• Phase 90, Phase 45 and UniVibe. What’s the difference?

    After my last video on David Gilmour’s phaser tones, I got a lot of questions about the differences between a Phase 90, 45 and UniVibe.

    In this video I’m doing two typical David Gilmour setups with all three pedals.

    All three are very similar, with the UniVibe also being a phaser type pedal, and you can easily use any of them to cover all of David’s phaser/UniVibe tones of the mid 70s. It’s just a matter of taste.

    Which one is your favourite?

17 Responsesso far.

  1. Dr0 says:

    I like the 90 the best. Back in the 1970s I believe the Phase 100 came out first. It’s got all the sounds in it, but the 90 was considered the best, when it came out.

  2. Thanks, Bjorn! I have the EVH Phase 90 and the Mojo Hand Fx Villanova. Do you know this vibe pedal?

  3. Paul says:

    Definitely the Phase 90 for me in both cases, slow and fast. Perhaps I prefer it because it’s closest to the original sound.

  4. Marcus V Leonardz says:

    Phase 90 for the win. Sounds so much like my UniVibe when i ramp up the speed a little and easier to place on my pedalboard.

  5. Tim says:

    I think the phase 90 sounds best. The phasing is more dynamic and clearer. Now I have to try my Phase 90 against my Electronic Orange Moonvibe MkII to see what sounds best. Bjorn, thanks for all your info and videos. You have really helped me through the years!!!!


  6. Ben F. says:

    Great video Bjorn! Have you had a chance to play the new Phase 95 from MXR? It has a phase 90 and 45 setting, with the option of modern or script settings. I have never played the script phase 90 but would be curious to here your thoughts on how the phase 95’s script mode compares to the original.

    • Bjorn says:

      I think they captured the script sound very well with the 95. These Custom Shop models that I have sound a bit more vintage but that’s more due to the fact that they have hardwire bypass, which drains your signal pretty well :)

  7. Arya Boustani says:

    Thanks Bjorn. That was a great straight-forward comparison video. I found by means of expression although UniVibe has more colouration, but it looses the transparency of the tone, that shimmering tone that single coil is famous for. I wish they had a hi-shelf option. Phase 45 is a conservative approach opposite of UniVibe and seems to only deal with low-mid frequency phasing and leaving highs less coloured. Phase 90 is sort of in between. It phases the whole range of frequencies so it is more pronounced than Phase 45 but also has that shimmering high frequencies that is missing in UniVibe, so I think Phase 90 is my favourite. Thanks again.

  8. Troy says:

    Demo vid clip of Synthi H-Fli re-release featuring Charlie Burchill of Simple Minds:


    The noise of both the ancient original & this re-release is egregious in all clips that I’ve checked. Hopefully that’s just the recordings & not the units. I would find that unusable if it’s endemic to the circuit & they can’/won’t reduce it significantly.

    Via the Roland Boutique series I am getting into synths at the moment as there’s few guitar effects pedals that I find appealing that I can justify or that I haven’t got already & I feel like adding some more sound sources to experiment & ultimately record with.

    This Synthi Hi-Fli (sans the noise) would be great for analogue type synths as much as – or probably more than – it would be with guitar. Although it can lend many synth type tones to any sound source including guitar with its filters & octave effects, etc.

  9. Troy says:

    EMS Synthi Hi-Fli re-release:


    I think that it is not released yet according to this page:


    Worth checking the sound clips at the top link that I posted above.

    The “Phasing 1″ setting sounds more like the :Any Colour” modulated guitar tones than any Uni-Vibe or MXR Phase 90 or Phase 45.

    Alternatives to EMS Synthi Hi-Fli ‘s Phasing 1 setting would be MuTron Phasor/BiPhase/Phasor II, Prophecysound PiPhase, Maestro PS-1A’s & Maxon PH-350 (on 6-stage) would be closer to the “Ant Colour” tone than the Uni-Vibe, MXR Phase 90 or Phase 45. As would decent digital rotary speaker simulators.

