Phasing vs Flanging

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Boeing 737-400
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Phasing vs Flanging

Post by Boeing 737-400 » Sun Dec 18, 2005 3:26 am

Can someone be kind enough to explain the differences between them. I don't understand much about either, and my friend wants one but can't decide which one he wants.

endocrine
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Post by endocrine » Sun Dec 18, 2005 3:51 am

I can identify the sounds very easily. Flanging is muc more harmonic, phasing sounds like a filter sweep, kind of. I know that flaging was originally produced by syncing two tape machines (with something recorded on them already) and manually slowing one down by pressing on the flange. The resulting sound is a really microscopic delay that alters with pressure. Modern flanging effects units, have taken on a new perspectic altogether. The new(ish) Digitech Artist Series Jimi Hendrix allows you to use manual style control over flanging with your foot, but of course it sounds all digital and the interface of that pedal pisses me off. Hope that helps.
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hieronymous
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Post by hieronymous » Sun Dec 18, 2005 3:57 am


Boeing 737-400
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Post by Boeing 737-400 » Sun Dec 18, 2005 4:41 am

Cheers guys. Quick response too! :)

I've just been listening to the MF-103 clips and it sounds damn deep! Completely different to my MXR Phase 100. The Moog is much thicker, and has more buzz to it, whereas the MXR has a more fluid sound.

Would like the MF-103 but can't afford it!

Where can I listen to sound clips of a flanger?

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Re: Post Subject

Post by LWG » Sun Dec 18, 2005 4:49 am

Hello,

A technical explanation may not be as important as what your ears tell you,
which is why its important to visit a well-stocked music store to demo some units and get an idea of which one you prefer aesthetically.
Flanging is a delay-based effect and phasing is a tonal effect, the latter being created through a series of allpass filters. Every two stages creates a dip (notch) in the frequency spectrum, therefore a six stager will produce three notches. With phasing, these notches have no harmonic relationship.
Most analog phasers tend to utilize one of three design types: The older ones tend to use ota (operational transconductance amplifier) ckts.(the original Mu-trons and probably those like Maestro) used this type of design and tend to be noisy. Other designs use a ladder filter (Mooger 103 and Arp Quadra's), as well as opto-coupled types (Mu-tron II, Bi-Phase, Vermona PH-16 etc). I've never peeped a schematic for MXR's Phase 90 or 100, but I would guess them to be this type.
Ladder design tends to be more flexible for for low and higher mod speed applications like sample-and-hold, envelope, cv input, etc.
Opto-coupled excels more at at slower, deep, lfo-controlled sweeping.
Flanging, because its a time delay effect, produces more dips in the frequency spectrum which are harmonically related. Because the analogs
use bbd chips, they can be somewhat noisy if the support ckts are low- budget. Often, you get better audio results when companding is used in conjunction with short-delay bbd products. Roland got good results with some of their bbd stuff using companding in conjunction with the delay ckts.
Some of the cheaper flangers tend to be somewhat noisy, as well as metallic sounding. The EH Electric Mistress seems to have that metallic sound, but it has a character many people like.
Boutique units like the Foxrox TZF are pretty badass, but are considerably
pricey. Take time to demo things, listen to clips, and let your ears decide.


Regards,


LWG

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GregAE
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Re: Phasing vs Flanging

Post by GregAE » Sun Dec 18, 2005 8:05 am

Boeing 737-400 wrote:... my friend wants one but can't decide which one he wants.


The effects of phasing (more properly - phase shifting) and flanging are similar in sound, but the flanger is much more pronounced. Phasing tends to give a pleasing tonal 'whoosh' where flanging is much more 'in your face'. Because of this difference, the subtler sound of phasing is used much more often in popular music applications.

Simple phase shifters (like the MXR-90) are well suited to Rhodes pianos, and acoustic and electric guitars. They impart a pleasing watery swirl to the sound, adding motion and interest.

Flangers create more of a specially sound, and don't get used quite as often as a result. Compared to the thousands of recordings that have a phaser effect in them, I can't think of that many that use the 'jet plane' effect of flanging. The Eagles' "Life in the Fast Lane" and Heart's "Baracuda" come to mind. Tomita uses a flanging effect on some of his works to a great effect.

BTW, true flanging - and by that I mean tape flanging - creates a 'through zero' flange, meaning that at some point you hear a brief bit of silence as the two sound sources totally cancel each other out. Most flanger pedals don't do a 'through zero' flange, but that's usually okay because you don't want your sound to stop momentarily anyway. You can hear the 'through zero' flange effect on many of Tomita's recordings (an example is his Holst: The Planets - Cut 1. Mars, the Bringer of War at the 2'50 sec mark).


Greg

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MC
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Post by MC » Sun Dec 18, 2005 12:53 pm

MXR Phase 100 is optocoupler, Phase 90 is OTA.

The biggest difference between phasing and flanging is that the former is a phase delay while the latter is a time delay. Phase shifting a harmonically complex signal yields a radically different effect than time shifting the same signal.

Tape flanging has very deep notches in the response, which BBD devices cannot approximate. Very few flangers sound like tape flanging, two that come to mind are the ADA and the Marshall Time Modulator. I found an interview with the Marshall TM's designer Stephen St. Croix who discussed at length why he selected CCDs over BBDs for the delay element for his product. The S/N ratio was a lot better and he could get the deep flanging notches much better than BBDs. Unfortunately he is paranoid about industrial espionage and has released no service documents for his product, and being the only person on the planet who knows what is under the hood he no longer services broken units. So broken TM units will stay broken.

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Post by Boeing 737-400 » Sun Dec 18, 2005 1:32 pm

Thanks very much guys I understand a lot more now. I wouldn't mind a flanger as I would like a more agressive effect.

If you listen to Gary Numan's Pleasure Principle album you'll hear the Polymoog going through the MXR quite a lot. I only ended up getting it because the price was right. Mines the late 70's early 80's block text edition with no LED.

endocrine
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Post by endocrine » Sun Dec 18, 2005 3:42 pm

Lets not get started on Chorus and Tremlo effects...
"You can't touch me 'cause your hands are made of metal."
-Alabama Jihad

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