In this guide we’ll take a look at a few of the best phaser plugin software on the market today.
So whether you like your phasers to gnarl up your guitars or keys, or you’re just looking for a way to add something unique to your mix, we’re certain you’ll be happy with any one of these picks.
While the cheapest is the Phaser Snapin Phaser by kiloHearts.
The rest of this guide will take a look at these, and more, in more detail. That way you know what you’re getting into before making your final choice of what you’re going to get.
Let’s take a closer look 🙂
Table of Contents
- Phaser Plugin Buying Guide
- Best Phaser Plugin Software – VST, AU, AAX
- Final Thoughts – Which to Get?
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Phaser Plugin Buying Guide
What is a Phaser?
A phaser is a type of filter that reduces and boosts the level of varying frequency bands of the audio.
USing an LFO (low frequency oscillator), it sweeps through the different frequency ranges, resulting in a characteristic “whooshing” or swirling sound.
The effect can be quite distinctive and pleasing to the ear, which is why it has been used in countless recordings since the 1960s to the present. This is especially so for music producers trying to spice up audio recordings.
Sound Characteristics of Phasers
The sounds produced by phaser circuitry can vary considerably, ranging from the subtle to the extreme. Most familiar are the swirling, ‘chewy’ sounds heard on countless rock songs throughout the 1960s and the 1970s, from such guitarists as Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, Brian May, and Eddie Van Halen.
But phasers are also capable of producing some pretty extreme effects. With high modulation and resonance rates, it is possible to produce a whole gamut of sounds, including metallic textures, resonant pipe sounds, and even robotic, alien voices.
Features to Look for in a Phaser Plugin
A good degree of control is always good to have in a plug-in, and this is especially applicable to phasers.
Although you do want your phaser to affect the sound in a significant way, you will probably want to preserve the integrity of the original sound as much as possible. For this reason, you might want to focus your search on phasers that have a mix control for blending the ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ signals.
When it comes to phaser stages, more doesn’t necessarily mean better. Some of the most revered phaser stompboxes have as few as two or four stages, and yet they are still sought after to this day.
Nevertheless, the option to use as many–or as few–stages as you need is always a good thing to have in a phaser plug-in.
How to Choose a Phaser Plugin
As with all plug-ins that can affect the sound to a significant degree, your choice in phaser plug-ins should depend on how much you like its fundamental sonic character.
A wealth of features is always nice to have of course, but they wouldn’t amount to much if you can’t stand the base tonal quality of the phaser. You should therefore base your decision on the quality of the sound first of all, and then consider the availability of useful parameter controls.
Best Phaser Plugin Software
The OhmForce Mobilohm is about as fully-featured a phaser plug-in as you will find. It features four independent phaser circuits for starters, each of which can be split into four frequency bands. This translates into a superb degree of user control, making it possible to produce virtually any type of phaser sound you could conceive of. From subtle, shifting textures to wildly-pulsating rhythms, the OhmForce Mobilohm can do it all.
Specs and useful features
- Four phaser circuits, each of which can be split into four frequency bands
- Bandpass filter and three phasing algorithms on each circuit
- Auto-bind for MIDI control over all parameters
- Adjustable LFO phase for syncing to host tempo
- Group parameters for advanced control
- Morphs between presets for unique transition effects
The Ohm Force Mobilohm is praised for the wide range of sounds made possible by the various settings. Many users appreciate the intuitiveness and ease of use of the user interface, despite the many controls available. It also gets top praise for its ability to produce sounds ranging from the classic to the unique.
The OhmForce Mobilohm is simply one of the most versatile and fully-featured phaser plug-ins ever designed. From subtle and barely-noticeable washes to almost overpowering waves of sound, this one pretty much does it all. It is also priced quite reasonably, making its rich and lush sounds accessible to most any budget.
D16 Group Fazortan
If you’re looking for a phaser plug-in that captures the swirly goodness and psychedelic throbs of the classic phaser units from way back, then you’ve pretty much found it in the Fazortan Phaser. It’s capable of mimicking the thick, chewy sounds of vintage phasers, and can go a lot further into the depths of phaser lushness as well.
One of the best features of the Fazortan is the absolutely gorgeous interface bristling with controls. Relatively few plug-ins sound as good as they look–and vice-versa–but Fazortan definitely delivers in both departments.
Specs and useful features
- True emulation of classic analog phase shifter circuitry
- Two fully-controllable LFOs
- LFO synchronization with host tempo
- Midi learn function
- 64-bit internal processing
- No harmonic distortion at output
The Fazortan has earned quite a loyal following with its wide range of sound shaping capabilities. Many users seem to be quite taken with its ability to produce everything from subtle phasing and flanging effects to more outrageous whooshes and whirs. Comments have also been made with regard to its ability to make otherwise bland tracks stand out without overpowering the original sound.
Underneath this utilitarian and almost forbidding facade of the Soundtoys PhaseMistress is a good set of controls that you can have fun with doing some serious tweaking. Although any phaser sound is easily achievable without a lot of futzing around, power users appreciate how much control is available under the hood. This one of the crowd favorites, anything by Soundtoys in a worthy mention.
