M101 Phase 90 review by MXR

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  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (20 votes)
MXR: M101 Phase 90

Price paid: $ 60

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use — 10
It takes a little bit of practice and balls to figure out where the optimal setting is for the speed, depending on what kind of music you're playing. I've never ran it through a program or any editing software, but plays like a king live and has never given me any problems with "technical" difficulties (ex. loose jack inputs, sketchy wiring). My pedal has never been tinkered with or upgraded. I've opened up the back a couple times, but I don't think it would be a very good idea to try and mess around with it.

Sound — 10
My MXR Phase 90 is considerably newer (2015) compared to most of the more popular models which were made in the '70s. It features only a speed knob, and a foot switch, and I'll get into why I feel this is the perfect set-up and why it's all that's necessary to make this a great pedal. I play all kinds of music - metal, grunge, punk, reggae, funk - this pedal works for everything. Keep the speed set a little bit lower, and you'll get a subtle wavy sound that makes the biggest difference, without being very noticeable itself. Turn it on FULL speed for a surf-y wild sound (with some chorus and a ton of reverb obviously). It doesn't crackle or pop, and it won't clog up your input at all.

Reliability & Durability — 8
All the hardware on this thing is solid - I've never had to tighten the 1/4" jack nuts or replace them, after owning this thing for nearly a year, and repeatedly throwing it off and onto the floor, and stomping the hell out of it. The only thing that bothers me about it, is that since it's so light it seems to jingle around a little bit more than my other pedals, and tends to shift around my feet. This can obviously be easily solved with a pedal board and some Velcro.The paint is sleek and orange, which in my opinion is a good color (considering how ugly orange is) because it stands out from all my other pedals. It hasn't chipped or scratched in the time I've had it, and I beat it up pretty bad when I play.

Overall Impression — 9
After spending an hour or two at guitar center and experimenting with the other Phase pedals, I can confidently say that if you can get this pedal anywhere near 60$, it is worth your dollar. The only Phase pedal that might come anywhere near as good at its tone is it's newly upgraded counterparts, or the EVH Phaser Pedal (which both are a significantly greater amount of money). I promise you that as long as you practice using the speed knob in different positions, you can find a place to use this pedal in a lot of different varieties of music.

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