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I was impressed with the Hagerman Tube Overdrive, and so how good are his Silicon pedals? Without missing a beat, this non-guitar-playing engineering certainly knows sound and quality. I’ll be reviewing the Hagerman Boost at a later time, whereas this review is focused on his Phase, which sounds spectacular. Although not an ‘exaggerated’ phase, in regard to its intensity and ‘hugeness,’ it has sufficient range for clean instruments and definitely enough ‘oomph’ for dirty guitar. The included demo covers both clean and dirty.
The Phase’s sound is very swirling, as a result of its unique parabolic LFO’s smooth phase shifting. This gives a warm result, but remains very clear in the mix as it compliments an instrument exceptionally well and without burying the main tone. The Phase does not overpower the guitar signal, unless up full, and remains near non-existent with the Depth turned low, to about 9-o’clock. With a dirty amp you won’t hear much with the Depth at 9-o’clock, whereas a clean amp requires it closer to 12-noon to be noticeable. As a result, you can add the Phase in such a minute amount that you can thicken up a tone without realizing a phase taking place.
Now, although I indicated the Phase is not overbearing, it certainly is obvious when the Depth is up full on clean and around 12-noon with a hi-gain amp. At times the demo does have the Depth up full or near full with a dirty amp, and it mixed full enough that I had to turn it down for most of the recording. Consequently, there is enough Phase for most tastes, and maybe not quite enough for those who want an even more penetrating result – certainly enough for my taste.
The Speed knob has an excellent range, from a slow-moving wave that has a long woosh to a more tremolo-like percussive effect. What I like about this Phase is that the entire range of the Speed is usable and sounds good at various playing tempos, viz., I can play faster or slower using the Speed at its lowest and highest settings – and it sounds darn good (unlike some modulation pedals that produce a rapid-fire machine-gun like effect with the speed cranked full).
The Hagerman Phase is priced quite reasonably ($129 USD) considering it produces a studio-quality effect. This is not a typical phaser, but an OTA-based two-stage circuit with extremely low distortion and a wide bandwidth. You can hear the difference when compared to other phasers, making it a serious consideration if you like phase shifting modulation. And, again, when blended low it truly fattens up a tone without apparent phasing to one’s ears. It’s the size of a typical pedal (6cm W x 13.5cm D x 5cm H or 2.36 x 5.3 x 1.96 inches) and has a black power-coated aluminum chassis. Its frame design allows it to be attached via Velcro, but also screwed into a pedalboard. It accepts 9v to 15v input (negative center), while consuming only 4mA of power.