Nano Small Stone Phase Shifter Review

manufacturer: Electro-Harmonix date: 12/10/2014 category: Guitar Effects
Electro-Harmonix: Nano Small Stone Phase Shifter
The Nano Small Stone generates the traditional, thick, sweeping phase shifting with liquid transparency and tingling feedback control.
 Sound: 8.6
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 8.6
 Ease of Use: 8.8
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reviews (5) pictures (3) 16 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
Nano Small Stone Phase Shifter Reviewed by: Steve BP, on february 01, 2008
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Long & McQuade

Ease of Use: The Nano Small Stone Phaser is very easy to use. It has a rate dial and a "colour" toggle that allows you to switch between deeper or more subtle phasing effects. It is very easy to dial in your sound right away. The typical one-page EHX manual did not come in the box when I purchased mine. // 9

Sound: I'm using this effect with my Yamaha Pacifica 112 (fat strat clone) and Mesa Boogie Express 5\:25 amplifier. It sounds good both in front of the amp and in the effects loop, although I usually keep it in the loop. The sound of the Nano Small Stone is very lush and organic. With distortion, I think it sounds a little better with the colour Switch down (more subtle), and with clean tones it sounds more rich with the colour Switch up. The Nano Stone is ideal for David Gilmour tones, funky muted chording, palm muted power chords, and immitation Leslie speaker swirls. It also adds some roundness to lead tones. If you really listen for it, there is a tiny bit of a hiss when activated, but it is relatively silent. The pedal is responsive to Pick attack, providing a more pronounced "whoosh" or "wah" with strong attack. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The Nano Small Stone comes in a sturdy metal casing. I've babied the pedal, so I haven't truly tested it's durability. Since I'm not a gigging musician, others will need to comment whether they would gig without a backup. Since nothing has gone wrong with it yet. // 8

Overall Impression: I use this pedal for 70s Pink Floyd tones, NWOBHM soloing tones, palm muted overdriven power chords, and making fun wacky noises. I have been playing guitar for just over a year. I also own an EHX Deluxe Memory Man, but I rarely use both the phaser and the DMM at the same time. I chose this unit over the MXR Phase 90 because it sounded more lush and organic, the rate dial had a broader sweep, the colour switch made it more versatile, I preferred the tone, and it was 2/3 the price. The Boss Super Phaser seemed more complex to use, it was more than I needed in a Phaser. // 9

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overall: 8.3
Nano Small Stone Phase Shifter Reviewed by: rv_phoenix, on january 10, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 55

Purchased from: Guitar Shop, Bucharest, Romania

Ease of Use: Another simple, yet effective pedal. It has only 1 Rate button and 1 Color switch. The first one controls the rate(s) of phase shifting, while the second one adds or cuts off the bassy edge of the sound, by blending the dry and the delayed signals. The manual is as basic as the tool itself, and unfortunately it hides a few secrets you should know for properly using the Small Stone. My unit has been bought new and it came with a 30% discount 'cos I also bought another more expensive device at the same time. To make it clear, we are talking about the Nano version of the famous Small Stone pedal. It's much smaller (about a half of the previous version) and it also sports the newly added color switch, in case you might need a creamier tone. It's a feature I appreciate, although it cuts off a good slice of the signal (and that's something the manual should have pointed clearly, IMHO). // 7

Sound: My setup is quite comprehensive - see my profile, - while the pedalboard is small enough to ensure a natural sound. The EHX Small Stone found its place right after the chorus, at the very end of the chain. Between the chorus and the Small Stone, though, I've plugged an MXR MicroAmp, a move which made me also buy a Lehle Sunday Driver SW, which found its place in front of the whole chain, replacing the MXR. The reason behind these changes is the signal drop when using the Small Stone: it's no way a catastrophe, as mentioned by other comments, but it exists and should be prevented. The reason I bought the EHX Small Stone is the fact that I play Progressive. I also do a lot of Pink Floyd covers, and Small Stone is an effect widely used by David Gilmour in his early years. It does its job perfectly, the Nano version offering exactly the same specs and sound as the old chunky pedal. The color switch allows you to dig deeper into the abyss of blending dry and delayed signals, offering a more authoritarian phased sound. The pedal is surprisingly versatile for such a simple configuration. It can be successfully used for Progressive Rock, Blues or Funk. Turning the color switch on and the rate button at 9 o'clock results in a deeper texture of your heavily distorted sound, as well. Small Stone's sound is very good, as I said. It's clear, rich and harmonic. EHX have managed to pack all the charms of the old pedal into a small package. It also gets well with the other pedals in my chain. // 9

Reliability & Durability: It's too early to talk about reliability, but, being simple and sturdy, I assume the Small Stone will last for many years without noticeable troubles. Since it's not a pedal I'll put at work very often - phase shifting is not a feature we are using everyday, - I don't need a backup for it neither. But I depend on it, that's for sure. It's impossible to perform "Breathe", "Dogs" or other Pink Floyd stuff without it. I'm also trying to put it at good use when playing Blues: until now, it sounds rather oddly, but I don't give up. I feel the "Resonator" sound of old Blues records is somewhere near... // 8

