M101 Phase 90 review by MXR

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  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.4 (20 votes)
MXR: M101 Phase 90
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Price paid: $ 80

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use — 10
Step one: plug it in. Step two: step on the big silver switch. Step three: turn the one knob to your desired phaser rate. Not complicated at all. I can't imagine a pedal getting any easier to use. It does one sound, and it does it really well. It's so easy to use, in fact, that it is much easier to use the pedal than it is to think of things to write. It kinda sucks that you have to unscrew the bottom plate to change the batteries, I guess, but I power mine with a Voodoo Labs power supply anyway.

Sound — 10
Basically, this is my Eddie Van Halen pedal. This is one of the first pedals I purchased, and I use it in conjunction with an MXR 10-Band EQ, MXR Carbon Copy, and Boss RV-5 to get a sweet Van Halen-inspired tone through my EVH 5150 III 50w head and matching 212 cab. I live with it on a slower sweep setting, of course, but on occasion I'll speed it up. It has one knob, it's not complicated. Doesn't seem to really mess up my signal, but I'm also using it with like 10 other pedals plugged in, too.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Never had a problem with this pedal. It's got a very solid steel casing, I can't imagine there's many ways to break this pedal. The components are solid and heavy. The power input does seem a little bit loose. Otherwise, this thing is pretty much a tank. The paint has chipped a little bit from bumping it into other pedals while setting up my board. I imagine with enough use you'll have to replace the stomp switch, but for 80 dollars this pedal isn't prohibitively expensive to replace anyway, and I think that's why a lot of touring musicians use this pedal.

Overall Impression — 10
I mostly use it when I'm trying to sound like Edward Van Halen. So, for what I'm doing, it's kind of a one-trick thing. Sometimes I turn the rate up, which makes it modulate faster and deeper, and with some reverb and longer delay settings it can sound pretty spacey. I think the only thing I would consider besides this is probably either a Script logo reissue or the EVH Phase 90. Maybe there are other phaser pedals that are more versatile, or can do more things or whatever, but this one does what I want it to do, and I only have to turn a single knob to do it.

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