to replicate those sounds with their gear. The unit that he utilized was produced by MXR and it was the main component of his flanged pieces. The vintage original is discontinued now, but that does not mean that modern players don’t have access to those admired sounds. There have been a couple of updates but the one we are going to talk about today was created in collaboration with Van Halen himself. EVH117 is a powerful beast that captures everything this legendary guitar virtuoso strived to create. It even has special something that will let you produce the exact same tones. Sounds pretty intriguing, ha? Well, this fella will keep you entertained since there is not even a single boring cell in its body. If you want to know more about the exact features, controls and sounds of EVH117, then I have a good news, my friend – you are in the right place. Let’s get started and figure out the full potential of this one together!
The feature set of EVH117 is steeped with some interesting qualities. This baby is not the exact replica of the original version – rather it is more of an upgraded model that has added properties that make it even better. It has our beloved bucket brigade technology that makes it possible to create those deep and defined sweeps. This way you get the feel that you are playing with a well-structured vintage device. What is more, EVH117 is a perfect pedal if you are into Eddie’s music and want to replicate his exact sounds. This doesn’t mean that we merely have complementary controls. This means that this wonderful fella is equipped with Unchained voicing with the settings that Van Halen used in that piece (and in others too). You simply activate this function and suddenly your guitar gets steeped in crazy flange. And there is more. EVH117 has a minimalistic, yet eye-catching design. It features white surface that is covered with black stripes in beautiful pattern. This way everybody will know that this pedal has a lot to do with Eddie. The chassis and internal components have top-notch quality per usual and guarantee that your beloved unit will stay with you for a long time. Keep in mind that it should be powered by two 9V batteries or an 18V adapter, otherwise it won’t be supplied with necessary current. EVH117 has a blue LED that lights up as soon as you activate the pedal. But there is one more LED which will tell you when Van Halen switch is engaged. Whether you love Eddie or not, it isn’t important, because everyone who enjoys flange will admire the possibilities of this one. But if you adore his music, this one will be a real treat for you.
The control section features all the modifiable parameters that are necessary to achieve refined sounds. Since flange is nearly uncontrollable it is essential that pedal is equipped with the switches that tame the beast – at least to a certain extent. EVH117 won’t create any trouble as it is ready for the challenge and can face up the destructive madness of flange with complementary controls. So that you know what to expect from this one, let’s discuss each encoder in depth.
The first knob you will see is labelled as Manual. It is in charge of the flange and modifies the degree of phase shifting. Next to it you will notice Width that adjusts the intensity of time delay and lets you find that sweet spot. It is followed with Speed that sets the rate of the time delay and basically works in conjunction with Width. These two will give you better results if you adjust them together. Last encoder here is Regen that alters the overall intensity of the effect. Below these knobs you will see a tiny button that activates EVH voicing when depressed (that’s how easy it is to achieve his tones). Of course, we have a footswitch that triggers the circuitry and lets you emit crazy flanged sounds.
The sound is where things become juicy, intriguing and exciting. My blood always starts flowing faster as soon as I imagine playing with this one and once I plug it in I cannot slow down my heartbeat. EVH117 is capable of creating the most dramatic, swirling, sweeping, jet-like flange out there. It does so without coloring your tone and making weird modifications to it. It sounds almost the same as the vintage original so you basically get a perfect package. Once you depress the Eddie Van Halen switch, you are immediately submerged in the sounds of his distinctive performances. You just have to plug in and play and enjoy the excitement of being so close to this legend. Sounds inspiring, don’t you think? This baby has wonderful sonic range that will take you from subtle swirls to crazy sounds with ease. You can swing away from reality into the realm of alternate universe where all the tones are extremely flanged. EVH117 is a pedal for those who live fiddling around and exploring the full potential of their effects units. It will give you something new each time you play with it and in my opinion that is the secret ingredient for everlasting relationship between the musician and apparatus.
All in all, it will not come as a surprise to anyone that MXR EVH117 is so beautifully crazy. It is a full package of all the virtues we look for in effects pedals: it combines great build quality, mind-blowing and interesting sounds and ease of utilization. Yeah, it is a bit pricey but after everything we have discussed it is undoubtedly worth every penny. You will agree with me if you perform with it at least once. Good luck, fella!
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