Overall Impression: As I've already mentioned, I play Progressive, Classic Rock and Blues. I own 5 guitars, a Vox Night Train plus cabinet, and a small pedalboard (fed by a Dunlop DC Brick). I've tested the Small Stone against an MXR Phase 90, because of the price tag, and I have to say I disliked the MXR for its harshness and narrower dynamics. I feared EHX was playing dirty tricks, by selling a new modeling crap under the universally praised moniker of Small Stone, but no, they did the right thing. The signal loss is something common to any phase shifter and even Pete Cornish is confronted to it when making pedalboards for David Gilmour. You can solve the problem by plugging the Small Stone into a booster. In return, you get a sweet, creamy sound, which becomes bassy when turning the color switch on. If anything bad occurs to the Small Stone, I'd buy a new one again, its sound being extremely satisfactory. All in all, it's one of the best phasers a common player can find nowadays. The signal drop isn't so dramatic, compared to other phasers, while its dynamics and harmonics are excellent. When properly used, it provides a whole new horizon to your guitar playing. // 9

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overall: 9
Nano Small Stone Phase Shifter Reviewed by: leenux5030, on march 14, 2013
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 50

Purchased from:

Ease of Use: Among all the pedals I own, I think this is the easiest one to operate. One knob to control rate, one knob toggle switch for color, and one stomp switch for bypass. Can be powered by a 9v negative tip adapter. Only thing you could complain is requirement to un screw 4 screws to remove the backplate in order to replace the battery, I run this pedal with external power adapter most of the time when I am practicing at home, and run it only on battery when I am in rehearsal space where I need to play at higher gain, which leads to a lot of noise. So under these circumstances I replace battery in about 2 months. So replace battery is not really that big of a pain. // 9

Sound: I am fairly satisfied with the sound of this pedal, it is quiet easy to get the sound you want from it. I am into psychedelic post rock/space rock stuff. And this pedal is one of the essential things on my board. Turning the rate knob all the way clockwise will lead to under water type sounds which can be nice to use at times. But I regularly keep the rate knob at 11'o clock and the the position of color switch depends on: 1. Pedal after distortion: I keep the color switch toggled off. If you are aware of how Phaser works, you will see that there will be phases of volume rise and fall. And I don't appreciate it that much all the time. And toggling the color switch will lead to massive shift in volume rise and fall. But I do toggle it on when I want that effect. 2. And if pedal is placed before distortion: Then I keep the color switch toggled ON. As distortion pedal sort of flats out the sound coming from the phaser, there is no intense rise and fall in volume. But yeah the Phaser effect becomes less effective. This pedal when accompanied by some nice delays, reverbs and over drives. Can lead to very nice trippy sounds. And even the clean guitar sounds pretty cool on this. But now the down point is this pedal is not totally transparent in bypass mode, it does sucks some tone, but not too much, just a little. // 8

Reliability & Durability: In this department it will get full points, this pedal looks pretty solid. I don't think it will fail under any standard operating procedures. I think it is common sense to keep your pedal board away from the drunkard vocalist and some maniacs in front row. Also the small form factor of the pedal makes it less vulnerable to external shock. I think it can take a good deal of manhandling. I have been using this pedal for around 6 months now and I haven't noticed any strange behavior with it. Everything works as it should. // 10

Overall Impression: Except for the little tone sucking issue which is not very highly noticeable, I am fairly satisfied. With this pedal. As I mentioned I am into weird genre music, what I play confuses over doom metal, post rock, psychedelic sounds. I see this pedal as an essential part of my gear. It is very reliable, it sounds very nice. And blends well with my other pedals, and based on its position in signal chain it makes many different sounds and I find all of them pretty cool. And it is not very expensive (this is subjective), it has a small size which is important as my pedal board is already a mess. With so many positive aspects to consider I totally recommend this pedal. And if its stolen, most likely I'll go for this pedal again, until I find a better option at that price range. Video from YouTube:

// 9

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overall: 9.5
Nano Small Stone Phase Shifter Reviewed by: Blade686, on december 08, 2014
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 70

Purchased from: Wild Guitars (Israel)

Ease of Use: There's only one knob and one switch, so needless to say, it's very easy to use. It comes with a short manual (exactly what you need, give or take), and it sounds great right out of the box. When it comes to modulation pedals I think it's up to the one who plays it to determine how adjustable it is to sound good in their ears, in my opinion. But there's not much noodling that's necessary in order to find a good setting for it.

