Eventide’s Flashback Highlights Its FL201 Instant Flanger

As part of its ongoing 50th Anniversary celebration, Eventide’s Flashback Series, which highlights products that first solidified the company as an audio technology leader, continues with the latest installment — Flashback #5: FL201 Instant Flanger (1975).

Introduced under the Eventide Clockworks brand, the Instant Flanger, released in 1975, was designed to simulate true tape flanging. Flanging first became popular in the 1960s when recording engineers discovered that they could mix the output of two tape machines, one variably running slightly off-speed from the other through manual manipulation of the machine’s supply reel (aka “flange”), and get a cool new filtering effect. As its time-delay circuit produced many more “nulls” and offered a much deeper flanging effect than anything previously available, the Instant Flanger became the leading choice among recording studios and was widely used on many legendary recordings. If you’ve ever listened to Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti album, you’ve heard its legendary sound. The Instant Flanger was designed to do everything that tape flanging could, and to do it as well or better. More significantly, it was designed so that it could be played like an instrument. Remember, this was back in the days when engineers flipped switches, rode faders, and turned knobs made of matter instead of phosphors.

A highlight of Flashback #5 is the embedded video – Tony Visconti on the making of David Bowie’s "Ashes to Ashes" – a discussion between Eventide’s “resident fossil/managing director” Tony Agnello and multi-GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer/producer Tony Visconti about how Visconti employed the FL201 Instant Flanger in combination with an EMT plate reverb to create the iconic piano sound on David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes.”

Flashback #5 is the latest in the ongoing series of Flashbacks that help celebrate Eventide’s 50th Anniversary while providing readers a true historical perspective on the company featuring insights, photos, videos and documentation excerpts that chronicle Eventide’s ongoing quest to find unprecedented ways to bend, distort and manipulate sound.

The Eventide 50th Flashback retrospective episodes can be found at the following links:

50th Flashback #1: The PS101 Instant Phaser
50th Flashback #2.1: The DDL 1745 Delay
50th Flashback #2.2: The DDL 1745A Delay
50th Flashback #2.3: The DDL 1745M Delay
50th Flashback #3: The Omnipressor®
50th Flashback #4.1: The H910 Harmonizer®
50th Flashback #4.2: H910 Harmonizer® — The Product
50th Flashback #4.3: H910 Harmonizer® —"Minds Blown"
50th Flashback #5: FL 201 Instant Flanger