• Retro-Sonic Flanger review

    Gilmourish Retro-Sonic Flanger

    The Electric Mistress flanger has always been one of my favourite pedals. It’s unique tone and character is easily recognisable and it has defined many guitarist’s tones. Retro Sonic just recently released the Flanger. Here’s my review. 

    I got a late 90s Deluxe Electric Mistress just about when it was released and it’s been on my stage and recording board ever since. It’s featured on my albums and it’s the one pedal I simply can’t live without. 

    Obviously, the inspiration was David Gilmour and his late 70s and early 80s tones but for me, the Electric Mistress has become my tone and a pedal that define my sounds. 

    The Electric Mistress hit the market in 1976. It never got as iconic as the MXR flanger or some of the others and part of the reason might have been the fact that it had a noticeable volume drop and a lot of noise. There has been some clone during the last decade or so. Some better than others. 

    Retro Sonic’s Flanger is a take on the very early 18V powered Electric Mistress. This is the same model that David Gilmour used on the Animals tour, his 78 solo album, The Wall, Final Cut and last at the recent Rattle That Lock tour, where the Mistress made a triumphant return on Comfortably Numb. 

    The Flanger has the familiar controls for range, rate and colour as well as the filter matrix switch, allowing the flange or sweep to be freezed. The unique feature is a volume control that tackles the volume drop issue and even allowing a bit of boost. 

    The Flanger can be powered on 12V or 18V. The difference is minimal although the 18V has a tad more headroom. 

    Another unique feature is the fact that the Flanger is very quiet. 

    The mid 70s 18V Mistress and the Deluxe (the Mooer E-Lady is a clone of the Deluxe) are really two different pedals. They have some similarities but they each have some unique qualities. The mid 70s 18V has much more of that characteristic liquidy swirl and a lot more top end sparkle. This is what made David Gilmour’s Big Muff tones really cut through like a razor sharp knife. 

    The 18V Mistress is far less dominating than the Deluxe although it can be set up to quite a bit of modulation too. David Gilmour would use fairly moderate setting, allowing the pedal to add just a hint of flanging and that top end sparkle. 

    The Flanger is slightly darker than my original 18V and I’ve seen others comment on this too. It’s not a bad thing and you can’t really compare two original pedals either, as EHX was well known for using different parts in their 70s pedals. 

    The Flanger is a truly faithful take on the original Electric Mistress, with all the mojo and some much needed upgrades. Definitely worth a try if you’re into David Gilmour’s Animals/Wall tones, Andy Summers or just awesome 70s swirl! 

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25 Responsesso far.

  1. fab says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    It seems that you enjoyed it so did the Retro Sonic earn a “Gilmourish Pick”?

  2. mikem says:

    Hi Bjorn

    Awesome review. Have you tried this pedal with an PC-2A ? I own the retrosonic and i can’t get it to play nicely at all with any effectrode pedal and I am wondering if it is something to do with the center positive power polarity.. anyway.. Ive seen it posted elsewhere a similar problem that i have and I was wondering if you experienced this at all.. but really strange clock noise (Whistling?) from the pedal when engaged with a PC-2A in the chain.. very unfortunate because i can’t go on without my PC-2A… Just curious and thanks for the great reviews


  3. Brad Roller says:

    My goodness, some of y’all need to READ the review lol sounds great Bjorn. Great playing too btw! Sounds similar to my old Hartman but man my Hartman would get a bit too “spikey” at times with distortions. Sounded great but I always had to alter the tone control on my muff to compensate. I really like my mooer but I’m gonna have to buy this one…my Hartman broke years ago and although a little bright with distortions, had a much more beautiful liquidy clear character the mooer doesn’t have. THIS pedal seems to capture that. So glad to see this review, I knew when I seen the colors of the pedal on your board what was coming ;)

    • Bjorn says:

      The Flanger is a bit darker than I expected. At least compared to my 18V 1976 model but it’s easier to blend with a Muff I think. There’s also a trim pot inside that I haven’t explored yet, which apparently makes the pedal brighter. I’m really surprised by this one and personally I think it sounds better than the Hartman. No volume drop and very little noise too.

  4. Dale Schmitt says:

    Just wondering how would you compare this to the Mooer Elec Lady? LOL! Just kidding! Read it in the review.

    But as always Bjorn, great review and awesome tones! You convinced me to buy one and try side by side against my Hartman.

    Keep up the great work and playing!

  5. Francesco says:

    Listened to the tones, and they seem very very interesting…but how does the retro-sonic compares to the mooer elec-lady?

    • Bjorn says:

      Explained in the review. The Mooer is a clone of the Deluxe.

      • KEITH says:

        I wonder how many times you’ll have to answer that question? I can’t believe how many people obviously just listen to the clip without reading the review, and description. In some cases it can be forgiven, but the amount of stupidity amazes me!! Anyway, great review Bjorn, can’t wait to get the huge Deluxe off my board, thanks as usual.
        All the best to you and yours, KEITH

  6. Gabriele says:

    Hi Bjorn, how would you compare this to the Mooer Elec Lady? Great job as usual!

  7. Robert Mosack says:

    Thanks for the review, Bjorn. I’m a sucker for the Mistress clones. bought this one right after it came out, and I finally received the LongAmp Roxanne a couple weeks ago (ordered months ago). Add those to the Mooer and Hartman. I haven’t done a proper A-B comparison yet, but initially, I think the Roxanne is a bit more subtle than the Retro-Sonic, which is m6 favorite.

  8. Seppo says:

    Hi Bjorn, how does this compare to the Mooer Eleclady?

    • Bjorn says:

      As explained in the review, the Deluxe and Mooer are darker, with a more noticeable jet type of flanging. The Retro Sonic and the early 70s Mistress are brighter, with a more liquidy swirl.

  9. Richard D Salazar says:

    The sound is amazing. You are spot on.

  10. Gary says:

    This has been on my radar for some time now. I’ve used 2 early Electric Mistress units extensively for years, the 18v being my favorite. Wanted to hear a proper demo first but it’s safe to say this unit has that desirable quality to it. Going to give this one a go. On a side note I use a Lehle Parallel L as a mixer with my Mistress. Getting the “proper” mix has been important to achieving the tone in my head.

  11. arya boustani says:

    Wow! Perfect sound! Thanks Bjorn for making this and sharing with us. You are awesome!!!

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