    I just checked all of the sound clips for the modulation tones of the Synthi Hi-Fli at the above site where they compare the tones on an original to the licensed re-release. They are also re-doing other EMS products, Interesting!

  10. Troy says:

    Another thought: Maxon PH-350 Rotary Phaser would cover “Breathe” & “Any Colour” perfectly. 4-stage, mid-speed sweep, low resonance for “Breathe”, 6 or 10-stage, fast-speed sweep, with a higher resonance setting for “Any Colour”.

  11. Troy says:

    This lends further support to the likelihood that the modulation on DG’s guitar parts on “Any Colour That You Like” was a Leslie rotating speaker or maybe the legendary EMS Synthi Hi-Fli (no Gilmour-inspired setup is complete without one! ;D) – anything but a UniVibe or low-reonance four-stage phaser. Actually a six-stage phaser like the MuTron BiPhase or ten-stage phaser MXR Phase 100 – dialled in for a higher amount of resonance – would get closer.

    As for “Breathe” it would seem that virtually any phaser – UniVibe or otherwise – with low resonance & set to the right speed sweep would do the trick.

    Conclusion: Spend serious time mulling over which Uni-Vibe clone to get if inspired by Hendrix’s Uni-Vibe tones. For Gilmour tones: not so much. Coin better spent elsewhere unless you seriously want to use as part of your setup. It is hard to justify on the basis of its use in “Breathe”.

    I think that the evidence that one was used on “Any Colour” rests on little more than the fact that the other track where DG used a modulation effect on his guitar on the same album was “Breathe” & that that was a Uni-Vibe – which sounds like a totally different modulation source (irrespective of the different sweep speeds).

    More DG mileage would be covered by a rotary effect pedal with a dry/wet balance control. I have the Neo Ventilator II (as well as many phasers) which has the dry/wet balance control (original one didn’t). The Boss RT-20 Rotary Ensemble would work too. These are more versatile & interesting than any MXR phaser & definitely cover a lot more DG ground from “Dark Side” to “Pulse” & beyond. With foot-switchable sweep speeds & ramping/braking they are very interactive devices for creative usage.

    • Bjorn says:

      Any Colour could either be a UniVibe or a HiFli. MXR didn’t have their phasers out at that point. As far as I know, he never used MuTrons or any other phasers. I didn’t spend much time dialing in the amp for each pedal here so the UniVibe came of very dark. It’s brighter with the right amp settings. David used Hiwatts and Fender Twins for Dark Side, which are brighter and makes the UniVibe sound much more Hendrix. Although he used a Leslie on the 1972 versions of Any Colour, I don’t think the album version sounds like one. Too wobbly and not the typical woody tremolo of a Leslie.

      • Troy says:

        As you correctly state DG didn’t use MuTrons or MXR Phase 100 back then (as they didn’t yet exist) – nor did he use them later for that matter. They would get in that “Any Colour” ballpark though as would the Maxon PH-350. My gut feeling is the Synthi Hi-Fli’s “Phasing 1”. Could be wrong though! :D

        Actually a 70’s Small Stone would probably get close. They weren’t out then either. DG did have one on his Cornish-made live pedalboard a few years later c. ’77 with a switch to flip between that & the MXR Phase 90. It would be interesting to hear live recordings of him using the Small Stone – not a pedal that people often think of as being part of his rig – although it was at the height of Floyd’s career.

        • Bjorn says:

          Never figured out if or how he used the Small Stone. Listening to the live recordings from that era, there’s no evidence of a Small Stone or phaser being used. Might have been for studio – he used a lot of phaser on the Wall demos – or just something he wanted to try and didn’t use.

  12. Daniel Billerot says:

    Thank you Bjørn, I only get a 90′, so now I can feel the difference! I think your choice is mine… you are playing the 45′ first, and the UniVibe at the end: a nice order to love all of them!!! the UniVibe definetely is less flat, I love it. Playing it at first would probably result in forgetting the others ;-)

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