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Eventide Instant Phaser MK II Bridges Gap between Analog and Digital

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In 1972, Eventide Audio released the PS101 Instant Phaser. One of the first dedicated electronic effects units ever (see below), it immediately caught the attention of forward-thinking studio engineers (that had previously been creating these effects manually), and such legendary artists as Jefferson Airplane, Todd Rungren and even Led Zeppelin. Still used in many iconic recording studios around the world, Eventide Audio is proud to release the Instant Phaser MK II plugin, for those of us that can’t find the “real thing.”

Eventide Instant Phaser MK II

Bringing Analog into Digital

The thing about analog is that nothing is “precise.” Any component you use will have a certain value associated with that. However, there IS some wiggle room; a .033 value capacitor can be anywhere from .031-.035 and still considered within spec. And, when you use multiples of these components, the variations of that is where the magic happens. This is why analog stompboxes, while they’re the same model, can sound slightly different. With digital, you will get razor-sharp precision and consistency. Replicating the nuances of analog into digital was the mindset that was used when tackling this project.

Modern Options

While staying true to the nuance and feel of the original, analog unit, the folk at Eventide Audio looked to update it with some modern options that would enhance the experience. The first was to allow you to sidechain the effect, to allow your sound to be effected by another signal. You can now control which output (either the main or the aux) with a mode switch. The “Age” knob also allows you to control how you want to hear the phaser; brand new from the factory, or with 40+ year old analog parts. All of these options help enhance the overall usability and experience with the Instant Phaser MK II.

But, How’s It Sound?

In a word? Fantastic. One of the features I was really intrigued by was the “age” function, where you could emulate a brand new, straight from the factory unit or one that had been in a studio for decades. Both of these models, while identical, would sound different in the real world. But how different? What I noticed is that with the dial closer to the “new” unit, it was a cleaner, more precise phaser effect. As you moved that dial clockwise to the “old” unit, the effect got a little looser, not as precise from note to note, and even the timbre was slightly warmer, and not as crisp. Dial in some feedback as well, and you have a killer analog phaser tone in a digital work environment.

The other features work just as well as you’d think. The shape knob really works great in navigating between a sharp triangle wave, and one that is much more circular, and not as precise. This attention to detail is apparent as you’re mixing a track with the effect; it’s not just a plugin but an accurate representation of the actual hardware.

Conclusion

Replicating the nuance and magic of the analog world into a precise digital world is no small feat. The Instant Phaser MK II from Eventide Audio was painstakingly recreated to bring the landmark effects unit to the digital studio, keeping the original analog sound and updating it with modern features. The result is the bridge between two audio worlds that is going to inspire a lot of recording engineers, producers and artists. This is one to check out.

Appendix: Eventide Innovation

The creation of the PS101 Instant Phaser wasn’t the only thing that the owners/founders of Eventide Audio – Tony Agnello and Richard Factor – were the first to create. In fact, their combined efforts were recognized this past year at the 2018 Grammys, when they received the Lifetime for Technical Achievement award, for their contributions to pro audio.

A Timeline of Firsts

  • 1972 – Instant Phaser World’s first studio electronic effects box. Analog simulation of tape phasing/flanging. For example, Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” and Itchycoo Park’s “Small Faces.”
  • 1973 – DDL 1745 World’s first digital audio box. Used on hundreds of records for ADT (automatic double tracking) and predelay for plate reverb.
  • 1974 – Omnipressor World’s first dynamics effects box. Introduced the innovative concept of the “side chain.”
  • 1975 – Instant Flanger World’s first studio variable delay box. First realistic emulation of tape flanging. Used to create the strange piano sound on David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes. Used to enhance stereo image on Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.”
  • 1976 – H910 Harmonizer World’s first digital effects box. Combined delay and pitch change. Used on hundreds of records. Famously used by Tony Visconti on David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy.
  • 1978 – H949 Harmonizer World’s first de-glitched pitch change device. Introduced micro pitch change and digitally reversed audio.
  • 1982- SP2016 World’s first digital multi-effects processor. Reverb used on countless hit records. Introduced the concept of the effects “plug-in.”

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @zonguitars @shukerbassguitars @bite.guitars @adamovicbasses @mayonesguitars @bassbros.uk @capursoguitars @overwaterbasses @saitiasguitars @ramabass.ok

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New Gear: Elrick Bass Guitars Headless Series

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New Gear: Elrick Bass Guitars Headless Series

New from Elrick Bass Guitars, Headless Series added to Custom Lineup…

Elrick Bass Guitars is excited to announce the addition of a headless option on hand-carved series bass guitars. Initially previewed on the 2023 Gold Series SLC MkII bass of prolific solo bass practitioner and educator Steve Lawson, a headless bass option is now available to all. According the Elrick, “The excitement surrounding Steve’s MkII SLC bass at 2024 NAMM confirmed that the time is right to add a headless option to our extensive range of custom options.” To date, Elrick instruments have only been offered with traditional headstock construction but, in response to market demand, custom features will now include a headless option in 4-, 5- and 6-string models.

Headless bass guitars share these features with the traditional headstock series:

24 frets + zero fret
exotic wood top
hand-rubbed oil finish
2-way adjustable truss rod
custom Bartolini pickups
custom Bartolini 3-band preamp
fully shielded control cavity
Hipshot bridge
Dunlop Straploks
Elrick Fundamental strings

The headless option can now be selected when submitting custom order requests via the form on elrick.com, contacting the Elrick Sales Office directly, or working with your favorite Elrick dealer.

