M101 Phase 90 review by MXR

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 6
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (20 votes)
MXR: M101 Phase 90

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 9
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.

Overall Impression — 9
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.

Reliability & Durability — 6
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.

Ease of Use — 10
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.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I wonder if you toasted your original Phase90 by putting excessive signal into it from your Fuzz Face?
    KenG : I wonder if you toasted your original Phase90 by putting excessive signal into it from your Fuzz Face?
    Its more likely it died from a power surge. were you using batteries, power supply or wall wart?
    i was using batteries, and my guess it was most likely to strong of signal for it to handle. I will add that these days I have been using it before the FF, and still works so I wouldn't know if that was the problem.
    They make 4 different versions of this and the '74 reissue doesn't have AC power. I wish all of the reviews specified which specific model was being reviewed.
    Decent little unit. I've been using one (on and off) for about six years and it still sounds great and looks virtually new!
    Mine makes all the sound a lot louder ! Thus harder to control or I'll have to have it all the time on and reduce the amp volume