Trillium Lane Labs TL EveryPhase 1.1 ($249) is a cross-platform phaser plug-in for Pro Tools. On Pro Tools|HD Accel systems, it offers a full 5.1-channel mode, creating phasing effects that swirl all around the listener. The installation disc provides RTAS and TDM versions for Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, and Windows. TL EveryPhase uses iLok copy protection and thus requires a USB dongle.
Phasers on Stun
TL EveryPhase is designed cleanly, with a window that displays every parameter at all times. The graphics are somewhat spartan, emphasizing substance over style. Rather than knobs, most of EveryPhase's controls are faders, which work better in a computer environment. The parameters are laid out in four panes: Phaser, Modulation, LFO, and Envelope. The plug-in also provides a tempo indicator and Output and Modulation meters. I controlled EveryPhase with my Digidesign Control|24, which made tweaking the parameters a snap. (I also used a dual-processor Mac G4/867 MHz, Pro Tools TDM 6.2.2 software, and Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel hardware.)
The Phaser section consists of Input and Output level controls and four faders that control the effect: Stages, Resonance, Feedback, and Depth. The Stages fader sets the number of phase taps, from 2 to 18. Feedback sends a portion of the phased output back to the input, changing the sound's timbre; adding too much feedback creates a rather cold-sounding whine. Resonance alters the phaser stage from which the feedback is taken. Depth is the most interesting timbral parameter: positive depth values increase the amount of phase relative to the dry signal, as you'd expect, whereas negative values create a markedly different, less conventional type of phased tone.
In the Modulation section, you choose whether it's the LFO or the envelope follower that controls the phase change, and by how much. The Manual fader lets you determine a starting offset to the modulation sweep, and Up and Down buttons let you determine the phase modulation's direction. The Modulation meter is particularly novel and useful: in a single bar graph, it displays the modulation width, offset, and amount.
The LFO section features an LFO Rate control and waveshape selections — triangle, ramp, sine, half-sine, square, and a series of stepped waveshapes. Rather than gliding smoothly, the stepped waveshapes jump from one value to the next, which can be particularly effective when they're synced to the session's beat clock. The LFO can operate in free-run or single-shot mode, but it can also be triggered to run from the beat clock, from an envelope generator, or manually. The trigger sources can run separately or in tandem, offering a good deal of creative flexibility.
The Envelope section triggers phasing with the amplitude of the incoming audio signal. The Threshold, Attack, and Release settings behave just as they would on a compressor, but instead of altering the dynamic range, they control the amount of phase shift. Of particular interest is Sidechain mode, which lets you specify a different audio track as the envelope source. The Envelope section is great for altering the timbre of percussive sounds.
The Very Next Phase
On first listen, I was not bowled over by EveryPhase's sound. It seemed a bit thin, and many of the factory patches had a distinctively metallic quality. You can't always judge a plug-in by its default presets, however. Once I began to twiddle the faders, I coaxed EveryPhase into producing more and more sounds that I really liked. The Envelope function worked well to trigger short phasey bursts on snare drums, creating a swooping pitch bend during the snare's posttransient ring-out. Acoustic guitar took on a shimmery, rubbery quality when modulated continuously with a slow LFO. I also found EveryPhase useful for sound design, sweeping the tail of a rifle shot to create an element for a sci-fi type of weapon.
It's a Contender
TL Labs has thrown its proverbial hat into the phaser ring with EveryPhase. Its interface is uncluttered, and it offers some novel twists on well-trod ground. The Stages parameter, the Modulation meter, and the stepped LFO waveshapes are all interesting and useful. Cross-platform compatibility and support for surround sound are also quite welcome.
Though EveryPhase isn't the only phaser I would ever use, I did find situations in which I really liked it, particularly when used subtly. Once I really delved into the parameters, the sound began to grow on me. If you're in the market for a Pro Tools — based phaser plug-in, download the demo version of EveryPhase and try it yourself.