I’ve often wondered why Strymon never got around to making a phaser - where it’s had all the other key modulation flavours out for several years now - Chorus, Flanger, Rotary and Tremolo. Seems like they were just figuring out how to make their variety of phaser special - and special it is!
You essentially have a 2-Channel Stereo Phaser here where each side has its own controls and Engage footswitch - and which you can deploy independently or both together in 3 different routing options - 6>4 Series, Parallel, or Split with 4 on the left-channel and 6 on the right.
The Left Channel has the 4-Stage Phaser - with controls for Speed, Depth, Mix and Sweep - where Sweep has 3 Playback Modes - Classic (Vintage Phase 90 type) / Barber Sweep (Barber Pole style Sweep with continuous Rising or Falling Effect) / Envelope Phaser (Dynamic Auto-Wah style Phaser controlled by picking dynamics). The Mix knob allows you to go from fully Dry CCW to fully Wet CW - with strongest Phase effect at Noon. For classic Phase 90 settings - all controls should be roughly set to Noon - and Sweep on Classic of course!
The Left Channel has a slightly more flavoursome Right-Channel 6-Stage Phaser - again with Speed and Depth controls - but then also a Resonance control : Off / Mild / Strong, and a really smart Voice Control which supposedly simultaneously controls over 30 different parameters - to take you from classic Phasing in the Left hemisphere, through Flanging at just after Noon, and then onto Chorus for the final quadrant.
Those two Channels together deliver compelling flavours of Phasing, Flanging, Chorusing, Rotary, Tremolo and Vibe even with all kinds of cool nuanced in-between. It’s understandable that Strymon have but a premium on this pedal - where bar the Iridium the smaller boxes have typically been priced at $300 - where the Zelzah is $50 more at $350 - which I feel it well worth it. Available to buy right now on the Strymon Webstore.
I called 2021 as the year of the Phaser - and this is very much the most versatile one yet - with full-stereo on each Channel and some amazing combinations possible here. The demos sound pretty stellar too - I’m sold!
I will definitely be getting one of these and deploying it in the #34 slot for full stereo prowess - I pretty much like everything I see and hear here - even if there is no tap-tempo, and no onboard presets - while 300 presets are available via MIDI.
For sure this is a DSP type pedal so not in direct competition with something like Thorpy’s Pulse Doppler or Sitek’s Phasia - but it’s a super-smart DSP pedal - and it has so many different flavours onboard and delivers voicings that you just can’t get elsewhere. Purists might not like it particularly - while I think near enough everyone else will love it!
I’ve often said this year that pedal builders really need to think outside of the box to truly challenge what is possible in this industry - and to stop re-hashing the classics over and over necessarily. And Strymon have hit this out of the park again as far as I’m concerned.
Looks like I will be buying yet another phaser!
How about you guys - are any of you tempted?