In this week’s Gear Rundown, we’re going to have a look at a boutique guitar effects pedal that is definitely on the more esoteric side, but in the right hands can create some truly unique sounds. I am, of course, referring to the Akai Professional Phase Shifter. A versatile phaser capable of handling your deepest tonal desires.
This pedal is housed in an incredibly durable stainless-steel enclosure. It lends itself as very reliable and has thus far not shown any signs of wear even after being dropped or stomped on with excessive force. It runs on 9 Volts, so will work seamlessly with whatever power supply you already have running into your pedalboard. This is a true-bypass pedal, and when not in use, does not interfere whatsoever with the raw signal of your guitar as it passes through on its way to your amp. It is also pleasantly quiet when ‘on’ but there are no notes are being played. This means that if you are running a daisy-chain pedal setup, it won’t chain onto on your other pedals and create the dreaded hum and buzz we all know too well.
Functions and Features
The Phase Shifter is a simple but very effective pedal. It utilises only 3 controls, and it’s ON/OFF footswitch. First and foremost, we have the ‘Rate’ knob. This essentially controls the speed of the effect when listening to it. However, to use the technical terminology, it sets how often the oscillation waveform repeats and also the depth of the signal.
There are also the A and B frequency-toggle switches. As their name suggests, these change the resulting frequency as you play through the pedal. There are four different combinations these can be set in, each with subtle differences in frequency. Each of these combinations can be heard both through a tube amplifier (both clean and overdriven) in the video provided below.
How It Sounds
Depending on how each player sets this pedals controls, the soundscapes they can create are vast and expansive. If used through a clean channel with the rate set low you can create several types of warm or bright shimmer, or with the rate set high even some darker sounding oscillations can be achieved. The latter can be especially useful for creating strange sounds and effects rather than actual musical passages.
If used through an overdriven channel this pedal can add a unique, distorted twist to riffing and big chordal passages when the rate is set low. Or you can crank the rate up for something similar to a flanger pedal and get those oscillations swirling.
For extra shimmer on a clean channel, pair this pedal with some stereo delay and a light chorus. An immersive sound will be at your whim in no time.
Or for a searing hot lead on an overdriven channel, stack on plenty of chorus with a slight delay.