The sound of the Softube Fix Phaser takes me back to the sounds of the Countryman Associates Type 967 Phase Shifter or the very popular Maestro PS-1A Phase Shifter pedal as well as the first studio phaser, the 2U Eventide Instant Phaser. I first used them all starting in the early 1970s. Phasing is an audio effect where audio is split into two signals that are then re-combined. By running one of the signals through an all-pass filter to phase shift it relative to the other, a dynamic texture and sweeping motion is created. This basic effect is smoother and prettier than flanging and does not necessarily have the pitch-change quality associated with vibrato effects.
In a Pro Tools session, I used the Softube Phaser on an entirely finished stereo soundtrack mix. It generated a swirling rotating stereo soundscape perfect for the music's use with picture.
I started with a preset called Vibrato Stereo that uses two phaser stages to create a single notch. I slowed the Rate (modulation speed) way down to about 0.3 seconds, kept the Triangle Sweep type (modulating waveform), and made the Wet/Dry control at 50/50 for maximum effect. Using the Wet/Dry control allows anything from super science fiction sounds (using the Regeneration control) to very mellow and dreamy. I liked I could just Option + click the Wet/Dry control on my Mac.
Lastly, I cranked up the Sweep control that causes a pronounced phasing movement sweeping back and forth--left to right. I used Effect mode for the same phase shift on the left and right sides but at a slightly different moment in the phase sweep so that one side "chases" the other!
I liked using the Softube Fix Phaser for stereo-izing mono guitar tracks. I inserted a mono-to-stereo variant of the plug-in on a single, mono slide guitar track and started with a preset called Sweeten Stereo. I set the Wet signal at about 40% and turned the Envelope control to 0. I then tempo-synchronized the effect using the DAW Sync button so the effect embeds or "dissolves" into the backing track while sweeping at a quarter-note rate.
So I'm glad to get the Softube Fix Phaser as I don't have any plug-in that does this effect just as I remember it from my good 'ol studio days. For use with VST, VST3, Audio Units and AAX Native hosts, the Softube Fix Phaser sells for $99 as a download.
Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com