MXR has always been a brand that creates inspiring products and awakens creativity in the hearts of the customers. Their pioneering pedal was Phase 90 – a unit so prominent that its sounds are still highly admired by musicians. This beast was an amazing start and the brand has not lowered its standards ever since. Their first phaser was followed by numerous devices, with some being rather distinctive. One of them was Phase 45 that was different from the original yet it still managed to win over many guitarists. It can be rather daunting to splurge for two separate pedals, especially if they are vintage. They will eat up all your money and leave you penniless for a while. To make things easier and cheaper for you, MXR has created a stompbox that combines these two legendary circuits and spares you from choosing between them. M290 Phase 95 is an effects pedal that will take you back in time, but still give you the ability to remain modern and explore contemporary music. If you are someone who loves such devices and wants to experiment with the combination of various circuits, then this article is the perfect place for you. Let the phase shifted journey begin!
MXR Phase 90 is probably one of the best and most famous vintage pedals out there. The reason behind its prominence is its simplistic features through which the mind-blowing sound is delivered. Phase 45 has the same pattern and it is only natural that their combination takes the same approach. Phase 95 is configured in easy manner – delivering quality performance without confusing properties. This baby allows you to access two different types of the effect: on the one hand we have a two stage phaser that roots in Phase 45 and on the other hand we have a four stage one that comes from Phase 90. Additionally, we do also have the opportunity to play with two more types, namely modern and vintage one (with the help of the Script). The Script switch that you will come across in other phasers from MXR is one of the most distinctive features of this one as well. Phase 95 cannot be powered with batteries which is not surprising considering the tiny shell this thing comes in. You have the ability to plug it in with an adapter, though, and play all day without having to stop.
We shall not forget that this baby comes in a compact enclosure, making it really convenient to incorporate in your pedalboard. Not only does it save you some space by replacing two separate stompboxes, but it is also rather small itself. The body is covered in signature orange color (that is characteristic for many others in Phase line) and has textured surface that speaks to you even from far away. This magnificent beast does also have a true bypass so that your tone is not compromised at any stage. As you can see, Phase 95 is a relatively versatile pedal that can brag about its simple qualities.
If you have played with other MXR phasers before, then you will be familiar with the control section of Phase 95. If not, it still will not take you much time to get to know the knobs and switches of this one. This means that all those beautiful sounds will be accessible via easy modifications, letting you dive into the playing process right away. It is worth noting that the control section of Phase 95 is more crowded compared to its siblings, which is always a huge virtue.
The main knob (which happens to be the only one) is situated in the top middle part of the pedal. It is labelled as Speed and alters the rate of phase shifting. This little fella will give you a wide range to work with and provide any player with broad options. Then we have a 45/90 switch that allows you to choose either 2 stage Phase 45 or four stage Phase 90 modes with ease. It does also have a complementary LED that displays which mode is selected. We also have a Script switch that emits vintage sounds once engaged. Just like the one we have just mentioned and a main footswitch, it is paired with LED that lets you see what is going on even from far away.
The sound of Phase 95 definitely has many different angles, configured in the best way possible. What I mean is that as you start exploring the pedal, you will be exposed to many shades of phase shifting. Phase 45 mode is definitely way subtler than the Phase 90, yet both have their own character that works the best with certain setup. What I am trying to say is that they are wonderful on their own when utilized on clean channel, letting you travel through the realm of phase shifting with beautiful and picturesque views. The Script switch immediately adds mellow character and takes you back in time when Van Halen, David Gilmour and other virtuosos were creating their masterpieces. When this switch is not depressed, you can hear more contemporary, crisp sound. The settings of these modes can be further accentuated by cranking up the Speed knob or shoving a distortion pedal in front. This way the character of your phase shifting will scream even more. Phase 95 has well-structured mid-range that can be heard through the whole experience, but the rest of the frequency spectrum does not suffer in the process either. Amazing, isn’t it?
All in all, M290 Phase 95 from MXR is way more than you would initially expect. The sonic possibilities that are shoved in the tiny enclosure are simply stunning, and the available modes make this pedal a real treasure. The simplicity of two-in-one configuration is very convenient for practice or live utilization and the quality is just a cherry on top. Once again, thumbs up to MXR for this wonderful pedal. Now you can have it all. Good luck!
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