Phasor: The Story of a Mythical Effect
Phasor is an incredibly useful modulation effect that has its roots in the latter half of the 60’s. From Hendrix to Lenny Kravitz, the phase shifter has been a staple in the rig of psychedelic guitarists since its invention. As the phase shifter began to shift into mainstream use, many producers began to utilize the unique effect on other instruments from keyboards to vocals. You can find the phase shifter in rock, funk, hip hop, pop, jazz, and more. What goes into designing a great phase shifter and how did team UVI go about reimagining it? Let’s dive in and take a look!
The Science of Shifters
In order to understand what UVI Phasor is doing to your sound, it’s important to know how a phase shifter works. The phase of an audio signal is a measurement of ‘how far along in its waveform it is’. When you think of the crest or trough of your waveform, you can easily visualize this. Imagine taking the absolute peak of your waveform and making it happen a bit later in time with delay. This is the beginning of the phase shifter effect.
Moving the waveform’s phase to happen later in time is the first step. Mixing the sound back with the original audio is the next. Now, when your first waveform is hitting its top value, the original one might only be about halfway through its cycle.
This can create some fantastic phase artifacts! Now that the original waveform and your phase-shifted one are ‘out of sync’ with each other, the audio will continuously create new phasing artifacts as it continues along its path.
With many phase shifting effects, you can even add in some feedback and adjust the length of the delay induced in the signal. This will allow you to accentuate the ‘swirling sweep’ effect and make it feel faster or slower and more or less pronounced. Some phasers even give you control over filtering of the phased signal as well, allowing for even more control over the audio artifacts!
1. Multimode LFO
The multimode LFO allows for an unprecedented amount of ‘controlled chaos’ to be added to your sound. You can utilize the LFO to modulate the sweep of Phasor in real time.
2. Standard Wave Shape
Choose a standard wave shape for your LFO like a triangle wave to add predictable variation of the phase artifacts.
3. Random Wave Shape
If you want to be a bit more adventurous, you can choose a more unique wave shape, choose ‘random’, or even utilize sample and hold to add some real unpredictability to the phase effect.
4. Drive and Depth
The drive and depth controls can be used together to really accentuate the rhythmic patterns created by the phase shifts. Add in the feedback control, and you have the ability to make Phasor as drastic or as subtle as you’d like it to be.
The visual design of Phasor also allows you to have a real guide to how the controls you are adjusting will affect the sound. All of these controls and visual elements combine to allow the user to shape Phasor to the perfect settings in record time.