I've finally found a decent 'swirly Rhodes' sound, using keyboard and an effects pedal. The problem is now that when recording, or on stage, I prefer to go stereo, as that gives other sounds - strings, Hammond, etc.- a much better airing. Trouble is, the phaser pedal, really designed for guitar (mono) only works with one channel. So, the effect isn't so, well, effective. How have other keys players got around this. Do I go out with a phaser on each channel, or make do with the not-so-good mono from one speaker?

  • Maybe try purchasing a stereo-supportive phaser pedal? – jazzboy Sep 8 '16 at 11:28
  • @Qweevs - of course that's an option, and I have 3 or 4, but they don't, to me, sound as good as the MXR Phase 90. – Tim Sep 8 '16 at 11:30
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    BTW you'll probably find the majority of live sound systems are either completely or effectively mono. – Todd Wilcox Sep 8 '16 at 11:56
  • @ToddWilcox - I tend to go out self-contained working with live bands, but when having to use the house p.a.(sadly, sometimes) , will pan two channels l.& r. I appreciate most of an audience won't notice much difference, but I like it! – Tim Sep 8 '16 at 12:03

I wouldn't try anything like trying to synch two MXR Phase 90s. There are several phasers with stereo outputs, presumably with each output 180 degrees out of phase in their respective cycles?

One idea is to simply have the Phase 90 in one channel. From recording experience I've found that a phaser on one side of the stereo field can still sound like it is effecting the other side of the stereo field, because you are hearing the dry signal in reference with a signal with a constantly changing phase effect applied to it.

The stereo effect applied to a Rhodes quite commonly on records comes from the tremolo built into some Rhodes models, which basically pans between two channels. From memory this effect is utilised on some Pink Floyd and Jeff Beck records (there will be countless others).

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  • Thanks. It's not merely a panning effect, but a change of sound, either like a leslie or a phasing. As heard on Billy Joel's Don't go Changing, and also some Paul Simon stuff. I tried it on only one channel, and don't like the effect it has on the sound. – Tim Sep 10 '16 at 11:54

Be careful over stereo on stage. Even if the PA is stereo, few of the audience will receive the intended effect. And be careful over stereo even when recording. Are keyboards SO important to the song that they should take up the full soundstage?

If you're sub-mixing your keyboards on stage, and have your own stereo monitoring, you could put the phaser as a send effect and feed it back to both channels. You can then get off on the sound! But don't be surprised if a good sound guy narrows the stereo image you send him considerably, so as to give ALL the band members some space.

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    I've found that reasonably decorrelated stereo sounds that are panned wide take up less space, or at least leave a lot of room in the important center of the image for bass, vocals, and anything else more important. When I record mono guitar or keys, I usually double track it and pan the tracks in opposite directions or I pan guitars one way and keys the other or something like that. Layering stereo guitars and keys is much easier, IMHO, especially for pop or dance style sounds that focus on the vocals and/or drums and bass. – Todd Wilcox Sep 8 '16 at 22:21
  • That could be because the "stereo" effects merely send the same information to each channel with reverse polarity. – Laurence Payne Sep 9 '16 at 17:24
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    Panning hard left and right isn't going to 'take up the full soundstage'. It leaves plenty of room in between for all the other instruments, and doesn't get in the way of central vocals. – Tim Sep 10 '16 at 11:50
  • @laurencepayne That's what I meant by "reasonably decorrelated" - not merely sending polarity reversed audio to one side. Doing that is not mono compatible either and doesn't sound wide, it sounds weird. Polarity reversed audio is actually highly correlated to the original. – Todd Wilcox Sep 10 '16 at 12:18

I've been searching for the same thing for my Rhodes. I am very partial to putting a Phase 90 on just one channel as mentioned by ABragg. But for less subtle effect I sometimes put a mid-speed Phase 45 on one channel and a low-speed Phase 100 on the other. This interview with Don Fagen of Steely Dan fame describes using 2 Phase 90's in parallel.

For a 1-pedal solution, there's the MXR Phase 99 - two phase 90's with independent speed controls and outputs, built into one box. It's mono in, stereo out, so it'll need to be the first pedal in the stereo portion of your effects chain. I just bought one but haven't received it yet so can't comment on sound. The pedal has a "parallel/stereo" feature, which is cool but I'm only interested in the "parallel" mode. It was a limited release and most retailers only have a few left in stock, FYI.

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  • I'm interested to find out what it's like in reality, SugarKeys. Please come back when you've played with it, so to speak. – Tim Aug 27 '17 at 16:52
  • Arrived in the mail today, just plugged it in and tried it. Sounds great! It does exactly what I says on the tin - two Phase 90's. There are a bunch of YouTube vids, take a look. – SugarKeys Aug 30 '17 at 7:41
  • As I predicted, the setting I like is Parallel mode, the Vintage switch engaged, and Sync off, with the speeds at 9 and 10 o'clock, just slightly different so as to create stereo width. It is a more intense phasing than putting just one p90 on one stereo side, as you might expect. Hope that helps! – SugarKeys Aug 30 '17 at 7:48

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