MXR M-101 Phase 90 Review

manufacturer: Dunlop date: 10/01/2007 category: Guitar Effects
Dunlop: MXR M-101 Phase 90
This device has found its way into many of Eddie Van Halen's recordings, adding a shimmery velocity to lead passages or a more dramatic swoosh to muted strumming. Not just for guitars; it works well with bass, keyboards and even vocals. Vary the speed from a subtle, long cycle to a fast, watery warble and myriad vintage vibrations in between.
 Sound: 9.7
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 7
 Ease of Use: 9.7
 Overall rating:
 9.2 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.9 
 Users rating:
 9.4 
 Votes:
 40 
reviews (3) 16 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
MXR M-101 Phase 90 Reviewed by: ShutDown785, on february 24, 2007
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 30

Purchased from: Ebay

Ease of Use: One knob, just set the speed and stomp on it. No manual needed. Extremely simple to use, and only takes a few seconds to find the sound you want to hear. Perfect for the "set it and forget it" players. No LED or power supply on the original, so you've got to unplug it every time to save battery life. Little bit of a hassle, but defiantly worth it for the incredible sound quality you get from this little thing. // 9

Sound: I have to give this a perfect 10. I have both the Dunlop reissue and an original MXR Script Phase. The original sounds 10x better. The reissue tends to add a little bit of distortion if you play too loud or too hard, but the original has miles of headroom. No clipping or distortion at all. The original also has a very warm, almost liquid sounding phase that the reissue lacks. You can go from a very slow, almost unnoticeable phase, to a quick vibrato-like effect just by turning up the speed. Keep it slow if you want to get that classic Van Halen phasing. There is a little but of noise when using this pedal, but that's nothing a good noise suppressor can't fix. // 10

Reliability & Durability: MXR is long gone, and Dunlop doesn't like to deal with discontinued products. So if this thing craps out on you, you better know someone Who can fix it. Just remember to bring an extra battery with you to the gig, no one would want this thing to die in the middle of a show. The foot Switch might need replacing, but I guess that would be normal for a pedal that is 35 year old. I haven't had any major problems with this pedal so far, aside from a few shorts when I changed the enclosure. Just keep in mind that this pedal is 35 years old and counting, so it's bound to have a few problems every once and a while. // 7

Overall Impression: I play a lot of Van Halen, which is the main reason I bought this pedal. I got extremely lucky with this find. Normally these MXR originals sell for over $250. If this were lost or stolen, I would have one hell of a time finding one for what I payed. I would definitely get another original Script Phase, the sound quality is so much better than the reissues. The only thing I wish this pedal had would be an LED, but beggars can't be choosers. If you ever have the chance to play through, or even buy one of these Script Phase '90s, do not hesitate to do so. These are just too good to pass up. // 9

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overall: 9.5
MXR M-101 Phase 90 Reviewed by: trepkos, on september 06, 2005
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: Well when I first looked at the controls, I thought it was easy enough (theres only 1 knob). All you gotta do is fiddle with that and stomp on it! There is no need for a manual, but they didn't supply one anyway! // 10

Sound: The sound blew me away, I mean most people get excited at getting a new pedal but the sound is incredible. On the clean channel it made a couple of notes sound amazing. On the distorted channel, to sample it I played the intro to achilles last stand by led zep. It didn't disappoint, it sounded like the live version (which I think is better)! It's fun to ajust it while play, just play a chord and use your pickin hand to change the speed. // 10

Reliability & Durability: It's small but it's quite a tough little bugger. Depend on it? Sure I can! At a gig, no backups are required, but I've not that it for too long. I dunno about the little footswitch but it seems very strong. // 8

Overall Impression: I play lots of different stuff, mostly Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and Clapton. I didn't buy this pedal to sound like them, but I found certain parts (achilles for example) which are played with a MXR Phase 90. I've been playing guitar for 3 years. If this got stolen I'd cry a little and then shoot off to dawsons (I brought it while I was on holiday) to get a new 1. I forgot to say that the white marking on the knob is glow in the dark which is good for gigs! I'd recommend this amazing pedal to anyone looking for a chorus pedal. // 10

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overall: 8.5
MXR M-101 Phase 90 Reviewed by: cjimil419, on october 01, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: This pedal is probably the most basic pedal I own. Input, Output, Footswitch, and a Speed knob. Any one Who knows how to plug into an effect pedal should be able to use it. There's no trick to getting a good sound either like some other pedals I own. Just set the speed to whatever you like and stomp it, and it will sound great. // 10

Sound: This is the best sounding phaser I have ever heard or played with. I have it set after my Fuzz Face, (therefore after overdrive/distortion) and it sounds fantastic. Thankfully it does not increase the volume of the sound when active, and therefore doesn't need a volume knob. I plugged my Stratocaster through the Fuzz Face into the Phase 90, and with reverb on my amp, I immediately discovered the sound of David Gilmour and Pink Floyd, particularly Dark Side of the Moon era. With the speed set very fast it gives an interesting tremolo type effect that can emulate that of the solo guitar on "Any Colour You Like" off Dark Side of the Moon. Along with Pink Floyd, it can emulate styles of rotating speaker style effects of Jimi Hendrix and Robin Trower. Though it is a bit different sound, it sounds very cool especially on songs from Robin Trower's Bridge of Sighs album. It sounds very nice for Van Halen music. I personally don't play much of that, but it sounds good when I do. Overall I love the sound. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This is where it goes down a bit. My pedal worked for about 2 months and then it totally crapped out on me and didn't make a sound. I have heard that this is not uncommon from reviews on other websites. Thankfully, the pedal only costs 70 bucks and I just went back to the store and bought another one. The construction of the pedal itself is well built. Alike my Fuzz Face pedal, it is has a metal body that could be dropped and wouldn't dent. I have had my new Phase 90 for about a year now I've relied on it at gigs, without a backup and it works fine. // 6

Overall Impression: Overall this is a great pedal, but I would a get a warranty or whatever because you don't want to be in my situation, even though it is only $70. For any kind of music it is great. I play a mix of blues, rock, psychedelia which it is just perfect for. It easily gets the sounds of '60s and '70s futuristic style music. It can also make sounds of heavy metal if that's what you're into, like EVH. If it broke again, or was stolen or lost I would buy another one pretty quickly. Overall I love it, but spend the extra money on the warranty. // 9

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