Didn't hear about any mods made to it, I don't think it's necessary at all to modify such a pedal. // 10

Sound: I was inspired to buy this phaser by Tame Impala (Kevin Parker) to add a psychedelic edge to my sound. It's incredible and very versatile, and could make my bottom-tier Squier sing out Tame Impala tones with an ease. It can either sound very bold with a "jet" kind of sound (using the "Color" toggle), or it can be very mild and just add a bit of mojo to your tone. You can use it to create any kind of tone you would want, depending on context that requires a phase. It can be used for both rhythm and solo playing and it wouldn't disappoint you at either. It's also true bypass so it's not felt while off. It can make some background noise in case it's on and you're not playing, but I guess no one would have it on unless it's necessary. // 9

Reliability & Durability: It's very solid and lightweight, greatly comfortable and seems dependable. I haven't owned it for a long while to tell how durable it is but it doesn't feel like it's made out of cheap material. It's very portable and is ideal for a live performer on the go. It came in good packaging and has a great finish to it, the ideal kind you would definitely want on any of your pedals. I doubt it won't last for as long as I will own it unless it gets beaten up... I know Kevin from Tame Impala has been using it for years, so I doubt you'll have any problems with it. // 10

Overall Impression: I use this pedal with my Squier Stratocaster and Fender Frontman 25R. As for effects, I use it together with a Digitech DF-7 (as either a distortion, a fuzz or an overdrive), a Boss DD-3 and a Diamond Vibrato (also a chorus) pedal. It goes great along with all of these pedals, except for the fuzz, which at least with the one delivered by my DF-7 it's not really felt. But other than that it's perfect for overdrives/distortions and instantly takes the magic of your tone a few notches up. I wish it had an "intensity" knob of some sort, so I could decide to what extent do I want it to alter the original sound, but as it seems it's not really a standard in today's major phaser pedals.

Overall it's one of my favorite purchases so far and I'd widely recommend it to anyone looking for a good, reliable and portable phaser that delivers the whole package. I'd definitely buy it again in case I lost it. // 9

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overall: 8.3
Nano Small Stone Phase Shifter Reviewed by: Gab_Azz, on december 10, 2014
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 59

Purchased from: Olimpus Music

Ease of Use: The pedal is a great pedal and it is very easy to use. Everything is well labeled and there are only few controls so it is a fool-proof pedal. The input and amp are well labeled. Also, the supply is labeled and 9V and it shows with a symbol that it is center negative. There is 1 toggle switch that is the color switch. It changes the voice of the phaser. The difference can be easily heard and with two positions one can quickly decide what they prefer. There is 1 knob that controls the rate of the shifter. It controls the speed of the movement. There is a footswitch to switch the pedal effect on or off and a status led indicates the status.

The effect comes with a paper to be posted for warranty. and another small paper printed from both sides serves as a manual and future reference if one wants to claim the warranty. The manual has a small paragraph describing each feature but it lacks diagrams to easily explain the settings or typical setups where the pedal may be used. It also lacks suggested settings of the pedal itself to give a novice a jumpstart in getting a great sound. with the price of the pedal it can easily attract beginner players as it is on the cheaper side of the market. // 9

Sound: The pedal can be used in a number of styles, I like the pedal to create some movement in the song. I started by placing it in the effects loop between the chorus and the delay, but now I moved it out of the FX loop and placed it before the amp. I have it set after the Wah and before the overdrive pedal. This way I get a smoother effect on distorted sound. I also use it instead of the wah to get a very similar effect.

My favorite way of using it is on a clean signal with a digital delay set at about 380 ms and having about 4 repeats. The setting of the phaser rate is just beyond 9 o'clock and the color switch off. // 8

Reliability & Durability: The pedal looks robust enough as is has a cast alloy case. Also, the by-pass switch looks robust enough but, on the other hand, the toggle switch is not as well designed. Being so long, it can be easily hit by a foot if not careful enough, even though it is placed next to the rate knob not instead of the status LED as depicted on the packaging box. I do not think that it would necessarily break, but especially if it is set in the off position, you may switch the setting of the color switch by mistake with your foot. Mine is placed in a loop with a bypass switch pedal so I do not toggle it with it's foot switch. I never had trouble with the pedal. // 7

Overall Impression: The pedal is a great pedal and just fits in perfectly in my setup. I would say that my 3 best or most used pedals would by my delay, distortion and this phaser. On the other hand, the finish is not as nice The rear plate screws do not fit perfectly to in their pocket, and the plate is slightly off center compared to the rest of the casting. This is by 1mm or less nothing really drastic but I noticed it. Also, the nut of the by-pass switch slightly covers a character of the print that says "EH4800 phase shifter." Furthermore, the packaging box and the pedal are not identical. The box has the status LED position switched with the color switch. Nothing that would effect the pedal's performance but just general lack of detail.

Having said that, overall it is the coolest looking pedal with the alloy texture and the black white and red print. Also, it comes at a cheap price, actually I believe it is the cheapest pedal in my setup. The tiny problems I mentioned are barely noticeable but I pay attention to tiny details and they do not alter the performance of the pedal in any way.

When I was shopping I intended to place the pedal in the effects loop and I compared it to the MXR Phase 90. The Phase 90 had a volume drop that I could notice when placed in the effects loop. I also compared it to the DigiTech Hyperphase that was my old phaser. This was a birthday present from my girlfriend and she just couldn't get me a better present. // 9

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