Recently, I went on the search for a phaser pedal. It had been some time since I’ve owned one. I purchased a 90’s era Phase 90 in the… You guessed it, 1990’s.
I wasn’t really pleased with the sound of that particular pedal. For one thing, whenever the pedal was bypassed, I could still hear the effect faintly. This was before the true bypass revolution. Having the MXR Phase 90 in my signal chain drove me nuts.
I ended up selling the Phase 90. Fast forward to 2016. I started to crave the sound of a phaser again. I was looking for some Radiohead “Paranoid Android” tones.
I researched quite a bit. There are quite a few phasers available these days with very different flavors.
My search led to the Jam Ripple. I was looking for a straight forward phaser. Simple in design and lush in tone.
The Ripple is a two stage phaser. Very similar to a Phase 45. This was appealing to me because I didn’t want a phaser with too broad a sweep range.
Some companies design phasers to act like ray guns and sci-fi sound effects. Although I dig those, I wanted something that could work well with distortion in a lot of rock and songwriter situations.
As you start to use a phaser with distortion, the effect gets exaggerated. The jam is very flattering whether you’re using a clean or dirty signal.
The Ripple is a one knob pedal. This makes it really to use onstage. You would have to be pretty dim not figure this pedal out in seconds. They even label the ins and outs. It’s pretty fail proof.
Jam cut no cost in the building the Ripple. Each pedal is handmade. The interior is clean and well designed. It is also quite light. The lightest pedal I have in that size box.
You can power the pedal with a 9v battery or a 9pv power supply (negative tip). The power consumption is extremely low (9mA when on). Batteries last a long time in the Ripple.
I used the Ripple through a series of amps and combined it with various overdrive, distortion and fuzz.
Common wisdom is to place a phaser after your gain pedal. You should consider exploring the placement of the phaser.
Positioning a phaser before a gain pedal can yield different results. I tend to favor my phasers before my gain devices (except fuzz).
I like the way it interacts with the overdrive. The phase seemed to be less broad in it’s range, but more gooey. The overdrive flows with the the pulse of the phaser.
When the phase signal gets hotter, it drives the overdrive harder. When the phase get’s quiet, the signal is more gentle on the drive. More dynamics often make me happier.
This knowledge allows me to get more expressions out of the pedal.
Opinions are like….
I used the Ripple on a variety of gigs with a selection of amps. It always paired well with whatever setup I had. Jam made a really versatile phaser. It’s very musical.
Some phasers are more like a special effect. They have a very specific limited application. I used the Ripple on a series of gigs and it never felt extreme. This happens to be important for the majority of gigs I do.
A few of the tones I was using the Ripple to achieve:
Traditional lush sweeping phase tone. For this sound, I would place the pedal before and after gain pedals (or into an overdriven amp). Each yielding lovely results.
Very Slow Phase
I liked setting the pedal to the slowest rate and placing it before an overdrive pedal. It created an almost “cocked wah” like tone.
I have a series of pedals that create a leslie/univibe tone.
I use the Hughes and Kettner Tube Rotosphere for most of my leslie style sounds. I also really like the Fulltone Deja Vibe for the univibe style tones.
Neither are a substitute for one another. Originally, the univibe was an attempt to simulate the leslie. But, in some ways it was a unsuccessful attempt. Thankfully!
The Ripple has it’s own unique “vibe” like tone. When recording a lot, having subtle variations can really make a track come to life.
When the speed knob is turned up to “bubble”, the vibrato is richer then a leslie but not as forceful as a univibe. It really sits well in a track.
I can’t really find any faults in the pedal. It retails for $225 which I don’t think is too much for a pedal I will keep. Best friends forev!
If you’re looking for a phaser that is has a rich analog tone, but can still be subtle when needed, this is it.