Specs and useful features
- Modeled after classic phase-shifting circuits
- Several modulation modes such as LFO, Rhythm, Envelope, Random, Step, and ADSR
- Classic stompbox emulations included
- LFO syncs to MIDI, tap tempo, or BPM
- Rates adjustable to musical increments
- Rhythmic control with adjustable shuffle and swing
- Adjustable mix, frequency, resonance and modulation
One thing that is often said about the PhaseMistress is how organic sounding it is. Although it is quite popular among those looking for a vintage-sounding phaser plug-in, it can do so much more than stompbox emulations. The rhythmic pulses possible with the MIDI or tempo syncable LFO is an especially well-liked feature, although some users did comment about the occasional jump in volume when switching between presets.
The PhaseMistress could very easily handle most of your phasing needs. Remarkably versatile and controllable, it has a rich and vibrant sound that you simply can’t resist slathering over every track. Despite the all of features available under the hood, it can be as simple and straightforward as you need it to be, with even minor tweaks producing a wide degree of cool sounds.
Audio Thing Phase Motion 2
AudioThing Phase Motion 2 is a 32-stage classic-styled phaser with stereo capability. It’s available in VST, AU, and AAX formats, and has six waveforms types for modulating the cutoff frequency. You also have the option to set the rate to Hertz values or to sync it to your host’s tempo. With the depth and feedback controls, anything from classic phasing to extreme modulations is possible.
Specs and useful features
- 32-stage phasing
- Six LFO types: sine, triangle, ramp up, rump down, square, random
- Host tempo rate sync
- Low CPU
- Preset system with randomizer
Great sound and simplicity seem to be the most popular attributes of the Phase Motion, with many users especially in love with its core sound. The fairly comprehensive set of controls also gives it great value for the price, although a few users bemoaned the omission of envelope controls. There have also been complaints about the randomize button, which affects even the wet/dry controls. This often has the effect of making the sound almost inaudible.
The Audio Thing Phase Motion 2 packs a good range of features and functionality into an affordable and very easy to use plug-in. Versatile enough to handle most any creative need, it has an appealingly rich tone that belies its low cost. Although there are many other more fully-featured phasers out there, the Audio Thing Phase Motion could easily hang with most of them in terms of sound quality.
kiloHearts Phaser Snapin
The kiloHearts Phaser is designed to be part of a more comprehensive chain of effects in the company’s own “Snapin” hosts.
Nevertheless, it is more than capable of standing on its own merits, with a rich and thick sound that ranges from subtle to outlandish.
The Phaser is available in VST, AU, and AAX formats, and also as a rack extension for use with Propellerhead’s Reason.
Specs and useful features
- Order knob creates more pronounced effect
- Cutoff knob for setting filter cutoff
- Depth knob for adjusting cutoff modulation
- Rate knob for setting modulation rate
- Spread knob for widening effect
- Mix knob
- Settings panel
- Randomize button
Although a fairly simple plug-in, many users are pleasantly surprised at the wide range of sounds possible with the kiloHearts Phaser. Some users have in fact been tempted to use it on everything, which is frequently a sign of a great-sounding phaser. Most users seem to like using it on guitars, although some have reported utilizing it to great effect for creating bizarre, alien-like soundscapes.
The kiloHearts Phaser Snapin is a surprisingly capable phaser plug-in that can handle everything from subtle washes to more extreme modulation effects. Despite its modest set of controls, it provides excellent bang-for-the-buck.
Honorable Mention: u-he Uhbik-P
Apart from these very fine phaser plug-ins, we also have to make mention of the u-he Uhbik-P, which is every bit as capable and as great sounding as the best examples in the above roundup. Featuring a pretty impressive array of 42 all-pass filters, the Uhbik-P can deliver sounds of utmost purity and clarity, without a hint of phasing.
When pushed to extremes however, it is also capable of pumping out bowel-churning low-end throbs, harsh and dissonant metallic textures, and everything in between.
Effective use of the Uhbik-P requires familiarity with the filter frequency and feedback controls. With these two parameters working on tandem with each other, you can produce a staggeringly diverse range of sounds. You also have the option to modulate these manually, or via your host’s track automation or the onboard LFO.
While many phaser circuits typically have from two to four, or 12-stages, the Uhbik-P can be set from 14 to 42 stages. This makes it possible to produce highly resonant effects, some of which can be tuned to a remarkably accurate degree.
Even with the wide range of bizarre and outlandish sounds possible, the u-he Uhbik-P has a rich and thick base character that can easily handle more pedestrian phasing duties. Nevertheless, the many possibilities offered by the comprehensive range of controls almost begs for a more experimental and creative approach.
Final Thoughts – Which to Get?
The OhmForce Mobilohm and D16 Group Fazortan are pretty closely tied for the stop spot in this roundup. Both offer a good range of control over the various parameters, they sound great, and they are certainly capable of producing most any phasing sound you can think of. For what it’s worth, the D16 Group Fazortan might have the edge in terms of a purely ‘classic’ sound, while the Mobilohm is better suited for more in-depth tweaking.
The kiloHearts Phaser Snapin is easily the lowest-priced option in this roundup, although it can measure up to quite a few higher priced plug-ins. For standard phaser sounds and even more extreme modulations, this could very well be sufficient for your needs.
As for the Soundtoys PhaseMistress and the Audio Thing Phase Motion 2, both provide excellent value for the money. Between the two, we would have to give the advantage to the PhaseMistress for the sheer level of control available under the hood.