A four-in-one phaser that offers a scenic tour through its classic sounds, the Cyclone is a compact powerhouse that arrives at a time when the effect is enjoying a renaissance.
Four rich, uncanny emulations of vintage phaser effects.
Does a great Uni-Vibe sound.
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The popularity of some electronic effects comes and goes with the flow of musical fashion. Fuzz was all the rage in the ’60s and then virtually disappeared until the ’90s. Vibrato pedals literally vanished for decades.
Soon after their inception in the early ’70s, phaser pedals were everywhere – country, rock, R&B...you name it. But in the following decades, they became rare on the ground, a notable exception, of course, being Eddie Van Halen’s penchant for the MXR Phase 90.
The sound of phasing seems to be experiencing an upsurge, making it prime time for Greek company Crazy Tube Circuits to release its four-phasers-in-one Cyclone. It includes their take on the aforementioned Phase 90 sound, along with emulations of MXR’s Phase 45, the famous Electro-Harmonix Small Stone, and the rarer Lovetone Doppelganger.
It’s a quartet of flavors in one small stompbox. But these choices are only starting points. The original 90, 45, and Small Stone pedals had only a rate knob, while the Cyclone offers depth, mix, and feedback controls, in addition to rate.
For lovers of subtle phase, the 45 setting emulates the restraint of the original’s two-stage design. Through manipulation of the mix and depth knobs, I was able to achieve even more delicacy, to where the sound was almost subliminal. In this mode the feedback control has no effect.
The Phase 90 setting served up the four-stage character of the original, recognizable from its use by ’70s country pickers and funkateers. Here, diming the feedback let me create a sound very close to that of the original MXR Phase 100, beloved by Keith Richards and all over the Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway hit “The Closer I Get to You.”
Like the Phase 90, the Electro-Harmonix Small Stone is a four-stage phaser, but it’s based on a unique design by British electronic music legend David Cockerell. The Cyclone gets pretty close, with the feedback adjustment standing in for the color switch on the original. Just be careful not to turn the feedback much past three o’clock or self-oscillation will ensue (though, at higher speeds, this can be a cool effect).
Unlike the other three modes, which offer more parameter options than the originals, the Cyclone’s Doppelganger mode doesn’t approach the vintage version’s six knobs, five switches, and multiple control inputs. That said, Crazy Tube Circuits has captured its essential throb.
The original Doppelganger is a twin-oscillator phaser/vibrato, a sound very similar to that of the classic Uni-Vibe. In point of fact, the Cyclone’s version served up one of the better Uni-Vibe style effects I have heard. In this setting, I could turn up the depth for maximum throb and then use the mix to dial back the effect and prevent muddiness when placed in front of fuzz, overdrive, or a cranked amplifier.
Backing off the depth a bit made it sound more like a lush harmonic tremolo. The Cyclone may be worth the ducats for this mode alone. A few years ago, Crazy Tube Circuits released the Constellation, a pedal that aped a variety of classic fuzz tones in a similarly small footprint.
Though the Cyclone offers fewer modes, the parameter-modification possibilities expand the sound palette considerably. With phase effects once again having their day, this pedal appears to be a no-brainer purchase and an obvious Editors’ Pick.
- PRICE: $209 street
- CONTROLS: Mix, feedback, depth, speed, mode
- EXTRAS: Expression and 0–5v pulse control of speed
- SIZE: 4.75” x 2.5” x 1.5”
- BUILT: Greece
- CONTACT: Crazy Tube Circuits (opens in new tab)
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