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Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)

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Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)

Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)…

Flemish Master Pieter Bruegel the Elder probably had many things in mind when painting his Hunters in the Snow in oil on oak wood in 1565. This masterpiece tells plenty of little stories about winterly pastimes and precarious livelihoods in the Early Modern Age. What Bruegel presumably did not have in mind was that this painting would, several centuries later, become one of the most popular ones in fine arts globally, displayed in a permanent exhibition at Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) Vienna. The painting’s popularity was lately taken to a different level as it was replicated by hand to design an exclusive BITE bass.

An international art collector and bass player who regularly visits Vienna to immerse himself in the wonderworld of Kunsthistorisches’ Bruegel Hall asked BITE to replicate the painting on a bass body. BITE Guitars, an Austrian premium manufacturer exporting most of their basses to the US, has become renowned for colorful artwork basses, offering a range of manual and digital techniques. The firm’s art director Peter, a trained scenic painter of Oscar and Palme d’Or rank, specializes in photo-realistic reproductions. He also painted the bass for Robbie Williams’ 2023 world tour by faithfully replicating Robbie’s own stage design onto the tour bass.

Peter copied the Bruegel motif onto the bass body in minute detail, little twigs even by one-hair-brush. Positioning the rectangular image section on the body shape proved to be a special challege that he met by repositioning little elements, a bird here, a horse and cart there.

It all came together in a memorable video shooting in front of the original painting in the Museum’s Bruegel Hall: venerable fine arts, premium handicraft and groovy jazz tunes.

View video at the museum: www.youtube.com/shorts/2evdqfR6gUE

What’s the conclusion of BITE’s client, our Vienna, art and bass lover? “It’s a magical bass! When I touch the strings, I feel warm inside.”

Specs highlights:
Bass model: BITE Evening Star, the proprietary BITE premium model with inward curved horns
Pickups: 2 x BITE 1000 millivolt passive split-coils (PP)
Neck: roasted maple neck and roasted flamed maple fretboard

Price tag incl. insured door-to-door express shipping:
New York: 4726 USD
London: 3645 GBP
Berlin: 4965 EUR

Full specs available at bite.guitars/old-master-bass/

Bruegel Hall at Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna: 
khm.at/en/visit/collections/picture-gallery/the-best-of-bruegel-only-in-vienna/

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

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Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

Bassist Ciara Moser…

Ciara and I sat down for this interview a few months after the launch of her debut album, “Blind. So what?”

Blind since birth, she is a powerhouse of talent; she is not only a professional bassist, but also composes music, and is a producer and educator. I am just blown away by her talent and perseverance.

Join me as we hear about Ciara’s musical journey, the details of her album, how she gets her sound, and her plans for the future.

Visit online:

www.ciara-moser.com 
IG @ moserciara
FB @ ciara.moser

Photos by Manuela Haeussler

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New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

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New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar…

Black Ice Enterprises introduces Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort, small, battery-free devices that can be easily installed in a bass or guitar.

Black Ice Boost offers two selectable stages of up to 7 dB of boost, broadly concentrated in the midrange frequencies to add humbucker-like qualities to Strat®, Tele® and other types of single-coil pickups. Black Ice Distort is an overdrive module that can be configured to offer anything from slight overdrive to distortion. Both models are compatible with all passive guitar pickups and electronics (they’re not compatible with battery-powered active pickups).

Black Ice Boost (SRP: $119.95; MAP, $79.95) can be installed using several wiring options, including a simple “stealth” install that utilizes a single push-pull pot, and a dual-switch option that allows users to select between two different levels of boost. For those using the boost along with Black Ice Distort, a second push-pull pot or switch can be used to select a clean or distorted boost.

The Black Ice Boost module is approximately 2/3 the size of a 9-volt battery, and can be easily installed in most instruments with no routing or permanent modifications required. The tone of the instrument remains completely unaffected when the boost is bypassed.

In addition to use with popular single-coil pickups, Black Ice Boost can also be used with other pickup types. Use it to fatten up a P-90 style pickup, or add girth to a low-wind humbucker. Jazz Bass® players can use the additional midrange content provided by Black Ice Boost to produce a sound that’s reminiscent of a P-Bass® or soapbar-type pickup. Black Ice Boost is not recommended for use with high-output humbuckers and other dark-sounding pickups.

Black Ice Distort (SRP: $27.95; MAP, $21.95) is an overdrive module that can be configured for just a touch of grit, or a more aggressive grind, all the way to a 1960’s-flavored fuzz. While its battery-free circuit will never replace the more refined sound of a well-designed pedal, it provides handy, there-when-you-need-it access to a variety of fun old-school flavors, and is a great way to add additional textures to an already overdriven amp or pedal. Bass players will especially dig its raw dirty grind.

Like Black Ice Boost, the sugar-cube-sized Black Ice Distort provides a lifetime of tone with no maintenance or power source required. A variety of wiring options are included that let you activate the Distort via a switch or push-pull pot, or by easily converting your guitar’s tone control into a control for the Black Ice Distort circuit. It can be used in conjunction with the Black Ice Boost for a wide variety of useful tones.

Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort are now shipping.

Visit online at www.blackiceoverdrive.com

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