The Electro-Harmonix Flanger Hoax, which combines two phasers with delay lines and a modulator in one effect, offers a unique take on flanging.
The unusually named Flanger Hoax ($298), or Flanging Phaser Modulator, from Electro-Harmonix is a completely new modulation effect that uses two separate analog phasers, each with its own delay line. The Flanger Hoax can create classic phase-shift effects along with unique modern phase shifts and modulations.
A New Phase
The rugged metal chassis of the Flanger Hoax is as wide as two standard guitar stompboxes. It offers a status LED at the top left and a power LED at the top right. The bypass footswitch is at the bottom left of the top panel. It is a true bypass footswitch; when the effect is bypassed, the input signal is sent directly to the outputs. The top surface also contains nine rotary knobs and three mini switches for adjusting the effect. To make adjusting the effect more intuitive, the related controls are grouped in colored areas of the case.
The Flanger Hoax requires double the power of a standard 9V stompbox and ships with a proprietary 18 VDC, 500 mA wall wart. Electro-Harmonix warns you to use only that power supply with the product.
The Flanger Hoax is a line-level mono effect, and the company recommends using it in the effects return of a mixer or amplifier. It offers a single unbalanced ¼-inch mono input but three ¼-inch mono outputs: a Direct Output for dry signal only; a Blended Output, for which the ratio of dry to wet signal is controlled by the Blend knob; and an Effect Output for processed output only. For this review, I plugged the Flanger Hoax into the serial effects loop of my Randall RM100 guitar amplifier and used the Blended Output.
Just a Phase
The simpler of the two phaser sections is the Fixed Phaser, which will shift the phase of the input signal by a set amount of 240 degrees. The Fixed Phaser section also offers a Delay Amount knob, which varies the delay time from 1 to 11 ms. The Invert mini toggle switch inverts the phase of the postdelay output of the Fixed Phaser block by an additional 180 degrees. The Fixed/Bypass mini toggle switch either enables the Fixed Phaser circuit or reroutes the signal around the phaser circuit and directly into the delay line.
The Swept Phaser is modulated by a low-frequency sine wave called the Modulator. Like the Fixed Phaser, the Swept Phaser offers a mini toggle that lets the signal bypass the Swept Phaser circuit and directly enter the section's delay line. The Swept Phaser also offers a Delay Amount knob that adjusts the delay time between 1 and 11 ms.
The Swept Phaser offers a host of additional controls in the Swept Phaser Control section. Using the Response knob, you can determine how the Swept Phaser responds to the modulation waveform. In LIN (linear) mode, the circuit provides a relatively tame response, and in LOG (logarithmic) mode, the response is more pronounced. An Amount knob controls the amount of modulation that will sweep the Swept Phaser, within a phase-shift range of 240 degrees to 990 degrees.
The Modulator Mode rotary switch steps through four modulation waveform phases (270, 180, 90, and 0 degrees) and a DC Mode setting. In DC mode, the Swept Phaser becomes fixed, with the Amount knob controlling the phase-shift amount. This knob can create some wild effects when used in tandem with the Delay Mode rotary switch.
The Modulator section itself offers two controls. The first is the Rate knob, which sets the sine-wave frequency between 0.07 Hz and 220 Hz. The Delay Mode rotary switch selects between different phase-shift combinations for the modulator that sweeps both phasers' delay lines. There are five modes, each with a different combination of phases and DC mode for the two delay lines.
Finally, the Feedback section includes a knob to adjust the amount of feedback, and a three-way mini toggle switch to turn the feedback off, feed the entire wet signal back into the phaser circuits, or feed only the Swept Phaser signal back into the phaser circuits.
Phasers on Stun
Because of the breadth of controls and their interaction with each other, this is not a simple effect to master. I also found that when using the Blended Output, turning up the Blend knob resulted in a reduction in overall volume, which I could not find a way to defeat. Nevertheless, I did find that it could create rich phase effects and self-oscillations that I'd not heard with other phasers I've tried (see Web Clip 1). If you like powerful modulation effects and enjoy spending time tweaking, the Flanger Hoax could be just what you're looking for.
Value (1 through 5): 4