M101 Phase 90 review by MXR

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 5
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (20 votes)
MXR: M101 Phase 90
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Price paid: $ 150

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 10
Use mine in the effects loop of my VHT Pittbull Ultra-Lead. Great lush classic quality phaser sound, the one you know in your head. I'm glad I have a parallel effects loop to make the effect even more subtle because there is no mix knob. Yes, that Classic EVH sound, it's here. In fact it's the one pedal that sounds "just like the record." I set mine at 9:00 and never change it. True bypass is transparent, never know it's there when it's not engaged and quiet when it is engaged.

Overall Impression — 8
Overall, great sound, iffy reliability. I'm just wary of integrated circuits in my pedals. I've been playing for decades and I have a studio in my house. This is one of my favorite sounding pedals, just hope it keeps working. If I had to buy again I'd probably look at the MXR hand-wired Phase 90 for a little less money and maybe better reliability. I give it an 8 overall.

Reliability & Durability — 5
Here's where the problem lies. Purchased first one. It dies in a puff of smoke in about 10 minutes. Guitar Center exchanges it. Second one? Lasts several days before it quits. Third one I've had for about a year with no reliability problems. It's impossible to use this thing without an AC adapter. It just goes through batteries too fast. AC adapter hole is slightly recessed and the plug constantly falls out. After all this I'm afraid to gig with it. In fact I'm wary every time I use it that it's going to go up in smoke since it's no longer under warranty. It is however built like a freaking tank and I have an old MXR distortion+ from the late seventies that works just like new.

Ease of Use — 10
EVH model. With one knob it couldn't be easier to use. I like the rubber grip on the knob. Set it and forget it. The perfect sound is just a quarter turn away. EVH has a script Switch for the "old" Phase 90 sound as well as the block logo Phase 90 sound. No indicator for the script Switch but I suspect most people will prefer one sound or the other and leave it there. Script Switch is unlikely to get bumped unintentionally. Manual is brief but sufficient. Blue LED is cool and blindly bright, no question if this thing is engaged. True bypass. Cool EVH graphics. Takes a screw driver to open the battery compartment.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    pinata89
    Apejack Cuba wrote: Way Cool JR. wrote: Why does every one and there mother have the Phase90? The Phase100 is so much better and more versatile and only 10 or 20 bucks more. Phase100 FTW But does it work? My Phase 90 crapped out after a year or so of use. All it does now when turned on is suck tone and lower my volume.
    Hmm...I would suggest changing your 9V.
    slypoonce
    this is the best of the best. i've been using one for about 7 years now and i can promise you i'll never use a different phaser. extremely durable too.. i know mine's been to hell and back and still works like the day i bought it.
    Apejack Cuba
    Way Cool JR. wrote: Why does every one and there mother have the Phase90? The Phase100 is so much better and more versatile and only 10 or 20 bucks more. Phase100 FTW
    But does it work? My Phase 90 crapped out after a year or so of use. All it does now when turned on is suck tone and lower my volume.
    Apejack Cuba
    pinata89 wrote: Apejack Cuba wrote: Way Cool JR. wrote: Why does every one and there mother have the Phase90? The Phase100 is so much better and more versatile and only 10 or 20 bucks more. Phase100 FTW But does it work? My Phase 90 crapped out after a year or so of use. All it does now when turned on is suck tone and lower my volume. Hmm...I would suggest changing your 9V.
    lmao, I know how to change batteries. This isn't a battery thing, the pedal literally just broke after a year.
    Krackula
    I have the script logo Custom Shop Reissue and it is a sweet, squishy sound. Turn it on as slow as it goes and it just brings riffs & leads to life. The hard par is trying to be judicious & not overusing the thing.
    Way Cool JR.
    Why does every one and there mother have the Phase90? The Phase100 is so much better and more versatile and only 10 or 20 bucks more. Phase100 FTW